UK boarding schools
Source: St Mary's School

The British boarding school experience is known for providing not just great academic outcomes that get pupils into top universities — but also for how it sets them up for dynamic careers.

At boarding schools, learning takes place inside and beyond classrooms, keeping pupils physically, socially and mentally stimulated. With no commute worries and no limits to one’s home country’s public education system, pupils are free to explore their passions, often with expert teachers and staff who live on campus. 

Students also receive excellent pastoral care, adopt a sense of independence at an early age, and improve their social skills — all of which serve as an excellent foundation for the vagaries of professional life and a globalised world.

If this is the future you want for your child, consider the boarding schools below:

St Mary’s School Cambridge

St Mary’s School Cambridge is where girls aim high, follow their dreams and make a positive contribution to society. The day and boarding school for girls aged three to 18 values, supports and inspires girls to aim high and achieve more — not just in exams, but in life. “Pupils make strong progress across the range of subjects and are highly successful in their achievements beyond the classroom in a range of activities encompassing different interests,” wrote an ISI Report 2022.

Such results — from what’s known as one of the best schools in the UK — are born out of a love for learning. At this accredited World Class High Performance Learning School (HPL) — across its Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form — being curious, enterprising and creative is the norm. Students experience multiple opportunities and develop their own passions across a broad and creative curriculum. They see the best of STEM learning come to life, whether in the schools’ own Stem Lab, at the many resources on our doorstep such as Cambridge’s famous Mathematical Bridge, or further afield at venues including the National Space Centre, the Institute of Astronomy, or the BT Headquarters, where they meet life-size robots.

“I also love the lessons and the teachers being really motivated to do what they’re doing, being positive and being willing to help you until you’ve understood the lesson materials and doing one-on-ones with you if you need,” says boarder Annika. “St Mary’s School Cambridge is the place where I can be me.” To learn more, interested parents can consider booking a place at St Mary’s School Cambridge Summer Open Events that allow both parents and children to experience learning through engaging, practical taster sessions.

UK boarding schools

Giggleswick School is one of the UK’s top co-educational day and boarding schools. Source: Giggleswick School

Giggleswick School

Recognised as one of the leading day and boarding schools in the north of England, Giggleswick School has created a space where students can develop their talents and become the best versions of themselves in a supportive environment. The Microsoft Showcase School’s campus in Settle, North Yorkshire is home to excellent facilities, a West End quality theatre, and a superb arts department, all in an extremely safe location.

Giggleswick School is a premium, traditional UK boarding school that focuses on diversity and inclusivity. Around 65 international students from 13 different countries learn in classes populated largely by locals, with expert English as an Additional Language support available, whenever needed. 

“At Giggleswick we equip young people with the skills and confidence they need to embrace the world beyond school and lead happy, fulfilling lives. Our approach to education combines excellent academic achievement, ambition and strong self-belief, creating well-rounded individuals with a lifelong desire to learn,” shares headmaster, Sam Hart.

Built on 500 years of heritage and a strong British boarding ethos, Giggleswick School offers the traditional UK curriculum and with stays from a minimum of two terms. Student are immersed into lessons based upon the UK curriculum — to great results. Eighty-five percent of senior students received an offer from a Russell Group institution.

At Giggleswick School, flexi boarding is practised. Students can choose to be a day pupil, a full boarder, 3 or 5-night flexi boarder or board occasionally according to their needs, lifestyles and budgets. To learn more, click here to go on a virtual tour around the campus.

UK boarding schools

Students at Lomond School learn in small classes and gain a bespoke education through the flexible and personalised approach to learning. Source: Lomond School

Lomond School

As the West of Scotland’s only boarding school, living and studying at Lomond School offers a truly unique experience for boys and girls from the UK and around the world.

Lomond School pupils benefit from a bespoke education, in an inspiring environment where they are known and nurtured. While academic performance is important, the School believes that skills gained beyond the classroom have equal value in preparing pupils for a successful future. At Lomond School every young person is supported to be the best they can be and is guided to find their own unique pathway.

In line with its forward-thinking and innovative approach to the curriculum, Lomond School has introduced two International Baccalaureate programmes (in addition to the existing SQA offering of Highers and Advanced Highers) at Senior 5: the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the IB Career-related Programme (IBCP). The IBCP incorporates an HNC in Business, providing young people with an excellent opportunity to complete an HNC qualification with the support and guidance of their teachers. Young people with an entrepreneurial nature, or who are interested in a career in business, can benefit greatly from this pathway.

In boarding, Lomond School’s young people are part of a welcoming and supportive family. Its boarding house, Burnbrae, provides a home from home with access to excellent recreational facilities and a network of house parents, tutors, matrons and teachers to guide and mentor every child in their school work and in life. Busy weekends of sport, trips and activities are balanced with time to relax and prepare for the week ahead and the modern, purpose-built boarding house provides a warm and comfortable environment to come home to each day.

The school motto “prospiciamus” encourages every young person to “look forward.” When the time comes to leave Lomond School, pupils do so with a sense of purpose and the skills required to succeed, whatever their future may hold. Click here to be a part of Lomond School’s community.

UK boarding schools

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate is the first school in the UK to receive the QEGUK Quality Assurance Validation award. Source: Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

Originally founded in 1912, Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate (QE) has proven itself to be an educational establishment worthy of the QEGUK Quality Assurance Validation – an award only bestowed on schools committed to the highest standards of performance where international student provision is concerned. It is the first school in the UK to have achieved this. 

Here, the Collegiate and its unique four-school model welcome girls and boys from as young as three months to become successful independent adults who are well prepared for the future. Lessons at QE are designed to meet the needs and strengths of students. These include practical investigations, debates and discussions, individual research and group projects. Coupling this with residential trips and charitable endeavours helps to develop personal and social skills that pupils will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

In a 2019 report by Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), QE was awarded the top grade of “Excellent” across all schools and areas. The success of its students reflects this – students in the College achieved 85% A*/A at A Level, and many go on to attend Russell Group universities upon graduation.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International