Sonya is 11 years old and has two siblings. Sonya had been attending a local school before joining WASHK in Y6 last September. Her parents always planned to let Sonya study abroad in the UK at the right time, either entering at 11+ or 13+ grades for boarding.
Choosing Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong
We knew Wycombe Abbey was coming to Hong Kong before it opened and then had friends whose children were studying there and enjoying the WASHK experience. We chose to switch Sonya last year because we wanted to find a school that could help her prepare for a boarding school in the UK. After looking at several schools, we firmly believed that WASHK was the school that can properly prepare her for the next chapter in her education path.
What we like about WASHK is that the school delivers an authentic UK curriculum, under a small class setting with a brilliant teacher to student ratio without sacrificing the Chinese language subject. Keeping up with Sonya’s existing Chinese language capabilities was important to us. As it turns out, WASHK’s Chinese syllabus is strong compared to many other international schools. Sonya was assigned to the native stream at WASHK and she was able to continue learning Mandarin in Simplified Chinese characters (the school’s Chinese teachers helped make the smooth transition from Traditional to Simplified characters).
Expertise and Preparations for UK School Entrance
Right from the beginning, we informed WASHK’s Headmaster, Mr. Howard Tuckett, that we wanted to prepare Sonya for further studies in the UK. We met with Mr. Tuckett several times, and found these meetings most helpful. Mr. Tuckett has been in the UK boarding school circuit for many years; he has a wealth of information into such schools, and retains many connections there, offering insight that goes far beyond the schools’ websites, good school guides and many education consultants.
Soon after our initial meeting with Mr. Tuckett, Sonya was invited to officially join the school’s secondary school guidance programme, and she was enrolled into a ‘Common Entrance’ ECA. Every week, Sonya was taught very focused and purposeful preparations for the UK ISEB exams. There were also mock interviews and other UK cultural etiquette sessions. It really helped Sonya to set goals for herself and enhance her confidence. We firmly believe that the expertise and preparation for UK boarding schools are unique features of WASHK and the school is fully committed to our needs and goals.
Life at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong
Overall we felt Sonya adapted to her new school well and was very happy being a part of the WASHK community. WASHK made her open up, became more confident, and she took more ownership of her learning. We saw an independent thinker emerging from within. These days, Sonya works under the assumption that there is always more than one right answer, and she has become more daring to take risks in answering questions.
The teachers at WASHK are attentive and encouraging to their students’ growth, which helped instil a ‘growth mindset’ mentality into the students. We especially appreciate how the school takes into account the student’s efforts as well as academic scores in term reports. This gives Sonya an understanding that “I might not get an A in this subject today, but with my strong efforts , I am on the right track to keep improving.”
Sonya’s Class Teacher:
When Sonya first arrived she was very shy and wanted to stay out of my “radar” so to speak, but my style of teaching is really through group work, and I always want to get every student involved. Sonya is such a sweet child, she mingled and bonded with classmates easily. In recent months I saw her confidence really growing, and with that, came her ability to work with others. Now, she readily puts up her hand to answer questions in class.
WASHK also allows its students to excel in all fields. The lack of labelling helps encourage each child to try different things to see if they enjoy it or not. Sonya’s favourite subjects include P.E. and iSTEAM. She participates in a diverse variety of sports at school, and enjoys the multitude of iSTEAM projects such as 3D printing, etc. She was also recently invited to join a small team of students to help build the WASHK campus in a Minecraft setting, a project led by the iSTEAM teacher for the School.
The past year was a very difficult for all students due to the interruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Sonya has really benefited from being with WASHK. We feel that she is ready for her next chapter in the UK. We would highly recommend parents to send their children to WASHK, especially for those who want to have the UK study option at some point in the future. Obviously, if WASHK opens Y9 and beyond, that can only be good news too.