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Senior Boarding Schools Guide

There are many benefits to a boarding-school education, from the co-curricular activities to the community spirit. Watch our videos and use our tools to find the right boarding school for your child.

Choosing a senior boarding school: where to begin

When choosing a senior boarding school for your child, it’s important to remember that no two schools are the same. Each boarding experience offers different academic and co-curricular programmes, as well as unique house structures and on-campus facilities. To help you find the right senior boarding school for your child, we talk you through the key points to consider, and bring you all the open day dates you need to help plan your search. Click on each school’s icon on the map below to hear more about what they offer - and subscribe now to easily compare your favourite boarding schools on your parent dashboard.




In the wake of the pandemic, many senior boarding schools are reporting increased interest from parents looking for an immersive social and academic experience for their children, to make up for lost time at school and with friends. We asked Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Boarding Schools' Association, which represents more than 600 schools in 37 countries around the world, to give us his perspective on the benefits of boarding. 
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Alphabetical
Distance from London
Linked to a prep school?
Offers the IB




Abbey College Cambridge
Cambridge
Ackworth School
Pontefract
Ampleforth College
York
Ardingly College
Haywards Heath
Badminton School
Bristol
Battle Abbey School
Battle
Bede's School
Hailsham
Bedford School
Bedford
Benenden School
Cranbrook
Bredon School
Tewkesbury
Brighton College
Brighton
Bruern Abbey Senior School
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Canford
Wimborne
Caterham School
Caterham
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham
Chetham's School of Music - Middle School & Sixth Form
Manchester
Chigwell Senior School
Chigwell
Claremont Senior School & Sixth Form
Nr. Robertsbridge
Clayesmore School
Blandford Forum
Clifton College
Clifton
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh
Dauntsey's
Devizes
Dean Close School
Cheltenham
Denstone College
Uttoxeter
DLD College London
South Bank
Downe House
Thatcham
Dulwich Cranbrook - Senior School
Cranbrook
Eastbourne College
Eastbourne
Embley Senior School & Sixth Form
Romsey
Eton College
Windsor
Framlingham College
Framlingham
Frensham Heights School
Farnham
Giggleswick School
Settle
Godolphin
Salisbury
Gordonstoun
Elgin
Gresham's School
Holt
Harrow School
Harrow
Heathfield School
Ascot
Hurstpierpoint College
Hassocks
Ipswich School
Ipswich
King's Ely
Ely
Kingswood School
Bath
Lancing College
Lancing
Langley Senior School at Loddon
Norwich
Leighton Park School
Reading
Lord Wandsworth College
Hook
LVS Ascot Senior School
Ascot
Malvern College
Malvern
Malvern St James
Great Malvern
Marlborough College
Marlborough
Marymount International School London
Kingston Upon Thames
Mayfield School
Mayfield
Moreton Hall
Oswestry
Prior's Field
Godalming
Queen Anne's School, Caversham
Reading
Queen Mary's Senior School
Thirsk
Radley College
Abingdon
Reddam House Senior School
Wokingham
Repton School
Repton
Royal Russell School
Croydon
Rugby School
Rugby
Saint Felix School
Southwold
Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks
Shiplake College
Henley-on-Thames
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
St George's School, Ascot
Ascot
St Lawrence College
Ramsgate
St Mary's Calne
Calne
St Peter's School York
York
St Swithun's School
Winchester
Stonyhurst College
Clitheroe
Sutton Valence School
Maidstone
Taunton School
Taunton
The King's School, Canterbury
Canterbury
The Leys School
Cambridge
Thornton College
Milton Keynes
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge
Truro School
Truro
Wellington College
Crowthorne
Wells Cathedral School
Wells
Whitgift School
South Croydon


DLD College London
South Bank
Royal Russell School
Croydon
Whitgift School
South Croydon
Chigwell Senior School
Chigwell
Marymount International School London
Kingston Upon Thames
Caterham School
Caterham
Harrow School
Harrow
Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge
Eton College
Windsor
St George's School, Ascot
Ascot
Ardingly College
Haywards Heath
LVS Ascot Senior School
Ascot
Heathfield School
Ascot
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh
Sutton Valence School
Maidstone
Prior's Field
Godalming
Mayfield School
Mayfield
Wellington College
Crowthorne
Dulwich Cranbrook - Senior School
Cranbrook
Benenden School
Cranbrook
Hurstpierpoint College
Hassocks
Reddam House Senior School
Wokingham
Shiplake College
Henley-on-Thames
Claremont Senior School & Sixth Form
Nr. Robertsbridge
Frensham Heights School
Farnham
Leighton Park School
Reading
Battle Abbey School
Battle
Queen Anne's School, Caversham
Reading
Bede's School
Hailsham
Lord Wandsworth College
Hook
Lancing College
Lancing
Brighton College
Brighton
The King's School, Canterbury
Canterbury
Abbey College Cambridge
Cambridge
The Leys School
Cambridge
Bedford School
Bedford
Eastbourne College
Eastbourne
Thornton College
Milton Keynes
Downe House
Thatcham
Radley College
Abingdon
Bruern Abbey Senior School
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
St Lawrence College
Ramsgate
St Swithun's School
Winchester
Ipswich School
Ipswich
King's Ely
Ely
Embley Senior School & Sixth Form
Romsey
Marlborough College
Marlborough
Framlingham College
Framlingham
Rugby School
Rugby
Godolphin
Salisbury
St Mary's Calne
Calne
Dauntsey's
Devizes
Saint Felix School
Southwold
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham
Dean Close School
Cheltenham
Canford
Wimborne
Langley Senior School at Loddon
Norwich
Bredon School
Tewkesbury
Kingswood School
Bath
Clayesmore School
Blandford Forum
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Malvern St James
Great Malvern
Malvern College
Malvern
Gresham's School
Holt
Badminton School
Bristol
Clifton College
Clifton
Repton School
Repton
Wells Cathedral School
Wells
Denstone College
Uttoxeter
Taunton School
Taunton
Ackworth School
Pontefract
Moreton Hall
Oswestry
Chetham's School of Music - Middle School & Sixth Form
Manchester
St Peter's School York
York
Ampleforth College
York
Stonyhurst College
Clitheroe
Queen Mary's Senior School
Thirsk
Giggleswick School
Settle
Truro School
Truro
Gordonstoun
Elgin


