Boarding school – Chinese style

26 Mar 2013

With over 430 boarders, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School is generally considered to be a big boarding school. That is until you compare it with the school managed by Mr Jianwei Zhu who visited the Gatton Park based school on 18th March 2013.

Mr Zhu is the Head (known as ‘President’) of a school/college in Huzhou province in China. His school has over 4,000 pupils with 2,000 boarders. The boarders sleep in mega-houses with 400 pupils in each house. The houses have 6-bed dorms spread over six floors. Unlike most British boarding schools, boarders in Huzhou spend their waking hours in the school building and only sleep in the boarding house. Mr Zhu must have noticed how different boarding is at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School with big areas downstairs filled with table football, TVs, snooker tables and computer suites.

The host of the visit was Jayne Dickinson, Principal of East Surrey College. Mr Zhu’s school in China offers courses that are similar to those at East Surrey College. As the Redhill College does not have boarders, Mrs Dickinson arranged for Mr Zhu to visit nearby Royal Alexandra and Albert School.

After meeting the Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis, Mr Zhu was shown round the School and boarding houses by three mandarin-speaking pupils. They were able to explain to him what it is like boarding in a British school. Then Mr Zhu and Jayne Dickenson joined the Headmaster for lunch.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis commented “It was fascinating to hear about boarding in China and I think President Zhu found his tour of this school very interesting and a great contrast to his own boarding facilities.”

Photo: Mr Zhu with three pupils from the Royal Alexandra and Albert School