What is a Boarding School in the UK and What are its Benefits?

what is boarding school
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You might have heard others discuss boarding schools, which are a distinct kind of education. What is Boarding School? And for what reason do parents decide to enroll their kids in boarding school?

A school where students live on campus in addition to studying is referred to as a boarding school. Typically, they remain all week and return home on the weekends or during the holidays.

Although primary school students are not prohibited from attending, boarding schools are mostly for secondary school-age students.

Boarding schools are educational institutions where students live and study on campus. In the United Kingdom, boarding schools have a long tradition and are known for their high academic standards, excellent facilities, and extracurricular activities. 

In this article, we will discuss what boarding schools in the UK are and what benefits they offer to students.

What is a Boarding School in the UK?

A boarding school in the UK is an academy where students live on campus during term time. They are usually independent schools, which means that they are not funded by the government and charge tuition fees. 

Boarding academics in the UK are known for their high academic standards and prestigious reputation.

Why Go for a Boarding School in UK?

Students attending UK boarding schools receive an exceptional education that helps them advance to university and enhance their abilities. Strict government requirements regarding the caliber of instruction, facilities, and student care must be met by all UK boarding schools.

Beautiful, centuries-old structures are mixed with contemporary classrooms and traditional architecture in several boarding schools in the UK. In addition to making living and learning enjoyable, the first-rate amenities will assist students become more fluent in English as they study.

Boarding School Life in the United Kingdom

The majority of boarding schools in the UK teach both local and foreign students. Students who live at the school are called “boarders.” After school, “day pupils” go back home to live with their families. This combination fosters a positive social environment.

During the extended summer and Christmas breaks, students at boarding schools typically return home to be with their parents or guardians. Nonetheless, some schools offer language classes during this time.

Certain schools remain open during the shortened half-term break. Students usually won’t have regular lessons, but they will still be allowed to participate in events and activities under staff supervision.

Related Post: How Much is Boarding School in UK?


Students who attend boarding schools live in boarding homes with other students; each school may have multiple boarding houses. Boys and girls are accommodated in different rooms. In addition, a minimum of one house parent residing on the campus will be available to attend to the needs and well-being of the students.

It’s likely that young boarders will live in dorms or bedrooms with other kids. More mature boarders typically get a separate bedroom or a room with just one other student. Additionally, boarders may have their own laundry or restroom.

There are usually comfortable rooms in boarding houses where students may unwind, mingle, and watch TV with one another.

Topics and Qualifications

Three tiers comprise the UK boarding school system.

Children in primary school from the age of four or five to eleven or thirteen. They are referred to as preparation school, pre-preparatory school, junior school, infant school, or primary school.

Students in secondary school ranges from 11 or 13 to 16. This may also be known as senior school, high school, or secondary school.

Most students in secondary school spend their final two years (ages 14 to 16) preparing for the GCSE exams. Other options include the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, Standard grades, and Intermediates in Scotland.

Students in sixth form range in age from sixteen to eighteen. The terms Upper and Lower Sixth are frequently used to refer to the two years. Most students take A-levels in sixth form. Additional credentials consist of the International Baccalaureate or Standard Grades and Highers in Scotland.

Other subjects offered in boarding schools are math, physics, foreign languages, history, geography, theater, and IT. Universities, colleges, and employers in the UK and around the world hold these qualifications in the highest respect.

Benefits of Attending a Boarding School in the UK

There are many benefits to attending a boarding school in the UK. Below are some of the most significant benefits:

1. High Academic Standards

All the boarding schools in the UK are renowned for their high academic standards. They offer a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for university and beyond. The teachers are highly qualified and experienced, and they provide individual attention to each student.

Related: What is High School Equivalent in the UK?

2. Excellent Facilities

This schools has excellent facilities. They provide state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, science labs, sports facilities, and accommodation. The facilities are designed to provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for students to learn and grow.

3. Extracurricular Activities

These boarding schools in the UK offer a wide range of extracurricular activities. These include sports, music, drama, art, and clubs. The activities are designed to develop student’s talents and interests and provide opportunities for leadership and teamwork.

4. Personal Development

Schools in the UK focus on personal development. They provide a supportive and nurturing environment where students can develop their confidence, independence, and resilience. Boarding academies also encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

5. Cultural Diversity

These schools are homes for students from all over the world. This creates a multicultural environment where students can learn about different cultures, languages, and perspectives. Boarding academies also provide opportunities for international travel and exchanges.

See: 37 Major Pros and Cons of Boarding Schools

6. Networking Opportunities

They provide networking opportunities for students. Also have alumni networks that offer career guidance, mentoring, and job opportunities. They also have strong links with universities and businesses, which can help students with their future careers.

