Best Boarding School In the UK For International Students

Are you looking for the best boarding school for International students in the UK? It takes a village to raise a child. This statement could not be any truer than in the scenario of picking a good school. Education is the cornerstone of society. A good education can set your child apart and create a dynamic path. 

The best schools are not always located in places where people need them. Sometimes you have to travel across borders and oceans to get the education you need for your family. Your child’s education is extremely important in moulding a blindingly bright future for them. You may be far from the school you are considering for your child, but this does not rule you out. You can still have your child attend the school you want in the UK, even if you are not there. 

There are great options for boarding schools that offer a well-rounded curriculum for your child or children. You can find schools that are tailor-made for your child’s needs and can identify special gifts and needs your child may have. With the wide variety in the UK, you can find a school with the perfect boarding facility that will give your child a feeling of home away from home. In this article, we take a look at some of the top schools and what they offer you and your family.

student workspace

Choosing the right boarding school for your child can be a daunting experience. There are several top boarding schools in the UK for international students.

These institutions tend to have varying fees that range from being manageable to shall we say “elite”. However, the cost does not always determine the quality of education.

The countless institutions tend to toss the mind of many parents overseas who want home-away-from home schools. Sending your child to a foreign nation to get a good education is not a decision to be taken lightly.

The rising number of prestigious schools has helped to open doors for international students by offering excellent education quality at affordable fees.

Quick Overview

Are you looking for a quick guide to choosing the best boarding school for international students in the UK? There are a couple of things you will need to consider when making this decision. First of all, check if it is for boys or girls. Also, understand the needs your child has and see if the school will offer those and help your child. Be diligent in understanding what the school offers in terms of curriculum as well as extracurricular activities. When you know this, you will also know if it is a good fit or not.

Happy student on her bed

A site visit to the school and orientation can also give you a clearer picture as to what is offered by the school. A prospectus is great, but going in person will be even better. Boarding school programs are also made for differently gifted children. Find out which programs the school you are looking at is offering. You want to check thoroughly because it is quite far from where you will be. You want to make sure your child will feel safe and free to learn what they need to learn and more. Check the school’s security policies as well for your peace of mind. The other thing you will need to ensure, is the mode of communication, especially if there is a language barrier.

Also, check on the transport options available. Does the school provide shuttle services to and from the nearest airports or bus stations? Your child will be travelling from outside the country and hence you will need to make sure that they can get to and from school safely.

10 Best Boarding Schools in the UK for International Students

Box Hill School

Box Hill School

It is an independent coeducational boarding and day school located in the village of Mickleham near Dorking. The school is suitable for students of age between 11 and 18 years.

The school can be accessed through direct Dorking and Leatherhead line from central London which takes about 40 minutes.

The institution has modern facilities that can accommodate over 300 students. The boarding students are assigned physical houses on their arrival for pastoral reasons.

The annual fees for boarding students tend to range between £9,170 and £11,700. Compare to the surrounding schools, this is much affordable.

In 2018, 54 per cent of GCSEs were A*-A/9-7. This is a clear indication that the school has a strong academic record when compared to others.

Besides that, the school tends to excel in extra curriculum activities such as indoor netball, basketball, badminton, hockey, volleyball, tennis, and football.

Some of the notable school alumni are Adrianne Harris, Annette Price, Anthony Wallace, Anna Alvero, and Alinta Bartholomew.


Bredon School

Bredon School

It is a small independent co-educational school offering both boarding and day services for students age between 7 and 18 years.

It is situated on the borders of Gloucestershire countryside and Worcestershire. The school not only accommodates students from the UK but also across the world.

The school has modern facilities that can contain about 220 pupils of which 40 per cent are boarders. Besides that, the institution support pupils with dyslexia and other learning challenges to achieve their goals.

The termly school fees range between £3,830 and £7,610 depending on the stage or grade. The boarding fee per term tends to be £4,580.

The school has a vibrant community of learners and this helps to promote happiness, healthiness, and confidence among young people.

The performance of the school is quite strong since 52 per cent of GCSEs graded A*-A/9-7 in the year 2017. This is the reason why it has become the centre of attraction in the world.

Besides the academic performance, the school also bragged in sports activities such as cross country running, basketball, cycling, golf, clay pigeon shooting and tennis among many others.

Some of the popular alumni of the school are John Hewitt, Tony Sharp and Hugh Jarrett among many others.


