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All the benefits of a UK school without boarding

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Sponsored Blog by Portsmouth Grammar School:

Decisions on your child's education are among the most important decisions you'll make as a parent. Today, with a range of international options also being available, the decisions can be more complex.

At The Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS), we support international families through this decision-making process. As a co-educational day school, there is no boarding option; instead, some of our international students choose to live with families locally on a ‘homestay’ basis. Other international families decide to relocate to Portsmouth – on the South Coast of the UK, the city is within easy reach of London, and Heathrow Airport, so it is a very appealing option for families moving to the UK. Let’s explore these two options through the eyes of pupils and families.

Relocating was the right choice for these families; here's why.

The Ho family recently relocated to Portsmouth from Hong Kong. So, why choose Portsmouth? “My job was relocated from Hong Kong to the UK,” said Mr Ho. “The company gave me three cities: London, Birmingham and Portsmouth. I decided to be based at the Portsmouth office. Due to flexible working arrangements, my family could be in London or anywhere in the south of the UK. I chose Portsmouth because of PGS. Having been here one year, I can confirm that, in terms of the weather and climate, Portsmouth is the most suitable place! Here it is warm and also sheltered in the south of the UK. I now understand why UK naval base is here.” “We looked at more than 50 state and private schools,” Mr Ho said. “Reputation and the culture of schools are my priority. My daughter was a Year 10 student and would sit her GCSE examinations soon. So, she needed a flexible and strong academic school to help her cope with the new environment and face the first important examination in two years. The senior school and the primary school must also have a high rank in the Sixth Form, as I hope she stays at the same school with the new friends and teachers she knew in senior school. Hence, PGS was our first choice.”

Admissions processes can seem daunting and challenging to navigate; how did Mr Ho find the process at The Portsmouth Grammar School? “The admission process was easy and flexible". It allowed us to communicate mainly by using emails,” said Mr Ho. “We were glad to have an online meeting via zoom to interview the Headmaster. The Head of Year 10 had a follow-up interview with my daughter. She sat an online entrance assessment. Before we moved to the UK, PGS had already completed her admission application. It helped her and us a lot.” Mr Lee, another prospective parent, currently based in Hong Kong, reflects on the ease of the admissions process at PGS. “What a wonderful experience it has been liaising with the Admissions Team. Recently I have been in touch with a few schools across the globe, and PGS Admissions has really stood out positively.”

Is Homestay suitable for you? Aurora joined PGS in Year 12 – the first year of Sixth Form. She is doing her homestay with a wonderful family nearby as her family are in Suzhou, China. She will study for two years at PGS before going on to university. Aurora said, “I looked at the website for PGS, and it showed they really help you explore yourself and who you are. PGS aims to help you decide your future with clarity, and they have really good academic achievements. So, I thought PGS could be the school for me”. “My homestay family is really welcoming and my guardian is really sweet and treats me like her own daughter. I have my own room, and the house is about 20 minutes from school. Portsmouth is a beautiful seaside city, whenever I leave the house I can see the sea. It’s also pretty near to London, and in the holidays, I’ve visited London and also Cambridge.” Dun recently completed Sixth Form at PGS and is now at Southampton University studying Mechanical Engineering. His parents told us about their experience of seeing Dun leave home to study abroad. “I was very nervous about sending my child abroad alone for the first time to study, but now I am very happy. Every week I video-called Dun and could see his transformation, and I am very pleased with his progress. Dun had the freedom to organize his time to improve his learning, and we are very pleased with the outcomes of his study. He has earned A and A+ grades, reflecting the school's guidance.” Shuzhao also recently completed Sixth Form at PGS, going on to read Psychology at Kings College London. Her parents said: “She has enhanced her international perspective, gained strong academic ability, and learnt independent and critical thinking. As parents, we believe her decision to study abroad has given her a precious experience.” PGS works closely with a well-established homestay management company that operates the homestay scheme and acts as guardians for international pupils. They are an essential link between the school and the pupil’s family. All homestay parents have been appropriately interviewed and checked – many have a connection to the school, whether as a parent, former parent, member of staff or friend. Whatever your reason for looking at a school in the UK, the Admissions team at The Portsmouth Grammar School work closely with families to ensure that they make the best possible choice for their child, so do contact us to see if The Portsmouth Grammar School is the right school for you.


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