4 UK schools building resilient minds for 21st century challenges

The best UK boarding schools offer a holistic education that provides multiple opportunities within and beyond the classroom. Led by experienced teachers and passionate support staff, these opportunities let young learners enjoy immeasurable personal growth in a critical phase of their lives.

Outside the classroom, they discover and learn more about themselves. Facilities such as performing art spaces, science labs, and athletic fields cater to learners of varying hobbies, passions and interests. In this dynamic learning environment, students discover what their talents, strengths and skills are.

Staying on campus adds another valuable layer to their education. Students are more engaged with their school community and can join more clubs and campus events. Pair this with an international student community, and you get learners who can think critically, communicate effectively, and discover creatively — some skills that will help them deal with tomorrow’s challenges. 

Here are four well-reputed UK schools that will prepare your child for the challenges of tomorrow:

Kingswood School 

Kingswood School students are constantly challenging themselves and being challenged. Source: Kingswood School

Kingswood School is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school located in the beautiful city of Bath. The school offers a balanced, multi-dimensional learning and living experience that prepares students (nine months to 18 years old) for the many vagaries of today’s world – and tomorrow’s. 

It all begins at its magnificent 200-acre site in Lansdown. Here, Prep School students pursue a curriculum that encourages active participation in lessons through discussions, practical activities, and role play, supplemented by visits to farms and the SS Great Britain, as well as a day at a chocolate factory. This holistic approach to education continues as they progress to Senior School

Pastoral care is the hallmark of Kingswood School. Happy children learn better and can thrive — this rings true here where every adult takes responsibility for knowing your child individually and for understanding how they learn, what makes them happy and how to support their development and wellbeing. International students from all over the world are welcomed and supported; their presence enriches curricula and the campus community.

Great support and great people make it easy for Kingswood School students to discover new talents, improve existing skills, work as part of a team and find activities and hobbies. Each term, over 100 co-curricular activities are offered, including an outstanding provision for sport, music and drama. Over the weekends, students participate in Model United Nations, script writing, fashion and textiles, kayaking, climbing or outdoor pursuits. 

If this is the future you envision for your child, click here to kick start their journey at Kingswood School.

Gordonstoun School

For over 80 years, the Gordonstoun School has been preparing students for life.

Here, they indulge their curiosity. Collaborate and innovate. Develop intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The school’s location on the Moray Coast in the North of Scotland provides a peaceful and safe campus experience that allows them to do all the above and more.

As the only school in the UK to have its own Fire Engine, Gordonstoun students get to work with rescue service personnel on real emergencies too. Source: Gordonstoun School

At this school described as “Outstanding” and “Sector leading” by HM Inspectors in 2019, pupils — including three generations of the British royal family — follow the English GCSE and A Level curricula. They do so in small classes, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 7:1, allowing space and time for extended learning and in-depth exploration of subject matter.

Learning continues outside the classroom, through an extensive array of athletic, artistic, and extracurricular opportunities, which include distinctive offerings such as sailing, expedition and community service. Plus, as the only school in the UK to have its own Fire Engine, students get to work with rescue service personnel on real emergencies too.

Another key feature? It’s big on pastoral care. HM Inspectors judged it to be “a model of best practice” and “outstanding”. Activities like the School Pipe Band give older children an opportunity to guide and lead younger children and help them feel that they’re part of the GS family. After Gordonstoun, students move on to university — including Oxford, Cambridge, Central Saint Martins, MIT and the Northern School of Music  — and into the world with confidence. They are ready.

Farringtons School

If you seek a boarding experience that offers the means to both escape and embrace the demands of the 21st century, a community that promotes Christian values, and historic buildings blended with state of the art facilities within a stone’s throw of central London, head to Farringtons School in Kent.

At Farringtons School, learning is neither limited to the classroom, nor measured solely by exam results. Source: Farringtons School

Steeped in history and tradition, but forward thinking in its approach, Farringtons School provides an outstanding all-round education. At this leading independent, co-​educational, day and boarding school for pupils aged three to 18, dedicated teachers help each pupil achieve their full academic potential.

For its competitive fees, students receive an impactful education. Small classes ensure each pupil develops the knowledge, skills and experience they need when it comes to their GCSE and A Level options. It’s a strategic approach – many Farringtonians progress to prestigious Russell Group universities.

English language support is available in various forms, from creative writing competitions and theatre trips to residential writing retreats and literary tours. A robust enrichment and cultural programme teaches the art of leadership and teamwork, as well as those all-important soft skills.

When they’re done honing their many talents at the end of their day, Farringtonians return to their “second home.” These small boarding houses – set upon safe and secure grounds – are where they are surrounded by a “family” of differing ages, nationalities and personalities.

Marymount International School

What sets the students of Marymount International School London apart from others? In this Catholic all-girls school, that also welcomes students of all religions and none, there are no limits to what students can achieve. Marymount London girls are bold, independent-thinking leaders and innovators, thanks to the school’s holistic International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

Source: Marymount International School

Marymount London’s distinctive character lies in the fusion of its RSHM (Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary) heritage and the IB philosophy, allowing girls to grow intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This IB-RSHM alchemy – resonant in its classrooms and boarding life – is powerful. It transforms girls into agents of their own formation, as seen in its alumni list of inquirers, communicators, risk takers and principled learners who possess a strong sense of self.

Thoughtful inquisitiveness about the world underpins the school’s academics and co-curricular activities. Both the IB Middle Years and Diploma programmes require students to put their gifts and talents at the service of others, which resonates with the school’s own mission to develop students who are firm in faith, vibrant in hope, rooted in love and one in service’

The IB’s emphasis on reflective and self-regulated practice, combined with a boarding school environment that promotes the development of courage, resourcefulness and resilience, enables Marymount girls to become principled changemakers in our world.

In an increasingly polarised world, Marymount girls are equipped for and committed to building respectful intercultural connections. No single nationality is dominant at Marymount London. The girls thrive in a strong tight-knit community of 250 students between the ages of 11 to 18 coming from over 40 countries. Each girl is encouraged to embrace her own culture and is heard for exactly who she is, which nurtures empathetic communication between different linguistic and cultural traditions. 

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