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Which Boarding School

What level of English does my child need in order to study at a UK boarding school?

Which Boarding School

We work with many boarding schools and they all offer international students support to improve their English. Most educationalists agree that being able to communicate in a common language aids not only academic development and progress, but with younger students in particular, helps them to acquire social skills that are so important in those early years. Communications problems can be the key barrier to student integration so it is vital that the 27,000 international students studying at UK boarding schools get the help and support they need to fully settle into school life.

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Guardianship agents – what do they do and do I need one?

Which Boarding School

There is no doubt that the UK provides the gold standard for independent boarding education, with a well-established market of hundreds of successful schools providing a superior environment where a child can thrive and make the most of the many opportunities available. If you’re a parent from overseas though, there is an extra consideration – guardianships.

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Boarding Schools in the North of England

Boarding Schools in the North of England

Which Boarding School

Many overseas parents who are considering a boarding school education for their child don’t look beyond London and the South East and instead limit their search to the home counties. In many cases, this can be a mistake because other areas of England, such as Boarding Schools in the North of England,  are blessed with some fantastic boarding schools in some of the most beautiful and unique surroundings.

The North of England has many vibrant and historic cities and towns, bursting with personality and charm. Couple this with breathtaking landscapes and stunning coastlines, and it’s no wonder the North has some thriving, very successful and highly performing independent schools.

York is perhaps the most historic but it’s supported by some very lively and cosmopolitan cities such as Leeds, Newcastle and Liverpool. Because of these cities, the North has an excellent public transport system, connecting many areas to the international airport hubs of Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle to name a few. London might only be a few hours away due to our network of fast and efficient intercity trains and many boarding schools provide their own transportation to train stations and airports for their international students.

The numerous National Parks such as the Yorkshire Dales, the Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District, offer unrivalled beauty and outdoor activities which are easily reached from many of the boarding schools in the area. The cities compete with London for the arts too, offering museums, galleries and theatres and are cultural centres in their own right.

In conclusion, if you want a high performing school for your child that is set on historic grounds, near a vibrant cosmopolitan city with excellent transport links to an international airport, don’t automatically assume that it has to be within a stone’s throw of London. There are so many excellent schools across the whole of the UK – we urge you to take a look! Speak to one of our consultants now. They will help you in your search for the perfect school for your child.

It’s not all work – the importance of excellent pastoral care and how to identify it when choosing a school

Which Boarding School

Boarding schools in the UK are recognised globally as some of the best educational institutions. Their reputation is rightly justified and built on excellent teaching as well as state-of-the-art facilities. One aspect rarely discussed is their duty-of-care role – the provision of pastoral support meaning every child’s mental and physical wellbeing is at the centre of a school’s daily operation as well as its long-term strategy.

A child’s wellbeing forms the cornerstone to life-long learning but how do parents recognise excellent pastoral care and what should you look out for.

  1. Most schools have a dedicated pastoral and counselling department and most employ specialist staff with the relevant qualifications. Don’t be afraid to seek out the department and look around the dedicated facilities if available.
  2. Look at the websites of your short-listed schools and read their latest ISI report. Try to get a feel for what is provided to help and support students if they need it.
  3. Take a look at a school’s organised calendar of events. Many schools will arrange regular talks by external providers of wellbeing services.
  4. When you tour the school take a look at the medical provision; what does the school offer? Has the school invested in its medical facilities?
  5. Try to find out how innovative and creative the pastoral department of a school is by asking what initiatives they have for enhancing a child’s spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing beyond the classroom.
  6. If your child needs particular support, don’t be afraid to discuss your needs, issues, or concerns confidentially with potential staff.

If you have any questions or would like reassurances about the quality of pastoral care in UK boarding schools, please do give one of our consultants a call on +441702588225. They will be delighted to hear from you.

Sedburgh School & Casterton Sedbergh Preparatory School

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

Which Boarding 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.

Pangbourne College

A typical day at a UK boarding school

Which Boarding School

No two boarding schools offer the same experience but in general week days follow a similar pattern. The school day is pretty long, ensuring students get a well-rounded experience of both the academic and extra-curricular. With so many activities to get involved in, a child at a UK boarding school is rarely bored or lonely.

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ACS Cobham International

Visas for Students Studying at a UK Independent Boarding School

Which Boarding School

The UK’s departure from the EU in December 2020 signals a change in visa requirements for students who wish to study in the UK. For students already in the UK before 31st December 2020, there is the option of applying for pre-settled status before June 30, 2021. With this option the student will not need to apply for a visa and can stay in the UK for several years.

If the student enters the country after December 31, 2020, there are several options depending on the length of course. For academic courses lasting less than 6 months starting in January 2021, the student simply needs the letter of acceptance from the school, evidence that the course lasts up to 6 months and an indication of start date. Passports will be stamped indicating short term study with the date of entry into the country, which will authorize you to be in the country for a period of up to 6 months.

In addition, you will need to purchase private health insurance for your stay in the UK, which will provide health protection and access to medical staff should you need it.

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Covid-19 Update

Which Boarding School

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10th May, Which Boarding School have extracted the information pertinent to UK Boarding Schools outlined in the UK’s Government plans to move us out of lockdown. Understandably, the plans are conditional upon infection rates which are still relatively high compared to other countries, so at the moment we still have uncertainty regarding the opening of schools and other key measures which will affect students and their families. Some of the key points are:

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How to cope with homesickness

Which Boarding School

School has started again and there will be some pupils who will have a pretty tough time with homesickness, especially if it’s their first time away from home, so we asked some ex-boarders how they coped with those difficult moments. They all agreed that the best piece of advice they could give would be to make friends and to keep busy.
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