Jonathan and Tara are parents to three daughters Caitlyn, Beatrice, and Eleanor. Caitlyn is currently studying at Wycombe Abbey School in the UK, while Beatrice is currently in Year 6 at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong. Beatrice recently received an offer from Wycombe Abbey UK, and will be joining her sister this September. Hear from Jonathan on how the journey has been for his daughters at Wycombe Abbey.
My wife Tara, and I are both from the UK, where we met at University. We are both British, but my parents are from Hong Kong and Malaysia. We have three daughters: Caitlyn age 14, Beatrice age 11, and our youngest, Eleanor age 4.
We have been expatriates since 2013, when I first moved to Singapore. Our kids have been through a few different education systems since we moved abroad including a short stint home-schooling and some time in the local Singapore school system.
Throughout this time, Caitlyn, has always had an affinity for the UK, and she had it in her own mind to really want to go to boarding school. During our time in Singapore, Caitlyn was always the one working hard to get into a boarding school. We did extensive research from abroad and looked at the top boarding schools in the UK and Wycombe Abbey in the UK was a great fit for Caitlyn.
However, it was Caitlyn’s exemplary work ethic and motivation that led to her eventually gain a place at Wycombe Abbey UK.
Caitlyn started her journey at Wycombe Abbey UK at age 11, what many people would call Year 7, but what Wycombe Abbey in the UK calls (UIII) Upper Third. She is currently in her third-year boarding at Wycombe Abbey, and she is very much thriving and loving it there. Beatrice will start September 2021 in the same year group as well, Upper Third, and she is excited to be starting the same Wycombe Abbey journey as her older sister.
In 2020, I changed jobs, and the rest of my family was able to join me in Hong Kong from the summer. It made sense to look for a new school in Hong Kong for our two younger daughters, Beatrice and Eleanor.
We researched many schools in Hong Kong, and because Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong had close ties with Wycombe Abbey UK, and was known for its high calibre of teaching, we decided to choose Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong. There were other schools we were strongly considering, some which were more “established” in Hong Kong, but Wycombe Abbey’s location, calibre of teaching and academic staff won us over.
Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong has been the perfect environment for Beatrice.
It is a new school, but there are some really big upsides. For example, the Year 6 group, which has been the eldest group at the Hong Kong school, has had such dedicated attention from the school which helped Beatrice gain entry to Wycombe Abbey UK. The Headmaster, Mr. Tuckett, himself provided additional tuition and academic support for Beatrice through the interviews and preparation process for the Common Entrance exams and assessment days. That support has been invaluable.
In fact, originally, we were planning for Beatrice to continue studying at Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong until Year 8 (which will open this August) and join Wycombe Abbey UK at age 13. But over the past year, Beatrice has gained a newfound confidence and thirst for learning that she is very excited about boarding school life so, we could not pass up this opportunity for Beatrice to join her sister at Wycombe Abbey UK as soon as possible.
COVID has been a novel time for all of us, and we have had to adapt. As a family, we’ve been incredibly impressed by how Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong has adapted rapidly.
Even in the space of just an afternoon, the virus situation might change and we would receive timely communication from the Headmaster and the school operations team with exact instructions for the following day. The school has adjusted very well, but it was also designed and set up very well.
Being a new school, there was a lot of digital provisions such as the iPads, the electronic devices and the online communications, that were all already in place before the severity of COVID arrived. The learning continued seamlessly in between the changes of face to face learning and online learning.
I believe we were one of the first schools in Hong Kong to resume in-school learning.
Both Beatrice’s teachers, Mr. Haslam and Ms. Buran, have been very astute in getting to know Beatrice. Even in a remote environment, we have been impressed. Just last week, Mr. Haslam reached out to my wife and me to discuss about friendships within the classroom; this reinforces that Wycombe Abbey is a school which does not merely focus on high calibre academics, but moreover understands that education is about helping to prepare our children for the future.
It was wonderful to see Mr. Haslam’s mindfulness of the situation.
COVID has catalysed the digital age for our children, and the kids are having to learn about online social etiquette at an earlier age than we did. Academically, Mr. Haslam and Mr. Tuckett have also supported the top students in ensuring that there are appropriate streams which ensures that the very top and brightest students are continually challenged and stretched.
Regardless of whether you are considering boarding school for your children, Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong will set you up really well with a balanced, yet high calibre academic, education. If you want your kids to be both highly academic and learn to refine a character that you would be proud of, Wycombe Abbey is the school for you.
There is a clear heritage of academic excellence with an emphasis on developing well rounded students of character.
It has been a wonderful journey for my daughters at Wycombe Abbey, and we look forward to being part of the Wycombe Abbey family for years to come.