RHS has been shortlisted for the International Student Experience Award in the Independent School of the Year Awards 2022! Amongst hundreds of entries, we are particularly proud to have been recognised for this award.
International Student Experience
Imagine arriving at a new school in a foreign country, missing your friends and family and having to make a new life for yourself. Then imagine how it would feel to be embraced within a multi-cultural family which is determined to help you feel nurtured and supported. That is what RHS aims to achieve with every single international student.
We don’t just give our international students a voice, we make sure they are heard! Our EAL (English as an Additional Language) Forum meets regularly to discuss topics that particularly impact international students, and enable us to help adapt our provision accordingly.
Introducing new sports
For the majority of international students, traditional (British) sports like rugby and cricket can sometimes be deemed quite alien; whilst some embrace these sports and go on to represent the school, others are more comfortable with those sports that they are more familiar with, such as football, basketball or sailing, all teams which are achieving great results at RHS with international pupils involved. One of our international pupils is the current World Youth Sailing Champion and along with three others will be representing their countries in sailing this summer (Bermuda, Switzerland and Great Britain).
Kickboxing is another activity our international students particularly enjoy and a provision that has grown from a squash court with a few old pads, to a dedicated Kickboxing studio with mats, punchbags and a small ring. In fact, we count a British Champion among our alumnus and recently a group of pupils attended a seminar with a former Thai boxing champion. Basketball is also extremely popular and our team has gone from strength to strength, winning most fixtures this year.
Welcome and comfortable
Our EAL department is located at the heart of the school, under the School’s Clock Tower and is a welcoming and comfortable space where international students feel welcome. During lockdown, staff adapted their timetables to hold virtual one-to-one lessons either very early in the morning or late at night to fit in with the different time zones.
Mutual respect and understanding
International pupils are encouraged to represent the school. We have an inter-house quiz where teams are mixed between international and UK pupils. We also teach Mandarin, so pupils can better understand the linguistic difficulties facing our international pupils, and our young language leaders (international pupils who learn the basics of teaching their own language) visit local primary school children to teach, impacting positively on the wider school and community. The whole school also celebrates important days and festivals from the home countries of our students.
And it works!
The proof of RHS’s success is demonstrated by the fact that two of the last three male heads of school have been international pupils. Our current Head Boy, Bruce Qi from China, arrived in Y9 with very limited English and has taken advantage of every opportunity available. A member of staff overheard some younger pupils looking at the honours board and saying how if it was possible for Bruce to become a Head of School, it was possible for them too!