While London is often considered the be all and end all for everything in the United Kingdom, including academics and school choices, there are a lot of benefits to studying in smaller cities and towns. This includes things like a better sense of community and safety, increased access to greener and cleaner outdoor life, and lower costs of living and boarding. Read on to discover some of the main benefits of studying in a UK destination outside of London:
1. Feeling of safety
Small towns and communities often provide a feeling of safety that larger cities do not. The incidence of theft or any other disturbance is usually significantly less in smaller populations and this can be a welcome feature for many parents. Life in country or regional areas also provides a sense of community that is compounded even further by the tight knit nature of the boarding school family.
2. Outdoor life
Students that opt for regional boarding schools are often treated to significant tracts of countryside or land near or at the school. High rise, over crowding, and shops can tend to dominate in cities like London, whereas living in a regional area can not only reduce the environmental pollution for students, but also remove them from distractions of shopping and entertainment districts and provide them better access to greener outdoor areas and living.
3. Larger spaces
The larger campuses that dominate the regional parts of the UK also allow space for excellent facilities at the school. Beyond the school buildings and roomy boarding areas, many of them also have extensive playing fields and may incorporate their own swimming pools and specialist features such as a golf course or clay pigeon shooting range. In inner city schools students may need to travel to utilise such a vast array of facilities.
Moving around outside London is generally a lot faster and cheaper than in the city thanks to lower populations and less congestion. While most facilities students require will be on their boarding school campus, it does mean excursions are far less demanding on time and money. Thanks to the larger campuses many regional schools enjoy, it can also mean that students do not have to leave the school grounds so much to utilise resources.
London is generally a lot more expensive than other cities and these costs can flow into the school systems and thus to students themselves. Therefore choosing a regional boarding school can be a good economic choice.
6. Work experience
While London does offer a lot of links with businesses, work experience and even internships, not all companies have headquarters based in the capital and it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities in other quarters. Boarding schools work hard to establish links to provide their students with an array of options and will make it possible for students to gain work experience. It can also be the case that there is too much competition in London for the positions that are available.
The schools listed below combine many of these aforementioned characteristics and are a good choice for a boarding school outside London:
STRATHALLAN SCHOOL, PERTHSHIRE, SCOTLAND
This Scottish boarding school is just seven miles from Perth with easy access to Edinburgh and Glasgow international airports. Strathallan School is situated on 153 acres, which provides its students not only with a wonderful natural environment right on their doorstep, but provides an array of facilities such as the 19th Century country house where the school is centred, a swimming pool, boarding houses, dining hall, chapel, medical centre and art school. Strathallan is proud of its academic achievements with emphasis on an all-round education and has a strong focus on theatre, sports and dance. The school boasts new indoor sport facilities, nine rugby pitches, three cricket squares and kayaking. It is also building a new dance and drama studio, which is due to be ready by Easter 2016.
SHERBORNE SCHOOL, DORSET
Sherborne School is located in Dorset, only two hours and 20 minutes London. The city can easily be reached by road or rail with high speed international trains and flights within easy reach. This provides students with not only a stately country experience but full access to the nation’s capital, Europe and the rest of the world. Sherborne was built on the site of a former Benedictine monastery and the ethos of community building in their tradition runs strong in the school to this day. At Sherborne the boys, their parents and staff are all considered an important part of the school community and are encouraged to play active roles in all aspects of school life and events. Sherborne students are also encouraged to be active members of the wider town community, assist in local events and respect local residents.
BADMINTON SCHOOL, BRISTOL
This day and boarding school for girls is located in the heart of Bristol next to the Durdham Downs. This 220 acre area of grassland is popular for sports, picnics and outdoor events with the wider public and provides Badminton students a leafy and green environment to learn and develop as individuals. While the school is located in the city, it is enclosed with a stone wall, ensuring both safety and security but also ready access to the cosmopolitan and vibrant city of Bristol in England’s south. Badminton is home to around 450 pupils and the small community feel is considered paramount to the girls’ sense of happiness and welfare. Music, drama, creative arts and sport are all valued at Badminton to create healthy individuals in both mind and body. The ample space on campus provides room for excellent sports facilities. Drama and the creative arts are encouraged, and the school benefits from involvement in local drama groups or trips to performance venues either within Bristol or further afield.
WELLINGTON COLLEGE, BERKSHIRE
Wellington College is widely considered one of the best coeducational day and boarding schools in the world. It is located in Crowthorne, close to Reading, on a 400 acre estate that is only 30 miles from Heathrow Airport in London. This gives students ready access to all the benefits of city life and services while being able to enjoy the quiet and ample grounds of the school that include a golf course and woodland. The school is home to some 1,000 pupils and encourages high standards and academic achievement, but also places value on community service, sports and other outlets such as its television station, radio show, magazine, debating, Duke of Edinburgh awards and Model United Nations. All life at Wellington is centred around the five core values of kindness, courage, integrity, respect and responsibility.
Uppingham is a co-educational boarding school for students aged 13-18 years located in the East Midlands. Train and bus services near the school mean it’s within easy reach of London, while the nearest airports like Birmingham and East Midlands are only an hour away. Uppingham is renowned for its wide range of activities, “total curriculum” education and pastoral care. Students are divided into 15 houses that become very much an extended home with a housemaster or mistress and their families, who live adjacent to the students in their care. Each house eats together every night but also welcomes visitors and rotating staff. Uppingham has an enormous number of playing fields that cover some 65 acres and a new sports centre with a hall, swimming pool, fitness studio, squash courts, gymnasium and dance studios. There’s also a shooting range and a climbing wall. Students at Uppingham are also involved in music and the performing arts, service activities and charitable work.
Images via Strathallan School