State boarding schools are often described as “education’s best-kept secret”. In recent years they have been growing in popularity, mainly due to the fact that they can provide students with an excellent and integrative education that costs parents only a fraction of the cost of private schooling. Families are only required to pay boarding fees.
However, accessibility doesn’t compromise quality. In fact, it was found in a survey that 80% of parents chose state boarding schools because of high academic quality and their potential to develop confident, happy and intelligent children — speaking highly of the value such institutions offer.
Furthermore, it’s widely known that boarding schools effortlessly develop all-rounded, sociable and, most importantly, happy young learners — access to a wide array of extracurriculars contributes to this. This is why boarders graduate more than ready for life beyond school. In a study, 78% of boarding school students reported feeling more prepared for university life. This was a stark contrast to 36% of private day students and 23% of public students who claimed the same.
Sold? Check out these state boarding schools in the UK:
The Royal School Wolverhampton
While established as a Free School and State Boarding School in 2016, The Royal School, Wolverhampton has an illustrious history of enrichment that dates back to the 1850s — when local philanthropist and businessman John Lees founded an orphanage on the site that later became an independent school. Today, the non-selective, non-denominational Free School welcomes boys and girls between the ages of four and 19, representing various ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. Each student can attest that life here is far from dull.
Here, they gain key skills while nurturing enduring friendships, all thanks to a structured and vibrant daily routine designed to inspire. However little or much time students spend living and learning in harmony, is entirely up to their needs — The Royal offers cost-effective full, weekly and flexi-day boarding with comfortable accommodation in shared rooms on site for up to 80 pupils.
Learners within this connected community quickly develop the confidence to thrive. Years 7 and 8 take on the Senior Curriculum, which comprises a broad range of subjects based on the National Curriculum in great depth. Years 9, 10 and 11 are reserved for the GCSE — a three-year programme that covers the compulsory subjects of English, Mathematics and Science plus four further options selected during Year 8. Final examinations are taken towards the end of Year 11 before students advance to Year 12 to begin the A Levels and/or BTECs. Once this period is complete, a majority graduate with above-average results to boast on university applications.
The academic rigour that fuels these outcomes is balanced out with enriching extracurriculars. The School’s award-winning “Boarding Passport” documents all the skills and activities boarders acquire and enjoy during their time at the school, such as participation in student clubs, leadership opportunities, or the school’s Elite Squad for swimmers. Pair rare offerings with a renowned pastoral care system and students have a recipe for success — both in university and beyond. To let your child experience the dynamic combination for themselves, click here to learn more about admissions.
Gordon’s School mixes rigorous academics with excellent pastoral care. Source: Gordon’s School Facebook
Gordon’s School is a non-selective state boarding school that’s been rated one of Britain’s outstanding schools by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector. Here, students can join either the Main School (Years seven to 11) or Sixth Form for an all-encompassing learning experience that focuses on developing independent and critical thinkers not only in academia, but in day-to-day life.
Gordon’s School understands that a good education is not only about high academic results — it’s about preparing a child for the demands and challenges of the future. In this, it has designed a boarding programme that allows every child to learn discipline and schedule, but also an avenue to constantly develop and find their own interests, passions, and grow their character. There are plenty of opportunities for leadership and service, musical exploration, sporting activities, academic pursuits and more — at Gordon’s, nothing is off-limits.
Boys and girls live in five separate houses, but that doesn’t take away from the community feel at Gordon’s School. As students learn to live with each other, they develop and form friendships that run deep — many of which turn into lifelong connections. It’s an invaluable starting point that enriches a child’s life for the better.
Steyning Grammar School
Equipping young individuals to deal with any challenge or opportunity — that is what Steyning Grammar School (SGS) hopes to instil in its students. It places high expectations for all students through a creative and personalised curriculum designed to bring out the best in everyone.
More than that, SGS is committed to developing students who are keen to make a positive difference to their communities, no matter if it’s on a local, national or global level. Here, students ranging from ages 11 to 18 come together in creating a community that helps each other grow and learn as individuals.
Every aspect of boarding life is designed to encourage the same. With full and weekly boarding opportunities, families of children at SGS are free to tailor their experience according to their own schedules and needs. All the while, they remain secure in the fact that their children are thriving in an environment that is safe, trusted and expansive.
Sexey’s School is a Church of England, non-selective state boarding and day school for students between the ages of 11 and 18. Established in 1891, it is located in the beautiful Somerset countryside and is a proud part of Quantock Education Trust. Here, learners enjoy an inclusive, friendly environment designed to produce confident young people who are prepared for life, both today and beyond school.
“Our aim at Sexey’s is to support our students in fulfilling their potential both academically and socially,” explains its Headteacher. “We believe that this is achieved by setting high standards of teaching, learning and care.”
With values broadly based on the positive aspects of the Christian ethos, a Sexey’s education focuses on the holistic development of the person. Students are encouraged to seek their own answers to questions concerning religion, life, self and their place within the bigger picture.
Countless realisations are made as students relish a wide range of subjects that span Art and Design, Design Technology, English, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Geography, Science, Religious Studies, and more. Students at Sexey’s enjoy many extra-curricular activities outside the classroom as well.
*Some of the institutions featured on this article are commercial partners of Study InternationalSource: The Royal School Wolverhampton