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Wycombe Abbey: Preparing Hong Kong’s Children for Success at Secondary School and Beyond

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

#sponsoredpost Since welcoming its first pupils in 2019, Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong (WASHK) has gone on to build a strong reputation as one of the SAR’s top primary and preparatory schools. Part of the wider Wycombe Abbey international family, the school offers a first-class, holistic education that draws on the rich heritage and academic excellence of its UK predecessor and lays solid foundations for pupils as they prepare to enter and excel at top secondary schools across the globe.

Secondary expansion

Up until recently, WASHK’s dedicated Secondary School Guidance Programme focused primarily on preparing pupils for independent/boarding schools in the UK, Hong Kong and the wider world. This year, however, the school is set to expand its cohort with the introduction of Years 7 and 8 and has therefore adapted the programme to also cater for pupils who wish to continue their journey into secondary at WASHK’s state-of-the-art Aberdeen campus.

Key to the programme is the personalised approach WASHK takes to pupil support. Led by the school’s headmaster, Howard Tuckett, and a team of expert mentors, pupils and their families are guided through a step-by-step process, tailored specifically to their own unique situations, needs and ambitions.

Together they explore options and create an individualised plan to help pupils transition to their preferred secondary path. For many pupils, this is the point at which they consider boarding school, whether that be at Wycombe Abbey UK or other prestigious independent schools (this year’s pupils have received offers from Wycombe Abbey UK, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, the City of London School for Girls and Rugby School, among others).

Support and guidance every step of the way

WASHK understands that the transition to secondary, and in particular boarding school, can be a daunting prospect for both pupils and their families. Head of Year 6 Matthew Haslam says many of the pupils he trains haven’t had the opportunity to spend extensive periods of time in their prospective destination country and are therefore eager to find out more about life as an overseas boarder.

This is where WASHK can provide real insight as a number of the faculty are ex-boarders themselves and have a wealth of first-hand experience to share. “Members of our faculty who themselves attended boarding schools schedule regular, informal chats with our applicants,” says Mr Haslam. “My Year 6 students tell me they very much look forward to these chats. I understand that for some pupils, they are the first of their family to attend boarding school, so they treasure these opportunities to ask questions and satisfy their curiosities.

“Preparations for individual students start as soon as parents inform us of their intentions to apply to boarding schools. Aside from academic support, our school trains students for their interviews. Practice is ongoing throughout the year and intensifies nearer the time of their interviews. Our headteacher, Mr Tuckett, himself schedules time to hold mock interviews with pupils and offers advice.”

“I have worked in boarding schools throughout my teaching career,” says Mr Tuckett. “Schools that have boarding pupils and residential staff are very rich communities. There is always something going on. It is like living in a very vibrant, kindly village.”

A united approach

Mr Tuckett says the UK in particular has a strong boarding offering. “The UK has many excellent boarding schools. They all know each other. This community of schools forms a great big, supportive community of boarding expertise. Because of the sheer size of the operation, the schools are also very well regulated.”

Mr Tuckett cautions that secondary school research and selection must be based around the needs and character of each child, which is where WASHK’s guidance programme excels. “It is not just a matter of picking a famous school name and aiming for that! The right one is there for your son or daughter, but it will have to be sought out and investigated. That takes time, and families should speak to an expert as early as possible. Come and speak to me or anyone else who has genuine, unbiased, broad knowledge.

“WASHK is a British prep school in Hong Kong, here for all Hongkongers. This means that pupils at our school experience the same quality of daily teaching, curriculum and staff training as the best prep schools in the UK. All of our pupils are prepared as though they

are going to a UK boarding school. Of course, many will stay here in Hong Kong for their

secondary careers, but they will have still experienced that same pitch and trajectory of preparation, whatever their final destination.”

Advice and insights

What tips can Mr Haslam give pupils and families when it comes to secondary/boarding preparation? “From a teacher’s perspective, it is always beneficial when parents maintain open communication with school about their intentions,” he says. “Our school helps advise parents and supplements their research to help them shortlist schools that fit their child’s profile. Knowing which students are planning to take which entrance exams really helps teachers’ planning and support.

“For students, my top tips both revolve around reading. Firstly, reading classic children’s books (The Wizard of Oz; Charlotte’s Web; Treasure Island; The Chronicles of Narnia etc.) really helps their imaginations fly. This sets them up to perform well if such (or similar) texts appear in English reading papers. It offers them interesting insights to share in interviews and encourages their creativity in English writing tasks. Secondly, reading the news every day to broaden their horizons is a great help in interviews! Having knowledge of countries around the world, different festivals, cuisines, the conversation around climate change etc. demonstrates a curiosity of world affairs that is valuable to all parts of the application process.”

It all comes back to that core concept of a holistic education, providing an immersive academic environment in which pupils can explore and excel. At WASHK, academic rigour is balanced with an integrated focus on wellbeing to nurture confident pupils and give them the very best grounding for happiness and success in later life.

Whichever secondary school route your child wishes to pursue, WASHK has the experience, expertise and drive to help them achieve their dreams.


WASHK Year 7/8 opening August 2021. Book a school tour and learn how to be a part of the Wycombe Abbey pathway from HK to the UK. Applications for Year 1 to Year 8 are OPEN for August 2021 entry. Limited spaces available. BOOK A TOUR NOW!


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