The ideal age to enter a Boarding School in England

UK Boarding school St. Michaels › Boarding schools in England

When joining a boarding school in England there are many different factors to consider.  As one of the biggest decisions in a young person’s life both the student and the parents need to make sure that the student is ready for such a big change.  Joining a boarding school in England is almost always an incredibly positive and rewarding experience for a student which also sets them on the path to obtaining a degree from a British university.

One of the most important questions for parents to consider when discussing the transition to the UK school system and the physical and emotional impact that moving to boarding school in England can have on their child is:

“What is the ideal age to enter a boarding school in England?”

Although some private schools in the UK will accept international applicants at a very young age – prep schools will accept students at the primary education level for example – most boarding schools in England only accept international boarders when they begin their secondary education.  For very young students travelling from overseas, living so far from home can be stressful and the homesickness can often be unbearable.  Whereas many British boarders have the option of returning to their families at the weekends and during half-terms, international boarders typically have to make it through a whole term before they see their families again.  For this reason most boarding schools in England who accept international students into their boarding accommodation stipulate that these students wait until their early teens before joining.

For international students, joining a boarding school in England provides them with a world class education along with a wealth of opportunities for self-enrichment.  They will become independent and broaden their minds as they travel and create strong bonds and eternal friendships with people from different cultures.  Most students start to become more aware of the world around them during their transformative early teenage years as they begin to take an interest in current affairs and the global issues that affect them as young adults.  Surely there can be no better time in a child’s life to embark on an adventure as exciting and life-changing as moving to a boarding school in England.

Whilst boarding schools in England cultivate a student’s independence and ensure they develop a strong work ethic, students are expected to have a certain level of self-discipline and approach boarding with a level of maturity.  This has been a core value of boarding school education for many centuries and has been pivotal to their success in ensuring students achieve academic greatness.  Although all children grow and develop at a different pace, many boarding schools in England consider 13 or 14 the age when students develop the self-discipline and maturity required for boarding.

At King’s College Saint Michaels, an international boarding school in England, students aren’t accepted until they reach 14 years old.  Not only does the school consider this to be the best time for a child to study abroad in terms of their social development, but it also marks a pivotal landmark in the UK education system – when students begin their GCSEs.  GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) form the earliest qualifications recognized and considered by a university, which makes 14 the perfect age for international students to join the UK education system as previous school grades or exam results are not generally required when making a university application.

As one of the few boarding schools in England to specialise in educating only international students, all of whom board, Saint Michaels has a great sense of responsibility when it comes to nurturing each student.  All the staff from the principal to the house parents in the boarding accommodation work together to create a friendly and safe environment which teenagers will feel comfortable and happy in.  By focusing on students aged from 14 – 18 the school is able to guide students through their secondary education qualifications, whilst providing a wide range of activities and excursions specially designed to be of interest to young adults.

Why 14 years old is the perfect age to study at a boarding school in England:

  • GCSEs form the perfect basis for A Level study – students can start GCSEs at 14 years old
  • Universities only look as far back as a student’s GCSE grades
  • Children have the level of maturity required to cope in a boarding school environment
  • Students are likely to feel less homesick the older they get
  • Children become more interested in the world around them during their early teenage years