What Are The Different Boarding Options At Boarding Schools?

Students who plan to study overseas at a boarding school will have to consider their accommodation options. Many schools offer different types of boarding selections such as full boarding and staying with a host family. In this guide, we explore the different types of boarding options so you can make the best choice.

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What Is Boarding?

Boarding refers to the arrangement where students live on the premises of a school for the duration of the academic term or year. Boarding schools provide accommodation, meals, and recreational facilities for students, allowing them to reside on campus and fully immerse themselves in the school community. This setup enables students to have structured academic support, participate in extracurricular activities, and develop strong social bonds with their peers. It’s a common educational model in many countries, including the UK, where boarding schools have a long tradition of providing comprehensive education and holistic development for students.

What Are The Benefits Of Living At A Boarding School?

  1. Structured Environment: Boarding schools provide a structured environment where students have set schedules for academics, extracurricular activities, and free time. This structure helps students develop time management skills and fosters a sense of discipline.

  2. Holistic Development: Living in the school campus allows students to engage in a wide range of activities beyond academics, such as sports, arts, and community service. This holistic approach to education promotes the development of well-rounded individuals.

  3. Sense of Community: Boarding schools cultivate a strong sense of community among students, faculty, and staff. Living together fosters friendships, teamwork, and a supportive social network, which can be beneficial both during and after school.

  4. Independence and Responsibility: Boarding students learn to become more independent and responsible for their actions. They manage daily tasks, make decisions, and navigate social dynamics, all of which contribute to their personal growth and maturity.

  5. Global Perspective: Many boarding schools have diverse student populations, including students from different countries and cultural backgrounds. This exposure to diversity broadens students’ perspectives and prepares them for a globalised world.

Overall, the boarding school experience provides a unique opportunity for students to thrive academically, socially, and personally in a supportive and enriching environment.

Types Of Accommodation Options

Here are the different accommodation / living options offered by boarding schools. It is important to note that not all options are available to students who are joining from overseas, which we will touch on further in our list below.

1) Full Boarding

The full boarding option is the most widely selected choice for students overseas looking to join a boarding school in the UK. As an overseas student, you can only apply for independent schools that offer full boarding or staying with a host, as other options such as flexi boarding and day schooling are not allowed.

Depending on your school of choice, the dynamic of full boarding options changes whether you are in an all-boys school, all-girls school or co-education school.

  • Full boarding for boys: These schools exclusively accommodate male students in their boarding facilities. They provide comprehensive living arrangements, including dormitories, dining halls, and recreational areas, fostering a strong sense of brotherhood and camaraderie among students.
  • Full boarding for girls: Similarly, these schools cater exclusively to female students, offering a supportive and empowering environment where young women can thrive academically, socially, and personally.
  • Full boarding for co-eds: Co-educational boarding schools welcome both male and female students into their boarding houses. They promote gender equality and diversity, allowing students to interact and collaborate across gender lines, enriching their educational experience. 

2) Staying With A Host Family

Staying with a host family while studying abroad offers students a unique and enriching experience. It provides a cultural immersion that allows students to learn about local customs and traditions firsthand while practicing the language in a natural setting.

Host families act as parents abroad by providing support, guidance, encouragement, and a sense of security. This fosters a safe and supportive environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Not all boarding schools allow staying with a host family as an option so it is best to check with the respective schools first.

For schools that allow it, your next step is to approach a Guardianship service such as Regent Guardians of Pippa’s Guardians which are both world-class Guardianship service providers that can make the necessary arrangements.

Staying With Relatives

If you have relatives staying in the UK, it is possible to have them as the host family. However, it would depend on factors such as distance from school, resident status and whether the school allows this option. For more information, contact us.

3) Flexi Boarding

Flexi boarding offers students the flexibility to stay on campus during certain days of the week or term while returning home or staying elsewhere on other days. This option provides a balance between the structure and support of boarding life and the comfort of home life, catering to students’ individual needs and family preferences. This option is however only available for UK home students.

4) Weekly Boarding

Weekly boarding is a boarding school arrangement where students reside on campus during the school week and return home for the weekends. This option is popular among students who live too far from school to commute daily or whose parents have demanding work schedules. Typically, students go home on Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons and return to school on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings. Weekly boarding allows students to experience the benefits of boarding school life, such as structured academic support and a sense of community, while still having regular contact with their families on weekends. It offers a balance between the immersion of full-time boarding and the comfort of spending weekends at home. This option is however only available for UK home students.

5) Day Schooling

Day schools cater to students who live within commuting distance of the school and return home each day after classes. While day students participate fully in academic and extracurricular activities, they do not reside on campus. Day schools offer a balance between school life and family life, allowing students to maintain close ties with their families while benefiting from the school’s academic resources and community. This option is only available for UK home students.

Recommended Boarding Schools With Full Boarding

Here is a list of boarding schools in the UK with excellent boarding facilities, high academic standards and excellent extracurricular offerings for you to consider.

  1. Oxford International College (Co-ed)
  2. Concord College (Co-ed)
  3. Cardiff Sixth Form College (Co-ed)
  4. Westminster School (Boys) (Co-ed Sixth Form)
  5. Tonbridge School (Boys)
  6. Dulwich College (Boys)
  7. Wycombe Abbey (Girls)
  8. Cheltenham Ladies’ College (Girls)
  9. St Swithun’s School (Girls)
  10. Downe House School (Girls)

How To Choose A Boarding Option?

When choosing a boarding option, consider factors such as your individual needs, family circumstances, and personal preferences. Reflect on your desired level of independence, the importance of cultural immersion, academic goals, and the availability of support systems. While evaluating the pros and cons each option, note that as an international student you are only allowed the option of full boarding or staying with a host family. If you require further information, assistance or advice, get a free consultation with our education experts here.

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