Stowe is home to a number of international students, all from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. We recognise that students attending school from abroad may face additional challenges, and may also wish to pursue academic and non academic pursuits which may not be available in their home nation. As such, we offer support for all our international students, both inside and outside of the classroom.
A happy, settled and secure pupil is more likely to succeed academically and have a positive social and personal life. Our induction programme for international students aims to ensure that they feel connected to the school community as soon as they arrive. A range of events and meetings will be held within the first few weeks, to ensure students are able to form new relationships with their peers and staff, and also to provide information and support needed as soon as possible. Stowe has also established an International Society in order to support students who have joined us from abroad, and also to develop the multiculturalism we have within the school. The Society celebrates the great range of cultures our students represent through hosting events throughout the year, and also allows students to mix with others from other countries in a more social setting. This allows Stoics to develop their own sense of identity, and also gain a deeper understanding of the background of those from other nations.
Whilst living abroad, it is understandable that students may come across difficulties in terms of feeling homesick, anxious or uncertain about life in the UK. As such, the Head of Internationalism works alongside the Houseparents and Tutors to regularly meet with international students and ensure advice and support is given as required. This may entail supporting students through a peer buddy system in order to aid them in feeling a greater sense of belonging, or could involve providing guidance upon how to combat and prevent homesickness. There is always someone our international students can turn to for encouragement.
Many students who join us from abroad may have never visited the UK previously, and at Stowe we aim to ensure they gain the most from their time here. We will support students who wish to visit historical or cultural locations in the UK, in order to further their understanding and enjoyment of their time in Britain. Trips and visits may be offered to locations such as London, Edinburgh or the coast, to provide new experiences for some of our students.
There is also a wealth of support available in terms of ensuring our international students succeed academically.
There is provision for pupils who do not have English as their first language, which is coordinated through the EAL Department. The aims of the department are:
* To provide pupils with the necessary language skills to access fully the school curriculum at GCSE and A level by improving the standard of students’ general English in all key skills.
* To prepare pupils for external examinations including the IGCSE in English as a Second Language/CAE/ IELTS/TOEFL/CPE/PTE (*see key) and to facilitate university entry.
* To provide subject-specific support to pupils in their chosen GCSE and A Level subjects where appropriate.
Initial assessments for EAL students help to determine the level of support required. Assessment data is used to inform decisions about classroom management and curriculum planning. In cases where EAL and SEND are connected, the Head of EAL will liaise with Head of Skills/subject teachers where necessary to set targets and plan appropriate work. Relevant information on pupils with EAL is accessible by all staff on the School database.
In the Lower School, Stoics have the opportunity to follow courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) tailored to their individual needs. Some pupils study for the IGCSE in English as a Second Language as one of their main GCSE options or as an additional GCSE subject. International sixth formers may need to be prepared for the IELTS/TOEFL examinations (or equivalent qualifications) in order to meet university entrance criteria. Courses in general English and academic writing are also available, as well as English language support for subject-specific areas.
The EAL Department encourages close links with all academic departments, the library, the boarding houses and tutors in order to monitor the progress of individual students and to ensure that the EAL programmes are tailored to students’ individual needs. This comprehensive approach to EAL teaching as well as the small-group, personalised context of EAL classes enables pupils to maximise their English language development and enhance levels of cross-curricular attainment.
CAE= Certificate in Advanced English (Cambridge ESOL)
CPE= Certificate of Proficiency in English (Cambridge ESOL)
IELTS= International English Language Testing System
TOEFL=Test of English as a Foreign Language
PTE= Pearson English Language Test