Abbey College Cambridge
Cambridge
Ackworth School
Pontefract
Ampleforth College
York
Ardingly College
Haywards Heath
Badminton School
Bristol
Battle Abbey School
Battle
Bede's School
Hailsham
Bedford School
Bedford
Benenden School
Cranbrook
Bredon School
Tewkesbury
Brighton College
Brighton
Bruern Abbey Senior School
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Canford
Wimborne
Caterham School
Caterham
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham
Chetham's School of Music - Middle School & Sixth Form
Manchester
Chigwell Senior School
Chigwell
Claremont Senior School & Sixth Form
Nr. Robertsbridge
Clayesmore School
Blandford Forum
Clifton College
Clifton
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh
Dauntsey's
Devizes
Dean Close School
Cheltenham
Denstone College
Uttoxeter
DLD College London
South Bank
Downe House
Thatcham
Eastbourne College
Eastbourne
Embley Senior School & Sixth Form
Romsey
Eton College
Windsor
Framlingham College
Framlingham
Frensham Heights School
Farnham
Giggleswick School
Settle
Godolphin
Salisbury
Gordonstoun
Elgin
Gresham's School
Holt
Harrow School
Harrow
Heathfield School
Ascot
Hurstpierpoint College
Hassocks
Ipswich School
Ipswich
Kingswood School
Bath
Lancing College
Lancing
Langley Senior School at Loddon
Norwich
Leighton Park School
Reading
Lord Wandsworth College
Hook
Malvern College
Malvern
Malvern St James
Great Malvern
Marlborough College
Marlborough
Marymount International School London
Kingston Upon Thames
Mayfield School
Mayfield
Moreton Hall
Oswestry
Prior's Field
Godalming
Queen Anne's School, Caversham
Reading
Queen Mary's Senior School
Thirsk
Radley College
Abingdon
Repton School
Repton
Royal Russell School
Croydon
Rugby School
Rugby
Saint Felix School
Southwold
Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks
Shiplake College
Henley-on-Thames
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
St George's School, Ascot
Ascot
St Lawrence College
Ramsgate
St Mary's Calne
Calne
St Peter's School York
York
St Swithun's School
Winchester
Stonyhurst College
Clitheroe
Taunton School
Taunton
The King's School, Canterbury
Canterbury
The Leys School
Cambridge
Thornton College
Milton Keynes
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge
Wellington College
Crowthorne
Wells Cathedral School
Wells
Whitgift School
South Croydon


Bede's School
Hailsham
Benenden School
Cranbrook
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Canford
Wimborne
Chigwell Senior School
Chigwell
Downe House
Thatcham
Eastbourne College
Eastbourne
Eton College
Windsor
Framlingham College
Framlingham
Frensham Heights School
Farnham
Gresham's School
Holt
Heathfield School
Ascot
Leighton Park School
Reading
Malvern College
Malvern
Marlborough College
Marlborough
Marymount International School London
Kingston Upon Thames
Mayfield School
Mayfield
Prior's Field
Godalming
Queen Anne's School, Caversham
Reading
Saint Felix School
Southwold
Shiplake College
Henley-on-Thames
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
St George's School, Ascot
Ascot
St Mary's Calne
Calne
St Swithun's School
Winchester
Thornton College
Milton Keynes
Truro School
Truro
Wells Cathedral School
Wells
Whitgift School
South Croydon


