Boarding Schools In UK

Best 20 Boarding Schools In UK

On the aspect of A-levels results, Wycombe Abbey School and Westminster School have remained the first and second leading boarding schools in the UK, coming above Brighton College. This is an indication that these three schools are the best bet for boarding education in London.

However, ranking boarding schools in the UK solely based on their academic results is not enough to get a complete picture of their true standings and how to measure up as per your preference.

For this reason, we have done the rough, rigorous research for you – looking into a long list of all operational boarding schools in the United Kingdom to streamline your choices to the best 20 for you.

But one thing runs through many British boarding schools. They are known for their excellence – in academia and extracurricular activities (especially sports, art, and music.)

If you are looking for the best boarding schools in the UK for your ward, then you want a place where they can achieve their full potential and become well-rounded and resilient individuals.

With this in mind, here’s our top recommendation for you and why.

Our top recommendation on the best Boarding schools in the UK

  1. Wycombe Abbey
  2. St Paul’s School
  3. Westminster School
  4. Tonbridge School
  5. Brighton College
  6. Sevenoaks School
  7. Cardiff Sixth Form College
  8. St Mary’s School Ascot
  9. Ellesmere College
  10. St Bees
  11. St Christopher School
  12. Farringtons School
  13. King’s College Taunton
  14. Langley School
  15. Morton Hall Girls School
  16. Padworth College
  17. Rendcomb College
  18. Eton College
  19. Dulwich College
  20. Rishworth School

Wycombe Abbey

Location Buckinghamshire (South East England)
Environment Rural
Age range and gender 11–18, girls only
Several pupils Approx. 650
Available Scholarships Yes, in the area of academic and music
Most recent academic performance

 

96.8% A*–B and 96.5% A*/A/9/8/7 in 2022 A-level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees £44,100 per year for boarding students

 

Wycombe Abbey is an all-girls private boarding school located in Buckinghamshire, catering to students aged 11 to 18.

The school aims for academic excellence and emphasizes the five key qualities of risk-taking, resourcefulness, determination, reflection, and development in its teaching and learning approach. Girls spend their first year in the junior house before moving into one of the nine senior houses.

From ages 12 to 16, girls share mixed-age bedrooms to encourage friendships between different year groups. In their final year, girls move into a standalone boarding house that promotes independence and prepares them for university life.

There are numerous activities and social events throughout the year, including inter-house competitions, outings, and socials with affiliated schools. The school has a strong tradition of academic achievement, with approximately one-third of students securing Oxbridge offers, and an increasing number of girls leaving for top universities worldwide.

St Paul’s School

Location South West London
Age range and gender 13–18, boys only boarding school
Number of pupils More than 1,500
Available Scholarships programs Yes, particularly in academic and music
Recent academic performance 98.8%  and 98.9% in 2022 A-level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
School fees Boarders pay £41,364 per year while day students pay £27,486 per year

 

St Paul is a boys-only boarding school and has remained one of the highest-rated options in the UK as they teach pupils how to develop respect, kindness, humility, integrity, and resilience in addition to academic prowess.

The school has in attendance more day pupils but there is a contingent amount of boarders. The weekend trips, cooking classes, meals out and tours in the city, and other sports activities are incorporated into their curriculum to help kids grow and become well-rounded.

Westminster School

Location City of Westminster
Environment City
Age range and gender boys and girls of 13–18 and 16–18 respectively
Number of pupils Around 750
Scholarships available Yes, in academic and music
Most recent academic performance 97.5%  and 98% in 2022 A level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees Boarders pay between £45,432 and £46,341 per year

 

Westminster School is another fantastic boarding school option in the UK. The private day and boarding school welcomes boys aged 13 to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18.

With more than 750 total student population, the boarding community is lively and the pastoral network is impressive. Westminster boarding school is indeed a place where students are trained for college. Last year, 36% of university offers in this school were for Oxbridge.

Aside from academics, the school engages boarders with activities for fun and relaxation, especially on weekends and frequent outings to locations around the bustling city.

Tonbridge School

Location Kent (South East England)
Environment semi-rural
Age range and gender: Boys only, between the ages of  13 and 18
Number of pupils  800
Available Scholarships Yes, in areas of academics; art; drama; design, technology and engineering; music; and sport
Most recent academic performance 97.8%  and 97.3%  in 2022 A-level results and

2022 GCSE results respectively.

Fees £46,740 per year for boarders

 

With the award-winning library £11 million valued sports center and £20 million valued science center, Tonbridge is one of the best leading boarding schools but focused on Boys board.

The school has 12 houses that are home to 65 boys each. They engage students with inter-house activities such as competitions, music, art, debating, sport, plays, and concerts.

