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Wycombe Abbey SchoolSeveral Bucks preps offer boarding. At Ashfold School, the part-time (not flexi) boarding is considered ‘an opportunity not an ideology’ but 70 per cent of year 5s and over have a go. A far cry from Caldicott, where all boys in years 7 and 8 board Monday to Saturday, no exceptions – seen as integral to their preparation for the likes of Harrow, Eton and Radley. Younger pupils can flexi board. At Beachborough, there are 45 beds available from Monday to Thursday. Sometimes almost an entire year group opts to stay on a given night – a sure sign of approval – with two to three nights a week the more usual commitment. At Godstowe, girls can board, full or flexi, from year 3 but it’s most popular in years 7 and 8 as a taster for senior boarding schools. Numbers of boarders is small at Swanbourne House, particularly post-Covid, but they’re expecting that to grow, especially among international families.

The only all-through school offering boarding is Thornton College, where around 60 girls (many international) board, from age 8 – mainly flexi, then weekly from year 7. Stowe School is a 13+ boarding school through and through, though pupils are now allowed to go home every weekend. We found boarding warm, cosy, intimate, with couples as house parents to create a home-from-home feel. Almost all girls board at Wycombe Abbey – full or nothing – but again, girls can go home at weekends. The school has some of the loveliest boarding accommodation we’ve seen, and year 7s get to keep chickens!

The only state boarding option in Bucks is The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. Forces families and boys in care are prioritised and these are mixed with some international pupils (although they must have a British/EU passport) and locals keen for the boarding experience.

Boarding schools near Buckinghamshire

Bucks borders several counties, most with a plethora of boarding schools. Firm favourites include Shiplake College, Queen Anne’s School, Haileybury, St George’s School, Ascot, Rugby School, Wellington College, St Edward’s School, Bradfield College, Headington School and Marlborough College, Harrow School and Eton College, though with Bucks’ excellent transport links, many go further still.

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