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  Independent Boarding Schools  
  Coeducational or Single Sex
Special Schools
6th Form Colleges:
Choosing a School
At What Age?
What to Consider While Choosing the Boarding School
Our Range of Boarding Schools
 
  Boarding schools have changed considerably in the last 20 years and today they are a very comfortable, home-from-home. Schools have become much more flexible too with weekly boarding and flexi-boarding options now more frequently available. Those pupils who board tend to have greater access to the wonderful facilities on offer; they learn to develop independence at a young age; and they often make friendships that will last a lifetime as well as developing independence at a young age. Far from "missing out" on life at home, boarders often learn to appreciate, rather than take for granted, what home life has to offer.

However, boarding will not suit every child and there are many excellent day schools as well as boarding schools which also accept some day pupils.

Coeducational or Single Sex:

More than anything this is down to personal preference. Different research studies have tried to find "proof" that one is better than the other. Those who favour single-sex education often argue that academic results tend to be better without the distractions of the opposite sex; those who favour co-education would not only dispute that assertion, but also argue that their system was a more natural environment in which to be educated for life in the outside world.

There are some schools which offer a "halfway house" in that they accept both boys and girls, but teach them separately - at least until the age of 16. Critics of this system argue that this is even more unnatural than the single sex environment. This debate will go on for many years without a resolution and so parental preference is the key factor here.

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Specialist Schools:

There are some boarding schools which have used their independence from state control to develop into centres of excellence in specific areas.

So it is possible to find choir schools, music schools, dance schools, arts schools, schools which offer general sporting excellence as well as those which offer specialist coaching in certain sports. These schools will, of course, offer a good academic education too.

There are also specialist schools which help children who have specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

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6th Form Colleges:

These are specialist centres which offer courses to A level as well as the option of re-sitting GCSEs. The colleges tend not to have boarding facilities as such (although some do) but are able to provide accommodation somewhere near the college. Courses tend to be quite intense and there is less opportunity for extra-curricular and sporting activity than at a traditional senior boarding school.

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Choosing a School

When selecting a school, it is vitally important to remember that what you are looking for is the best school for your child. Think about your child's strengths and particular interests as these must be foremost in your mind before making such a vital decision. However, the first decision you must make is what type of school you are looking for.

You must also think carefully, and realistically, about how academic your child is: there is no point in choosing a highly academic school if it is going to mean he/she struggles to keep up with the demands placed on him/her for, ultimately, you will end up with an unhappy child. Look for a school where you feel your child will be stretched but not overwhelmed. Boarding schools have an excellent reputation for academic success; there is, after all, ready access to help and resources for the pupils as well as high expectations from the staff. Don't be tempted, therefore, to only look at schools which have "the best results" - they are likely to have a more rigorous selection policy rather than better teachers!

Boarding schools normally offer a wealth of extra-curricular opportunities which are in our opinion of the greatest importance as it is these which help to provide the all round education on which UK boarding schools pride themselves. They often spark a lifelong interest in a particular field or even lead to a future vocation. So, look at the extra-curricular activities on offer at each school and see which would seem to best suit your child.

Think about whether your child would be happier in a large or small school. If he/she is self-confident the larger environment may be better especially as the larger schools tend to have better facilities. If, however, your child would be happier in a more close knit environment then, almost certainly, a smaller school would be the best option.

But don't panic! When you have completed and sent us your enquiry form, we will be able to guide you towards the schools which we consider to be most suitable for you and, most importantly, your child's requirements. Also, where possible it is always best to make a visit to see a prospective school so that you can get a true feeling about the place. We do provide an accompanied tour service for those parents who would like it (there is a fee charged for this).

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At What Age?

Boarding places are available from the age of 7. However, most boarders are of senior school age - traditionally, girls from the age of 11 and boys from 13. This is still predominantly the same today, but with more schools becoming coeducational, there are plenty of girls who start boarding at 13. Increasingly common is boarding from the 6th form - in other words, from the age of 16.

