Why choose a state boarding school?
State boarding schools in the UK often have the feel of a traditional (and costly) boarding school, whilst fees amount to around a third less than such institutions. Like full fee-paying boarding schools, state boarding schools allow parents to prioritise their children’s education, giving them access to world-class teaching, sporting opportunities, and extensive co-curricular.
Much like independent boarding schools, state boarding schools have a longer school day than state day schools, with students taking part in various sports, clubs, and extra-curricular activities – in turn allowing children more time to connect with their peers and learn new skills. For parents, the option of their children being able to board (even if just during the week) means long working hours are no longer an issue, and they do not have to worry about overseeing homework, music practice, and prepping a packed lunch.
The quality of education is a clear benefit of state boarding schools, with the State Boarding Schools Association
finding that over 80% of parents choose state boarding because of the high academic quality. Whilst the education side of things is funded by the government, the structure of how classes are taught is very different to state day schools. Curriculums followed are the same, however, class sizes are smaller, specialist academics come from across the country (and sometimes the world) to teach there and the variety of subjects available tends to be greater.
Who can apply to a state boarding school?
As of January 2021, UK state boarding schools are no longer accepting applicants from EU Nationals. Places are limited to children with a full UK passport, or those with the right of residence in the UK. International students are still able to apply whilst living outside of the UK on the premise that they hold a UK passport or residence permit. Most will also require a guardian to be living in the UK for exeat weekends, bank holidays, and half-terms, when there is not enough time to fly back home.
What to consider when choosing a state boarding school?
When choosing the best UK state boarding school for your child, several key factors warrant consideration to ensure the best fitt education.
- Academics and extra-curricular. Not every boarding school offers the same educational experience. Factors such as extracurricular activities offered and facilities available can significantly enrich your child’s experience and holistic development in education.
- Community and environment. You should also look at the boarding environment and its suitability for your child's personality and preferences. Factors such as boarding house accommodation, pastoral care, SEND facilities, and the overall community atmosphere can foster a supportive and nurturing environment.
- Parent travel distance. Considering the distance you're willing to travel for events such as concerts, parent meetings, sports matches, and weekend pickups is crucial when selecting a school.
If you have any questions about state boarding, our expert advisory team
is here to help. We can assist you in finding the perfect school that fits your child’s needs and guide you through the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can my child attend state boarding?
The age a student can start UK state boarding varies between different schools. While some schools can offer full boarding from Year 3 (age 7), most boarding starts at senior school age (ages 11-16 or 18).
How are state boarding schools regulated?
Every three years, Ofsted conducts a thorough inspection of state school boarding facilities, pastoral care, and teaching standards. These reports showcase the continued school improvements to parents.