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Health, safety and support

A pupil with matron at Campbell College in Belfast

School procedures and standards

UK schools take student welfare very seriously – every school must meet strict standards set by the UK government and undergo rigorous, regular inspection by government-appointed bodies (see Choosing and applying to a school for more information).

All UK teachers and school staff must pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check too. This checks police files to make sure teachers have not been convicted of any crimes that would put children at risk.

Staying safe

Although the UK is generally a safe place, it is important to be careful wherever you are in the world. Before you travel to the UK, we recommend that both parents and pupils read the British Council's Creating confidence guide (PDF, 1.6 MB). This gives lots of advice about staying safe in the UK.

Getting support

If you have any concerns when you are in the UK, there are lots of people you can go to for support.

  • At boarding schools, house parents are members of staff whose job is to care for you, look after you... and make sure you are behaving yourself! You can go to your house parent for help whenever you need it. Many house parents also teach at the school.

  • Teachers are there to inspire you in classes and give as much academic support as you need. If you have any concerns about your schoolwork, don’t hesitate to talk to them. They will want to make sure you are happy and getting the most out of your lessons.

  • Many schools have a school counsellor who you can go to for support or advice on any personal problems.

  • For medical care, all schools have staff trained in first-aid. Most boarding schools have a medical centre and resident nurse or matron. They will arrange for you to be registered with a doctor, dentist and any other healthcare providers as appropriate.

  • Many schools have ‘buddy’ or mentoring schemes for new students. This is where you are paired with a fellow student who has been at the school for some time. Having someone close to your own age to talk to can make life easier.

  • All international students under the age of 16 should have a guardian. This should be a responsible adult living in the UK, who can care for you if you are suddenly ill or during vacations, half-term and at closed weekends if you cannot go home. Schools can help you to find a guardian.

To find out more, please see Health, safety and welfare in the UK.

Meet your boarding school family

Get to know the people at the heart of the supportive environment at UK boarding schools.

We asked staff and students who are involved in pastoral care from schools across the country to share their experiences and explain what they do to create the boarding school family atmosphere...