Which is the Best British Boarding School?

The UK is renowned for the high quality of its education system.
But with so many fantastic schools, how do you decide which one
is right for your child?

Fettes College
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Enrolling your child in UK boarding schools

With over 450 boarding schools in the UK, there is a huge variety of specialisms and styles. The options are endless!

Not everyone learns the same way and not every boarding school will suit your child. Our team works with a range of boarding schools and we can help you find the school where your child can flourish.

Academic Families is based in the UK and we regularly meet with pupils and parents as well as boarding and academic staff. We’re on a first-name basis with many staff members at boarding schools throughout the UK and we understand what they are looking for when they evaluate student applications.

We are expert matchmakers in boarding school admissions

Due to our history and personal connections, we also understand how much the student experience varies from school to school. This helps us to make the best match between your child and the school.

Our UK-wide network extends to hundreds of schools, including those in city locations and those in more rural, classic settings as well as those that might specialise in sports, music, performing arts and more.

We will be happy to assist you to find the right placement for your child, whatever your needs and requirements might be.

Choosing the right boarding school in the UK

Academic Families’ highly personalised school admissions service ensures that international students can achieve their full potential during their UK education.

We’re on the ground in the UK and regularly meet with schools across the country, so we know the differences and details that make each school special.

There are several different types of British school curriculum offered throughout the UK. Since our staff have graduated from British schools and because we maintain regular contact with schools across the country, we are able to guide you through the complexities and simplify the UK school system for you.

Through an in-depth consultation with you and your child, we will present you with a customised selection of schools that best fit your needs, and we’ll work with you to facilitate the placement process.


Getting to know you and your child

It’s best to begin looking for a school about 18 months before enrolment, but late applications can still be placed.

Your first step is to contact us so we can begin learning more about what you are looking for, and then create a customised plan just for you.

Finding the best match for your child

You can think of Academic Families as your personal matchmaker.

We have experience in matching each individual student to the right school, and each student to the right host family.

Academic Families’ highly personalised school admissions service ensures we meet your expectations for your child’s happiness, safety and successful education.

Our services include:

  • In-depth consultation to ascertain your aspirations for your child’s education as well as their academic and extracurricular interests and strengths.
  • Initial interview and pre-assessment with your child so that we can advise specifically about their level of English and Mathematics.
  • Explanation of the different British school curriculum and qualifications on offer – A Levels, International Baccalaureate, BTEC and Scottish Highers - all are valid for entry to universities worldwide, and we will advise on those which may lead to the greatest success for your child.
  • Overview of the entrance and scholarship requirements of individual schools.
  • Careful selection of a range of schools for you to consider and advice on your child’s start date.
  • An introduction to schools and assistance with arrangements to tour schools if you choose to visit them.
  • Assistance with the school application and registration process to ensure your child is presented at their best and in the format each school prefers.
  • Advice and admissions for pre-session academic courses, including English language courses, and tutoring that might be needed prior to the start of school.
  • Advice and admissions for short courses offered during school breaks or in the summer holiday.
  • Advice on British and school culture and general expectations so your child is well prepared from the start.
  • Ongoing support after entry to your selected school through our AEGIS and BSA accredited guardianship care.
Students in Boarding School class

Our admissions process

Academic Families works with a range of educational institutions across the UK and we help families just like yours every day.

We understand how the boarding school admissions process works and our team is eager to show you what to expect along the way.

In addition to boarding school placement, we also advise on short courses and university applications - helping your child throughout every stage of his or her academic journey.

Whatever your child’s interests and abilities, there will be a school just right for them - let us help you find it!

Our 7 step process to enrol your child in a UK boarding school

Complete our online registration form.

Our Admissions Specialist will schedule a video call with you and your child to review your registration. We will cover two main areas:

The Basics

  • We explain the boarding school selection and application process
  • We get to know you, your child’s strengths, personality and academic needs
  • You end us a colour copy of your child's passport


  • You upload 2 recent school reports for our review
  • Your child may be asked to sit our online assessments to help us confirm their academic ability
  • We recommend if we think your child's applications would benefit from some extra tutoring support

We carefully select the best matched schools that fit your requirements.

Together, we will discuss the matched schools and revise our suggestions if needed.

Your final list will include 3 to 5 schools to apply to.

Once we receive your payment for each school’s registration fees and our administration fee, we will take care of the next steps.

We complete the school registration forms and arrange the school assessments.

We provide you with tips and interview practice sessions as your child gets ready for each school assessment and video interview.


Together, we’ll help you review offers and confirm your preferred boarding school

We inform schools of your decision

You secure your child’s place on payment of the deposit

You're nearly finished with only two 'big' decisions to make before your child is set to start at their chosen boarding school:

Student visa for the UK

  • Our immigration specialists can review your documentation to facilitate a successful student visa application

Guardianship for international students

  • To ensure your child is safe and receiving the highest quality support, most boarding schools recommend you appoint a guardian which is accredited by AEGIS (Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) or BSA (Boarding School Association)
  • Academic Families is one of the few guardians with dual accreditation, providing the utmost protection and support for your child

A member of our UK Guardianship team will contact you to discuss our guardianship services and how best to ensure your child is safe, happy and successful throughout their time far from home.

Understanding the UK education system

Not all boarding schools in the UK follow the same curriculum or teaching style.

Most boarding schools offer A Levels and follow the English curriculum regardless of whether they are located in England or Scotland. Some also offer the IB curriculum or BTEC, and some boarding schools offer a Scottish Highers curriculum. All of them will provide entry level qualifications to British and international universities, and Academic Families can gladly talk you through the advantages and benefits for your child.

Contact us to learn more about the different academic curriculum options in UK secondary schools.

Guardianship services - Looking after your child at British boarding school


Getting into a UK school is only the first step; looking after international students while they are here is just as important.

If your personal network doesn't extend to local support near their chosen school, then you will need the services of a guardian agency. Most schools require you to appoint an AEGIS  accredited agency to ensure quality support.

UK regulations require students under the age of 16 to appoint a guardian and most boarding schools require their international students to have a guardian regardless of their age. You still need a guardian even if your child is a full time boarder to ensure they have support out of school or when they are staying with a host family, and especially when they are travelling.

Academic Families provides both AEGIS and BSA accredited guardianship care and host family services so we can support you properly to make sure your child is safe, happy and successful.

Quality you can trust

Academic Families has both personal and professional experience with boarding schools which extends back to our days when some of our staff were students, all the way through to sending our own children to UK boarding schools.

Most of us are mothers and have also lived overseas, so we understand how important it is to find the very best education for every child no matter where that might be in the world.

Many members of our team have also taught in boarding schools and managed international schools abroad. Today, we regularly visit hundreds of schools across the country and we look after international student boarders throughout the UK.

Our excellent knowledge of the UK education system and British Council agent qualifications means we understand UK boarding education from the inside and out, and know how to match the right school to your child.

In addition, our guardianship service is fully accredited by AEGIS (the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) so you know your child will have the best local support anywhere in the UK.


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