St John’s has a long history of welcoming pupils from overseas. Indeed, the tradition goes back over 100 years when St John’s (formerly The Convent Of the Assumption) was the first and only Independent Preparatory School to be members of the British Council Education Counselling Service.
Our students have come from:
• Hong Kong
• Saudi Arabia
• South Africa
St John’s International School retains today its worldwide reputation for caring for young boarding children and it is testimony to this reputation that parents continue to entrust to us the care of their children. There are a small number of very young boarders from 7 years and older. Most families begin to consider boarding at 9 or 10 years of age though we accept many at 11 or 12 and parents are often pleasantly surprised at the personal development the boarding experience acclerates.
Pupils enjoy being at St John’s School as full time pupils. This is what most parents wish for their children and by coming as full time boarding pupils, acquisition of language and the ability to integrate and learn from the English system is at its most effective. Some parents wish their child to sample life in England and may send their children to St John’s for a shorter period. If we have space, we can accommodate overseas pupils for shorter periods, although priority is given to children staying for a year or longer. We also run elite language courses for small groups of overseas pupils from April until July and can accommodate small groups at other times during the year if we have sufficient boarding space. All boarders need to have a personal guardian in the county who has been arranged by their own parents.
Advantages of coming to St John’s
By coming to St John’s School at an early age pupils gain huge advantages over children who come to England when they are older.
• Children are cared for in a family environment by people who truly understand the needs of younger children.
• Children gain an understanding of how the English school system works within a sensitive environment that is expert in this age group.
• Overseas children will work beside English children and learn good English and in particular subject-specific English to help them with their studies.
• Good friendships are acquired with English children as well as with children of other nationalities.
• Overseas children acquire an in-depth understanding of the different culture and customs.
• By early immersion in the English environment, language learning is accelerated and residual accents increasingly less noticeable. Good accents acquired at a young age, last a lifetime!
By coming to an English Independent School children are more effectively prepared for their long-term education.
English as a Second Language
English as a second language is taught by fully qualified and experienced teachers. We would expect pupils to have several hours tuition each week. The teacher liaises closely with subject teachers to ensure that subject specific language is introduced at the correct stage, thus ensuring that pupils are able to take a full and active part in all their classes. We are confident that the acquisition of language will be sufficiently rapid for our overseas pupils to quickly compete on equal terms with their English peers in most subjects.
Overseas pupils who have been in the English system from an early age have an advantage over those who begin their language acquisition later.
While parents are responsible for arranging flights, we undertake to collect overseas children from all major UK airports. We guarantee to meet flights and accompany children to school with experienced drivers and chaperones. We also take them to the airport at the end of term. We have an experienced member of staff who is specifically responsible for coordinating all travel arrangements.
For parents visiting the school there are various guesthouses and hotels that can be found on the Sidmouth website. The Woodlands Hotel, Station Road, Sidmouth is just a short distance from the school.
All students must have a Guardian who have been appointed by their parent. English schools have three terms per year and each term has a half term holiday (normally one week). During the half term holidays (and the longer main school holidays if required) children will stay with their guardians if they are unable to travel Home. We also liaise with guardians of parents’ choice and enjoy a good relationship with other guardianship agencies.
Pocket money, passports and visas
Pocket money is used for weekly small purchases (stamps, sweets etc), as well as some excursions (e.g. bowling, cinema) or if going out at weekends with English day friends. Pocket money will also be needed for half terms. The Boarding staff look after all pocket money on behalf of the students. They keep accurate accounts to help children learn how to budget properly. The member of staff in charge of travel arrangements looks after passports. The school provides the necessary documentation to enable parents to gain a visa for studying in the UK (if appropriate) and parents are responsible for ensuring these are updated as required.