7. Preparation for University

The boarding schools in the UK provide excellent preparation for university. They offer a challenging academic curriculum that prepares students for the rigors of higher education. Boarding academies also provide opportunities for students to develop their research, critical thinking, and writing skills.

What is a Boarding School in the UK Requirements

The typical admission points for senior boarding schools in the UK are Year 7 (11+) or Year 9 (13+). Entry is made through the Common Entrance exam in Year 8, however a lot of schools now employ the ISEB Pre-Test in Years 5 or 6. If your child already attends prep school in the UK, the school will help them get ready for these tests.

Top 5 Boarding Schools in UK 2024

In 2023, the 5 boarding schools listed below achieved the highest test results (GCSE and A level or International Baccalaureate).

#1. St. Paul School

© stpaulsschool.org.uk, a boys school from ages seven to eighteen, South West London’s St. Paul’s School is a prestigious private institution. John Colet established the school in 1509 with the idea that learning had to be both intellectual and comprehensive.

Respect, kindness, humility, integrity, and resilience are the five fundamental character qualities that St. Paul’s students cultivate.

According to exam scores, St Paul’s is the boys’ school in the UK with the highest performance. Each year, a minimum of 25% of candidates receive offers from universities in Oxford and Cambridge. Many students also go abroad to attend Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, and other universities.

Also Read: What is Difference between Academy and School in the UK?

#2. The Tonbridge School

This school for boys aged 13 to 18, Tonbridge School is a day and boarding school in Kent that is 40 minutes by train from London. A £20 million scientific center, a £11 million sports center, and an award-winning library are among the amenities.

The school is an All Steinway School because more than 90% of its pianos are manufactured by Steinway & Sons. The school’s creative use of technology has earned it recognition as a Microsoft Showcase School.

#3. Westminster School

For boys ages 13 to 18, Westminster School is a private day and boarding school that offers a coeducational sixth form. It is located close to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament in the heart of London.

The approximately 630-year-old school has a stellar record of well-known graduates, including Nobel Prize winners, author AA Milne, and architect Christopher Wren.

Westminster students routinely receive great exam scores. Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Columbia, UPenn, and Dartmouth are among the universities that offer admission.

#4. Cardiff Sixth Form College

Children ages 14 to 18 can attend Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC), a day and boarding school. With students from more than 40 different countries, the school has an international perspective. There are two campuses: one in Cambridge, East England, and one in Cardiff, South Wales.

Approximately 85% of full-time CSFC students board. Boarders reside in cluster rooms, studio apartments, or apartments shared by two or more students.

Also See: 15 Best Community Schools in England | 2023 List

#5. Wycombe Abbey

Girls between the ages of 11 and 18 attend the elite boarding school Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire. With a long history of achievement, the school is dedicated to academic excellence.

It’s five essential academic traits are: Development, risk-taking, resourcefulness, determination, and reflection.

Students in their last year live in a separate boarding home in order to gain independence prior to attending university. Dorm feasts, house trips, competitions, and free time are all examples of activities.

What is Boarding School for Bad Behavior

Teenage therapeutic boarding schools are made to help students who are having problems with their mental health and substance usage. For this reason, they are occasionally referred to as “troubled teen boarding schools.” Academics are integrated with individual and group therapy sessions in these boarding institutions.

Boarding School UK Free

While state charge for boarding, they also offer free teachings. The majority of state boarding schools are academies; a small number are free schools and are overseen by local government.

Children who have a specific need to board are given preference at state boarding schools, which also evaluates each child’s suitability for boarding.

Is Boarding School Bad?

Opportunities for social and personal development that cannot be obtained through other means are provided by the there setting. mentoring.

In a boarding school setting, teachers and older students provide special assistance to younger students. an environment of education outside of the school.

See More: Do You Have to Pay for College at 16 in UK?


Benefits of boarding schools in the UK:

Good grades
Small classes
Lots of activities
Supportive community
Meet people from other countries

How boarding schools work in the UK:

Students live at school during the school year and go home for the holidays.
Students are divided into smaller groups called houses.
Schools offer lots of activities for students to do.

Why kids go to boarding academyin the UK:

To get good grades
Become more independent
To meet people from other countries
Because their parents work full-time

Is boarding school right for everyone?

Some students thrive in a boarding academyenvironment, while others do not. It is important to carefully consider all of the factors involved before making a decision.


In conclusion, boarding schools in the UK offer many benefits to students. They provide a high-quality education, excellent facilities, extracurricular activities, personal development, cultural diversity, networking opportunities, and preparation for university. 

Boarding academies in the UK have a long tradition of excellence and are a great option for students who want to receive a world-class education.


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