International boarding schools: improving prospects with global perspective
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International boarding schools: improving prospects with global perspective

Parents keen to provide their offspring with the best possible start in life tend to prioritise two key concerns: which school to choose and where?

Where academic excellence, personal development and university preparation are concerned, there is little question that international boarding education surpasses virtually every other form of schooling. Not only do boarding schools traditionally employ teachers with degrees or teaching qualifications in their subject areas, meaning that students are taught by skilled, passionate individuals; the array of extra-curricular activities available at such institutions, which range from drama, music and art to sport and debate, enables each individual to gain a truly rounded education.

Perhaps more significant, however, is the opportunity boarding school students from overseas have to immerse themselves in the culture of another country- an opportunity which, later, affords them an advantage when they come to apply for university places in the same country.

Former international school head teacher and current Director of International Schools at Gems Education Fiona Cottam voiced her belief that going to school in another country provides young people with a more informed outlook in an interview with the Telegraph:

“It allows [children] to become more diverse in their thinking and they [develop] a tolerance and an understanding of other countries and nationalities. It really does breed a 21st-century citizen.”

Among the most prestigious boarding school options for international students is Taunton School in Somerset, UK. A traditional co-educational boarding and day school, Taunton welcomes pupils between 2 and 18 years of age. The school was founded in 1847; today, the beautiful old buildings are complemented by modern facilities including two swimming pools, two Astroturf pitches, a fitness suite, a modern theatre, music school, spacious library, fully-equipped art studios and cutting-edge IT suites.

Taunton School is a lively, international community leading the way in independent education. On leaving the institution, pupils regularly progress to world-class universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. The successful IB Diploma is offered alongside a traditional A-level programme, as well as USA University and SAT preparation and testing.

Caring for children from early years to sixth form

The School has five departments, each dedicated to the care and education of children from their very first steps to the threshold of adulthood. The Senior School is a traditional co-educational boarding school with 600 pupils aged 13-18 years, the Preparatory School takes children from 7 years and can accommodate 270 pupils, while the very youngest children are nurtured in the Pre-Prep and Nursery School.

Established in 2012, Taunton’s International Middle School takes second-language pupils of ages up to 13 and prepares them for entry to the Prep and Senior Schools. Taunton School International offers intensive preparation for Sixth Form, with 80 students on a one-year GCSE programme. A summer school is also available for international students looking to prepare for boarding school life.

A shared journey with shared values

At Taunton School young people learn the lifelong skills of comradeship and collaboration alongside the pleasures of personal intellectual growth. Strong pastoral care and supportive relationships are at the heart of the school community. Enthusiastic and talented teachers enable a quality and content of learning tuned to the demands of modern times and designed to support the individual child’s development in an atmosphere of challenge and opportunity rooted in the shared values of a vibrant community.

Education both in and beyond the classroom

The academic programme is central to the mission of the School and focusses on supporting pupils’ success at every level. Strong emphasis is placed on the core subjects while offering a broad and balanced curriculum.

The core curriculum is underpinned by a wide range of subjects – French from Year 5; German, Spanish and Latin (or Classical Civilisation) from Year 7; Sport, Design Technology, Art, Music and Drama for all; Mandarin as a hobby. Children are encouraged to show a special interest in their environment, to enjoy a wide variety of sports and expressive arts and to develop as independent learners.

Pupils are offered the chance to try something new or develop skills they have already identified through a huge range of extra-curricular activities. All major sports are offered, with sufficient teams to ensure that all who wish to have the chance to represent the School. The School also hosts an orchestra, a jazz band and many other instrumental ensembles, in addition to four choirs.

Beautiful learning environment

The School is located on a beautiful and safe campus on the edge of Taunton, with excellent road and rail links with London. Taunton School Preparatory, Taunton School and Taunton School International all share the same spacious campus, while Taunton School International Middle School is located in The Grange – a beautiful, traditional Manor House close to Taunton School.

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