Living in Hong Kong and thinking about sending your child to a boarding school in the UK? Britain has one of the most prestigious education systems in the world, with boarding schools as an ideal pathway to a top UK university with numerous additional benefits for your kiddo’s wellbeing and potential.
Besides prestige and stellar preparation for higher education (and life!), there’s another key reason why many expat parents send or consider sending their kids to boarding schools: the experience fosters independence and growth coupled with stability that expat life often cannot provide. While Hong Kong has outstanding international schools as well as international branches of some of the British boarding schools on this list, the possibility of being uprooted constantly looms over expat parents and their families. Though the initial separation may be hard, UK’s boarding schools are experts at making kids feel at home – over 40% of their students are from overseas families!
Before we proceed to our pick of 10 best UK boarding schools, let’s cover some key info for Hong Kong parents:
Timing & Applications:
All that said, our list of top boarding schools in the UK below is just a taste of UK’s prestigious offer, a sample of different establishments with different approaches and different histories that will get you started with research and preparations. We highly recommend that you contact professionals like Foundation Global Education and get first-hand information at the British Boarding Schools Show that will take place in Hong Kong on November 29, 2021!
Awarded the title of School of the Decade, Brighton college is the leading co-educational and boarding school in the country. If your kiddo is into STEM, it’s worth knowing that the school has also been named Top School in Britain for STEM subjects. Students are deeply inspired by the teachers and a culture of kindness and inclusivity underpins everything done in Brighton. This includes Brighton’s unique boarding life, which you can learn more about here! For more info on admissions, go here.
Eton is almost a synonym for prestigious British boarding schools. With a tradition spanning almost 6 centuries combined with a progressive approach to education, Eton College provides transformative, innovative educational opportunities (including scholarships and financial aid programs) with a strong emphasis on both academic standards, strong pastoral support and personal growth. The admission process looks at a boy’s current and potential academic ability, as well as whether he will be happy in Eton’s boarding environment.
A world leader in girls’ boarding education, Wycombe Abbey has over 120 years of experience in educating young women within a stimulating culture that promotes academic excellence, empathy and integrity. The school is set on 170 acres of conservation-listed, wooded grounds and has state-of-the-art facilities for a variety of activities. A third of Wycombe Abbey students secure Oxbridge offers and progress to prestigious art, drama and music schools. Girls from all backgrounds are welcome – learn more about the admissions here!
Like Eton, Harrow has incredibly high rates for entry into Oxbridge and other top universities and also ranks among the best in the world. This all-boys boarding school cherishes diversity and values courage, honor, humility and fellowship. It is situated on a 300-acre estate that encompasses conservation areas, a registered park, a golf course, an observatory and a working farm. Each year, the school admits about 160 boys into Year 9 and up to 20 boys into Year 12 – learn more here.
Gordonstoun’s curriculum of unparalleled breadth has made the school a world leader in character education in over 80 years of its existence. This school is highly international and multicultural, offering all-around education that broadens the mind. Its location in a woodland estate in the north of Scotland allows for Gordonstoun’s unmatched outdoor education program. Learn more about their admission process here!
Millfield is one of the leading independent schools and one of the largest co-educational boarding schools in the UK. Millfield strives to help the child to find their passion and then tailor their education program to fit the child. With a child-centered approach that doesn’t compromise on academic results, cutting-edge facilities, and superbly used resources, Millfield will discover the brilliance in your kid and encourage them to grow. It also has a strong emphasis on sports, with multiple alumni competing in the Tokyo Olympics in multiple disciplines! To find out more about admissions, go here!
Millfield, +44 1458 442291, www.millfieldschool.com; Senior School, Butleigh Road, Street, BA16 0YD; Pre-Prep/Prep, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 8LD
Benenden is regarded as one of the leading boarding schools in Britain nestled in a parkland area in Kent, the Garden of England. The school has a modern approach to boarding that develops social and emotional skills, while their underpinning philosophy of “complete education” allows girls to grow in terms of creativity and culture, mind and spirit, global awareness, skills for life and physical health and wellbeing. Find out how to apply here!
The King’s School is UK’s most historic, arguably oldest continuously operating school – that isn’t stuck in the past! It aims to anchor a 21st-century education within its illustrious history. It’s also one of the most beautiful, a World Heritage site. The King’s School used to be a boys’ boarding school but is now co-educational. The curriculum is well balanced, stretching but not stressing talented pupils; stimulating and enlightening them instead. Co-curricular activities are equally emphasized and celebrated, most notably during the traditional King’s Week festival! Learn about admissions here!
Carterhouse is one of the few remaining schools that is almost 100% boarding, with the daily lives of all pupils revolving around their houses. The facilities are outstanding and inspiring, and there’s a strong emphasis on support and community, as well as equality, diversity and inclusion. Carterhouse is exceptionally vibrant and forward-looking: though previously a boys-only school, they are welcoming their first girls into Year 9 and 10 in September 2021, which also marks half a century of girls in Sixth Form. Learn more about admissions here!
One of UK’s leading academic schools and the only ancient London school to occupy its original site – immediately next to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament – Westminister School is steeped in history and excellence. This long history encompasses boarding, which you can read more about here. Westminister offers over 40 societies for different areas of interest, all run by pupils and reflecting their diversity, as well as passion. Westminister pupils won countless prestigious awards in various disciplines! For more info on admissions for international applicants, go here!