Boarding, 21st century style, is flourishing. The number of families choosing boarding schools for their children is increasing and the decision to board is, as often as not, made by children themselves. This book, our first dedicated to boarding schools, contains over 350 of The Good Schools Guide’s highly informative and famously frank reviews. Every single school has been visited by our writers; we check out everything from dorms to food and weekend activities. We also speak to parents and, most important of all, pupils.
The guide is compact enough to read in bed or tuck into a large pocket, yet still packed with maps, reviews, articles and colour photographs. Whether parents are interested in big names, local treasures, state boarding schools or country preps, this is their unbiased guide to all that’s best in British boarding.
In-depth and unbiased reviews of 350+ prep and senior schools from Cornwall to Scotland
Includes top state and independent boarding schools
Impartial and invaluable advice on all aspects of boarding education
Content includes facilities, pastoral care, weekend activities
What type of boarding - full, weekly or flexi?
Contains information for international families
Click to see a preview of The Good Schools Guide Boarding Schools
If you’re reading this you’ve probably already decided that boarding might suit your son or daughter. If so the next step is to consider the arrangement that best suits your family. Unlike the old days, when youngsters were packed off to school at the age of 7 or 8 and didn’t see home again until the end of term, today’s boarding schools offer parents a choice of full boarding, weekly boarding, flexi boarding or even a combination of these. For instance, flexi boarders may wish to weekly board during exam times or become full boarders in the sixth form.
While state schools are prohibited from interviewing any but potential sixth form students, the interview is an integral part of nearly every private school admissions process, and tends to send the applicant’s parents, rather than the actual applicant, into a spin. Parents feel considerably more responsible for their child’s social presentation than for his or her ability to do long division or conjugate French verbs.
They may not truly reflect day-to-day life at a school (this will be school at its best) but they'll give you a flavour of what's happening and allow you to soak up the atmosphere. They are your chance to have the upper hand, get a feel for the school and chat with pupils and staff. Do visit more than one school: it’s useful to compare and contrast.
As their name suggests, the main aim of ‘preparatory schools’, or prep schools, is to prepare children for entry to fee-paying senior schools at 11 or 13. Traditionally, pre-preps take children from 3 or 4 and prepare them for moving on to preps at 7 or 8. There are fewer stand-alone pre-preps than there used to be as their main market, the boarding prep, has declined in numbers.
If you think your child would benefit from a boarding school education, but are put off by the high fees and consequent limited social mix of a typical independent boarding school, you may find that a state boarding school is the answer. Read more...
State grammar schools
Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious. Grammar schools are located in 36…