All parents want the best education for their children. However, when they are busy, or far away, selecting a school that fits their schedules and respective needs as well as their children’s personality can be a tricky process. Boarding schools can be a good solution in this situation.
Such schools are well-known for ensuring all pupils are well-cared for. They offer supervision by boarding house staff. Learning takes place inside and beyond classrooms, keeping pupils physically, socially and mentally stimulated. Pupil integration is a key priority, helping not just youth from all over the world to not just adjust to living away from home, but to feel happy staying and learning there.
In the UK, pupil integration takes on many forms such as pastoral care and support, and the inclusion of co-curricular activities to foster better relationships among new students. Some schools excel at providing daily pastoral care and support, others make the co-curricular activities a strong attraction for boarders — the best boarding schools offer both.
The following four boarding schools in the UK encompass the finest of all of the above and more:
The Leys School
The Leys School is more than just a school. Here, in the centre of the beautiful, historical and stimulating city of Cambridge, young people pursue an education built firmly on three main foundations — Academic, Pastoral and Wider Curriculum — to prepare for the challenges which lie ahead at university and beyond. In the process, they write the most intrinsically rewarding, challenging and stimulating chapters of their developing lives.
Two factors make this possible: The Leys’s unique location and size. The school makes full use of the limitless academic and enrichment opportunities the city has to offer. Pupils can attend lectures by university professors, share an award-winning boathouse with three university colleges, play sports in some of the university leagues, sing in the school’s Chapel Choir that regularly joins forces with some of the city’s best college choirs for Evensong, and so forth. A Level pupils have the added advantage of using post-doc mentors. In short, the range of creative, cultural and sporting opportunities here — including over 100 clubs and societies that take place each week — is breathtaking.
The Leys’s pupils take on these opportunities with confidence, knowing they will be the best they can be. After all, they have the nurturing and encouragement from a school that is small enough so that each teacher and staff is able to get to know individuals, with all their individual strengths and distinctive characters, and guide them in curating a sustainable programme of activities that complements their academic studies and overall physical and mental well-being.
Students wishing to pursue the IB Diploma Programme will find the independent Westbourne School in Penarth, near Cardiff a superb choice; it was IB School of the Year 2019, #1 IB Sixth Form for 2019 and 90% of its graduates gain entry to the elite Russell Group universities (the country’s top 24 research-led universities).
This year, its Sixth Formers ranked in the top 1% worldwide of IB Diploma results and achieved unprecedented success in debating and science Olympiads, ranking at the top of the leaderboards in a number of national online competitions.
Such success is the result of Westbourne’s distinctive approach to education: pairing academic excellence with strong pastoral care within a smaller school setting.
The school may be made up of 72% local day students, complemented by 28% international students from 25 countries, but faculty members and staff make time to understand every child’s unique personality and strengths. Its smaller size and tutorial-style approach allow Westbourne to offer this tailored learning experience.
Life at Westbourne is just as family-like. Here, students will find more than just a school — they study, live and eat together in one warm, supportive and friendly community.
“The relationships you build and the connections you make, the fact that everyone knows each other and everyone is here for each other when you most need them, and at the same time, everyone is here to share your celebrations, is something I will truly remember,” shares Class of 2021 graduate Dharani from Malaysia, who is currently reading Law at the University of Cambridge.
Westbourne also offers the One Year Pre-IB Programme specially tailored for international students to progress seamlessly from national education systems into a British boarding school. It features specialist English Language development and small group classes of 12 students who can take between three and five GCSEs.
The Mount School York
The Mount School York girls enjoying the Quaker walk. Source: Mount School York, Facebook
With a rich history dating back to 1785, The Mount School York has been providing specialist girls’ education that seeks to empower their students to become constantly motivated and confident throughout their school years. Extra-curricular activities are the core of this educational philosophy where the girls are taught to be independent leaders yet able to work in teams and inspire each other to be the best they can.
The Mount School Ethos, based on Quaker values, believes that all students should be offered a calm and supportive environment with caring teaching; the end result is these students can know their opinions are valued while respecting each other there. As such, their bespoke curriculum has been designed to engage the students in high standards of learning that will enable them to become more socially aware of each other.
The 16-acre school space includes numerous sports facilities such as a mature forest setup with outdoor classroom and pond, a 25-metre indoor swimming pool, an outdoor adventure playground, grass tennis courts, and netball courts. The Mount School York also has the science labs, IT suites, an Art and Design studio, a Design Technology workshop and music practice rooms. Besides accommodation, boarders can also access the award-winning dining hall.
A dedicated Safeguarding Lead has been designated as the daily main point of contact to ensure The Mount York School remains a safe place during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
TASIS The American School in England
Students relaxing around the beautiful grounds of TASIS The American School in England. Source: TASIS The American School in England, Facebook.
TASIS England, located in Surrey, provides a holistic education that is based on their belief that a child’s curiosity can be nurtured into the gift of life-long learning. The caring teachers, small class size and strong programmes such as Arts, Athletics and Service Leadership help students become more confident and compassionate leaders.
All students will be able to access individual academic advice; comprehensive college (university) counselling is also available for students throughout their Upper School years. Middle and Upper School students can also participate in the Travel programmes that would enrich their learning. Students with learning difficulties can get support from the Learning Resource Centre; students weaker in the English Language can also get excellent support from the International Section.
Boarders are assured a home away from home. Two to three boarders of different nationalities aged 13 to 18 share a room which encourages the use of English for communication. All meals and medical care at the on-campus Health Centre are provided too. Weekend activities are planned for greater socialising and learning.
TASIS England Parent Association and Parents’ Information and Resource Committee care for and support new families moving to the UK through social events and informational seminars. As TASIS students come from 50 different countries, any new family will not feel left out during their transition to the UK and TASIS England.
TASIS has made increased Covid-19 cleaning arrangements — Middle and Upper School students are also encouraged to test themselves twice a week.
*Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International