The UK is still the top destination for Chinese parents choosing a boarding education for their children, according to a new report commissioned by the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA).
The report showed that 99 per cent of parents surveyed regard the UK as the best place to study from a list of worldwide destinations.
It also showed that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not deterred parents from selecting UK boarding schools, with just 10 per cent saying they were either undecided or would defer their child’s place. Performance of UK boarding schools during the pandemic was also praised, with 85 per cent of parents from China very satisfied or satisfied.
Almost 900 Chinese families with children currently boarding at UK schools at both prep and senior level, and those registered to begin boarding in the next two years, answered the survey – around 15 per cent of the total number.
These families and their children have experienced some of the most extreme challenges posed by isolation, travel restrictions, distance learning and repeated health testing. In many cases, students have not been able to return home for holidays and have needed generous assistance from guardians and school house staff in the UK.
Other notable highlights from the survey included 95 per cent of parents highlighting education quality as one of the key factors in choosing their child’s study destination, with security and safety of a country also a key consideration for 92 per cent of respondents, as well as good pastoral care (93 per cent).
Parents also felt studying at UK boarding schools has a very positive impact on their children, with 69 per cent feeling their child became more self-reliant and increasingly mature in their outlook.
Robin Fletcher, CEO of the BSA and BSA Group, said: “This report provides an important snapshot of Chinese parents’ views and will clearly inform UK boarding schools what they are doing well in terms of recruiting Chinese students, and what parents and students are looking for when making their choices.
“Before this report, we’d heard anecdotal evidence that interest in the UK boarding market remains strong, despite some of the ongoing restrictions around international travel and other Covid-19 concerns, and the evidence here shows that is definitely still the case.
“UK boarding enjoys an enviable reputation all over the world. It has a long and proud tradition of welcoming international students, from China and across the globe, and we’re delighted this study indicates that if schools continue to meet parents’ and students’ needs, this will continue to be the case.”