Dan Harrison

Why expats should choose a full boarding UK education

Written by Sedbergh School Headmaster, Mr Dan Harrison

The opportunity for an expatriate child to go to school in the UK can be a challenging but rewarding experience that can leave a lasting influence, greatly enhancing the direction of his or her adult life. In my opinion, there is no substitute for a good, balanced education – family environment aside, it’s possibly the main ingredient for a successful and happy life. Therefore, whoever you are and wherever you live in the world, your children’s schooling should be considered a priority.

Here at Sedbergh, approximately 10% of our pupils are expats. The majority of our pupils come from Kenya, UAE, Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and I have been fortunate enough to visit most of these places and have been involved in many expatriate families sending their sons and daughters to Sedbergh over the last decade. Expatriate numbers have increased hugely during that time here.

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Our pupils enjoy a wide array of outdoor pursuits

So, why does a full-time boarding school (at Sedbergh, we are 98% full boarding) in the UK suit expats?

  • I will begin with our sense of community, something we are very proud of. The boarding house provides a family environment with fantastic pastoral care at its centre. Our pupils eat 3 meals a day, do prep, compete in numerous house competitions, have fantastic pastoral care and tutoring and of course sleep in our boarding houses. Lifelong friendships are made.
  • Our full boarding model sits well with the expats who join us. Busy weekends full of lessons, sport, activities, social programmes, chapel and house events are enjoyed by all and the fact that at Sedbergh, our UK residing pupils don’t go home every weekend is vital to families living abroad and wanting a busy life for their children. 
  • A holistic style of education is also what expat families want. Of course, they want excellent academic results, but they also want their offspring to be exposed to the benefits of a broad and varied extra-curricular programme. The fact that we are full boarding at Sedbergh, gives us time to do all of these things properly and at the same time we are preparing our pupils for life beyond school in the best possible way.
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Pupils at Sedbergh are offered an extensive programme of extra-curricular activities
  • Finally, I would say that our values resonate well with expat families. We focus on humility, ambition, resilience (both mental and physical) and most importantly kindness here at Sedbergh. These values hugely help our pupils and provide the perfect stepping-stone to universities in the UK or elsewhere. Informed, detailed careers advice is vital and a huge part of our Sedbergh offering.

To conclude, full-boarding education and expat children are an excellent match. Our pupils fly home for holidays, exhausted but fulfilled, having been challenged and stretched in so many ways during the course of a term.

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