UK boarding schools
Source: The Royal Russell School

A boarding school is a hub for learning. Many offer ample spaces for students to stretch themselves and put their classroom learning into practice. This includes facilities like performing arts spaces, science labs, athletic fields and more. This dynamic learning environment allows boarding school students to fully discover what their talents, strengths and skills are — be it in the arts, theatres, sports, music or robotics.

Living on campus adds another perk. Pupils are more plugged-in to the school community and have more opportunities to join clubs, attend campus events, meet new people and develop friendships. It fosters an atmosphere where students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and discover creatively — some of the top skills you need to thrive in the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Away from the temptations of staring mindlessly at computer screens and phones, children at boarding schools grow their curiosity in a healthy way. They challenge themselves and learn the value of working towards clear goals — whether it’s improving their kicking leg for football, cooking fine food or becoming a strategy board game superstar.

When done right, boarding schools are places where young talent can flourish. Little surprise then that many graduates are now distinguished leaders in their chosen fields, from Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne to the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. These four well-reputed UK boarding schools can provide just that springboard to success for your children:

Royal Russell School

Thirty minutes from Central London and conveniently connected to London’s airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, Royal Russell School (RRS) has been attracting pupils seeking a happy, safe and stimulating environment since 1853. At this family school, nestled in 110 acres of stunning woodland, an outstanding range of exciting opportunities are available for day students and boarders aged three to 18 year old. Royal Russell School enjoys the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and is very proud of this long-standing relationship. Her Majesty remains an example of the importance of service and community, which is reflected in the school motto: not for oneself, but for all.

UK boarding schools

Source: The Royal Russell School

From academic programmes to an extensive lineup of co-curricular activities, all are supported by a team of experienced staff who focus on each individual’s talents and strengths, providing expertise, knowledge, time and effort to ensure an outstanding student experience. By knowing every child, Royal Russell School ensures students achieve success at each stage of the learning journey, from Nursery through to the Sixth Form and beyond.

Headmaster Chris J. Hutchinson is proud of the education Royal Russell offers students, commenting, “Our girls and boys are provided with an exceptional educational experience and, in a society seemingly obsessed with data and targets, it is all too easy to lose sight of what an exceptional education actually means. Our pupils matter to us and they are nurtured, valued and praised, as well as challenged and stretched.”

Royal Russell’s bespoke pastoral care stood out in its ISI Inspection Report: “Strong and supportive relationships between teachers and pupils make an excellent contribution to pupils’ learning. Most teaching is characterised by a brisk pace and high levels of challenge for the pupils.” It further described the school’s provision for children’s well-being as “excellent,” as is the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. “Pupils benefit from excellent systems of pastoral care, which depend on all staff to support and guide pupils and contribute to the family atmosphere.” Learn more about Royal Russell School here.

Bellerbys College

This all-international college offers unrivalled access and preparation for the UK’s most prestigious universities for pupils aged 16 and above. This can start even before pupils arrive in the UK. International Foundation pupils receive a personalised invitation to apply to up to 11 partner universities together with their offer to study at Bellerbys. With the Bellerbys Foundation programme, pupils can choose from eleven subject pathways and are assured of either conditional or guaranteed progression, subject to meeting other requirements, to top UK universities, including those ranked in the top 10 of The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. Those seeking access to the highest-ranking universities, such as Oxbridge, can opt for the A Level programme. To progress to the second year of a business degree, choose the International Year 1, which is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate programme.

UK boarding schools

Source: Bellerbys College

Whether they choose to study in vibrant Brighton, urban London, or virtually from home, all will be taught by specialist tutors and have a wide range of enrichment activities outside the classroom to broaden their interests, develop their knowledge and make them stand out in their UCAS applications.

Support here is unparalleled. All teachers and staff help students successfully navigate their unique social, personal, and academic demands. As almost everyone speaks English as a second or third language and is transitioning to a whole new way of life — from education styles to syllabus, from academic expectations to cultural nuances — the college’s caring approach and over 60 years of experience make all the difference for international students to get the most out of their time abroad.

No detail is too small — throughout the entire application process, the Student Enrolment Advisors and Admissions team provide advice and support on booking accommodation and arranging airport transfers. There is English language tuition and support to make sure pupils are prepared for their chosen programmes. Living and learning in this truly international environment, pupils gain confidence in reading, writing and speaking the English language. To learn more about the college’s well-rounded education trusted by universities and tailor-made for international students, click here.

Royal Masonic School 

Founded in 1788, the Royal Masonic School (RMS) offers young women from age two through to 18 a chance to better themselves and the world around them. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, RMS is well-renowned for its dedicated teachers, strong community and belief in the importance of individual passions. “We understand that examination grades are only one ingredient in success and that young women need self-belief, integrity and resilience to thrive in the real world,” says headmaster Kevin Carson. 

UK boarding schools

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Over 100 full, weekly and flexi boarders thrive in three boarding houses, where girls are allocated by year group.They enjoy a lively range of extra-curricular activities and, most importantly, superb pastoral care from highly experienced house staff. An experienced team of staff takes care of each house, fostering a homely and supportive community. As one parent says, “RMS’s approach to education and pastoral care supported and enabled my daughter to become the amazing young women she is today.”

The school also encourages learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, where students are urged to take part in sports like netball, hockey, swimming, gymnastics, badminton, tennis, and athletics. RMS is less than an hour from all major London airports and 30 minutes by train from the cultural wealth of central London. Its 215 acre site offers rural tranquillity and beauty within easy distance of all major transport links. 

Kingswood School

Kingswood School is a day and boarding school that balances academic rigour with pastoral care so pupils get to develop in all aspects of their lives. Located in Bath, England, it offers an engaging and empowering academic experience in a safe and caring community environment, supporting individual student growth and development. With a track record of impressive exam results, students are certified for success after Kingswood School. 

UK boarding schools

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Kingswood celebrates the process of learning, rather than the outcome. This inclusive institution consists of a Prep School (nine months to 11 years) and a Senior School (11 to 18 years), offering a broad and holistic education with boarding from age seven. 

In its last inspection by the ISI in 2019, the report stated: “the quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent” and “the quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent”. They also stated that “children are particularly able to develop their independence, creativity, language and physical skills through playing co-operatively in the role play areas and outdoor adventure area”.

The school offers over 100 co-curricular activities each term, helping students discover new talents, improve existing skills, work as part of a team and find activities and hobbies they enjoy. Often, these pastimes thrive long past school and become lifelong interests. The school provides a broad range of opportunities like the annual Bath Schools Model United Nations conference, Young Enterprise, street dance, badminton, climbing, Kingswood Radio, computer programming, football training and Aikido.

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