Places at boarding schools can be obtained at any age, as long as the necessary entry requirements have been met.

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What To Consider While Choosing The Boarding School

For those pupils who want to attend a UK boarding school and for whom English is not their first language, it is important that their English is at a reasonable level before starting their studies. Different schools offer varying amounts of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) support and it is important to find a school which will be able to meet the specific needs of the pupil. There are specific courses available at various centres, including some boarding schools, which prepare foreign pupils both linguistically and culturally for life at a UK boarding school (details available from us on request).

It is also necessary to have a legal guardian resident in the UK who will look after the welfare of the pupil during his/her time in the country. This will involve attending parents' meetings and other school events as well as providing a place for the pupil to stay when necessary. If there is a relative or friend living in the UK who is prepared to fulfil this role, all well and good. If not, there are a number of agencies who will be able to provide a guardian who will be experienced in this area (we can put you in touch with one of these agencies on request).

The following points are, in our opinion, important to consider for pupils joining a UK boarding school from abroad:

  • Location of the school (how near is it to friends / relatives in the UK and to an international airport?)
  • Does the school provide adequate EFL support?
  • Does the school have a strong international intake? If it does, it can be helpful for integration, but it might slow down the learning of English as the child will not be so immersed in the language as he/she would be in an environment of predominantly British children.
  • Is this a long or short term commitment?
  • Do try to visit a prospective school before committing yourself. (We do offer an accompanied tour service)

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Our Range of Boarding Schools

1. Malvern School

Following Malvern's prominence as a spa town in the earlier years of the nineteenth century, and the advent of the railway, the College was founded by a group of mainly local businessmen. It opened in January 1865 to two dozen boys and half a dozen masters. Initially, there were two Houses but expansion was rapid and by 1877 there were six Houses and 290 boys.

A pupil at Malvern obtains a first class education within a friendly environment. We begin from the premise that school life should be both enjoyable and challenging. Unashamedly, we place academic work as a priority and encourage our pupils to perform to the best of their capabilities. In providing a multi-dimensional education, the Malvern learning experience also encompasses social and cultural development.

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2. Harrow School

Conscious of its history, culture and the charitable intentions of its Founder, Harrow responds to the demands of change by preparing boys for a life of leadership, service and personal fulfilment. Academic achievement is foremost amongst Harrow's goals which also promote independence of thought, respect for others, creativity and responsibility within a broad range of activities.
Above all, Harrow inspires boys to develop their talents and reach for excellence in everything they do. We also aim to develop in our pupils an appreciation of the interdependence of different parts of the world.

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3. Clifton College

This leading UK boarding school comprises 680 girls and boys aged between 13 and 18 of whom 60% board.

Clifton College is exactly that kind of school, offering pupils an all-round education, pastoral care, the opportunity for true self-discovery, awakening their sense of duty and a thirst for excellence in all that they do, especially in the classroom. My aim is to bring out the best in every pupil, enabling them to achieve the highest grades possible and to proceed through our Sixth Form to the university of their choice. Above all, I hope that they will dream the dreams that will shape their lives, make lasting friends, and leave equipped to be citizens of a constantly evolving modern global village, with a strong sense of who they are and what they can contribute.

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4. Shrewsbury School

Founded in 1552, Shrewsbury remains one of the great scholarly foundations of England. By valuing individuality and providing breadth, Shrewsbury offers the opportunity for pupils to know themselves and their world, and to meet the future with confidence and good judgement.

Set in a hundred acres of grounds by the River Severn and overlooking the ancient town, Shrewsbury is a community of over 700 pupils aged between 13 and 18. In September 2008 we welcomed our first intake of Sixth Form girls. We remain a school committed to full boarding education, whilst valuing our local roots and the families of dayboys and girls.

