Bede's is delighted to have been shortlisted for the Boarding Schools' Association (BSA) Supporting International Boarders Award.
Like many schools, Bede’s was quick to offer its boarders quarantine facilities last summer and throughout half term, but it soon became evident that if we were really committed to ensuring the wellbeing of our international boarders, we may have to also consider how we could support them as they quarantined, not just in the UK, but when they returned home at Christmas as well.
Boarding staff were beginning to pick up increasing concern from pupils and parents from Hong Kong specifically, about the prospect of quarantining on their return home. In particular, the pastoral team at the Prep School were becoming worried about how our younger boarders would cope with the stringent measures, involving complete isolation regardless of age.
And so, the leadership teams across both schools came up with a plan which would offer pupils from aged 10-18 supervision and support back in Hong Kong.
On Thursday 3 December, Bede’s Assistant Head Sachin Choithramani accompanied 20 pupils back to Hong Kong to supervise their quarantine period. Mr Choithramani flew with the pupils back to Hong Kong and provided daily support for them as they accessed the school’s remote learning programme and of course, helped keep spirits up during the challenging two week period.
Although Mr Choithramani was restricted in terms of movement within the hotel in Hong Kong, he was able to provide considerable “on the ground” support, ensuring that class work was completed, liaising on a daily basis with staff back in the UK to ensure that these pupils’ needs were taken into consideration.
This service was greatly appreciated by parents. Regular email and text bulletins were sent providing updates on the pupils’ schedules, progress with work as well as reassurance on the most important matter – the hotel catering arrangements!
One parent said, “Thank you so much for all your hard work over the last two weeks, I know that the last few days, and the last few hours, can be particularly hard! You have done such a great job at keeping the kids happy, and you really are a superhero for taking on this task! I know that you are there 24/7 for them and it gives the kids a lot of reassurance.”
On his final day of quarantine Mr Choithramani commented, “Being isolated for 14 days, requires considerable emotional and mental resilience. It was important to us that every effort was made to ensure that pupils from both our Prep and Senior Schools had that resilience bolstered. I feel incredibly proud of what Bede's has provided our young people; from the live Blended Learning programme that gave each of their days a focus and a purpose, to the outstanding pastoral care provided by house staff to ensure that our pupils felt connected to life back at school. To go the extra mile required us to literally go 5,991 miles. It's a journey we are proud to have made."
The news follows success in last year's BSA Awards, at which Bede's was named finalists in the Boarding House Extension or Refurbishment Award category for our refurbishment of Camberlot Boarding House.