Comparison between South Africa and UK boarding school systems

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Comparison between South Africa and UK boarding school systems

Comparing South Africa with the UK: why is the British boarding school system better for my child?

One of the most important decisions a parent can make is where to send their child to study. There are lots of areas to consider and the outcome of your choice will help to build your child’s future.

Parents regularly compare South African and UK boarding schools as an option for their children. We are here to help you understand the differences between the two and assist you in making your decision.

Style of Boarding

● Boarding houses in South Africa typically use a vertical boarding style as opposed to horizontal boarding.
● In comparison, schools across the UK vary in boarding styles, allowing you to select the best fit for your child.

Pastoral care

Pastoral care at British boarding schools is unrivaled, giving you peace of mind about sending your child abroad.
● The UK has a long history of boarding experience and with such a diverse set of students, the pastoral system has been set up well.


The UK continues to grow in terms of cultural diversity. This is reflected in UK boarding schools, where placements feature students from all over the world and benefit from close links to Europe.


If you choose to study in the UK, you are choosing internationally respected qualifications for your child. With GCSEs, A-levels and International Baccalaureate, your child can gain access to universities and jobs across the world.

● There are international bodies in South Africa that offer GCSEs and A levels, but the ‘matric’ system is not equivalent to British qualifications.
● Your child may have to do a foundational year at a British university if you choose a boarding school in South Africa.

Learning English

Learning English should be a key priority for your child and there is no better place to do this than in the UK.  Your child will be fully immersed in the language and vastly improve their conversational as well as written English.


Academic Families understands the weight of the decision surrounding where to send your child to school. We hope that this article has aided in understanding some key points. As part of our services we offer expert advice in selecting the right boarding for your child.



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This article appears in the following categories  Education Systems, School Placement

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