Meet our UK Boarding school team: Head of English
Mr Ward joined Saint Michael’s at the start of this academic year. He has previously taught in Japan, Indonesia and Oman before returning to England to take a job as Head of English at a well-known language school in Torquay. Saint Michael’s marks his first appointment at a boarding school in England. The intensity of the English language programme at Saint Michael’s is unlike most other boarding schools in the UK as students attend 10 English classes a week alongside their GCSE or A Level subjects. Therefore, the school were very excited to welcome Mr Ward as the new Head of English as not only did he bring with him a wealth of international experience, but his background working as Head of English in a language school meant he was perfectly suited to the role. Although Saint Michael’s functions as any typical boarding school in the UK in most ways, its strong emphasis on the teaching of English to foreign students requires the language department to offer everything that a language school does, whilst ensuring students feel as though they are living the same experience as they would in a more traditional boarding school in the UK.
One of the challenges that many boarding schools in England face is the integration of international students into normal school life. Often classes do not cater for international students, with teachers teaching at the pace of their strongest native-speaking students. As an international school, Saint Michaels faces no such dilemma as all students are new to the British curriculum and face any learning challenges together.
“By using a variety of English courses in conjunction with supplementary materials created by our team of experienced English Language teachers we aim to prepare students to be able to access and participate fully not only in the subjects that they have chosen but also in everyday life in general at boarding school in the UK. We also develop the skills that students will find indispensable when studying at university and when they enter the world of work.
Unlike many other boarding schools in the UK we have 5 available ability levels that students are assigned to after an initial assessment period. Students are taught academic English, study skills, exam English and also learn about British life and institutions. Progress is measured through regular assessment and any areas for improvement are highlighted and addressed through individual study plans.”
We asked Mr Ward for a few reasons why studying at an international boarding school in the UK such as Saint Michael’s is a good idea for non-native students.
1) International boarding schools in England specialise in teaching students of all levels and abilities. At Saint Michael’s we have five designated levels.
2) The vast majority of boarding schools in England will offer small classes, but how many can provide such a diverse nationality mix within the English classes? Saint Michael’s is committed to educating as many nationalities as possible, so you can quite safely assume that no class will have an overly predominate nationality.
3) English courses are designed to augment the other academic courses. In the more traditional British boarding schools in England you’re unlikely to find this, as English is often a stand-alone GCSE or A Level subject with little or no connection to the rest of the curriculum.
4) Our lessons are designed to help students fully engage in the many enrichment opportunities that the college offers.