Jennifer is from the United States and Philip is from England. Their son Oliver is currently a Year 4 student at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong.
Tell us a little bit about your family? How was your move and transition to Hong Kong?
I’m originally from the US and Philip is from England. My husband and I met when we were in graduate school in the US. We’ve always been a traveling family, even when we had Oliver. When Oliver was 14 months old, we move to Amsterdam for work. We spent Oliver’s earlier years in the Netherlands up until preschool. We then relocated to Tokyo, where we spent the last few years before moving to Hong Kong in late 2020.
Oliver went to an international school when we were living in Tokyo, where academics, pastoral care and family support was an important part of the school. When we found out we would be relocating to Hong Kong, we began searching for a school with reputable academics but also a focus on personal and social development. We had some friends that recently relocated to Hong Kong, and they encouraged us to start our search for Oliver’s new school ASAP.
Why WASHK for Oliver? How was the application process? How did WASHK compared to other schools you looked at?
Once we got connected, the school was very accommodating throughout the application process, especially with our mid-year transition during a pandemic. We spoke with Mr. Tuckett, the Headmaster, who was very passionate. He is a truly dedicated educator who cares about the growth of each individual child. He shared his vision of opening a school in Hong Kong committed to providing the very best of British education and a school environment encouraging children to be independent and well rounded.
When we were choosing schools, we were deciding between WASHK and another school. Although the other school offered many of the characteristics we were looking for, but it felt very “manufactured” to us, almost operating in a conveyor belt system.
Then we interacted with WASHK and their teachers, we were so touched by how personable and caring they were. They made Oliver and our family feel so welcomed, and we found the quaint and cozy community feeling we had been searching for.
How’s school life for your family and Oliver? Share a few words about what you like best about WASHK? What offers and services from the school did/do you and your family find helpful and supportive?
The small class sizes are very favourable. The teacher-student ratio is outstanding. There is a lot of support and the teachers really know the children well. Ms. Snyder, Oliver’s current class teacher in Year 4, has really picked up on Oliver’s tendencies which in turn, has led to Oliver’s improvements both academically and personally.
For example, Oliver attended a Dutch preschool when we were in the Netherlands and an international school in Tokyo. Although we speak English at home and Oliver has had exposure to many languages, we would like Oliver to develop some fluency in a second language and take advantage of our time in Asia.
Since coming to WASHK, Oliver’s Chinese has improved tremendously. We have been so impressed with his Chinese, it is truly beyond our expectations. In less than a year’s time, Oliver now has developed ability to recognize and read characters confidently, while conversing with his classmates in Mandarin on a daily basis.
The small class sizes enables the teachers to give special attention to each individual student. Even the school’s specialist subject teachers are very attentive.
We recently visited the school during Parent’s Night, and spoke with Oliver’s iSTEAM teacher, Mr. Janjua. While Mr. Janjua complimented on Oliver’s academic performance in the classroom, he also mentioned that Oliver’s soft people skills of encouraging others and supporting his classmates as his “strongest” trait. The fact that Mr. Janjua referred to Oliver’s soft skills as his most commendable skill is a clear indication of the high level of empathy and care the teachers at WASHK have for their students.
We had some hesitations when we first moved to HK and came to Wycombe. Coming from a much larger international school in Tokyo, there was some concerns to whether Oliver could adapt and fit in. The transition has been surprisingly pleasant. While it has been harder to socialize during COVID times, the school is certainly trying and has done a great job despite these circumstances.
In particular the after-school programme has done wonders for Oliver. Oliver really loves iSTEAM and all the extraordinary science and technology related projects Mr. Janjua leads them to do each week. Oliver also joined Senior Choir and loves singing and performing with his classmates. The school recently hosted a Spelling Bee competition on campus in which Oliver competed in as well! It has really been encouraging for Oliver to participate in all these opportunities to engage with his classmates and community.
What advice would you give to other families considering WASHK for their children?
Jennifer & Philip：
While the relative strength of the school is to assist students with their transition to the most prestigious secondary schools in the UK, we believe the school does an incredibly good job in preparing students to transition onto ANY education pathway they decide to choose.
We feel that Oliver will be very well prepared no matter which pathway(s) we choose in the future.