Irene Lee, originally from Hong Kong and now, a UK-based education expert, serial entrepreneur, and a columnist in UK schooling, property, and investments shares how families can embrace the opportunities a BNO Visa may bring.
Mother of two and a co-founder of James-Lee Consultancy, Irene helps Hong Kong parents navigate relocating to the UK with the new BNO visa, which allows families to live, work and study in the UK.
Her consultancy offers relocation advice to Hong Kong families, along with comprehensive information about different towns, including employment opportunities, living environment, transportation, amenities, cost of properties, and demographics.
In terms of selecting a school for your children, Irene advises families to consider why a particular school might be the most suitable. There are approximately 2,600 independent schools in the UK with over 500 providing full boarding. Whilst 93 per cent of the local students attend over 20,000 state-funded schools everyday, only 163 of them are state-funded grammar schools and 40 state-boarding schools. “Social learners” will benefit from a school ethos emphasising self-directed and group learning while “kinesthetic learners”, who tend to favour primary experiences and hands-on approaches such as field trips and entering competitions, might be better suited for more pro-active students.
Some Hong Kong families who have reached out to the James-Lee team explain, “one-hour-plus commuting time to school is fine as long as the school is the best!” This type of sacrifice is ill advised because schooling is best not to be entirely separated from family and community living. Education in the UK is about belonging to a place and being part of the community. Hence, state-funded schools are mostly attended by children in the catchment area.