This weekend, Dubai will welcome the Anderson Education 'Boarding School Exhibition' which will see 22 of the UK's top boarding schools in town to meet and greet potential parents.
This year's event will see all corners of the UK represented, including: Strathallan and Merchiston Castle School from Scotland, Haberdasher's Monmouth Schools from Wales, Rockport School from Northern Ireland as well as, numerous schools from England.
The event is open from 2pm to 7pm on both the 13th and 14th of November at Grosvenor House- Dubai.
Whichschooladvisor.com spoke to exhibitor Rachel Prichard- director of admissions at Bedstone College in Shorpshire and whichschooladvisor.com contributor, to find out a little more about the parents, the type of schools exhibiting and of course- Bedstone College.
Rachel, you've been to various countries now representing Bedstone College, can you tell us a little more about the type of parents you usually meet during exhibitions such as these?
"Firstly, I'd like to say, I'm delighted to be coming out to Dubai to talk with parents who are looking for what a traditional British boarding school can offer their family."
"Bedstone has a long history of looking after the children of those who want the security and all the advantages that the British education system - acknowledged as amongst the best in the world - can give young people whose parents may be posted around the world, whether as expats, locals or Forces families."
"Those parents may lead incredibly busy lives, often with the uncertainty of where and often when their next posting may be. Having the comfort and continuity, knowing that their children are safe and happy in one school is of paramount importance to them, and us as a school."
What are the majority of parents looking for at boarding school exhibitions?
"Parents most commonly just want to find a few schools that could be right for their child. Some want them to be surrounded by straight A* students with a direct line to Oxbridge - in which case I'll point them to other more appropriate schools!"
"Many however are less concerned with league tables and want to find a place where their child will flourish even if they're not the most academic."
"Actually, most parents just want to talk about their child. These sort of events should never be about selling a school. It's simply about finding the best fit for each child. That's why it's great having someone highly experienced like Sue Anderson there, offering impartial advice and helping match young people to the schools that would be the best for them."
Why do you think traditional boarding schools such as Bedstone continue to be a popular choice for parents in the region?
Traditional full boarding schools like Bedstone keep international numbers deliberately low to ensure the balance is right and language and cultural cliques don't develop. Bedstone treats everyone equally with a great deal of care, privacy and individual attention - no matter whether they are the children of royalty or celebrities, local farmers or small business owners. The talents of each one are discovered and nurtured, and no-one slips through the net in a school of just 200!
What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of being part of an exhibition such as this one?
"It's the best part of my job. Not because of the travel (though it's fantastic to be able to come to places like Dubai!) but because you get to spend time with families, talking in depth and working out together if your school is right for them. I love seeing students from this first meeting to their arrival at Bedstone, then seeing them thrive and graduate."
"We have one young man who came from this very event six years ago who is now in his first year of A Levels. I was talking about this with his mum this week. To say that his parents, sisters and this young man himself are truly part of the family is no understatement! It's been a privilege watching him grow up and doing so well."
Tell us a little about Bedstone College?
"Bedstone offers a non-selective, wide-ranging education in a beautiful rural location, far from the distractions of city life. The focus is not just on league tables and academic hothousing but on simply bringing out the best in each child. It works well for many families in the region and enables young people to live and learn with mainly British students but, of the 20% who are from overseas, a great mix of those from 14 other nations around the world."
For more information on Bedstone College see: www.bedstone.org or alternatively visit Rachel at the boarding school exhibition this weekend.
Full List of UK Boarding Schools Attending:
Ashbourne College, London
Badminton School, Bristol
Bedstone College, Shropshire
Bellerbys College, Oxford, Brighton, London, Cambridge
Blundell’s School, Devon
Claremont School, East Sussex
Dallam School, Cumbria
Abbey DLD College, London, Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester
Haberdasher's Monmouth Schools, Monmouth, Wales
Harrogate Ladies College, North Yorkshire
Kent College Pembury, Kent
Luckley House School, Berkshire
Merchiston Castle School, Scotland
Mount St Mary's College, Derbyshire
Rishworth School, West Yorkshire
Rockport School, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
Shiplake College, Oxfordshire
Strathallan School, Perthshire
The Royal Hospital School, Suffolk
Tudor Hall School, Oxfordshire
Windermere School, Cumbria
Woodhouse Grove School, Yorkshire