Age Of Experience


For people living outside the UK, Britain’s illustrious private school system can sometimes seem perplexing and impenetrable. Serena Templeton spoke to Neil Pocket, director of @school-in-ukabout finding a school tailored to meet individual children’s needs

It’s often said that ‘British education is the envy of the world’, deliberately designed to create the most productive, most dynamic and best-educated young people. This may seem like a bold and, some may say, brash statement, however, it does have a well-established premise.

The UK school curriculum has been curated by combining the best elements of the world’s leading school systems with the most impressive established principles and practices from schools in Great Britain. The resulting ‘British education’ gives students the knowledge and skills to succeed in the modern world and is the top-line of a CV and a badge of honour to establishments around the world that boast this offering.

Although replicated by elite international schools, it’s still UK-based independent schools that hold the strongest worldwide reputations for delivering outstanding results and extra-curricular experiences. The grand old country’s grand old schools draw pupils from across the globe, tempting foreign parents with the promise of quality teaching and superior facilities, as well as access to the intangible advantages that only a top-quality British education can provide.

According to the Independent School Council, international pupils with parents living overseas, account for 25,079 of pupils at ICS schools, with a further 31,029 foreign nationals whose parents live in the UK, which makes a total of 10.3% of the cohort.

However, there’s a perception of an intricate web of insider information, public exams with mystifying initials and sniffy headmasters’ secretaries all seeming to conspire to keep the system under wraps. Although this couldn’t be further from the truth, the system is still best traversed with an expert’s input. @School-in-UK, run by experienced education professionals Neil and Eileen Pockett, offers a unique personal service for parents looking for the right school for their child whether at prep school age or later, for GCSE, ‘A’ levels or the IB Diploma.

Neil Pocket, director of @school-in-uk explains: “With 25 years of experience working in the UK independent education system alongside international and expat parents, we’re well aware of the anxieties parents have when they start thinking about their child moving on to the next stage of their education.” With experience in previous Headmaster roles, Neil can answer any questions parents have about boarding life and the academic curriculum and is skilled in identifying a school or course that best suits the individual needs of each child.

Neil adds: “Our involvement in education, both as a Governor of a Prep School and consultant to several international Schools overseas, means we can give accurate and informed opinion, which we have found leads to happier, motivated students who enjoy their studies and experience high level of success.”

Early discussions establish what parents may be seeking, receiving a copy of the child’s school reports and encouraging the child to write a personal statement based on helpful guidelines. These all help build a picture of the character, abilities and likely needs of both parent and child. Building this picture is important, and as a result, @School-in-UK is able to make a recommendation of carefully selected schools that may best suit the needs and future education of the child. @School-in-UK then use their close links with UK independent boarding schools, colleges and English language schools to guide students and parents through the courses available, as well as help with the application process, entry assessments and all the various registration paperwork required.

Neil and his team encourage parents to apply to the most appropriate school, college and course for their offspring, not the most famous or prestigious. Neil highlights: “Parents who are seeking boarding places, usually prefer schools with wide open spaces and modern facilities outside of cities. This has created increased demand for school places particularly in the Southwest. Home working and relocation have led to a huge uptake in property searches in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall. The knowledge that @School-in-UK has of schools in those regions, is of particular value to parents.”


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