BESSA, the British Education and Schools Show in Asia will take place on Saturday, 27 October 2018 in The Shangri-La Hotel. As a curated forum for families to explore British boarding education and meet with representatives from some of the top schools and colleges in the UK, the platform also provides an overview for families to make informed decisions and discover the British education system and processes.
At the event, supporting organisations will share expert help on test preparation, tutoring, special needs consultancy and finding suitable host families. Tutoring companies will offer advice in Oxbridge interview practice, pre-test preparations, school entrance examinations, academic enrichment, and many more. Education consultants specialising in placing pupils with a range of learning difficulties, including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, ADD, Autism and high functioning Asperger’s syndrome, will be present to assist families with such needs.
Representatives from prestigious boarding schools will answer queries ranging from admissions procedures to A level or IB curriculum, issues concerning special needs support, as well as recent updates in the UK education landscape. BESSA attendees are invited to pre-arrange one-on-one meetings or drop by an exhibitor’s booth.
There will also be a lineup of keynote speakers including Harry Hammond, Senior Master of Radley College, and Martin Cropper, Director of Admissions at Shrewsbury School who will present “How the Best Boarding Schools Prepare You for University and After”. Sheridan Steen, Founder of Dyslexia School Search with over 20 years of experience in education will advise on “Supporting Special Needs in Boarding Schools”. Will Orr-Ewing, Founder of Keystone Tutors, and Harriet Blomefield will provide an in-depth look into “Tips for Applying to Top UK Universities”.
Each speaker will have a Q&A session after their presentations, inviting attendees to have open discussions with relevant questions.
Our Parenting World – OPW Media team is pleased to interview Stephanie Cheah, BESSA founder to find out more.
Exclusive Interview with Stephanie Cheah, BESSA Founder
1) Why did you choose to set up BESSA?
Setting up BESSA was a natural extension to my work as an education consultant that specialises in advising families looking for a British boarding experience. During my own time as a teenage boarder, I had come across many situations where pupils found themselves in unsuitable schools due to a lack of prior research by their parents. Information was far less available back then but I hope families now will make the most of free resources such as BESSA. The schools at BESSA are curated specifically to ensure a wide selection of excellent institutions that in their own way bring something to the table.
2) Why do you think more modern parents today are choosing to send their kids to boarding school?
I would isolate 4 key reasons why more parents are choosing the boarding option, and these apply both to schools in the UK as well as globally, such as China and the US.
An intellectually stimulating environment
In a school where students are living and breathing education together, they will be surrounded by and motivated with their friends to delve deeper and explore further in their academic journey. In private schools particularly, class sizes are smaller and students therefore poised for more focused learning and receive far more attention. Every student also has a better chance to participate in discussions and chip in the learning process, making class time more valuable and productive.
Develop family relationships with the right amount of distance
Undeniably, adolescents are all susceptible to being rebellious at times and this can result in possible strained family relationships at some point. At boarding school, teenagers find themselves cared for and well-supervised, yet surrounded by their peers. They receive less nagging and telling-off from their parents and cherish the limited time they spend with them. School holidays end up being time of a higher quality spent with family, and potentially in an even more positive way compared to children who go home to see their parents every single day.
3) How will BESSA help families find the perfect match in their choice of boarding school?
BESSA is different to every other schools show by being a bespoke, curated event. All the exhibitors are attending by invitation only and are selected so that attendees see a wide range of different “type” of school within certain parameters. These parameters include, for example,a good academic standard across the board and stronger levels of pastoral care given the distance between the UK and Singapore. BESSA also allows prospective families to meet school admissions directors face-to-face, an opportunity that may not even be available when visiting the same school in the UK.
4) How will boarding school experiences help students at university?
Help comes in many forms depending on the person, but I shall focus on the biggest benefits. Firstly, children learn to live with all sorts of people. The boarding houses are not only filled with students from a variety of cultures and countries, but they are also a melting pot of many different personalities and characters. One has to adapt and be flexible, and this lays the foundation to encounter all walks of life upon arrival at university.
5) What are some of the broader experiences that students can expect to find at boarding schools?
Outside of the normal academic curriculum, broader experiences would revolve around the areas of sport, art, drama, music and dance, outdoor education (including cadet forces), service and activities that foster broader academic endeavour. The latter includes study trips outside school or abroad, research projects, lecture programmes with external speakers and a long list of clubs ranging from debating and robotics to a bee society.
Admission to BESSA is complimentary, with registration for tickets online at www.bessa.asia. Each person, including children, should have a ticket for entry on the day of the event. Tickets are also available at the door.
List of Singapore Participants in BESSA 2018
Cheltenham Ladies’ College
St Edward’s School Oxford
St Swithun’s School