International Students – the importance of choosing the right school for you

Sedburgh School & Casterton Sedbergh Preparatory School

If you’re reading this blog, you will already be interested in finding out more about UK boarding schools and what they can offer your child. For families not residing in the UK, the choice of schools can be bewildering and the considerations daunting. For students joining a UK boarding school from abroad, there are some additional things to think about when choosing the right school. This is where our consultants at Which Boarding School can really add value to your thinking.

If you’re coming from another country to study here, we believe it is so important to join a school that has a large and well-established full-boarding, preferably an international, student body and not all boarding schools do. It’s also vital that any school you consider has the facilities, creativity and resources to cater for the specific needs of the international student.

Other factors we believe important in order to assist international students are small class sizes, dedicated pastoral staff responsible for health and well-being that are on hand 24 hours a day, no closed Exeats (weekends where the schools are closed and students have to go home or to their guardians), and not sharing a bedroom with too many students.

In addition, here are some of the other initiatives for international students and families that we love:

Some schools such as Sherborne and Taunton have their own specific International Schools, linked to the main school but catering specifically for the needs of those students joining them from overseas.

The international intake at Felsted in Essex makes up 20% of their total pupil body, and each year they hold a dedicated introductory week at the beginning of each academic year in which our new overseas pupils are introduced to Felsted School Life.

Rossall School now provides residential care and continued lodging and education during school half terms (when traditionally schools would and international students travelled home or stayed with their guardians). Pupils do not have to move out to a host family that they do not know; they can stay at Rossall. The weekly programme, supervised by Rossall staff, includes activities, local and regional trips, free time to enjoy the local area, as well as revision sessions, with the aim to continue the “home-from-home” feel during half term.

We really like the flexible approach offered to all international students joining Wycliffe. International pupils can board at Wycliffe from Year 3 (age 7 onwards), and they become part of a friendly, family environment joining about 60 other full-time boarders. To make life easier for international students, Wycliffe does not close over the Exeat weekends (when traditionally the school closes for Saturday and Sunday) and pupils can stay at school for no additional cost. They also offer courses to improve English; an immersion programme in English culture; and a short stay programme of between four weeks and a term.

If you’d like to speak to one of our consultants who can tell you more about any of the schools mentioned above or answer any of your more general questions to help you find the best boarding school for your child, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.