With an established liaison with 10 local primary and secondary schools, Tonbridge is an ideal place for students you want to see grow into well-rounded individuals with loads of potential.

Brighton College

Location: East Sussex (South East England)
Environment Coastal
Age range and gender 11–18, boys and girls
Several pupils Approx. 1,100
Available Scholarships Yes, in areas of academic, all-rounder, art, chess, choral, dance, drama, DT, music, and sports
Most recent Academic performance 98.4% A*–B and 93.8% A*/A/9/8/7 In 2022 A level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees Applicants from the UK pay between £38,880 and £46,710 per year for boarding while overseas students pay between £54,750–£57,690 per year for boarding

 

Brighton College, a renowned private day and boarding school situated in the picturesque coastal city of Brighton, caters to boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18. The school is known not only for its academic excellence but also for its emphasis on kindness and personal well-being, striving to celebrate each student’s unique qualities.

In the past ten years, the number of students who board at Brighton College has tripled, as it has become increasingly popular.

Full and weekly boarders enjoy exceptional facilities, and a team of expert interior designers, with input from students, continually update the facilities to make them feel like a real home away from home.

Additionally, boarders can participate in a full range of evening activities, such as dance lessons, sports, mindfulness, movie nights, and board games, after their academic preparation.

Sevenoaks School

Location Kent (South East England)
Environment Rural
Age range and gender 11–18, boys and girls boarding
Number of pupils More than 1,150
Scholarships available for academics, art, drama, music, and sport but with no financial value
Most recent academic performance 96% in 2022 GCSE results and 40.3 average diploma points in 2022 IB results
Fees £42,921 per year for boarders and £26,721 per year for Day pupils

 

Sevenoaks School offers day and boarding school facilities for boys and girls, both national and international students.

The school has many laurels to its name chiefly to recognize its educational profoundness. An excellent example of these awards is the Sunday Times Co-educational Independent School of the Year 2023 award.

One interesting thing about Sevenoaks School in the UK is that they make boarding busy, comfortable, and fun with the full program of athletic, cultural, and social activities every weekend.

Cardiff Sixth Form College

Location Cardiff (South Wales)
Environment City
Age range and gender 13–18, girls and boys
Several pupils Approx. 350
Available Scholarships Yes, academic
Most recent academic performance 99.2% A*–B and 88.8% A*/A/9/8/7 in 2022 A-level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees Between £48,800  and £53,600 per year for boarding students

 

Cardiff Sixth Form College is a top-ranking day and boarding school for GCSE and A-level students located in Cardiff, South Wales, with a global outlook and a diverse student population from over 40 countries.

The school consistently achieves excellent academic results, ranking first in the UK for A-level grades. CSFC aims to provide a modern and agile learning environment, combining the discipline and rigor of the East with the innovation and creativity of the West.

The school offers university-style accommodation for approximately 85% of its students, with three types of rooms available to facilitate quiet study and help students develop the necessary skills for higher education.

Weekends are filled with various activities and cultural events, including team sports, charity work, work placements, and exploring the city of Cardiff.

The school has won several awards over the years, including Wales Independent Secondary School of the Year, Best Wellbeing Initiative Award, and Top Private Co-educational Boarding School.

St Mary’s School Ascot

Location Berkshire (South East England)
Environment Semi-rural
Age range and gender 11–18, girls only
Several pupils approx. 400
Available scholarships Yes, in academics, all-rounder, art, music, and sport.
Most recent academic performance 93.3% A*–B and 92.9% A*/A/9/8/7 in 2022 A-level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees Boarders pay £45,570 per year

 

St Mary’s School Ascot is a Catholic boarding school located in Berkshire for girls aged 11-18. Students of all faiths are welcome, but religious activities are at the heart of the school.

The majority of girls who attend St Mary’s board full-time and share rooms in the early years to develop strong relationships with their peers, before having individual rooms from Year 11 and above to facilitate private study. The school aims to provide a home-from-home environment for its pupils, with staff available around the clock to support students.

Parents are also involved in the school community and invited to attend several events throughout the year. St Mary’s School Ascot has a notable list of alumnae, including BBC journalist Louise Minchin and several members of royal families.

The school has a strong tradition of providing a well-rounded education, with extracurricular activities including sports, music, drama, and debating. Pupils are encouraged to become independent and responsible young women who can make a positive contribution to society.

Ellesmere College

Location Shropshire, Ellesmere
Environment Rural
Age range and gender 7–18,  boys and girls
Several pupils approx. 550
Available scholarships Yes, in academics, art, and sport.
Most recent academic performance 98% A*–B and 90% A*/A/9/8/7 in 2022 A-level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees UK applicants pay £500 while EU applicants pay 2,000 for the boarding fee

 

Ellesmere College has a diverse student population, with children from 30 different countries enrolled in the school. International students are integrated with local students in most classes, providing a strong cultural familiarization for visitors.

