This website majors on UK Boarding School choice for international parents. If you want a day school use our other website www.best-schools.co.uk
There are around 500 UK boarding schools, but we tend not to include those with a very small number of full boarders (less than 50) as it is important there is an active community left in the school at weekends. However, you are spoilt for choice with a vast range of different schools spread out all over England, Wales and Scotland. Our main aim is to help you find the right type of schools for your children. You can use the search facilities on this site or simply contact our experts for help. We start here with a list of primary factors and you will find much more detail in the ensuing website sections
Which life stage and curriculum do you want?
The ages of your children dictate if they go into a prep (7 to 11 or13), a senior school (11 or 13 through to 18) or a sixth form college (16 to 18) . Some schools take multiple age groups. Just as important as age is curriculum by the time your child reaches 16 when you must choose between A Levels, Pre-U, IBDP , BTECs, Foundation Programmes or special courses such as Medical School preparation. For older children it’s important to be sure a school offers the subject courses they want to study.
Is location really important?
Many parents start by asking for a school near London airport, but this can be really constraining on choice. There are very few boarding schools in the City of London. Additionally schools within 25 miles of Heathrow or Gatwick tend to fill up quickly even when they are not particularly special. Most boarding schools run their own pick up / drop off coach services to London airports . As a rule you will find more boarding schools in the countryside, with very large campuses giving them lots of sports, drama and music facilities. Added to this many parents will prefer the safety and security well away from big city distractions. You can use our site to search geographically, if it’s important to be near a specific location.
A huge proportion of our site visitors start by looking at a school’s academic record. We do publish league tables for every category of boarding school. Remember that an academic hothouse is not right for all children. Let us guide you to the right solution by assessing your child’s ability to judge if he /she is likely to pass the admissions tests.
Do you prefer single sex or coeducational?
We have written detailed sections to guide you on the options
When do you want your child to start? Is there availability?
The closer you are in applying for a start date, the less availability there will be. Let us help you, particularly if you want an academically successful school.
Does your child want a particular sport or activity?
If your child is particularly sporty, you will want to know the school has a strong reputation and talented coaches. Most boarding schools have a huge choice of extra curricular activities. When a child is a long distance from home it’s important to keep them busy!
Do you agree with the school’s ethos, religion and pastoral care?
It’s important the school matches your own values and that you are comfortable that their standards of child care are 100% satisfactory. You won't see these items on our directory listings but we visit many schools regularly and can give you our own assessments.
Can I afford the school?
Most schools increase their fees according to the age of the child. We only publish current fees at age 16 to give parents a comparison between one school and another. The variations in fees at other ages are too numerous for it to be viable to keep up to date, but you can always find the fees on the school website. Remember that there are always extras over and above basic fees such as school trips, school uniform, musical instruments and extra tuition. It would be prudent to allow between 7% to 10% of base fees to cover these. Then you need to be aware of inflationary increases in fees, adding say 2% to 3% per annum. There are various ways of reducing fees, which you can read about in our sections on scholarships and discounts.
These are but a few of the factors covered by our website and we can give you much better advice if you contact us direct by phone or web enquiry form
20th July 2017
19th July 2017
18th July 2017