Planning a UK school visit for Chinese New Year?

Many of our parents will take advantage of the CNY school holidays to visit UK boarding schools. Our schools are strict about children taking taking off but February in Britain can be a bleak time and schools really don’t appeal to children when they are seeing through a veil of rain. Here are a few tips to prepare your children so you avoid the experience of one Brandon parent who told me: “Tim came back from our school visits determined never to go to boarding school!”

Preparations:

1: You will need coats. And umbrellas!

2: Wear flat and comfortable shoes. Visiting schools requires a lot of walking: Oundle is a sprawling campus as is Millfield and you don’t want to miss seeing some of the facilities. If you are going to an older school like Winchester College, King’s Canterbury, you will be dealing with cobbles.

3: Talk to your daughter or son about what they will be seeing. Check the forecast together so they are ready for anything that the British weather can throw at them.

4: Together, read the websites of the schools you are visiting. Talk about what you would like to see. Most school guides will ask you what you are interested in. If they don’t, make the suggestion. For example, at Bradfield, you don’t want to miss the amphitheatre and the grounds at Stowe are glorious.

5: Don’t over-schedule. It sounds obvious but in Hong Kong, we are used to packing activities into every minute of the day. The traffic in some areas of England can be utterly unpredictable and you don’t want to get stuck in a car, panicking because you are going to be late.

6: Compare notes after each visit. Focus on the positive and your child will follow your lead.

7: Build in some fun activities; England is packed with interesting museums, theatres and theme parks. Going to Haileybury ? Spend the afternoon at the Harry Potter studios! Going to the Oxford schools: Summerfields; the Dragon; Radley; St Edward’s; or Headington? Depending on the age of your child, Bicester Village, the Pitt Rivers or the colleges might be a fun addition.

Most importantly, have fun, even in the rain!

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