St Catherine’s, Bramley

St Catherine's, Bramley

This is an independent girl school located in the village of Bramley near Guildford. The institution is suitable for pupils of age between 4 and 18 years.

One amazing thing with the school is that it is divided into sections according to the age of the students. This is the reason behind attracting international students.

Those between the age of 4 and 11 attend preparatory school while those between 11 and 18 years attend senior school.

The current population of the school is over 600 of which 90 students are boarders while the rest day scholars.

The annual full boarding fees are about £29,490. The facilities of accommodation are modern and tend to meet the desires of many students.

The school is an academic powerhouse since about 91 per cent of the students were awarded A*-A grades. The result of the IGCSE is internationally recognized.

Some of the top-performing sports activities in the school are netball, tennis, swimming, and lacrosse. The institution also promotes hobbies like photography, ceramic, life-drawing and technology design.

Some of the notable school alumni are Davina McCall, Lily Travers, and Francine Stock among many others.


Stowe School

Stowe School

It is a coeducational school situated in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. The school was started as a boy school before the inclusion of the girls.

The school is highly accessible since it is quite easier for international students to locate it. It can be accessed by bus, car, and train. Those who want to arrive in private cars tend to have ample parking.

Those planning to use Stowe bus services then they can use Stagecoach Express X5 Cambridge-Oxford which passes via Milton Keynes Central and Bicester North. Or X60 bus which passes through Milton Keynes, Buckingham, and Aylesbury.

The bus service tends to alight at Buckingham and the school is about 3 miles away. You can either board a taxi or walk on foot.

Also, there is a regular train service from London Euston to Milton Keynes station which tends to take about 30 minutes ride. The school is about 16 miles from the station. You can take a taxi direct to Stowe school.


International students will be expected to pay a non-refundable registration fee. The amount payable for registration is £200.

The parents are required to check the school terms and conditions when the acceptance fees can be paid. The amount payable for acceptance place is £1,200 but international students will incur an additional cost of £11,500.

The fees per term tend to be variable since the school offers both boarding and day. Those boarding are required to pay £12,697 per term.


The school has a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as drama, music, sports, and cultural activities. These activities help the students to excel in all angles of life not only in education.

Some of the notable alumni of the school are Richard Branson, Henry Cavill, David Niven, Christopher Robin Milne, and Chelsy Davy.

Kimbolton School

It is a British HMC co-educational boarding and day school located in the countryside of Kimbolton Cambridgeshire. The institution is suitable for pupils of age between 4 and 18 years.

The school has about 700 students in senior school and 300 in preparatory school. The high number of students is a clear indication of quality education being offered.

The senior school is located on the castle while the preparatory in the village. However, the two sections are connected with ‘The Duchess Walk’.

The school fees for lower preparatory are £ 3 105, upper preparatory is £ 4 295 and senior full boarding is £ 8 940 per term. However, there is some additional cost for lunch which make the fee to shoot up.

The performance of the school according to the previous year was 56 per cent of grades were A*-A/9-7 at GCSE, and 58 per cent of grades were A*-A at A level.

Some of the popular sports activities at the school are tennis, crickets, rounder, girls’ netball, and boys’ hockey.

Some of the popular school alumni are Louise Brealey, William Giles, Mark Lancaster, Henry Peacham, and Raymond Lewin.


Truro High School

Truro High School

This is an independent boarding and day school situated in Truro Cornwall. It is a typical girl school divided into sections according to the age of the students.

The institution admits pupils in preparatory school, senior school, and sixth form. It has a vibrant community that facilitates collaboration and creativity.

The school attracts students from all walks of life not only in the UK but also for international students from across the world.

The school has about 250 students of which 45 are full boarders. The classes tend to be small and this help to teach A level students one on one.

According to the previous year result, A level results were 42 per cent graded A*-A and 82 per cent A*-B. GSCE result was also impressive such that 7 per cent were graded A*-A/9-7.

The annual fees for full boarders are about £26,337. Besides that, the school boost in extra curriculum activities such as music, swimming, netball, and tennis.

The notable school alumni are Neal McCarney, Diane Webster, Donald Robinson, Robert Atkinson, and Sandy McLane among many others.


Loughborough Grammar School

Loughborough Grammar School

This is an independent school typically meant for boys and it is located in Loughborough Leicestershire. The institution has about 972 boys of which 60 are boarders.

The school has a great reputation for offering scholarships for both natives and international students. It is regarded as the best destination for international students.

