Promoting a diverse, all-encompassing curriculum that covers everything from science to the arts, sports to modern languages, humanities to technology and everything in between, boarding schools allow students to develop every aspect of themselves that makes them valued and unique. Offering warm and inclusive environments where the value of the individual is not determined by the extent of their abilities, but rather by everything that makes them who they truly are, they provide the right space for young ones to grow into the best possible version of themselves.
Where academic excellence, personal development and university preparation are concerned, there is little question that boarding education surpasses virtually every other form of schooling. Pupils want the freedom to excel in the areas for which they have passion and interest, while parents seek an education that’s more in tune with each child’s unique needs and skill — boarding schools fit this bill.
Throughout the years, boarding schools have earned their notability, providing highly-regulated and highly-reputed standards of education in varied locations. No matter where you are in the world, it’s reassuring to know that your child is receiving first-class academic support. Here are four boarding schools that offer the ideal home away from home, combining modern facilities with excellent pastoral care in a caring community.
Shebbear College is more than just a school; it’s a community surrounded by rural North Devon countryside, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, dramatic moors and historic cities. At this vibrant day and boarding school for boys and girls aged three to 18, located in a picturesque area of Devon between Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, pupils have every opportunity to enjoy the healthy fresh air as they fulfil their academic potential.
Shebbear College pupils consistently achieve excellent A Level, BTEC and GCSE results and each year pupils go on to study at Russell Group and Oxbridge universities. However, education isn’t limited to the classroom — it’s woven into the fabric of the school community. Pupils have the freedom to challenge themselves, take risks, and develop a wide variety of skills fit for their future, wherever that may be.
Here, thanks to its smaller size and passionate teachers, every teacher knows every child. This is where a student’s authentic interests and deep curiosity meet uniquely supportive and engaged educators. Meaningful and individualised learning follows, providing more specific and structured support, especially for students with a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.
Life at Shebbear College is busy, filled with academic ambition, athletic activities and outdoor adventure. Bonds created between students in the boarding houses and common rooms, while practising for an athletics match or arts performance, and all the little moments in-between, define the Shebbear experience. “At Shebbear College, we believe in a broad, all-round education where we cultivate and foster enthusiasm and optimism in every individual,” says Head Caroline Kirby. To learn more about this safe, supportive environment where pupils develop self-worth and achieve their full potential, click here.
With Christ at its centre, Downside School is a leading Catholic independent school for girls and boys based in rural Somerset, just outside of Bath. The school aims to be a bright light in the world of education, emphasising the importance of moral courage, integrity and service to others.
Downside School’s academic programme is focused on what matters most in learning — relevance, enduring understanding, and multidisciplinary insight. Students are encouraged to look beyond their current strengths and interests, harness their natural intellectual curiosity and explore new avenues for learning.
Here, pupils live and learn in an environment that builds character. With over 100 co-curricular activities, clubs and societies options to choose from, there is something for everyone. Downside School believes in the value of sports in a balanced life and strives for all pupils to gain the maximum benefit from their wide array of athletic activities including hockey, girls’ netball, boys’ cricket, tennis, football, cross-country running, athletics, swimming, riding and so forth.
“The highest standards are aimed for in sport, both in terms of performance and sportsmanship, while our tradition of inspired productions in the arts is second-to-none,” says headmaster Andrew Hobbs.
Prior Park College
With a mission to provide Christian education of the highest quality to boarders and day students, Prior Park College understands that education is about growing as a person. It is a co-educational senior catholic school in Bath, and home to students ages ages 11 to 18.
“At Prior Park, every child is known, valued and cared for. We provide an outstanding, rounded education for each of our students and encourage them to embrace all the opportunities on offer,” says headmaster Ben Horan. The school’s academic departments have considerable scope for independence. It is this independence and diversity that colours the curriculum, motivates teachers and invites pupils to Prior Park to explore, read, reflect, debate, create and innovate.
Surrounded by acres of fields, a state-of-the-art sports centre complete with an impressive fitness suite, indoor swimming pool, all-weather pitch, rugby and cricket pitches, indoor and outdoor tennis and netball courts, Prior Park offers a breadth of sporting opportunities to match every interest and ability. Specialised coaches are recruited from ex-internationals in both hockey and rugby — they help pupils of all ability achieve the highest standards and for a shot at competing for their school, or at the county, regional and international level.
Sherborne School is a British independent boys’ private boarding and day school, in north-west Dorset for ages 13 to 18. The school aims to provide outstanding education in a community that is based on Christian values — focusing on academic rigour, developing intellectual curiosity and nurturing the desire to learn independently.
“We are a strong community, in which intellectual inquiry is prized, sporting achievement celebrated, and artistic and musical endeavour deeply valued,” says headmaster Dr. Dominic Luckett.
As one of the UK’s largest, co-educational schools for 11-18-year-olds, this is where pupils receive an outstanding, well-rounded education and a vast amount of co-curricular opportunities. In Year Eight, Careers Education begins where pupils cover covers a range of work-based topics to develop future goals and to sharpen their soft and hard skills.
Extra support is provided for international students via the English as an Additional Language (EAL) curriculum, which includes coaching for the Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) exam, IGCSE English as a Second Language and International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
All of the above make for an impressive university application, as the trajectories of past students demonstrate. “Most of our students go on to top universities to achieve excellent degrees, building on their love for learning that began here at Prior Park,” says Horan.
*Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International