The option of a UK boarding school is not for all families but it is a realistic option for many expat families in the UAE who seek stability of education for their children when circumstances dictate moving often. Boarding schools are also a stepping stone to university and can provide a breadth and depth of learning support that may not be widely available at local schools here.
There is a boarding school in the UK to suit every child, but finding that school can be a daunting process. The internet is an obvious first place to start your search, as is talking to friends and other British Mums Dubai who may have recently gone through the process or have children at boarding school themselves. Contacting an Education Consultant can also provide you with free impartial advice and help throughout the process.
As a first step, you should identify your criteria so that you have a clearer idea of the type of school that will suit your child.
Here we look at some of these criteria through schools located within this area. All schools encourage their students to achieve their academic potential. Some schools offer an academically competitive environment with an expectation that their students will achieve top grades:
(A Level results for example are as follows: Dulwich College 89% A*-B, St Paul’s School 86% A*-A, Woldingham School 86% A*-B, Caterham School 90% A*-B); other schools will have a broader range of academic ability.
Full boarding environment
Mums often agree it’s so important for expat boarders to be part of a busy and full boarding environment with lots of activities and trips arranged during evenings and weekends.
Dulwich College has 1,322 boys on roll, and 130 boarders and is predominantly a day school with a boarding-school feel, as is St Paul’s with 940 boys and 30 boarders; Harrow School has 825 boys on roll, all boarders.
Schools closer to London tend to have more London-based families and students opt to be weekly boarders – so this is something that you should ask about when you visit a prospective school.
Fulfilling talents and passion in sport, music, art and drama
If your child has a talent and passion in any of these fields it’s important that they are able to continue and develop this, whether it is representing the county at rugby or playing in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. There are schools with strengths in all of these areas;
Whitgift School offers more than 40 different sports and students have won over 120 national titles in the past five years. The Football Academy and Hockey Academy at Royal Russell School offers access to world-class facilities and professional level coaching and The Millennium Centre at Woldingham School with a 600-seat acoustically designed auditorium is one of the best facilities for Performing Arts in any school in the country. 70% of students learn a musical instrument and with close proximity to London visits to concerts, operas and musicals are very much part of the curriculum.
Most schools offer I/GCSE in Years 10 and 11 and when entering the Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13) there are other options:
A Levels, IB Diploma, Btecs and Pre-U.
Some schools offer the full range of subjects, for example Whitgift and other schools only offer one option as is the case with Marymount International School which offers the IB Diploma. Within these qualifications there is a breadth of subjects to choose from. ACS Cobham International School and TASIS The American School in London also offer the Advanced Placement (AP) and American High School Diploma.
An Independent College in London
These also offer an excellent stepping stone to university and encourages a mature and independent attitude to learning for motivated students. Teaching in small classes they are able to be flexible and achieve very good results. Ashbourne College and CATS College offer a medical programme for students considering a career in the field of medicine and a University Foundation Programme offers progression to university to students who have not yet studied the British curriculum.
All of us want to provide the best education possible for our children, so that they achieve their potential academically, gain independence and confidence and above all else, are happy! A British boarding education provides all of this plus lots of opportunities in sport, music, art and drama to develop well rounded young adults prepared for the next step in life.
You can search for further information about boarding schools located in London and within the M25 at www.boardingschoolsadvice.com
Anderson Education, UK Boarding School Specialists OfferFree Impartial Advice and Guidance, we have been working with expat families for over 20 years and visited over 350 UK boarding schools.