Photo: Royal Russell School

What are Boarding Schools?


International students aged 18 or under are not usually permitted to attend State schools in the UK. Instead, they will attend a school for which fees are paid. These schools are referred to by several different names – private schools, independent schools, public schools, and boarding schools where the students will also usually live at the school.


What is a “selective” school?


Selective refers to the testing carried out for entrance purposes. If a school is “selective” then the academic testing and previous education attainment is likely to be high, whereas a “non-selective” school will usually only test basic English (and sometimes maths). Selective schools generally have an academic focus and will want to admit academic high achievers – if your child is not in this category then it is better to place them at a non-selective school – so that they can fulfil their potential at their own academic level.


What about co-educational?


Co-educational boarding schools mean that they take both boys and girls. However, some parents prefer a single system and will seek a school that accepts only boys or only girls. At Traveledex, we have a number of schools available that can offer either type so please discuss this with us before we make our recommendations.


Specialist studies and extra-curricular activities


Some boarding schools have a specialism and provide additional support and opportunities in a particular academic field such as music, drama, IT and media. If your child has a specialist interest we can discuss this option with you and recommend appropriate schools. Outside of their academic studies, it is also important to consider what extra-curricular activities are available. These can help develop your child’s interests in something other than their studies and are very important for the future when writing personal statements for university entrance. A well-rounded and diverse development through childhood can really help when faced with university life and studies and career planning.


What about Ireland?


In Ireland we only offer student placement into the secondary education system. International students attending Irish High Schools will generally be in homestay accommodation rather than boarding at the school. If you wish to consider Ireland as a destination for your child’s secondary education, please discuss this option with us.



What about keeping my child safe?


Both the UK and Ireland have legal measures in place to protect children which includes international students. The usual name applied to this is “safeguarding” and it involves checking staff (teaching and administrative) to ensure they have no criminal record and taking special steps to ensure the safety of your child both at school and when they are out of normal academic study hours. At Traveledex, because we are teachers ourselves, we are extremely familiar with the requirements and ensure that the schools we partner with take the best care of your child. There is a legal requirement to have a Guardian appointed for your child to look after all matters regarding their education and welfare whilst they are studying abroad and we will discuss our guardianship service with you.


Our Partner Schools


Please find details of just some of our Partner Schools below. If you wish to consider a specific school, please let us know during our discussions and we can provide further information about their admissions process. You can view our Partner locations on the map below:


UK School Year Ages and Curriculum Key Stages

Ages 17-18 study specific qualifications that are vocational or A Levels (or equivalent) for university entry.


School Rankings

Whilst school rankings can be important, especially as an indicator of academic success, not all students will do well in a pressurised academic environment. For some students, their extra-curricular activities and achievements can be very important too and also make an impact on a personal statement for university. At Traveledex, your consultant will speak to you in detail about the student to make suitable recommendations based on academic and required specialisms to find the school most suited.

A Selection of Our Highly Ranked Schools:

Cardiff Sixth Form College - Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff Sixth Form College has been ranked the top independent school in the UK over the past eleven years with 99% of students achieving A-A grades and 100% A-B in 2020. 17 students went onto Oxbridge and 50% to the G5 universities with 76% going onto QS Top 100 universities worldwide.

Cardiff Sixth Form College also offers a wide range of super curricular and careers-based activities. Students take part in volunteering and both UK and international work experience programmes. They join careers-societies, are given practice in critical thinking, enter awards and develop skills in communication, leadership and entrepreneurship. There are many field-trips on offer and students are encouraged to undertake research projects, attend Ted Talks and undertake independent research projects. Our extra-curricular programme gives opportunities for students to enjoy sport, music, art and drama as well as a large range of clubs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, debating and the NASA Space Settlement Design Competition.


Oxford International College

Part of the Nord Anglia education group, Oxford International College is an independent sixth form college offering A-Levels, GCSEs, and a range of short courses. They prepare students for competitive degrees at the world’s top universities. Oxford’s academic excellence is without question. Due to the proximity of Oxford University, our students can attend world-class lectures, take part in university competitions, and learn from mentors that are studying their future degrees. It is also no accident that almost the entire teaching staff of OIC hails from the same university.


Concord College - Acton Burnell, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

An independent international school for students that are academically minded. The international mix of students provides a vibrant and varied community with a global perspective in which to study and live. It is also kind, welcoming and friendly: a place where students and staff live in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Consistently highly ranked for academic performance Concord has been in the top 3 independent schools for A level according to the latest data provided by the ISC (Independent Schools Council).



