Sandra is from Taiwan and joined Sibford in September 2008.
She says: “I really would like to recommend Sibford because we have an ESOL department which helps people who need extra help with their English. Not only that, but the ESOL teachers are always willing to help the international students with any problems they might have. We also have ESOL trips which means we get to go to some cool places like Camden Market, Harry Potter’s Warner Brothers Studio Tour and lots of interesting museums. I have taken the Cambridge First Certificate Exam, which I passed at the end of Year 11. I took the IELTS in Year 12 and got a great result. This year I’m taking the Cambridge Advanced ESOL exam which is very useful as it gets me extra points for my university application. The atmosphere is very friendly and all the teachers are willing to talk to the students and help in any way they can. The boarding house is also very friendly. It is a home from home and I can honestly say that I’ve had a great six years here”
Sophia is from Russia and joined Sibford’s Junior School in September 2012. She says: “When I came to Sibford I was 10-years-old and I didn’t know any English. However, I had lots of ESOL lessons and these helped me to get better at English. The teachers are fantastic, they can understand lots of things that you can’t say. Now I am in Year 7 and I have really improved my English this year. In this school I am doing lots of activities. I have taken part in the county swimming gala and regularly play netball, hockey and even rugby matches. I have sung with the choir, performed in dramas and also enjoy art. Sibford School has got a really good boarding house. I currently stay here for one day every week. But next year I’m going to stay there for the whole week because my mum has decided to go back to Russia but I want to stay here and learn more.”
Abubakar is from Chechnya. He says: “Lots of people ask me what I really like about Sibford so I will try and explain. Firstly, the ESOL department. As an international student, learning English is the most important thing to do. Without a good knowledge of the language, everything else is impossible. Secondly, the subject teachers; they are so kind and really want us to succeed. They are happy to give up their time at lunch times and break to give us extra help if we need it. This would never happen at home! There is also a wide range of subjects to choose from – I do Geography, Business and Art as my option GCSEs but you can also do Cooking, Sport, Design Technology, ICT and many more. Thirdly, the boarding house. I have made some very close English friends. This means that my English has got so much better because I have to speak English all the time. The boarding house is like a second family. We all look after each other but also have lots of fun.”
Guiming arrived at Sibford from China and joined Year 9. He was one of our first students from mainland China. It was his first ever visit to the UK. Guiming spoke almost no English on arrival and spent one term following our Intensive English Course. He learnt fast and was soon following a full mainstream timetable with ESOL support. He achieved excellent GCSE results and went on to acquire four A Levels all at A* or A Grade. He left us in the summer of 2012 to start his degree at University College London … and is loving it.