The Academic Curriculum
British boarding schools are renowned for the high quality of education that they offer. This is amply demonstrated in the academic results with nearly 20% of all A*’s at A Level being awarded to students in fee paying schools. To ensure academic success boarding schools offer small class sizes, with high calibre teaching staff drawn from top universities and excellent facilities.
Academically selective schools are able to stretch their top students way beyond exam curriculums by offering a wide and intellectually stimulating curriculum. Schools with a broader intake can add significant academic value to their pupils. Targeted teaching in small classes means they can ensure that students who were in line for very average scores can exceed their potential and achieve excellent results.
Ethos and Values
British boarding schools are about so much more than just the academic results. The ethos and values that they instil in their pupils are also attractive to international families. Each of the 1,200 British boarding schools vary in size and have their own character, set of traditions and unique way of doing things. Every school has different ways of teaching and their own particular strengths.
Some schools are set in beautiful historic buildings in rolling acres of English countryside, others are located in the heart of a local town. Each school will have its own distinctive character and ‘feel’ which is something that can really only be picked up by visiting schools and ‘feeling’ it first hand.
The Hidden Curriculum
Alongside the academic curriculum, the boarding school structure allows for whole afternoons to be dedicated to other activities such as sport, community service, drama, Combined Cadet Force or Duke of Edinburgh. Most schools run a host of societies catering to every interest group whether it is Biology or Bee Keeping, Jazz dance or Judo. As these facilities and opportunities are available seven days a week, day and evening, so boarders have time to really explore activities and interests both as part of and beyond the curriculum.
These activities are where the ‘hidden curriculum’ lies; building skills such as teamwork, social skills, teamworking and leadership skills. Students learn about decision making and independence as they build these new skills, forge new friendships and learn about themselves.
The Boarding Environment
The unique aspect of boarding schools is the fact that children are being educated in a stable environment with 24 hour wrap around care, all whilst enjoying the company of their peer group! The caring structure of a boarding house enables the pupils to grow in self confidence and learn how to cope when away from home.
Parents can feel confident that their children are in a supportive environment which is structured around supporting things like homework time and a full schedule of after-school activities. Staff are professionally trained and experts on dealing with teenagers! The extended boarding school day allows for plenty of time to enjoy an intensive academic programme and extracurricular activities.
Part of the appeal of a British Boarding schools is their long and distinguished history. Many have been responsible for educating pupils who have gone on to be world leaders, noble prize winning scientists or well known actors and artists.
Whatever their legacy, today’s British boarding schools are focussed on providing a top quality education both in terms of academics and building character, so their pupils are prepared to be 21st century citizens ready to go out into the world and forge a successful future.