Ackworth School
Pontefract
Ampleforth College
York
Ardingly College
Haywards Heath
Badminton School
Bristol
Battle Abbey School
Battle
Bede's School
Hailsham
Bedford School
Bedford
Bredon School
Tewkesbury
Brighton College
Brighton
Bruern Abbey Senior School
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Caterham School
Caterham
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham
Chetham's School of Music - Middle School & Sixth Form
Manchester
Chigwell Senior School
Chigwell
Claremont Senior School & Sixth Form
Nr. Robertsbridge
Clayesmore School
Blandford Forum
Clifton College
Clifton
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh
Dean Close School
Cheltenham
Denstone College
Uttoxeter
Dulwich Cranbrook - Senior School
Cranbrook
Eastbourne College
Eastbourne
Embley Senior School & Sixth Form
Romsey
Framlingham College
Framlingham
Frensham Heights School
Farnham
Giggleswick School
Settle
Godolphin
Salisbury
Gordonstoun
Elgin
Gresham's School
Holt
Hurstpierpoint College
Hassocks
Ipswich School
Ipswich
King's Ely
Ely
Kingswood School
Bath
Lancing College
Lancing
Langley Senior School at Loddon
Norwich
Lord Wandsworth College
Hook
LVS Ascot Senior School
Ascot
Malvern College
Malvern
Malvern St James
Great Malvern
Moreton Hall
Oswestry
Queen Mary's Senior School
Thirsk
Repton School
Repton
Royal Russell School
Croydon
Rugby School
Rugby
Saint Felix School
Southwold
St Lawrence College
Ramsgate
St Mary's Calne
Calne
St Peter's School York
York
St Swithun's School
Winchester
Stonyhurst College
Clitheroe
Sutton Valence School
Maidstone
Taunton School
Taunton
The King's School, Canterbury
Canterbury
The Leys School
Cambridge
Thornton College
Milton Keynes
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge
Truro School
Truro
Wellington College
Crowthorne
Wells Cathedral School
Wells


Ardingly College
Haywards Heath
Bedford School
Bedford
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
Gresham's School
Holt
Leighton Park School
Reading
Malvern College
Malvern
Marymount International School London
Kingston Upon Thames
Rugby School
Rugby
Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
Stonyhurst College
Clitheroe
Taunton School
Taunton
Wellington College
Crowthorne
Whitgift School
South Croydon


Why choose a senior boarding school?
The right education and environment at a senior school is extremely important for future development. While senior boarding may seem a daunting prospect for prospective pupils, the home-away-from home environment offers plenty of benefits.

By staying in boarding houses, pupils develop heaps of new life skills that help foster independence and responsibility. For instance, daily tasks and activities usually completed by the parents are now the responsibility of the child. Pupils are also expected to take responsibility for their learning with the support of top academic staff. These expectations help pupils develop greater discipline and self-confidence. Students are also able to engage with activities inside and outside the classroom in a supportive and diverse community setting, providing the perfect foundation for social development.

Another reason to choose boarding is the top-class education offered to pupils thanks to expert academic teachers. These professionals have high educational standards and will provide supportive and highly tailored teaching. Many boarding schools offer both A-levels and the International Baccalaureate, ensuring pupils can discover their passion, achieve fantastic exam results and are well-prepared for further education and their future career.

Co-curricular boarding activities
A key element of boarding school life is the scope of cross-curricular activities available to pupils outside the classroom. Whether it be sailing or cookery, dance or badminton, each school offers different activities that make up a large part of the boarding experience. It’s important to discuss with your child what they would be interested in taking part in outside of class. Decide upon the perfect boarding school that specialises in these cross-curricular activities.

Which senior boarding school should I choose?
With each boarding school offering a unique experience, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your child. 

Here are our top things to consider when choosing a senior boarding school:

  • Boarding preference. You should consider the type of school and boarding experience best suited to your child. Whether it be a co-education or single-gender setting, full, weekly, flexi or B&B boarding, different schools will offer different rooms and facilities which may allow your child to flourish in different ways. 
  • Education quality. Educational quality should also be a key factor when choosing a boarding school. What specific subjects does the school perform better or worse in? 
  • Location. The school's location should play a key part in the decision process. How far away from home is your child comfortable staying? Would they be better suited to a busy city or rural countryside environment? 
  • Boarding admissions process. Once you have chosen the right senior boarding school for your child, it’s time to start the admissions process. We recommend you aim to start looking by the time your child is around nine or ten years old. While this may seem early, boarding schools receive a massive number of applicants – and early entry ensures your child has the best chance of getting into the boarding school they want amidst high competition for places. While all schools have a registration form, every senior school conducts its admissions process differently. Many ask your child to sit the IESB pre-test to understand a prospective pupil’s ability and future potential. Other schools may also ask for a face-to-face interview or look for references from previous schools.
FAQ’s

What is a day like in a senior boarding school?
While each child’s experience may be different, boarding school days tend follow an organised structure of lessons, meals, breaks, and free periods – allowing for a fantastic balance of schoolwork and free time to meet new people, take part in unique cross-curriculum activities and grow as an individual. 

Which is better: boarding or day school?

While no school is perfect for every child, there are distinct advantages of sending your child to a senior boarding school. With round-the-clock educational support and a massive range of cross-curricular activities offered, boarding schools provide additional opportunities for your child to develop as an individual, achieve academic success, and discover their future career path.