This article aims to give directives on: How to choose your UK boarding school wisely and switch schools for a remarkable educational turnaround.
It is a personal journey by Ben TV Managing Director, Ronke Apampa
Kiisi has always been a child that needs a bit of push when it comes to studying. Some children need little or no help. She had spent her five years at a boarding school for girls and we decided to move her for two main reasons: to experience and make friends at a mixed school and secondly to save some money. I opposed the idea of a move at first because I don’t believe in experimenting when it comes to education. If something is working, stick to it. At GCSE, Kiisi made an A*, Bs and Cs. It was an excellent result and we were happy.
We finally settled for a state boarding school. In the first three months, my daughter’s grades dropped badly. We thought she would catch up but she didn’t. She chose English, Business Studies (my choice because I want her to be a businesswoman, how silly) and Psychology because she was curious about the human mind. Her grades kept dropping and had a huge impact on her AS results which were woeful.
A couple of schools came up offering one year A level. I also considered her former girls’ school. They were more than willing to have her back, provided she would repeat a year. That meant more money -and shame. My daughter would have been behind her peers. August 2018 was an unforgettable period in our lives, so many tears from my daughter and I felt responsible for the horrible results. I felt we did not give her enough support and I assured her we were in this together. I made up my mind to do all I could to get help for my daughter.
At this stage, I knew I couldn’t take chances so I went online to see what can be done to salvage the situation.
Rochester Independent College
One of the schools offering one year A levels was Rochester Independent College. I read the unbelievable testimonials on their website and thought it was impossible for people to have such terrible results and then transform them into excellent results within a few months of study. I don’t know what pushed me but I decided to give this school a visit.
Kissi’s father and I arrived at Rochester Independent College with an extremely sad and reluctant child who did not want to leave her school because of new friends plus the stress of starting all over again. She promised to work hard and get better results. Her plea fell on deaf ears, this was our last chance. If we miss it this time, that’s it. All our effort from the onset would have been a huge waste.
Our meeting was with the Principal, Mr. Alistair Brownlow, and some tutors. Mr. Brownlow calmed us down with a welcoming smile and reassuring words. I thought he would be shocked at the results and would ask her to repeat a class. He told us he had seen far worse results from students who went on to achieve As at A-level.
One of the things he said was about the choice of subjects. Kiisi was doing the wrong subjects he thought, apart from English. He gave us subject options to choose from and advised that since Kiisi was already a budding TV presenter Media would be perfect for her. Kiisi settled for English, Media, and Photography. My teary-eyed daughter had become cheery by the time we were doing a tour of the school.
Never judge a book by its cover they say. I have been to quite a few tours of private schools and colleges in England, this was different. It looked more like a small university in town. Students were allowed to wear normal clothes and students and teachers were on a first-name basis. All this is done to make students feel comfortable and unrestricted. At the same time, discipline was not missing. I asked if the testimonials online and in the school magazine were marketing gimmicks and Mr. Brownlow assured me they were real people. I prayed silently, hoping my daughter’s case would be the same.
Three months at Rochester I started seeing results. My daughter moved from DEE to CCC then progressed to BCC, BBB now AAA. This is a testimony to the hard work and dedication to success put in by the team at Rochester Independent College.
Kiisi became very focused and determined to achieve the best results. She told me it was the best decision we ever made. She confessed there was a lot of distraction at her former school. Secondly, we chose her A-level subjects without thinking properly and weighing up her strengths. We were not given the kind of advice we were given at Rochester.
Everyone at Rochester, from boarding staff to teachers, were all involved in the students’ lives. I receive regular emails informing me of my daughter’s daily attendance and performance. There was a balance between her educational and social life. I felt totally involved even though I was away most of the time due to the demanding nature of my job. They also had school trips to help buttress whatever they had learned, especially in Media and Photography. Kiisi was excelling daily, her confidence was restored and she became very vibrant. She chose Loughborough University as her firm choice, one of the top ten according to the University league table and got offers from three other universities. She has been predicted an A* in English A in Media and A in Photography.
Recently, we had a photoshoot together, both of us have been contacted to host the Africa Fashion Week in London. The photographer I contracted seemed not to have an idea of a fashion shoot. So my daughter took over and taught him his job. It was amazing. She was very professional and highly skilled. I was proud and happy that time and money had not been wasted at Rochester Independent College. She was applying the photography skills she had learned at Rochester.
I strongly advise parents to look no further, spare no expense for quality education. Do not be like me, trying to cut corners. I wish Kiisi started her secondary education at Rochester Independent College, just imagine what could have happened.
Ronke Apampa Ben TV UK, SKY 175