Travelling to other countries as a foreign exchange student is a matter of trust. Both the student and the parents trust that the company they are travelling with want to provide the student with the best home possible and that the student will be sent to schools that uphold at least an average standard. One of the places I have discovered many students have been placed in difficult circumstances is on the Isle of Thanet.
Ideally, the foreign exchange companies should have up-to-date information about the places where they send our kids, but reality shows something else. So I decided I would check out the complaints I had received and see what the reality of the Isle of Thanet was. All I had to do was spend a little time on the net and information flowed my way.
The first thing I did was check Wikipedia: Ramsgate, Margate og Broadstairs are the three main towns on the Isle of Thanet. The whole area struggles with seasonal work, poor health and a recession. Out of 324 districts Thanet has been placed on number 295. The local authorities are concerned about the high unemployment numbers and have invested a lot of money in different projects – one of these being education.
A-Levels schools in South Thanet are:
- Chatham House and Clarendon House Grammar School: (Gove academy): Has been a bit of turbulence the last few years.
- Dane Court Grammar School: Has a very good reputation.
- The Marlowe Academy: «A third monitoring Inspection Report has been published which shows some progress, but raises questions about the viability of the academy.»: one of the worst schools in England (The Guardian)
- St George’s Church of England School (Gravesend): «OFSTED May 2013 found further improvement and assessed the school as Good, with outstanding leadership which has clearly driven the rapid improvements.»
- St Lawrence College: The GCSE results were also outstanding with a pass rate of 86.5% and 15.5% being at grades of A.
- Sir Roger Manwood’s School: Språk/matte/data: «The school is led and managed extremely well.»
Areas that ought to worry you:
I also discovered a lot of information that locals shared about where they recommended/did not recommend you live. Leo Mckinstry is one of these people.
In 2012 he wrote and article called «Margate one of the world’s top ten resorts? Trust me, it’s East Germany with wind farms«. In it he talks about his family’s move to the area in 2006 and their views on the city. His claim is that out of the three towns Broadstairs is the favored one while Margate is the least recommended place to live.
If you get sent to: West Margate Central, North Margate Central, North Cliftonville West, Central Cliftonville West or East Cliftonville West you are being sent to trouble spots. In these areas criminal activities happen out in the open.
Sadly, some of you or someone you know is going to get sent to just such an area. Their representative or home could be terrible. Of course, most of you will have a good time but for those of you who don’t please try to get help as soon as possible. In the UK you can contact Child-Safe. Part of their job is to take care of foreign exchange students.