Part of the Nord Anglia education group, d’Overbroeck’s is a leading co-educational independent school in Oxford, UK, offering an exceptional academic and extra-curricular programme. We teach students aged 11-18 the GCSE, IGCSE and A-Level curriculum across three school sites: Years 7-11, the Sixth Form, and The International School. The school is high-achieving and academically rigorous, and students will receive expert guidance on how to make the most of their experience with us considering their long-term goals. We expect high standards of commitment and effort from our students and have a track record of strong GCSE and A-Level results. Once enrolled at the school, staff work closely with each student to make sure they are getting the advice and support they need. Pastoral care and support for each student is an essential feature at d’Overbroeck’s, where wellbeing and happiness are prioritised alongside responsibility and achievement.  

Leighton Park - Reading

Founded in 1890 and is a day and boarding school for girls and boys aged 11-18 set in 65 acres of beautiful parkland in Reading. Winner of the Best Co-educational School 2022, South East England, the School has been fully co-ed since 1993 and has a 50:50 ratio of girls to boys at its Year 7 entry point. The Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) awarded Leighton Park a ‘double excellent’ standard in January 2022, the highest possible attainment for an independent school, in recognition of both the quality of pupils’ personal development and the quality of their academic progress. The Independent Schools Association celebrated Leighton Park as the winner of their Pupils’ Personal Development Award in November 2022.

The school excels in music and is a Flagship Yamaha Music Education Partner, the only school in Europe to hold this prestigious status.  The school’s Yamaha Live Lounge Sessions enable their young musicians to lay down professional quality recordings, reflect on their performances and grow in confidence. They are also a Steinberg Certified Training Centre, which  recognises the excellence in their use of Music Technology. As a global software company, Steinberg supports their students in a range of creative endeavours including musical notation and music production.

Mill Hill - London

Mill Hill School is London’s leading co-educational day and boarding school for 13-18 year olds, and forms part of the Mill Hill School Foundation which also includes a preparatory school, a pre preparatory school and more recently the international school. Located in 120 acres of beautiful parkland just ten miles to the North of London. Mill Hill School has an international reputation for excellence which has been built over more than two centuries since its foundation in 1807.

Royal Russell School - Croydon, London

Offering a very personal education to each student, Royal Russel excels in many areas and offers a traditional-style English education. The school also has a specialist Football Academy and a well-recognised Music Academy for those students with a particular interest in those areas.

Sidcot School - Winscombe, North Somerset

Based in the south west of England, Sidcot is known for its Sixth Form studies which offer A-level, BTEC and IB Diploma. The school has an outstanding reputation in sciences, maths, and creative arts and is well known for its Centre for Peace and Global Studies as well as the Equestrian Centre. A Year 11 Pathway – one-year GCSE course – integrated to give a truly UK boarding school experience is also available.

St Francis' College - Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire (Girls only)

St Francis’ College achievements are outstanding and with a solid tradition of academic rigor. The boarding house has a lovely family atmosphere supported by experienced boarding staff and academic tutors. The school has everything you would expect and more: there’s a 330-seat purpose-built theatre, a 20-metre indoor heated swimming pool, gymnasium, dance studio, hockey pitches and five courts for both netball and tennis. In 2020 they introduced a new International Scholar’s Award. The value of the award is up to 20% of the tuition fees and it is open for applicants for Y12.

Other Schools & Their Specialisms

Abbey College - Malvern Wells, Worcestershire

Abbey College is a residential boarding school set on a 70 acre secure campus in Malvern. The picturesque setting provides a spacious and peaceful place for students to focus on achieving their full academic potential, whilst allowing a large range of sporting and social activities on campus. The site of Abbey College was established as a seat of learning in 1874, lying on the lower slopes of the famous Malvern Hills in central England and the campus is part of a government-recognised “area of outstanding natural beauty.” Malvern is renowned as a centre for high quality private education and is statistically one of the safest towns in the whole of the UK.

Ackworth School, Ackworth, Pontefract

Ackworth School was founded in 1779 by John Fothergill on behalf of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the School Committee (or Board of Governors) is still accountable to this body. The School was established for Quaker boys and girls and the Quaker ethos, with its emphasis on quiet reflection and the search for God (or good) within oneself and within others, lies at the heart of the School. Periods of reflective silence form part of each day, during Morning Meeting and before meals for example, and each Thursday there is a short silent Meeting for Worship for the whole School. The importance of respect for others and honesty at all times emphasised by the Quaker faith helps to produce a calm, friendly atmosphere which is supportive and reassuring for young people. The majority of pupils are from non-Quaker families and about 20% come from other countries. Indeed, the international nature of the School, especially in the Sixth Form, is one of its distinctive features. As in any such community there has to be a clear disciplinary framework and our expectations are high. Ackworth pupils respond well to this and to the opportunities provided for assuming responsibilities, for example within the boarding houses and on the School Council.

