Lately, the Admission Officer of Caterham School- ranked 19th in UK academic ranking and one of the few schools adopting digital learning by using Apple devices- came to China for admission, who received an interview with BE Education and told us what qualities they’re expecting in an applicant.
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BE Education (BE): First, could you please introduce Caterham School and how is it different from other UK boarding schools?
Matthew Godfrey（MG): Caterham School is a co-educational school of 900 pupils. It is located in the South of London, beautifully situated in the Surrey Hill.
In terms of how it’s different from other schools, I’d like to identify three things. The first thing is individualized learning. We are very interested to know how different pupils learn in different ways and what their particular talents and strengths are. We’ll devise teaching and learning for each individual pupil.
The second thing is that we embrace technology and we use it in a very innovative way. We’re issuing every pupil with an ipad and asking them to be innovative when they use it.
And the third thing is we have a very proud tradition of a caring and friendly boarding. Our pupils love their boarding houses and become very loyal to them. When they leave our school, they always want to come back to keep in touch with their friends.
BE: What’s the educational philosophy of your school?
MG: There are many facets to our philosophy. The key thing is achieving your potential. We are very proud of our academic achievements, but we add value to pupils do better at our school than they will do at other schools, because we’re so passionate about what we do.
The other educational philosophy we have, which is very important, is that we care for each other, we care for the wide community and the global community. So we are preparing pupils for life. Yes, qualifications matter, but we want them to go out to the world as caring, interested and interesting people.
We are promoting three things, and they all begin with C. Confidence, we want out pupils to be confident with themselves. We want our pupil to be curious and we want them to be compassionate.
BE: Many parents want to know about the curriculum and co-curricular activities on offer at your school, so could you share us something about it?
MG: As for the unique courses they can do at Caterham School, one of them would be the digital technology. Every pupil from Age 11 follows a special digital innovative course, leading to a qualification at GCSE in computing and digital innovation.
The other uniqueness about Caterham is our science, which is our most popular subject. We have a great deal of success in promoting sciences as well as getting pupil into medical school, whether it’s Oxford, Cambridge or any other leading universities.
In terms of extra-curricular activities, one of the unique things we have is High Rope course, since we have a lot of woodland. And our High Rope courses are complicated and difficult. There are ropes, trapezes, ladders and zip walls in the wood. We use it to help develop confidence and leadership skills. The pupils love it. So it is a combination of academic success and getting outside.
BE: Parents also want to know about the qualifications of teachers at the School, could you share us some details?
MG: Caterham attracts some of the best teachers in the country. In fact, this year we were very pleased that our Head of Science is nominated as the UK’s best science teacher, which is a wonderful accolade to the whole science department. A high proportion of our teachers were once educated at top universities and they do a wonderful job. It is really one of the reasons why Caterham is as successful as it is.
BE: How about the university application and A level results at your school?
MG: Obviously, there are lots of ways to measure educational success. One way is to look at the number of pupils who go to top universities. Over the past 3 years, 49 of our pupils progressed to Oxford and Cambridge, which accounts for 10%-15% of all our leavers. In terms of A level results, approximately, 80 percent of our pupils will achieve A*/A grades.
BE: What students are you looking for exactly? To get into Caterham, what qualities do you expect in them?
MG: We don’t want anyone to pretend to be somebody that they are not. We love to take our pupils for who they are. Of course we will help them develop them and bring them on but I don’t want you to think we want them to change. We want them to be themselves.
However, we need our pupils to have good standard of English, because when they arrive at Caterham School they need to understand all the lessons they’re in. That’s one basic thing. In other ways, we want a spirit of adventure, a natural curiosity, willing to take risks and try things out.
When I’m interviewing pupils to come to Caterham School, I am looking for someone who is going to be friendly, enthusiastic, a team player, and also who is going to work not because they feel they have to but because they want to.
● Coming 19th in UK academic ranking
● 64.4 percent of Sixth Formers’ A Level results graded A*/A in 2015
Founded in: 1812
Type of School: Co-educational
Nearest airport: 1 hour drive from Heathrow Airport
Age range: 11-18
Number of pupils: 870
Teacher to student ratio: 1:9
Percentage of boarders: 20%
Percentage of international students: 12%
School website: www.caterhamschool.co.uk
Curriculum and Destination Universities & Colleges
Mathematics, Modern Language, Biology, Chemistry, History, Art Design, Classical Language, Drama Studies, Economics & Business Study, English, Geology, History of Art, Computer Technology, Music, Photography, Physics, Psychology, 3D Design, etc. A Level and GCSE courses are provided.
The School focuses on developing the whole person, so it also enjoys an enviable reputation for producing highly successful individual and team performances in a wide range of sports including hockey, cricket, lacrosse, basketball. Pentathlon and Tae Kwon Do are also on offer.
Art Design, History of Art, 3D Design, Drama Study, Music, etc.
The School offers science & technology courses, featured on Information and Communication Technology.
A wide range of co-curricular activities for students to choose. All pupils are expected to involve themselves in at least one co-curricular activity each term. Major teams include hockey, cricket, netball, rugby, swimming, etc. Club and society activity range from badminton, basketball, cross-country, horse riding, aerobics, international chess, debating, drama, choir, film, kit car, etc.
University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, The University of Manchester, University of Bath, University of Birmingham, Bournemouth University, University of Bristol, Camberwell College of Arts, Cardiff University, University of Durham, University of East Anglia, The University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Hull, Hull York Medical School, Keele University, Kingston University, Lancaster University, The University of Sheffield, University of Surrey, University of East Anglia, University of Winchester.
Modern devices alongside traditional teaching methods
Some of the very best grass pitches in the south of England, a 25-meter indoor swimming pool, 5 netball courts, and a fully-equipped double sports hall.
15 new science labs, 620 computers with access to Emails and Internet
Drama facility at the School is well-equipped and in under constant improvement, with large art performing space.
The School currently has 164 boarders housed in three houses. Around 60 girls from Year 7 to 13 board in Beech Hanger House. Townsend is home to around 40 junior boarders and Viney House is home for almost 60 senior boys.
Caterham offers a wide selection of meal options
The Maggs Library houses a collection of some 20,000 books and other media. Additionally, there is a wide range of magazines, journals and newspapers.
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