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Understanding UK Boarding Schools and the British Education System
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British Education System

The students that we place usually join a boarding school between the ages of 11 and 13 and typically stay with that Boarding School until 16 or 18 and the completion of their GCSE, A Levels or International Baccalaureate as appropriate within the British Education System.

To understand how the British Education System works in Boarding Schools we have put together a simple guide as follows:

British Education System

Preparatory School

Our Prep Schools are all attached to the Senior Boarding Schools with whom we work and students can attend from the age of 7 onward and are prepared for the next step in education, which will be progression to the Senior Boarding School. The Prep School will focus on the core subjects of English, Maths and Science with special emphasis on improving English for overseas students.

Senior Boarding School

Whether a student progresses from the Preparatory School or joins the Senior Boarding School at 11-13 they will be required to study a range of subjects, typically 10-15 that follow the guidelines of the National Curriculum. At the age of 14 these student will begin a 2 year course where they study 5-10 subjects of their own choice and they will prepared for and then sit the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations in the subjects they have chosen at the age of 16.

Students who have achieved the necessary grades will then qualify to further their education at Sixth Form level for 16-18 year olds, all our Boarding Schools have a Sixth Form that students can progress to.

Sixth Form (University Preparation)

Sixth form students have the opportunity to study a wider range of qualifications.

The majority tend to study A-Level examinations which is a 2 year programme and students tend to specialise in 2-4 subjects relevant to the degree subject they wish to study at University.  At the end of their first year of A Levels students take AS Level exams. They continue with their subjects in year 2 where these become full A Level Qualifications at the end of that school year. These are state examinations and recognised by all UK Universities and also worldwide.

International students can opt from the age of 17 to study a one year University Foundation Course which lead to private examinations that are an alternative to A Levels and recognised  by some but not all Universities.

Another widely chosen option is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, accepted as an entrance qualification for degree courses throughout the world. 

One of the key purposes of Sixth Form at a boarding school as well as gaining important qualifications is that it is ideal preparation for university life. All our Boarding Schools work with their students to ensure that they obtain the best University place that they can and have staff dedicated to this aim.