ACS Cobham - Cobham, Surrey

A school which thrives on its international students, ACS Cobham International School offers a contemporary boarding houses situated within a secure, 128-acre campus with state-of-the-art sports, performing arts and teaching facilities. They offer an extensive enrichment programme across the academic year to appeal to a wide range of interests with a curriculum leading towards the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma (APCP), Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID), Advanced Placement (AP) courses and ACS High School Diploma (US).

Adcote School - Shrewsbury, Shropshire (Girls only)

Adcote School is an all-girls independent boarding school based in the beautiful Shropshire countryside, just outside Shrewsbury. Awarded “Senior School of the Year 2020” by the Independent Schools Association, we help to secure the core skills of confidence, leadership, engagement, achievement, and resilience through our CLEAR learning programme, allowing students to thrive in the 21st century.

Bournemouth Collegiate School, Bournemouth

Located in beautiful coastal Bournemouth, close to town centre and to the beach and dating back to 1890. Top 5% for Value Added Education in the UK. In 2020, 40% of students gained a place at Russel Group university.

Ideal to study Art, Design, Drama and Performing Arts – finalists of Independent Schools of the Year 2020 award in the Performing Arts Category. Over the last two years, our artists have been accepted to study degrees at St Martin’s, The London College of Fashion, the Arts University at Bournemouth, Milan and many more of the top universities and art colleges.

Outstanding sports school with elite Sports Academies in:
Football, Basketball, Swimming, Tennis, Rugby, Badminton, Rowing

The Sports Academies ranked 21st in the UK for Sport from all Independent Schools and were shortlisted for a National Award in 2019.

BCS offers Oxbridge and Medicine Preparation and courses include GCSE (2 year and 18 months), iGCSE (1 year), A Level (2 year and 18 months), Pre A Level and Academic Preparation (for students whose level of English is not enough for progression onto A-levels or GCSE).

Ellesmere School - Ellesmere, Shropshire

Ellesmere College takes academic achievement very seriously, as well as the arts, music, drama and sport – we work hard to maintain a balance. They are a school that believes in High Performance Learning (HPL) – that all pupils have the ability to achieve academic success.

LVS Ascot - Ascot, Berkshire

In the Independent School sector for over 200 years, LVS Ascot today is a modern purpose built campus with state of the art facilities offering students the opportunity of just staying one term (Yr7-12) or completing a 2 year GCSE and/or A Level courses . A 1 year Pre A level/A Level Foundation course is also available as well as the NCUK university foundation pathway.

Moreton Hall - Oswestry, Shropshire (Girls only)

As well as academic studies, Moreton offers a very strong business focus in the school with the award winning ‘Moreton Enterprises’ promoting entrepreneurship and leadership. Retail businesses include a stationery shop, a clothing line and a café; run by the girls, for the girls.

Myddelton College - Denbigh, North Wales

Myddelton College is a co-educational independent school with a strong boarding ethos, located in Denbighshire in the heart of the Welsh countryside. As a Microsoft Associate Showcase school, they aim to provide students with a unique blend of 21st century learning and the best of British education, offering adventure education, mindfulness education and elite sports including triathlon, tennis and show jumping. Academic counselling for Oxbridge applicants is also a specialty.

Rochester Independent College - Rochester, Kent

Rochester Independent College in Kent offers a distinctive alternative to traditional independent education. There is no uniform, no bells ring, students and staff are on first name terms and the average class size is 8. It is a non-selective school but obtains great university destinations, including 9 Medical places in 2020. The College has specialities in both the Sciences and Arts, meaning that there is a course which will allow each student to thrive academically.

Royal Hospital School (RHS) - Holbrook, Ipswich

RHS is a senior school that offers a comprehensive education including GCSEs, A Levels and BTEC courses. They have a wide range of extra-curricular activities available catering for almost every possible interest a student may have.

Offshore Boarding

Jersey College for Girls - Jersey (Girls only)

Situated on the island of Jersey, a British island off the coast of France with a 140-year-old history. It provides a safe environment for study in one of the most affluent offshore financial centres with many top investment and private financial institutions represented there. A 40-minute flight away from Heathrow, supervised student tourism is also available with regular excursions made by the school.

This top school offers a prep school for younger students and several uniquely innovative sixth form A level programmes, including:

  • A-Level Female Leadership in International Finance
  • A-Level Sailing
  • A-Level Golf
  • A-Level Coding (Computer)

There are also summer programmes available such as Biomedical Leadership and for those who are academically gifted but struggling with English the English Free programme providing access to a bursary of up to £10,000 towards an intensive English course prior to joining the college.