Information for agents
We work with a number of international agents and overseas representatives who advise families on placing their children in British boarding schools.
Our School Admissions Policy is available online, however we have provided answers to the most commonly-asked questions below:
What are the best years for an overseas pupil to enter the school?
Pupils who join the school in Years 7-9 (ages 11-13) will have maximum time to improve their level of English before starting the important examination courses of GCSE and A levels. We recommend that pupils with a very good level of English join in Year 10 (age 14+) as we prefer them to have time to settle in and to improve their English as they will be required to do GCSE coursework quite early in Year 10.
At the School, the English as an Additional Language (EAL) department gives each pupil support on an individual basis to ensure they succeed.
Do you accept pupils in January and April?
Our priority is to recruit overseas pupils who wish to come for long-term study and become full members of the Bethany School community. For pupils wishing to study at Bethany for one school year, please contact the Registrar in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may occasionally accept a pupil for one term, at the discretion of the Headmaster.
Do you have a scholarship programme?
We offer a range of scholarships for entry into Year 7, Year 9 and the Sixth Form.
What is the application process for overseas pupils?
Applicants for Years 7, 8 & 9 should have a good basic fluency in written and spoken English. Those wishing to join in Years 10 and 12 (Lower Sixth) will need a good standard of English to cope with the demands of the courses.
EAL (English as an Additional Language) pupils for whom English is their second language will be required to sit the Bethany EAL assessments. School reports and references will also be required for such pupils. It is vital for Bethany School to ensure that, even with the EAL support provided by the School, the pupil will be able to cope with a full UK curriculum on arrival. Initially, we ask agents to send us a copy of the pupil’s application, the latest school report and any supporting documents, e.g. certificates.
Once a place is accepted we require the parents to return the parent contract, registration fee and deposit to confirm the pupil’s place. Prior to arrival, we will send a joining pack of information to the pupil’s family.
When are the application deadlines?
Applications may be made at any time of the year although to avoid disappointment, early application (up to a year in advance) is recommended.
What are the requirements of the interview?
If a pupil visits the School prior to joining they will have an informal interview with the Headmaster or senior member of staff. The interview is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their ability in spoken English and to show their personality by describing their interests, family background and to answer any other relevant questions the interviewer may ask such as why the student wishes to study in the UK. This conversation may also take place via Skype if circumstances do not permit the pupil to visit the School prior to entry.
What are the requirements to enter the Sixth Form?
If pupils are taking GCSE or IGCSE examinations then we are able to offer places on the basis of a reference from their present school and their predicted grades.
In which years do you have most vacancies?
This varies from year to year which is why we recommend applications are made well in advance (where possible). We do occasionally have places available in some year groups for the coming year; enquiries should be made with the Registrar, Sally Martorell, at email@example.com.
How many boarding places are there at your school?
This varies from year to year; Bethany School offers a range of boarding options including full, weekly and flexi-boarding for overseas and UK-based pupils. For more details on availability of boarding places in all Year Groups, contact the Registrar.
How many international pupils do you wish to recruit each year?
This depends on the current balance of nationalities and on the nationality of leavers in Year 11 and Year 13. Our boarders come from the UK and from a range of countries all over the world; our priority is to maintain a good balance of British and international pupils in the boarding houses and classes.
How many pupils share a room?
In Years 7 – 9 there are usually three or four pupils sharing a room. In Years 10 and 11 there are usually two sharing. In the Sixth Form, especially in Year 13, we prioritise giving pupils their own single study bedrooms, subject to the numbers of boarders in that Year Group. Boarding house development and refurbishment is ongoing.
What is the pastoral care available?
Bethany School takes great pride in the level and quality of care that the staff provide to all of our pupils, especially those who are members of our boarding community and for whom the School is their home. Staff spend a great deal of their time ensuring that pupils are happy, confident and well supported in all areas of their life, not just in their academic studies.
Our 2018 parent survey received an exceptionally positive response and reflected the hard work of all staff in supporting pupils at all levels.
Spirituality and community are also central to the Bethany School ethos, encouraging development through reflection as part of a programme of regular services in Chapel and whole-school assemblies. A Nursing Sister is available during the school day to give pastoral care as well as medical advice. We also have our own Chaplain who runs Christian services and is available to pupils along with our School Counsellor, to listen compassionately to any concerns our pupils may wish to discuss and to offer advice.
This structure means that staff deal with and communicate regularly about every pupil. In addition each boarder is supported by their Housemaster or Housemistress, assistant house staff and form tutor whom they will see several times a day.
Do you provide host families for Home Weekends and half term holidays? What is the guardianship and support for international pupils?
All parents based overseas must have found a suitable UK guardian for their son or daughter by the time they join the school, failure to do so may mean a delay in their application.
The guardian acts in loco parentis in emergencies and will be responsible for care and accommodation during the holidays and Home Weekends (exeats) whilst their son or daughter is in the UK. We therefore recommend that parents use one of the guardianship agencies accredited by AEGIS (The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students). Details are available at: www.aegisuk.net.
Each half term there will be one weekend designated as a “Home Weekend” when boarders are encouraged to go home, to guardians or to friends. For overseas boarders this gives them an opportunity to experience more of England and what it has to offer.
Do overseas students have good access to the internet and telephone?
All boarders need regular contact with home and family, and pupils are encouraged to contact their parents by telephone, letters and email. All pupils have their own email address and access to broadband internet services. Each pupil has their own tablet or laptop which they can use for correspondence with family.
What is the boarding accommodation like?
There are five boarding houses which provide spacious, comfortable accommodation and there is a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Each house has a common room with TV/ DVD player and a kitchen for the preparation of snacks and small meals. Boarders are provided with three full meals per day in the School Dining Hall.
- Kendon, Pengelly and The Mount: Boarding houses for boys in Year 7 to Year 11. Occasionally some Sixth Form boys will also be resident in the houses to support house staff.
- Old Poplars: Boarding house for girls in Year 7 to Year 11.
- The Orchard: Our Sixth Form boarding house. Adjacent to the Sixth Form Centre, which is the hub for both studying and socialising. The large, light open plan common room provides plenty of space for groups to catch-up and unwind with a cup of coffee, while pool and table football allow for friendly competition.
Can pupils stay in School during the holidays?
Pupils may, with the Headmaster’s permission, remain at the School during selected Home Weekends. During half term holidays all students are required to stay with guardians/host families.
Does the School provide transport?
At the beginning and end of terms the School arranges taxis to and from the airports with taxi companies that are well-known to the School.
How does the School take care of new boarders?
Our priority in the first few weeks of the term is to ensure all our new pupils settle in quickly.
A New Starter Pack is sent to new pupils prior to arrival. All pupils also receive their own handbook when they arrive at the School, which is a more informal guide to school life.
In the first few days prior to the start of term in September, there is a boarders induction programme which involves activities to help the current and new boarders get to know each other and the School. This includes the opportunity to purchase uniforms, visit nearby sights and attractions, and get to know other members of their boarding house.
The pupils are cared for by a team of well-qualified, experienced staff both inside and outside the classroom, who give individual support and guidance. House staff keep in touch with parents, guardians and academic tutors to oversee the development and well-being of each pupil and address any concerns. The Housemaster or Housemistress and the pupil’s tutor should be the first point of contact for any questions or concerns.