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Ex-cricket chief goes to bat for pupils keen to study in UK

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As chief executive of the Bermuda Cricket Board, Neil Speight often helped young cricketers to secure places at top boarding schools in the United Kingdom.

Now, with business partner Fiona Beach, he has launched Beach Education, an education consultancy firm to help Bermudian-based families to find the best UK schooling opportunities for their children.

Ms Beach is a UK-based career admissions expert in independent UK boarding schools.

Mr Speight, president of Beach Education, said: “I have been doing this quite a long time with cricket. When I left cricket, I continued to do it — it was something I wanted to do to help people.”

He added: “After many years of successfully helping both boys and girls achieve their dreams of a UK boarding school career, it was a natural fit to partner with Fiona to create Beach Education.

“Her outstanding and extensive expertise in the UK boarding school industry and her genuine concern for the wellbeing of students allows us to ensure that Bermuda families can get the support they need to fulfil the dream of a UK education.”

Mr Speight said that the company has more than 50 combined years of UK educational experience and a proven track record of successfully placing Bermudian-based students into outstanding UK boarding schools.

The bespoke and personalised service, which is free to families, guides students towards hand-selected schools that will allow each unique child to flourish, the company said.

Students range in age from 11 to 16, although typically they are 13 or older.

Mr Speight said that he meets parents and students before discussing options with Ms Beach, who resides in Somerset, UK, and drawing up a shortlist of schools for consideration.

He is familiar with up to 40 schools in the UK, while Ms Beach is knowledgeable of about 200.

Fees at a traditional, independent boarding school are typically about $50,000, although Mr Speight said scholarships and means-tested bursaries are available to reduce the fee.

He added that state boarding schools, of which there are 40 funded by the UK Government, typically charge between $15,000 and $24,000.

“They are much more affordable, and that opens doors for a lot more people,” Mr Speight said.

He added: “The UK has an affordable tertiary education system that offers great value when compared to its US counterparts and UK schooling can make this transition to university education much easier.”

Beach Education will hold its inaugural UK schools education fair on December 13 and 15 at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute to showcase a diverse, bespoke offering of hand-picked UK boarding schools.

From 12.15pm to 1.15pm on each day of the fair, Beach Education consultant Graeme McQueen will present a workshop on how to navigate the application process into UK universities, as well as some tips into preparing for life at boarding school.

Between 4pm and 8pm on each day, five UK schools will present, three in person and two virtually.

Representatives of A+ World Academy, the school on a tall ship, Bruton School for Girls and Oswestry School will attend, while Wellington and Sexey’s schools will present virtually.

Interested parties can sign up to the fair by clicking the organisation’s Eventbrite link on its Facebook page @BeachEducationUK or via its website www.beacheducation.com. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Beach Education also produces a webinar series.

Today, a webinar at 6pm will feature A+ World Academy as well as Mount Kelly School in Tavistock, Devon, which was attended by Bermudian Olympic triathlon gold medallist Flora Duffy from 2004 until 2008.

The A+ World Academy sails to 20 cities in 14 countries on four continents on the world’s oldest fully rigged tall ship, the Norwegian Sørlandet.

The ship will put into Bermuda during its voyage, Mr Speight said.

Courses on board are Advanced Placement (AP), suitable for students aged 16 to 19.

To view the webinar, see the link on the Beach Education website or its Facebook page.

Beach Education said it also has consultants that specialise in Canadian and American schools as well as support for applications to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which operates the application process for British universities.

Neil Speight, who has launched Beach Education with business partner Fiona Beach (Photograph supplied)
Fiona Beach, UK-based career admissions expert in independent UK boarding schools (Photograph supplied)
The tall ship Sørlandet, home to the A+ World Academy (Photograph supplied)

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Published December 06, 2021 at 8:05 am (Updated December 06, 2021 at 8:05 am)

Ex-cricket chief goes to bat for pupils keen to study in UK

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