During the 27th to the 28th of January, 2020, I paid visits to two schools in search of opportunities for studying abroad. These two schools are Abingdon School and MPW (Mander, Portman, Woodward) Abingdon School is a boys school with various facilities, mostly for the use of students, including a newly built science centre and a study room for sixth forms. Abingdon School is a college which values PE a lot. It can be noticed that there are at least three football pitches throughout the campus, which serve multiple uses and both an outdoor and indoor swimming pool. Its boarding system is made of three boarding houses. Lower form students have to share a room with two or three other pupils while most sixth form students have a room to themselves. We took a peek in some of the rooms, there were unexpectedly tidy for boys' rooms, which directly reflects the personality of the boys', which I will elaborate on later. An informal interview with Michael Windsor, the headmaster of the school, tells us that the school is looking for enthusiastic and energetic students, as that way they can expand and enjoy their "other half of education". (Learning how to be a better person, etc socialising by participating in clubs). Mr Windsor is very keen on his students having a happy and healthy learning environment. As mentioned above, the boys are incredibly tidy. This echoes with what Mr Windsor said, the boys are enthusiastic towards learning. Clearly, they understand that if they want to be more efficient, they mustn't have their notebooks buried in a pile of socks. Sportsmanship is respected throughout the campus. The boys who took us around for a tour told us that they enjoyed the time when they were doing sports with their friends. On the way out we also saw the soccer team in practice. A kid had missed a clear shot, but instead of scolding him, the senior students patted him on the back and told him that it was alright. We can see that the boys are very kind to each other and they truly treat each other as brothers. In the visit to Abingdon School, I learnt that both students' and teachers' enthusiasm is essential to education, and education isn't only about academics, socializing is very crucial, too! Mander Portman Woodward school is quite the opposite of Abingdon School. MPW is a unique exam-focused school, just like its class size. On average, each class has 4-8 students. It means each student gets a certain amount of individual attention, which means students can seek help more efficiently and teachers would get to know student progress better. It is incredible how a college which was awarded "Outstanding" from Ofsted. Every week, there is a timely assessment; the content is often taken from GCSE/ A Level past papers. The school wants to create the atmosphere of a real examination, so when students go into a real GCSE/ A level exam, they feel very comfortable with the exam environment. That allows students to think calmly so they can elaborate on what they have learnt and studied smoother. There is a strong tutorial system in the school. If a student has trouble with their studies or their social life, they are always more than welcome to consult an experienced tutor. If you wish to thrive on a specific subject, you may consult a specific teacher an hour every week. That helps with the students' grades enormously.
Chris ( aged 13) Hong Kong
Photo: Chris and Mr Windsor, Chinese New Year Event on 27th January 2020