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BSA Supporting Excellence Awards 2024

School News May 13, 2024
BSA Supporting Excellence Awards 2024

Last September, we welcomed our first cohort of ten international students from a range of schools and backgrounds in the UK to Wycombe Abbey School, Changzhou in a unique venture. Coming just as borders fully reopened following the pandemic, we encouraged a group of inquisitive students to engage with China in a way that had only been talked about before.

With a range of Mandarin language skills, from absolute beginner to HSK3, the intrepid students, none of whom had boarded before, were fast tracked through applications, interviews, visas, and onto flights within the space of two months. Leaving behind the safety of Sixth Form places at UK schools, they enthusiastically accepted the challenge and opportunity to move to China and trusted WAS Changzhou to support their academic aspirations (to achieve excellent A-Level results and apply to top universities) and natural curiosity (to exchange knives and forks for chopsticks, letters for characters), and jump forward seven time zones into the unknown.

They quickly assimilated into life in our busy boarding school, with places in different Houses. They joined clubs as diverse as fencing, robotics, and the World Scholar’s Cup, made it on to the swim team, starting DofE Gold Awards, volunteered at events, and joined early morning rowing training, just as thousands of students do each year.

But our ‘Engage with China’ (a UK Charity with whom we are working to provide this life-changing experience) Scholars are also gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese culture by sharing experiences, food, and conversations with new friends, with whom they share dormitories and classes, and with whom they travel on trips and in holidays. Already they have visited Ancient Water Towns of Suzhou, experienced street food in Wuxi, attended the Xitaihu Mid-Autumn Festival, seen the bright lights of Shanghai, climbed Jiangsu’s Purple Mountain to the Buddhist temple, explored the site of the Nanjing Massacre with reverence and travelled by bullet-train to Beijing and beyond to experience the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall, and learn more about the history and politics of porcelain, silk, opium and tea.

These students are receiving a truly global perspective, an opportunity to live and learn as international students and mirror the experiences of the many Chinese students who have been brave enough to travel to schools in the UK for years. They are taking their turn to stand on the stage at events to speak Mandarin alongside their English-speaking Chinese counterparts, experiencing what we hope will be a natural partnership and unison of cultures that will last a lifetime. It is only through a truly international boarding community that such steps are possible.

We are delighted to share that Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou has been named the winner of the Boarding Schools Association’s 2024 ‘Supporting International Boarders’ prize as part of their annual excellence awards. This is the second time that WAS Changzhou has received one of these prestigious awards, having previously been named the winner of the “International School of the Year” award in 2022.

 

This year the BSA (the international organisation that promotes boarding, safeguarding, student wellbeing and opportunity and has more than 1500 members across 39 countries) has awarded Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou the “Supporting International Boarders – School Award,” for our innovative scholarship programme in collaboration with ‘Engage with China.’

So successful has the integration and development of these students been, and the positive impact that they have had on the school community, that we are now interviewing candidates for an additional ten scholarships and entry to Grade 11 in September 2024.

Pioneers they have been. Ambassadors they are. Global Citizens they will be.

Dr Paul Silverwood

Headmaster WASCZ

May 2024

 

Summary

WASCZ: the first school in China to welcome UK students to study A-Levels alongside Chinese Culture. Our aim: to develop pioneers, ambassadors, and global citizens.

 

Notes

  • WASCZ is a world class boarding and day school for children aged 3 to 18, providing an all-round, fully integrated, bilingual, holistic education that not only prepares students for entry to the world’s top universities, but provides them with the knowledge, skills, and competencies for life.
  • The school’s vision is that ‘Every Child can Excel’, and it is our responsibility to approach each student as an individual and nurture them as they grow in confidence, take on responsibility, and achieve independence.
  • At WASCZ we want every child to discover a love of learning; to progress from dependence upon their teachers and peers into independent thinkers and learners; and to mature with compassion and kindness, supporting the aspirations of those around them, sharing in their successes and, together, contributing to the local community and wider world.
  • Engage with China is a UK Charity whose mission is to educate students and teachers about the real life and culture of modern-day China through language, activities, and partnerships.
  • EwC scholars are on a two-year scholarships fully funded by WAS Changzhou and will sit their A-Levels in June 2025.