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Rationality over herd mentality

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Far too often in life, we are lured into doing things as a result of a compulsion to follow trends or to stand out among our peers rather than taking action on the basis of extensive research, personal conviction and even the odd whim. This statement applies to parents who, after completing that all too familiar exercise in brand recognition, feel compelled to go all out for their children to be educated at the most prestigious British independent schools …


I need hardly mention that Britain has some of the world’s most famous independent schools. Eton, Harrow, Marlborough, Winchester, Wycombe Abbey and Cheltenham Ladies College all have the weight of tradition and recognition behind them. These schools may suit the personalities and needs of a select minority of Hong Kong children. However, Hong Kong parents should not feel pressured into going for the obvious: those big glitzy names which will get everyone in one’s social circle talking. With your child’s well-being, happiness and future at stake, it is no time to adopt a herd mentality when it comes to choosing a British school.

The majority of parents who visit Britannia StudyLink are very meticulous in their search for the right school for their child. Having said that, there are still far too many families who perceive the essence of a British education as being surrounded by acres and acres of lush green fields, old and grand buildings and the ultimate prize of adding a big-name school onto a child’s CV.

My colleagues and I have travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles and have a fair picture of what a well-run and inspirational school is. One example is Sedbergh School, located in Cumbria in the North West of England and breathtakingly situated against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park. Academic study at Sedbergh is vital but Hong Kong pupils could grow at a School which recognises the values of Outdoor Education and the true meaning of full boarding. Sedbergh may not be as well-known as Eton, but it may be just as suitable for bright and ambitious Hong Kong pupils.

Britannia StudyLink believes that parents should do research and yet more research when it comes to selecting a school for their children

There are also academic and target-oriented schools, such as Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC) and Ruthin, which have their admirers. CSFC constantly tops the league tables for exam results but that does not mean parents should automatically have to target the school because it gets more A* grades or has more students which achieve Oxbridge offers. Indeed, there are plenty of examples of successful entrepreneurs and leaders who achieved mediocre grades in their school leaving exams.

Britannia StudyLink believes that parents should do research and yet more research when it comes to selecting a school for their children. They should not get caught up in applying to the biggest brand names because a British boarding education is more about developing confident and capable young people who can make a difference to this world. It is sometimes better to be a well-rounded and contented child than it is to have four A* grades at A Level.

Samuel Chan

Samuel Chan is the founder of British school placement company, Britannia StudyLink.

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