As a full boarding school, Packwood is an attractive option for a number of overseas pupils, whether foreign pupils, children of ex-pats, or children of parents in the forces.
We do not require overseas pupils to have guardians, but a contact in this country is needed. Pupils from Japan and Spain usually come through an agency (Gabbitas, Clarendon International or Astex) who either act as guardians or, in the case of Gabbitas, arrange guardians for the pupils. Where requested, we provide the contact/guardian with all the information and documentation that is sent to parents.
Every effort is made by all members of the school community, from Headmaster to teachers, support staff and children, to help our overseas pupils settle in happily to life at school.
The Headmaster was delighted to receive a letter recently from one of our current overseas pupils voicing her appreciation – please click here to read an extract.
All new pupils have a ‘shadow’ – a child of similar age – who looks after the new pupil and shows him/her around for as long as is necessary. The shadow and the new pupil often become good friends. Even if there is a language barrier at first, our experience is that a smile and a few hand signals can quickly put the new pupil at ease. There is also a member of staff who has specific responsibility for the well-being of overseas pupils.
The Packwood food is varied and nutritious. If a special diet is required, we would do what we could to provide the necessary food, but experiencing British food is part of the cultural experience for foreign pupils, and rarely do they ask for any special dishes.
English as an Additional Language
Our recommendation is that foreign pupils have at least some English before they arrive at Packwood, so that they can integrate and feel at home more quickly. On occasions, a child has spent the previous summer at a language school nearby, and this has helped.
A member of our Learning Support department is qualified to teach ‘English as an Additional Language’ on a one-to-one basis, and time is found to do this by withdrawing the children from Latin lessons.
Our aim is to involve foreign pupils in as much of the curriculum as possible. Typically (although it depends upon the number of terms the pupil is to be at Packwood), a pupil for whom English is an additional language will take English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History and Geography, as well as Art, Music, Design Technology, Information and Communications Technology and Physical Education. The Learning Support department provides background information on British culture, history and religion.
The principles of Christian upbringing and worship are a major influence in the life of the school, but we are not evangelical. Most days begin with a school assembly and on Sundays we worship in the village church. It is expected that all pupils will attend these services. If an alternative service of religious worship is requested, we would do our best to make suitable arrangements.
Boarders remain at Packwood most weekends once they have been boarding for a year, unless there is a special occasion. This means that there are always a good number of children at the school at weekends.
A large number of activities and trips are organised at weekends, and the school has many facilities on site.
Exeats and half-terms
If an overseas pupil is unable to travel abroad to see parents at exeats and half-terms, he/she will often spend the time with a guardian, a member of the family, or a family friend. If necessary, we can arrange for the pupil to stay with a friend over an exeat weekend – Packwood parents are always very willing to have another child to stay. Permission from the parents of the overseas pupil is sought before taking this step.
If travelling by plane, we are happy to make arrangements with a local taxi driver to transport the pupil to and from the airport. The taxi driver will remain at the airport until the plane has taken off. The nearest airport is Manchester.
Where relevant, we will advise upon a suitable senior school for the pupil. Registration at the school is the responsibility of the parents or the guardian. If requested to do so, we will arrange transport to and from the senior school.