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St Peter's Prep

If this is your first foray into boarding school selection it is worth reading our feature on the different types of boarding available. In Devon there are five options: For standalone prep boarding, Exeter Cathedral School has boarding places for 43 children, around half of these are for choristers, but all boarders are from the UK and there are some fabulous activities and good pastoral support on offer. St Peter’s Prep in Exmouth offers boarding on a flexi basis; a handy option for children wanting to try it out before deciding whether boarding at ‘big school’ is for them.

Plymouth College boarding is set up with swim training in mind, 60 per cent of boarders are elite swimmers and divers. Half of the boarders are from the UK, the rest from a mix of 38 different countries. Evening and weekend options are wide and adventurous. Mount Kelly, has a thriving boarding set-up, two thirds of the school boards, around a quarter are international pupils and a third are swimmers. Good flexi-boarding options but rather scruffy accommodation, ‘most of the fun is to be had outside’, with plenty of activities on offer at weekends. Another outdoorsy haven is Blundell’s School, where two thirds board. A mix of full, weekly and flexi is on offer with luxurious accommodation for the sixth form. West Buckland School has increasing numbers of boarders as you go up through the school, with a great sixth form accommodation offering. Plenty of activities, trips and facilities on and an active, family minded atmosphere.

There is a rare state boarding school in Exeter Mathematics School, which offers a small number of boarding places to pupils who live too far away to do the daily commute.

Boarding schools near Devon

The south west of England is home to some of the UK’s most outstanding private boarding schools, so the choice for families living in Devon is broad. However, there are a few (probably as they are the closest) for which Devon based families have longstanding preferences.

Millfield School in Street, Somerset, excels at educating talented young sportsmen and women, musicians and artists while achieving admirable academic results. Three quarters of its pupils board in 19 boarding houses scattered across the 240-acre campus. It is one of the UK’s most successful boarding schools. Queen’s College Taunton is the oldest school in Taunton, a shining gem of a school offering an impressively rounded education where boarders are extremely well looked after and entertained. King’s College, also in Taunton, brims with enthusiasm for learning, and has great sports and extracurricular opportunities. It is predominantly a boarding school (over 65 per cent board) with boarders coming from all over the UK plus a good peppering of international students from 21 different countries.

Further west in Cornwall, at Truro School there are three boarding houses and a 50:50 split between UK and international students. Boarding is available from year 7 with some flexi-boarding options and plenty of activities to keep weekends busy and engaging. Truro High School for Girls offers two boarding houses, segregated by age with a strong international pull, they have pupils from 12 different nationalities, UK boarders predominantly from the Scilly Isles. Friday nights are famed for fun and weekend trips take full advantage of the outdoor and cultural adventures that Cornwall is famous for.

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