This is an academic powerhouse as per last year’s performance. Those students at A-Level had about 57 per cent being graded A*-A with 82 per cent graded A*-B.

Besides that, the institution boost from producing the best youngest engineer in the Design Technology department in the year 2017.

The annual fees for full boarders are £27,411 of which is manageable for those international students seeking to study in the UK.

Some of the dominant sports in the school are rugby, crickets, cross country running and football as well as music groups.

The notable school alumni are Sir Thomas Abney, Thomas Green, Richard Bowdler Sharpe, Julius Hare, and Sir William Coates among many others.


Mount Kelly School

Mount Kelly School

This is an independent coeducational boarding and day school located in Tavistock around the edge of Dartmoor National Park.

The school is suitable for pupils of age between 3 and 18 years. The institution aims to nurture, guide and inspire pupils to develop their skills and interest apart from offering quality education.

This prestigious school has around 311 pupils of which 174 are full boarders. The number is so high due to the presence of international students seeking accommodation.

The performance of the school is quite impressive such that 35 per cent of grades were A*/A and 53 per cent A*-B. Those sitting for GSCE was also excellent since 39 per cent were A*-A/9-7 grades.

The school has a notable reputation for producing the best swimmers in the country. Some other sports activities in the school are the Combined Cadet Force and running.

The annual fees for full boarders are about £29,820. The notable school alumni are Adedayo Adebayo, Jakie Wellman, Sir Gordon Minhinnick, Bishop Mervyn Stockwood, and Flora Duffy.


Queen Mary’s School

The independent boarding and day school for girls and boys situated in Baldersby Park which is near Topcliffe an area between Ripon and Thirsk in the North Yorkshire.

The school has a population of about 300 pupils. It is suitable for children from the age of 3 to 16 for girls and boys from the age of 4 to 7 years.

The institution is a giant academic powerhouse since in 2017 they manage 52 per cent of GCSEs scoring A*-A/9-7.

The small size of the school enables the pupils to acquire quality education when compared to other schools within the locality.

The annual full boarding fees are about £24,165 which quite affordable for many international students.

Notable extra-curriculum are music, riding, adventuring, dancing, creative artist and athletics among many others.

Common school alumni are known as Sir Gilbert Barling, Sir Jack Drummond, Marjorie Reeves, and David Drewry.


Wychwood School

Wychwood School

An independent boarding school for girls aged from 11 to 18 years and it is situated within the heart of Oxford. It has a population of about 110 pupils of which 20 are full boarders.

The most wonderful thing is the small size of the class and the pastoral care which help to model the pupils into the required standards.

The academic performance of the school is quite impressive as seen in 2017 where 50 per cent of GCSEs were graded A*-A/9-7 and 62 per cent A*-B. The rest 37 per cent of grades were attained at A-level.

The annual boarding fees are about £24,300 and the accommodation facilities for the boarders of high-quality.

The popular extra curriculum activities showcasing the school on the map are music, tennis, basketball, and badminton.

Lastly, the notable school alumni are Jane Hewitt, Jessica Shepherd, Jill Langdon-Davies, Dr Kate Lethaby, and Dr Sarah Essigman among many others.


Parent’s Guide

Parents and guardians from across the world, send their children to English boarding schools for several reasons. Parents like to know that their children are getting the very best education to prepare them for the world. International standards that will launch the child and prepare them to deal with what lies ahead of them after school. A good boarding school offers a great platform of education, discipline, and preparation for life in general.

The aim is to produce a well-rounded human being who will fit in well with society. A great school will help mould your child’s belief systems and ways of thinking, into the future world leaders who are not afraid to take their place in the world. It may seem like this is so much to entrust to a school, but remember that your child spends a great number of hours away from you at school. You only have so much input in their lives. Think about what they learn from their friends and school throughout the day. You may not have enough time to undo any bad seeds when you see them. This is why it is important to make sure you put a lot of thought into the school you will send your child to. 

What age can a child go to boarding school?

Schools in the UK, generally take boarders from age 7 to 18years. There is not one single age that is best for a child to start boarding school. It all depends on personal circumstances. Some families never consider boarding school until they need to move away and they now need to provide the child with stability in their education. 

Are phones allowed in boarding schools?

Times have changed and more and more parents are finding it necessary to buy cell-phones for their children. Reasons differ. However, when you take your child to a boarding school, there are different rules that apply. It is important that you know these rules before enrolling so that you know if you can live by them. With schools in the UK, this is an ongoing argument. The argument lies in that parents may need to talk to their children and also that cell phones give the child a way to communicate in times of an emergency. They also aid in online research. Unfortunately, it seems they have been deemed a double-edged sword. Some parents, guardians and school authorities view cell phones as a huge distraction.

