English international schools: increasingly relevant in a hyper-connected world

26 June, 2018

It’s daunting enough starting a new school, let alone if that school is on the other side of the world and the people there speak a different language. In the UK there are a number of English international schools which provide a vital role in helping students be better prepared for the transition to a mainstream British boarding school.

Looking back 40 years, when English international schools were first established, the world was very different. Our 21st Century world is more diverse and hyper-connected with countless businesses and organisations operating multi-culturally and globally. This is the world in which English international schools have developed and become increasingly relevant.

International school students come together with others from around the world, not only to gain an understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures but also to give them a global outlook, enabling them to take their place and live their lives more richly in that international world.

“It hasn’t just been a school, but also my home. I’m so grateful to my parents for sending me here, they gave me the opportunity to meet new friends, become a better person, learn English, and grow up in a good community.
Every year I have made a lot of new friends, from more countries than I can count, all of who I hope to keep in contact and stay close, we’re like one huge international family. They’ve helped me develop as a person and made my life at school as fun as it could be, without them, it just wouldn’t be the same. I know for sure, that I have made friends for life”.
Alan from Turkmenistan
(Quote from 2018 Speech Day)

Students typically learn in very small classes (at Sherborne International it is between 5-8 students per class). The teachers are qualified or trained to teach English as well as their own specialist subject, therefore making each chosen subject lesson also an English lesson.

Small classes allow students to develop more quickly and to challenge themselves and each other, gaining confidence and independence to build solid friendships. These friendships will last a lifetime.

“I remember the first day I came here, I felt so hopeless. I was shy and afraid to talk to others because of my poor spoken English and lack of communication skills. But things changed so quickly and as you can see, right now I am standing here with much more confidence.
I have tried lots of new things which I thought I would never have such ability to do, but I did it. I have started to learn piano. I have worked hard at Art, Religion, Philosophy and History, which all require high qualities of English writing skills and vocabulary, and I improved a lot. I really appreciate that all my teachers kept encouraging me to work harder and do better, to challenge myself over and over again.”
Caroline from China
(Quote from 2018 Speech Day)

Lessons are diverse in style, practical and discussion-based as well as purely academic. This varied approach, in conjunction with small class sizes, allows each student’s experience to be tailored to their learning style and preferences. This tailored approach means they progress rapidly both linguistically and academically, readying them for the most appropriate next step in their educational journey.

International students joining a mainstream British boarding school for the first time frequently find it challenging to adapt to the pace and culture. Additionally, as English is not their first language, having full access to the curriculum can be a struggle.

However, by joining an English international school first, this process can be made easier for the student, giving them time to adapt, to identify their strengths and build their confidence. Moreover, many international schools have dedicated staff ready to guide students through the process of identifying an onward school and to find the right fit for their talents.

Joanna Jackson
Registrar & Head of Marketing

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