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19 May
BSA virtual day seminar: Supporting overseas boarders
19 May 2021 - 19 May 2021



BSA virtual day seminar

Title: Supporting overseas boarders


Date: May 19, 2021
Time: 10:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 15:30
Speaker: Phil Hardaker

Audience: Boarding staff, Head of Boarding, Deputy Head, Medical staff


This seminar will consider ways of integrating students into the boarding community and discuss the values and issues of adopting a fully international approach. The course will also look at the importance of links, not only between boarding and academic staff but also with the marketing team. Recently nationally highlighted issues such as mental health, alternative medicines and the role of SEN will also be considered. Delegates will be able to better understand the needs of overseas boarders and thereby help schools to develop their provision and support to best effect. Delegates will leave with a set of tools to help their overseas boarders. This will be at least partly based on an improved understanding of what it feels like to be an international student thousands of miles from home.


  1. To share present issues (and their solutions) and best practice with other delegates and the course tutor.
  2. To experience and consider what it actually means to be an international student in the UK and experience the issues they face.
  3. To consider culture shock, cultural differences and how any issues can be overcome, in addition to exploring ways in which embracing a rich mixture of cultures and traditions can benefit the whole school population.
  4. To highlight areas of difficulty in relation to integration and to consider ways forward to ensure better integration.
  5. To look at the induction programme, its effectiveness and ways to make it of greater value.
  6. To provide pointers for attendees to take away which will enable them to provide even better provision for international students in their schools.



  • Overview of issues faced by both students and schools - A look at requirements and strategies in relation to; prior to arrival, on arrival, the first few weeks and on-going support. A look at a need for a cohesive approach from all areas of the school (eg, SLT, boarding, academic, marketing) and a positive yet transparent relationship with parents and guardians
  • Experiencing what it feels like to be an international pupil - Looking closely at linguistic difficulties. A consideration of academic difficulties, and parental expectation in relation to academic performance. Compiling a list of useful suggestions for further consideration and implementation on an individual school basis.
  • Case studies – A consideration in groups of a variety of case studies relating to report writing; levels of language used in school literature and accessibility (or lack of) to students; Child Protection and overseas students’ knowledge; the role of the guardian; inter-cultural differences.
  • Where next? – A round up of shared experiences and consideration of future strategies and implementation.
  • Questions.


Outcomes and resources:

To better understand the problems and needs of international students, to put strategies in place to meet their needs even more successfully and to consider ways of successfully incorporating the traditions and customs of a wide range of cultures to the benefit of all. To ensure that the whole school benefits from a truly international approach.


Speaker: Phil Hardaker

Phil has extensive experience in the education of students from overseas.  He has worked solely with international students from 30-40 different countries since 1979, in both boarding and academic roles as a Housemaster and subsequently Director of Studies, Vice-Principal and Principal before retiring and becoming an educational consultant in September 2017. He was Principal of Sherborne International when ISA awarded the school Excellent in every category following a full integrated inspection in January 2016. He has also overseen successful British Council inspections.  For over 20 years Phil also had an active marketing role, dealing regularly with agents and with parents in their own countries. In addition, he has lectured for BSA, AEGIS and for ISCis South West, as well as providing in-service training workshops, seminars and full audits in a range of schools.  He is co-author, with Christopher Greenfield, of the BSA publication, Truly World Class - Meeting the Needs of International Students in British Schools.  He has also inspected for ISI. Phil’s sessions for the BSA have also been observed and reported on in both the Times and the Telegraph.


Virtual day seminar