Schools in the UK currently have the freedom to set their own rules concerning cell-phones. Hancock Member of Parliament has backed schools who do not allow cell-phones and is encouraging more schools to follow the lead of schools with the ban. Some schools have taken to confiscating cell phones from children at the gate or if they are found with one during school hours.

Many parents support this view. A poll has found that 59% of UK parents think students should not be allowed to carry cell phones to school. One of the main reasons in this argument being the fear of cyberbullying and also children feeling they have to have the latest device on the market (which does not come cheap). This would just add a further division and separation amongst children from different economic backgrounds. A number of educators and teachers also support the no cell phones in schools thought pattern. 

Case studies also show that the presence of cell phones in schools, reduces the social interaction children have with each other at break or lunchtime or any other time when they are meant to be socialising. Social skills are very important and children are slowly losing the art of doing so in person as they spend more time on their cell phones and devices. Some of the schools in the UK that have a hard line on mobile phones include Michaela School in Wembley. The school is quick to confiscate any cell phones seen or heard on school grounds. The school believes they are very distracting and deplete concentration. In Norfolk, Reepham High School and College have also instituted a similar ban. The difference between the two schools, however, is that Reepham allows cell phones in bags, as long as they are off.

What are the disadvantages of a boarding school?

Boarding school is great. However, it does have a few demerits. A child can be prone to bouts of stress when they spend all their time at school. Unlike going to a day school, if there is something that is bothering the child at school, they do not get to go home at the end of the day and have a change of environment. The child is forced to stay in the same space causing the stress, and they do not get an outlet of any kind. 

If your child is prone to any stress disorders, they may be triggered by another child in the same space with similar anxiety or disorder. In as much this can happen in a day school, the pressure port is on high in a boarding school. When exams roll around, most kids get stressed, this can be more contagious if the children are in the same space. There is also the case of missing home. Some kids get so homesick it affects their school work. 

Boarding school is quite structured. All the kids are on the same routine and they rarely get the time to be alone with their thoughts, pursuing their interests. This can dim the light of each child’s individuality. When they are at home, they get to express who they are as they go about home life. Even if it is with siblings, there is a higher chance of being treated as an individual than when the child is one of a hundred children of the same age. Homelife can be more colourful than boarding life.

Do boarding schools let you leave campus?

Every boarding school is different and is governed by different rules. Parents have the peace of mind knowing their children are safe and cared for as they are being educated at a particular school, because of these different rules. Children are only allowed to leave the school campus with permission. This is why it is important that you understand these rules when you enrol your child. 

What do boarding schools do on weekends?

Various schools have different activities for the children on weekends. It also depends on the type of school it is. Some allow the children to go home on the weekend, whilst others allow the children to have more free time. This is also the time for the children to engage in extracurricular activities and sports on the school grounds. These extra activities are also what you need to ask about when you enrol your child. 

How do you pack a suitcase for boarding school?

Most boarding schools have a recommended list of what to pack for your child. This means that you will be told the minimum number of uniforms to pack for your child (if the school is uniformed). The list includes school colours and also other personal things your child may need. For example, you are encouraged to pack toiletries for your child, but this varies from one parent to another. Make sure your child has all the essentials and follows the provided list.

It is important to not overpack. The children will need to be on the same level in terms of what they bring, this reduces occurrences of bullying or stealing from each other. The new device you gave your child for Christmas, needs to stay home. Give your child a fair chance in making friends and solidifying his or her standing the ecosystem at school.

Final Verdict

It is ultimately important and extremely vital that you involve your child in the decision-making process. At the end of the day, you do not want to make it feel like a jail sentence, but more like it was their choice to go there. Studies show that children are generally happier in homes where they’re made to feel involved in the decision making process.

Your child does not want to feel like you are treating them as a child and totally disregarding their feelings. Make them understand why they are going to boarding school and the reason why. This way they will be more excited to go. As you go shopping for your child’s boarding school, remember your child’s welfare comes first before everything else. We hope the schools we have reviewed help you choose the best one for you and your family. 

Quality education is key in the life of any child and this is the reason why you need to search thoroughly about the best schools especially for international students.

All the schools mentioned in the guide are proven to offer quality education that meets international standards and they can also accommodate international students. 

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