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Introduction to UK boarding schools

Exterior of Hitchingbrooke School in Cambridgeshire, England

UK boarding schools are residential schools for children and teenagers up to the age of 18, offering internationally recognised qualifications such as GCSEs, Scottish Standard Grades and Highers, A-levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB).

In 2013, over 24,000 children and teenagers from around the world came to the UK to live and study at a boarding school, joining local pupils from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

UK boarding schools offer you an outstanding education, helping you to develop your skills and progress to university. All UK boarding schools have to meet strict UK government standards on the quality of their teaching, facilities and student care.

You may have read Harry Potter and dreamed about what life at a UK boarding school would be like. We can’t promise any wizards, but we do hope you will have a fantastic experience!

Find out more about UK boarding schools in the articles below. Please see Education for students aged 16 and under and The UK education system for more details.

In this section:

Why choose a UK boarding school?
Find out what the UK's boarding schools have to offer. Plus, watch videos from international students showing what it's really like to live and study at a boarding school!

The UK boarding school system
Find out what type of school you can attend as an international student.

Choosing and applying to a UK boarding school
How to find an accredited school that suits you, visit on an open day, and send your application.

Subjects and qualifications
What can you study, and what qualifications will you gain for university?

Costs and scholarships
A quick overview of fees, scholarships and bursaries.

Entry requirements
Find out about the qualifications and visas you might need to apply.

Life at a UK boarding school
What is the academic year, and what happens during school holidays? What is the food and accommodation like?

Health, safety and support
UK boarding schools have extensive support systems and standards. Find out more here.

Meet your boarding school family

To find out more about UK boarding school life, we asked staff and students from schools across the country to share their experiences! Here, they talk about their roles and responsibilities, daily life at school, and their advice for new international students.