The Complete Guide To State Boarding Schools (2024)

In this guide, we explore state-funded boarding schools, which offer a flexible option for families who wish to send their children to boarding schools but without the hefty prices of private boarding schools.

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Table of Contents

What Is A State Boarding School?

A state boarding school is a government-funded boarding school which allows flexibility for families who want their children to experience the benefits of a boarding school but without the premium fees associated with many independent boarding schools.

What Are The Benefits Of A State Boarding School?

State boarding schools offer several advantages, making them an appealing choice for families seeking a high-quality education within a structured environment at lower costs compared to private boarding schools.

These schools provide access to excellent academic programs, supported by dedicated teachers and modern facilities, ensuring students receive a well-rounded education.

Additionally, state boarding schools boast a diverse student body, fostering cultural exchange and understanding among peers. Moreover, the lower tuition fees make state boarding schools an attractive option for families, particularly those with both parents working long hours or those affiliated with professions such as the Forces, diplomatic service, or international companies.

The surge in popularity of state boarding schools in recent years reflects their ability to meet the needs of families seeking quality education combined with affordability and structured care for their children.

Who Is Eligible To Join A State Boarding School?

State boarding schools in the UK are accessible to British citizens and individuals with the right of residence in the UK. However, since January 2021, nationals of other European Economic Area (EEA) countries are no longer eligible for admission. Each school provides detailed information on admission criteria on their respective websites.

Beside that, these schools vary in nature; some are grammar schools with academic selectivity, while others may be single-sex institutions. Additionally, many schools conduct interviews with prospective students to ensure compatibility with the boarding environment.

What Are The Main Differences Between A State Boarding School And Private Boarding School?

State-funded boarding schools receive financial support from the government and typically charge lower tuition fees compared to private boarding schools. Admission to state-funded boarding schools is often subject to specific eligibility criteria based on residency, with some schools also considering academic merit or other factors. While these schools may have more limited resources and facilities compared to private counterparts, they still strive to provide a high standard of education and amenities within their budget constraints. Governance of state-funded boarding schools involves adherence to government regulations and oversight, ensuring accountability to relevant educational authorities.

In contrast, private boarding schools rely on tuition fees, donations, and other private funding sources, allowing them greater flexibility in their admissions process and autonomy in decision-making. These schools often boast extensive resources and facilities, including state-of-the-art classrooms, sports facilities, and specialised equipment. However, the higher tuition fees associated with private boarding schools reflect the cost of providing premium services and amenities. Families considering boarding school options must weigh factors such as funding, admissions process, fees, resources, and governance structure to make informed decisions aligned with their child’s educational needs and preferences.

List Of State Boarding Schools

There are currently 30+ state boarding schools in the UK as of 2024.

How Much Does It Cost To Join A State Funded Boarding School?

State boarding schools are more affordable compared to private boarding schools. The typical fees range from £12,000-£18,000 per annum. The fees would also depend on the boarding type such as day boarding, weekly boarding or full boarding. The key difference here is you are only paying for the boarding fees of the school, as tuition fees are covered by the government.

How To Choose A State Boarding School?

We recommend starting off by evaluating the academic track record of the schools. A school with a good academic performance may provide a conducive environment for your child to thrive in his or her studies. For academically selective schools, consider whether your child is likely to meet the entrance requirements and excel in the academic environment

Another factor to consider is the distance from your home to the school. Many parents recommend selecting a school within approximately 90 minutes’ travel time to facilitate easier participation in school activities and family involvement.

Next, assess the range of activities offered by the school, both after school and on weekends, to ensure they align with your child’s interests and abilities. Whether it’s sports, music, art, or drama, the school should provide opportunities that cater to diverse interests.

Pastoral care at state boarding schools is paramount as it directly impacts students’ well-being and overall experience. Effective pastoral care ensures a safe and supportive environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Lastly, you would want to read reviews of the school from past students or parents, which would give you a better idea on whether the school is a good fit for your child.

How To Apply For A State Boarding School?

To apply for a state boarding school, refer to the websites of the schools listed in our state boarding school list above. In each website there should be a section on how to apply with the relevant application forms. Should you require any assistance, feel free to reach out to our education consultants.

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