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5. Aldenham School

Founded in 1597 by Richard Platt, proprietor of the Old Swan Brewery in the Parish of Garlickhithe in the City of London, Aldenham School boasts a mixture of tradition coupled with a sense of history. Richard Platt had been Master of the Brewers' Company in 1576 and 1581. In 1596 he obtained Letters Patent to build "the Free Grammar School and Almshouses" at Aldenham from Queen Elizabeth 1 and the Foundation Stone was actually laid in 1597.

The 20th Century and into the new millennium has seen the developments continue and every challenge met. The size of the School has increased, the facilities updated, the academic timetable revised and extended and a wide range of activities added to the curriculum. Co-education has been introduced throughout the School with girls and boys joining at both 11+ and 13+, the ratio of boarders to day pupils has totally altered (an impact of the combustion engine as well as social factors), but the ethos of the School remains the same. The result is that as Aldenham enters into the fifth century of its existence, with the largest number of pupils in its history, it is in good heart to continue to be faithful to its founder's intent to enable pupils to progress in "learning, knowledge, virtue".

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6. Wellington College

Wellington College was founded by Queen Victoria and Prime Minister The Earl of Derby in 1859 as the national monument to Britain's greatest military figure, the Duke of Wellington, who also served the country with distinction twice as Prime Minister.

Wellington College is a vibrant and popular co-educational boarding and day school where girls and boys learn to be leaders for life.

Students at Wellington are amongst the 130,000 young people who enter for a Duke of Edinburgh's Award each year. It is a highly regarded programme which benefits young people in many ways, especially when they see it through to the end.

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7. Mill Hill School

Mill Hill School is a boarding and day school for pupils aged 13-18.

Mill Hill School offers a broad education, where academic excellence is complemented by cultural, sporting and social development. Hard work, self-criticism, enthusiasm and loyalty are encouraged in order to support our aim of developing leadership and the acceptance of responsibility. Although the School is a non-conformist Christian Foundation, girls and boys of all denominations and faiths are welcomed.

We firmly believe that the environment in which children are taught and learn is of paramount importance. We are privileged to have a school set in the most beautiful parkland setting, quite unique in London. The teaching facilities at Mill Hill are also of the highest order, particularly since the restoration of the Edwardian Marnham block in 2004 and the opening of the fabulous Favell Building in 2007.

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8. Winchester College

Winchester College is a boarding school for boys aged 1318. Founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of inchester and Chancellor to King Richard II, we have the longest unbroken history of any school in the country. Many of the original buildings are still standing and still used for the purpose for which they were designed. This great age-span brings special advantages, especially the unrivalled beauty of the place and the spaciousness of its setting.

Winchester enjoys an international reputation for its outstanding academic record. This can be seen not just in our excellent examination results, but also in the quality of the intellectual training we provide. Nearly all of our pupils go on to good universities and about 45 each year win places at Oxford or Cambridge.

The high academic standards are matched by similar achievements in music, art, drama and a wide range of sporting activities. We have extensive playing fields, and generous provision for pupils to develop their cultural and athletic interests.

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9. Eton College

Eton College provides a full boarding education for about 1,300 boys aged 1318, with balanced emphases on high academic standards, strong pastoral support and liberal choice within a wide range of high-quality sporting and cultural activities. Access is open, competitive and meritocratic, and selection is based on all-round qualities rather than purely academic criteria. Every boy has an individual study bedroom within a strong house community of about 50, guided by a resident house master and dame, and each boy also has a tutor who encourages his intellectual and personal development. Our Learning Centre supports those with dyslexia or other special needs. Within a broad and flexible curriculum, boys study for GCSE (and now International GCSE in maths and science), AS- and A-levels. The success rate for entry to Oxford, Cambridge, and other leading UK and US universities is very high.

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Contact Information

Mrs. Noone Minasian, Mrs. Marina Ter-Akopian

56 Townshend Court, Allitsen Road, London, Greater London, NW8 6LW, United Kingdom

+44 (0) 7795973363 & +44 (0) 7795364204