The school focuses on character development and encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities. The school offers a comprehensive artistic and cultural development program, including tours to the USA every other year, which allows students to develop their talents in music, drama, and painting.

Many students go on to attend elite universities or artistic and drama colleges, while the school’s sporting strength provides a gateway for professional careers. For those without strong English or learning skills, there is a Foundation Pre-Sixth form course, but higher-level courses are mostly taught alongside UK pupils.

The school has a unique international coordinator and provides strong pastoral support through each boarding house, as highlighted in recent government inspection reports

St Bees

St Bees is ideal for students who prefer the peaceful countryside and ancient/modern architecture to the hustle of city life.

The school has over 300 pupils, with 43% UK and 22% international borders. Facilities for sports, including cricket and golf, are exceptional. Most students go on to top UK universities and 95% gain admission to their first choice.

St Bees has a strong focus on maths, science, art, and music, with one-year GCSE and Sixth Form development courses available.

The school offers full and partial academic, music, and sports scholarships for entry at 11+, 13+, and 16+.

St Christopher School

St Christopher School is ideal for artistic, self-motivated individuals with strong academic interests, and is well-suited for vegetarians as only vegetarian food options are served.

The school has a size of 360, but strong friendships are formed across all ages with small class sizes in Sixth Form. The school offers various adventurous trips, including language, history, and skiing trips to Rajasthan and Europe.

Nearly all students go on to top universities or art, music, or drama colleges. A special international study center program will soon be launched to improve English before a two-year A-level program.

Scholarship opportunities are available for the most outstanding candidates in Sixth Form.

Farringtons School

Location Chislehurst, Kent
Environment Suburban
Age range and gender 11–18,  boys and girls
Several pupils approx. 700
Available scholarships Yes, in academic
Fees 12,030 EUR and 9,580 EUR for the full border and weekly boarder respectively

 

Farrington School is an ideal choice for international students aged 11 and above who seek an international experience close to London.

The school has around 400 senior and 300 junior students, allowing the staff to provide personalized care and support to each pupil. The school has a strong basketball program and a new swimming pool that is used for competitive racing.

The school emphasizes truth, justice, and the value of every person. The adaptive curriculum covers a wide range of interests, and personalized learning courses are available for students who need them. Many students go on to attend universities or vocational colleges appropriate to their interests.

Farringtons School provides a personalized learning course for international students that helps with English learning and study skill development. Boarding houses are staffed by caring individuals who take a close interest in each student’s welfare.

The school’s extensive grounds allow for sports and games, and supervised weekend trips into nearby London are popular among the boarding community.

King’s College Taunton

Location Taunton, Somerset, UK
Environment Town
Age range and gender 13–18,  boys and girls
Several pupils approx. 470
Available scholarships Yes, in academic
Fees 12,555 EUR for UK applicant boarding fee

 

King’s College Taunton is suitable for students who are interested in participating in philosophical debates, entrepreneurial activities, and extracurricular activities.

The school has strong science and math programs, as well as humanities, and attending chapel provides a spiritual atmosphere for students’ academic and social goals.

Most students go on to attend top UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and the school emphasizes achieving one’s best, regardless of their academic starting point. King’s College Taunton also offers excellent programs in engineering, art, drama, and design technology, preparing students for vocational programs if desired.

The school has strong support and bonding among students, with a “buddy” system and attentive boarding staff ensuring a smooth settling-in process. The school is open to considering international students for “taster” programs, from a few weeks to a year, with help provided to improve English and immersion with local students being the most effective method.

Langley School

Location Norfolk countryside, Norwich
Environment Urban
Age range and gender 11–16,  boys and girls
Several pupils approx. 500
Available scholarships Yes, in academic, art, drama, music, sport, and technology
Fees 4,185 EUR, 7,095 EUR, and 8,505 EUR for Day, Weekly, and Per Term boarding fees, respectively

 

We recommend Langley School for students who thrive in a cheerful environment where learning occurs both inside and outside the classroom.

Langley School offers various programs, including B-Tech qualifications in sports and public services, for students who are not interested in higher academic achievements.

Many students go on to university, but some are selected by sports groups and top clubs for higher performance opportunities.

Polo Academy coaching, which is an added cost, is gaining global attention. The school offers trial periods, and its roomy accommodations make each age group feel at ease.

The school has a strong family atmosphere created by big-hearted staff, who are motivated to provide the best environment for the 110 boarders.

Morton Hall Girls School

Location Western Rhyn, Oswestry
Environment Rural
Age range and gender 6 months – 18 and 6 months to 13 for girls and boys, respectively.
Several pupils approx. 530
Available scholarships Yes, in academic
Fees 6,320 EUR

 

Moreton Hall is a traditional British boarding school with 270 boarders and 10% day pupils, attracting parents and students who want a British education.

