Overseas Pupils - An overview from the Deputy Head

Christ College has been welcoming pupils from around the world for many decades, and prides itself on being a warmly multinational community that works hard to ensure its Overseas Pupils are as well integrated as possible.

There are currently over 60 Overseas Pupils at the School, from more than 15 countries across the globe. Each of these pupils brings something individual to the School, but all serve to open all our eyes and minds to the wider world, enriching our community and increasing our knowledge of and respect for other cultures: we are delighted and privileged to welcome them here.


Induction

Everyone at the school naturally does everything they can to help our new Overseas Pupils settle in as quickly as possible. To this end we offer an induction programme which has been designed specifically for them.

The programme includes the following:

  • Practical instruction from the Guardianship Manager for all new Overseas Pupils
  • A junior pupil ‘buddy' operation
  • Assistance with opening new bank accounts, confirming visas, arranging flights etc.
  • The configuration of personal laptops so that they function on the school network
  • An introduction to the culture of Wales – including visits and talks

All of the first year Sixth Form students participate in the Leadership programme at the start of the first term, and this immediately helps the Overseas Pupils to feel part of this older group in the school. The new junior pupils from overseas will have ‘buddies' arranged for them by their Houseparents to help them to get used to the school programme as quickly and comfortably as possible.

The Deputy Head, through his general responsibilities as well as his acquaintance with parents and agents, will also be a close point of contact and communication for the Overseas Pupils.

The teacher responsible for liaising with Overseas Pupils will meet representatives of this group on a regular basis; this meeting will include the Prefects with specific responsibility for Overseas Pupils liaison, and ensure that their views and feelings are heard and communicated appropriately. The member of staff will also take a part in the induction and assimilation of these pupils, and provide a point of support for the Guardianship Manager if necessary. There is ongoing close liaison between House staff, Tutors, subject teachers, and the EAL department.

The nominated Prefects with particular responsibilities for Overseas Pupils also represent the views of these pupils at the School Prefects' weekly meetings with the Head and the Deputy Head.

The particular vulnerabilities of those whose first language is not English are reflected in relevant school policies and procedures, and the teacher responsible for liaising with this group is aware of those policies and procedures. Another important part of this role is ensuring, through regular Inset briefings, that the teaching staff remain conscious of cultural, linguistic, and behavioural nuances of those from other cultures.


Guardianship

All Overseas Pupils who live more than a 2 hour flight from the UK are required to have a Guardian based in the United Kingdom, who is not an older sibling at school in the UK. Parents or agents may choose to appoint such guardians and register them with us as part of the entry process to the School, or they may take advantage of the school's own Guardianship Scheme, which places pupils with local host families. Information on this Scheme is available from the school or on the school's website. The families act as hosts for the pupils placed with them for Exeats and half-terms, and often see these pupils at other times, too.

The Guardianship Manager looks after many of the practicalities of induction, from Visa checks with the local police officer responsible, to arranging buses and taxis to and from London Heathrow; she is in regular contact with parents, too, and liaises with Houseparents over the relevant details of the Overseas Pupils' arrangements.


Academics

The results achieved by our Overseas Pupils in their mainstream external examinations are excellent, with students going on to study at some of the best universities in the UK, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, and UCL. Indeed, in each of the last 6 years at least one pupil from overseas has gone on to study for a degree at Oxford or Cambridge. In 2010 the examination results of the Overseas Pupils made a significant contribution to the record A Level results achieved by Christ College. In the last 3 years EAL students have averaged 360 points – this is the equivalent of 3 A grades per candidate. These grades are a tremendous success for pupils coping with syllabuses in a second language.

Houseparents and those who teach the Overseas Pupils are provided with profile information which details pupils' linguistic needs and give advice to staff on how best to assist them in the classroom. At the latter stage of the Sixth Form this also includes IELTS scores and their University requirements. All pupils at the school have their own House Tutor to advise on academic and pastoral matters; the Tutors who look after Overseas Pupils take a particular interest in the wellbeing of these tutees who are often a long way from their homes and families.


English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Most of our Overseas Pupils will not have English as their first language. In the lower school many pupils are prepared for the IGCSE English as a Second Language examination which provides them with additional English teaching.The first year of EAL classes is provided without charge as part of the induction programme.

In the Sixth Form, those pupils who intend to study at an English speaking university and who are not already in possession of an appropriate qualification are prepared for the IELTS English examination.Pupils are taken to a local Examination Centre in Cardiff to take these examinations.


Religion

Christ College welcomes pupils of all faiths and of none; Overseas Pupils regularly have the chance to contribute to the Chapel Services, helping to raise their profile and to enhance their own presentational skills. The school also celebrates red letter days from other cultures and religion, for example the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn festival.


Cultural exchanges and excursions

The school has a vibrant exchange programme with schools in Shanghai and Japan, and enjoys links with other school in cities in mainland China. These exchanges are an excellent opportunity for exploring and promoting all aspects of the varied cultures that make up the pupil population and the school, and help reassure pupils from these countries and others of the openness of Christ College to other cultures. There are presentations by pupils who participate in these trips, as well as by those from these countries to help share experiences and cultural nuances. There is a full programme of other major tours and trips, too, for all the pupils of the school.

There are school excursions each Sunday, including shopping trips to Cardiff or Bristol – these are popular with Overseas Pupils!


Documents

Many of the school's policies and procedures reflect the differing needs of our Overseas Pupils, and several of the key documents are translated where that would be of help to parents and pupils.


Summary

Christ College's Statement on Boarding Aims makes clear our determination to create a supportive environment for the development of all the school's pupils. We liaise closely with parents, guardians and agents, to create a community in which achievement is recognised and celebrated, resilience and independence encouraged, and maturity and responsibility developed. The school's policies in the areas of Child Protection and prevention of bullying, as well as its procedures in matters of behaviour, discipline, sanctions and rewards are all designed to promote these aims.

Every child at Christ College, regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, or cultural background, has a right to a secure and peaceful life without fear or threat, and to be treated with respect and courtesy in an environment where tolerance and mutual respect are actively encouraged. This naturally holds true for our Overseas Pupils as well, and is at the heart of our intention to continue the school's custom of welcoming children from other countries and helping Overseas Pupils to get the best possible experience of a boarding education.

Mr Simon Spencer
Deputy Head