4 UK state boarding schools where great learning meets affordability
Source: Wymondham College

State boarding schools offer the best of many worlds. Like independent schools, the best state providers offer world-class teaching, comprehensive facilities, and keen pastoral care. They are comparatively cheaper too, as students only need to pay for boarding. Parents with full-time jobs not only save money but can better manage their time as a family together. 

With around 40 state boarding schools in the UK alone, finding a genuinely fitting school for your child can feel like a difficult task. There are many important factors to consider, such as how far the school is from home, what are the activities scheduled after classes and on weekends, the ratio of full boarders to day pupils, and more.

To help, we’ve selected the four best state boarding schools in the UK below:

Wymondham College

Source: Wymondham College

Wymondham College

 Wymondham College is a fantastic place to live, learn and grow. The largest state boarding school in the country, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, provides a truly holistic education that lets its students achieve the very best. This is an environment in which children absolutely flourish.

Students pursue an academic programme that is world-class and all-rounded — the kind that leads them to achieve results that are amongst the very highest nationally. The academic offering is enhanced by a unique and extensive enrichment programme (Wymondham Life) with over 70 activities a week and international trips, such as scuba diving, exploring Kenyan safaris, and more.

The university-like campus, nestled in an 83-acre site in a beautiful location, is surrounded by stunning Norfolk countryside and award-winning beaches, and is just a stone’s throw from the historic city of Norwich. There are good transport links and London’s airports are only an hour and a half away. The boarding houses provide a home away from home, where students feel a true sense of belonging, creating warm and diverse communities in its dynamic spaces brought alive by friendly competitions, debates and performances.

Wymondham College provides students with the opportunity to broaden horizons, deepen their learning, and create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. The heavily invested reading strategy and pastoral staff make all this possible. They ensure the college is a safe place for students to find their identity, with 24/7 medical centre, a wellbeing team, as well as House staff living on site. Learn more about Wymondham College here.

Liverpool College

Source: Liverpool College

Liverpool College

Located in the city’s heart, Liverpool College offers an education rated “outstanding” in Ofsted’s last inspection in November 2019. The school is guided by its vision to empower every student to thrive and begin their life’s journey with knowledge, confidence, direction, and a strong moral purpose.

This is accomplished by constantly striving for the highest standards and by developing and delivering a unique, diverse, challenging, and comprehensive curriculum for students — both inside and outside the classroom. The whole student is educated here, through various sports, arts, leadership, and spiritual development programmes.

At Liverpool College, all students are encouraged to achieve their dreams. For this to happen, teachers take their time to get to know each student’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses. 

Pastoral care, as well as opportunities for competition and leadership growth, are available every step of the way. The school focuses on the individual student’s needs and progress, supporting and encouraging them to challenge themselves and reach their full potential.

“We intend for every pupil, whatever their background or ability to leave Liverpool College not only with the best possible academic qualifications and skills for university and further education and training but also with the character, love of learning and confidence to lead a happy, productive and fulfilling life,” says Principal H van Mourik Broekman.

Holyport College

Holyport College is not just a school, but a place to improve. At this co-educational day and boarding school, students aged 11 to 19 years pursue a joyous and inclusive education.

They have the opportunity to explore a wide range of academic subjects and obtain relevant qualifications across those subjects. The curriculum is “unashamedly academic” with students expected to take up to 10 GCSEs including the English Baccalaureate (English, Maths, Science, Geography or History and a Modern Foreign Language).

The goal is not just to prepare more academically able students for access to Oxford and Cambridge and Russell Group universities, but for each student to evolve into well-qualified, well-balanced, and well-educated individuals. 

The journey to get there involves school days that are longer than traditional day schools — but also more fulfilling. The co-curriculum schedule is full and varied, with many activities taking place in the evenings or at weekends as well as in the afternoons. 

It’s a happy, vibrant and ambitious community to be — something that the school is committed to sustain. “We are exceptionally proud of our partnership with Eton College. Through this partnership, the lives and education of every student at Holyport College are significantly enriched on a regular basis,” says Ben McCarey, Head Master. 

“That said, Holyport College is not Eton College: we have an identity of our own which is unique, exciting and a little bit quirky.”

Beechen Cliff School

A high-achieving state day and boarding school for boys in Years 7 to 11, Beechen Cliff is where students achieve their goals, lead fulfilling lives and make positive contributions to society. 

An exceptional, all-round education, both in terms of high academic standards and an incredible range of extra-curricular opportunities, makes this possible.

The boys’ school has many years of experience when it comes to developing future leaders. Here, teachers encourage boys to grow and mature at their own pace using educational strategies that address their specific learning styles. They understand the varied and complex world of 10th graders and young people preparing for college.

A thirst for knowledge and research is essential and is encouraged in each student — allowing their intellectual, physical, and creativity capabilities to grow.

Developing these qualities takes a team — something Beechen Cliff knows well. 

“Our pastoral care is based around our House system and we work incredibly hard to ensure our pupils are known, understood and feel both valued and supported in school,” says Headteacher T D Markall. 

“Our pupils benefit from high quality teaching and pastoral care through working with a committed, experienced and caring team of staff.”

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