The school’s International Study Centre offers courses for GCSE and A-Level students and their parents. The school has a strong emphasis on business and encourages entrepreneurship with its Enterprise Centre run by the girls. Most students go on to top UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

The school has scholarships worth 10% of fees available for girls at 11+, 13+, and 16+.

We particularly recommend this co-ed International Study Centre for those requiring more assistance with their academic studies or English language skills

Padworth College

Padworth College is a small ASIS school that focuses on strong language learning in academic disciplines. With just over 110 students, the college operates on a first-name basis, without bells or uniforms, and aims to let students be themselves.

The principal of the college, who is bilingual and experienced internationally, ensures that all students meet the English benchmarks required by universities. Padworth College offers short and long-term courses, including a year-long Business Foundation Course for 17-year-olds covering IT, finance, business, and law.

The college has small class sizes and provides close personal attention to students, allowing them to achieve higher academic success quickly. Padworth College has strength in the sciences, maths, and arts, and most of its students go on to top UK and international universities.

The college also offers scholarships of 50% and 25% of full boarding fees for eligible students.

Rendcomb College

The school offers opportunities to study music, drama, arts, and traditional UK A-level subjects, and students have a strong sense of caring for their environment and each other.

Many go on to top UK universities, and recent investment in IT facilities and academic support for computer and maths-based studies has provided an added boost.

The school offers a family atmosphere with caring boarding house parents and support from the Headmaster’s wife for any pupil in need.

Eton College

Location Berkshire (South East England)
Environment Town
Age range and gender 13–18, boys only
Several pupils Approx. 1,300
Available Scholarships Yes, academic, music, and drama
Most recent academic performance 95.8% A*–B and 94.2% A*/A/9/8/7 in 2022 A level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively
Fees £46,296 per year for boarding students

 

Eton College, established in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide education to 70 poor boys, is a prestigious private boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18 in Windsor, UK.

It houses over 1,300 students and has a large alumni base, including notable figures such as Prince William and Prince Harry, former Prime Ministers David Cameron, and Boris Johnson, and writers George Orwell and Ian Fleming.

Each student has a bedroom to facilitate quiet study and independence. Eton provides a personal tutor and pastoral team to support students with academic and personal issues.

The school offers high-quality support to students applying to universities globally, with 39 students receiving offers from top US universities in 2022, including Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, among others. Students also apply to universities in other international destinations, such as Dublin, Hong Kong, and Milan

Dulwich College

Location South London
Environment Suburband
Age range and gender 7–18, boys only
Several pupils Approx. 1,850
Available Scholarships Yes, in academic, art, music, and sport
Most recent academic performance 95.1% A*–B and 92.9% A*/A/9/8/ in 2022 A level results and 2022 GCSE results respectively.
Fees While day students pay £22,971 per year, boarding students pay between £44,952 and £47,949

 

Dulwich College is an academically-selective day and boarding school for boys in South London. It was founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn, with an ethos of equity, excellence, and service.

Around 140 students board at the college, with four boarding houses offering round-the-clock pastoral care and a range of evening activities, trips, and events.

The college is committed to community outreach and partnerships, supporting more than 200 bursary awards each year, with three-quarters of bursary holders supported with 75-100% of their school fees.

In 2022, Dulwich College won the ‘Independent School of the Year for Contribution to Social Mobility award for its community outreach programs.

It is a fantastic boarding school option in the UK.

Rishworth School

Rishworth School is a non-selective boarding school with a family atmosphere and strong teacher-pupil interaction.

It welcomes students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia but does not admit those with serious behavior problems. The school has excellent physical fitness facilities and offers three-week short courses to help international students familiarize themselves with the UK environment.

The majority of students move on to university, including those who achieve high results and are admitted to top institutions.

The school offers scholarships for Year 7 and Sixth Form entry.

The bottom line

The UK is a good place to find an excellent boarding school facility for your kids. However, some schools are rated above others based on certain metrics that are crucial to students’ academic and social development.

At the least, before hitting the apply button for any of these schools, you want to consider the tuition, school profile, media visibility, program and activities, affiliation, and – more importantly – reviews from students and alumni.

But with this extensive review, I hope you’ve been able to narrow down your choices on the British boarding school to go for.

FAQS

Is boarding school free in the UK?

It is possible to obtain free education in State boarding schools in the UK. However, students with this free education still have to pay for boarding fees.

Can international students go to boarding schools in the UK?

Yes, international students can enroll at boarding schools in London. This will even allow them to mix up with Native English-speaking students in the classrooms and dorms and learn the language of the land quickly – supposing they don’t speak English as a first language.

 

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