Types of UK Boarding Schools


Preparatory Schools


All prep schools offer the highest standard of academic education and provide an excellent foundation for future study. Pupils aged between 7 and 13 years can attend their first boarding school, known as a preparatory or ‘prep’ school as the pupils are being prepared for senior school. Over 80% of prep schools are now co-educational, but over 60 cater exclusively for boys while about 40 take only girls. There are also choir schools, non-denominational schools and prep schools that specialise in dyslexia or other special educational needs. Some prep schools send their pupils on to a range of senior schools, while others are attached to a senior school to which most of their pupil’s progress.

The education specialists at Anderson Education will be happy to discuss your options. If you choose a prep school where pupils do not automatically progress to a particular senior school, we shall be able to recommend the type of senior school that might be suitable for your child, and talk over the various alternatives with you.


Senior Schools


Pupils generally transfer from a Prep School to a Senior School between the ages of 11 and 13 years, Senior schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have three main points of entry: age 11 (Year 7), age 13 (Year 9) and age 16 (Year 12).


Working with Anderson Education made the search for a UK Boarding School a painless and rewarding experience, I will refer friends and family who are looking for a UK school for their children without a second thought.”


The next step - Sixth form at a boarding school is great preparation for university life. Although each university or higher education college decides its own admissions criteria, schools and colleges do everything they can to help their pupils get the best university place.


Independent Sixth-Form & Tutorial Colleges


The independent colleges accept students aged 16+ and, like school sixth forms, provide a bridge between school and university. Colleges vary greatly in their character. Some are fully residential with similar sporting and cultural facilities to those you would find in a boarding school, while others are day schools where students live in a shared house or with a local British family. Most are co-educational and many are multicultural, offering the chance to study and socialise in the company of a wide range of people from differing backgrounds.


"The one who did the most in this process was undoubtedly Anderson Education. I really want to thank you for guiding us through this whole process. Living overseas, every expat family comes to a point where they need a person with experience such as yours to aid them with their children's future studies. I intend to recommend your services to everyone"


Independent colleges offer the same qualifications as boarding school sixth forms, such as A-levels and the IB, with many also offering GCSEs. Increasing numbers of colleges are also offering courses that are not available at boarding schools, such as University Foundation Programmes that prepare students for study at university. They use an intensive tutorial style of teaching – the small-groups and regular testing developed at the Universities. Like boarding school sixth forms, independent colleges provide an excellent preparation for life at university.


International Study Centres


International students who are not ready to enter a mainstream boarding school can attend a course at an International Study Centre. These centres offer one or two year intensive courses that prepare young learners from outside the UK for life at a traditional UK boarding school.


Study Centres follow the same curriculum – Mathematics, Science, Information Technology – as traditional UK schools. There is, however, heavy emphasis on developing English language skills, including pronunciation. Many centres enter their pupils for English language exams such as the Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) exams. In every subject, classes are small (averaging around six students per teacher) and teachers experienced in teaching English as a foreign language guide students through carefully prepared programmes of study.


UK State Boarding Schools


In the UK state education system, schools are maintained and funded by central government or by their local education authority. There are currently 37 state-maintained boarding schools, but these only offer places to UK and other European Economic Area nationals and those who have the right of residence in the UK. The education at state-maintained boarding schools is free, but the cost of boarding must be met by parents or guardians. 


"My son has thrived in his new boarding school and I feel that is due to your guidance and knowledge of the schools and also understanding what my son wanted to achieve to complete his A Levels"


Anderson Education work with some of the State Boarding School, please contact us for more information.