Katrina (Y6) and Kayden (Y4) joined WASHK in 2020 and have enjoyed two full academic years learning under the “Wycombe” way. Both children will be heading to the UK to further their education from the next academic year. Their mother describes how WASHK has instilled confidence and grit into her children.
Both my children had previously studied in local schools since young- single gender schools, and neither of them enjoyed their experience very much. Katrina was relentlessly under pressure to complete her homework and tests, whilst Kayden was under constant fear that he would be scolded if he did anything wrong. I was worried that their schools were not really motivating them to learn, and more importantly, were oblivious to their emotional well-being and character development.
How did you hear about Wycombe Abbey?
We knew of Wycombe Abbey School in the UK from my time living in the UK, it is such a famous school with an outstanding reputation, everyone knows Wycombe Abbey in the UK. When we learnt they have a sister school in Hong Kong (a Co-Ed as well), we wanted to visit the school right away. Our tour did not disappoint, we quickly applied, and Katrina and Kayden were assessed soon after.
Katrina did fine and was given a place quickly, but Kayden did not perform on the day. He is a sweet boy with a big heart and is truly empathetic, but for some reason on the day of the assessment, he wasn’t himself. I knew he had failed and was already looking for another school for him, when the school invited Kayden back for another assessment, because according to the teacher she did not see Kayden at his best. I thought ‘Wow, this school is giving my son a second chance not based on scores, but on how the teacher “sensed” Kayden was not performing to his potential on the day.’ I was both relieved and intrigued at the same time! I knew then, the teachers at WASHK are different from other schools.
On his second attempt, Kayden was a lot more relaxed and passed the assessment. We have found our children a school that truly care, and try to understand their students’ educational motivations, and their emotional well-being.
The transition was easy, thanks to the small class sizes and a superb teacher to student ratio. Within such a cozy environment, my kids found friends quickly.
From running away from difficulties, to stepping up against adversities - Kayden was fully transformed.
Kayden never really enjoyed his previous school. It was a typical “all boys, all driven alpha- male environment”. It didn’t take long for my husband and I to sense he was giving up on learning, or on performing at all! Kayden is very capable, but he was running away from adversities. We were concerned but felt maybe that’s “just his personality”.
How wrong were we!
After coming to WASHK, we saw Kayden transform into a totally different person. Now, he is self-driven, gritty, and not afraid to be wrong or fail. In fact, he sees failure almost as a necessary step to learning. I don’t know how the school does it, maybe the way teachers encouraged him to adjust his mindset, or exposing Kayden to a broad curriculum helped, or maybe even by just letting Kayden walk past that huge climbing wall motivated him subliminally. He is a very keen climber, and can spend hours on the wall despite not reaching very high up! That, to me is the essence of the new Kayden, he just does not give- up, this mentality transcends across his entire well-being. I can see a confident boy with determination.
Teachers are partners, not preachers
I knew Kayden was on the right path when one day he came home and told me how much he likes his teachers, describing each one in detail; who likes what, who is good at what etc. The relationship between my children and teacher is something I haven’t seen before. WASHK teachers nurtured Kayden into a confident boy with little ego, the perfect balance in my view.
From barely coping to excelling
Our elder daughter is caring, responsible and measured, but at the same time she is a good humoured teenager who likes to enjoy herself and have fun with her friends. She disliked the intense competitiveness and forced rankings at her previous schools, so when she joined WASHK and met her classmates, it was like landing on a new planet, only this time it felt like home coming.
Katrina likes art, and WASHK recently invited every student to take part in a painting competition for the school’s yearbook cover. I was amazed when Katrina invited her classmate over for a 2-night sleepover, so that they could spend 3 days creating their piece of work for submission. This tells me Katrina is maturing, and taking ownership of her work, and relationships.
They won! Katrina was absolutely over the moon and now eagerly awaits the arrival of the yearbook where their painting will be on the cover. I think a key element of growing up is for the child to feel the appreciation of their effort.
Headmaster knows the UK schools well
We always planned for our children to further their studies in the UK, and the Headmaster at WASHK helped us achieve this goal effectively.
Contrary to our original strategy (which was to apply to many schools in order to increase the chances of success), Mr. Tuckett suggested we apply to no more than five schools. He knew many UK schools well, and we trusted his judgement. The result? Katrine received multiple offers, and after speaking to Mr. Tuckett again, we decided to go with Woldingham. We are grateful for his valuable advice.
We highly recommend families to visit WASHK, and are thankful the school played such a critical part of our children’s lives.