Study in the UK – Independent Boarding Schools / Colleges

Independent Boarding Schools / Colleges

Independent boarding schools in the UK provide education opportunities for students from 7 to 18 years old. Overseas students tend to go to the UK after age 13. There are schools for boys, girls or co-educational. Some are specialist schools in music, drama, art and design. Every school has to be registered with the government and receive regular inspection by OFSTED (The Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills).

Entry requirement

Students who wish to apply for a UK boarding school have to provide school reports, proof of English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS), reference letter and financial proof (i.e. evidence of having enough money to support the student's whole course of study in the UK ). Most boarding schools required student to take their school entrance examinations.


In Year 10 and 11, students study for GCSE, mostly take seven subjects and sit for examinations at the end. With good grades in GCSE, students may progress to two-year GCE A-level, during which students take  three or four  subjects to further study in depth. GCE A-level is the common qualification for entry to UK universities, and subjects taken may directly affect options at universities

Independent colleges offer one-year intensive A-level course. Students may attend pre-sessional English for three months to up to a year if they have to strengthen their English.

In recent years, International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB Diploma) has gained popularity and a few independent boarding schools offer IB curriculum alongside A-level. This qualification may see as an alternative to A-level for application to UK universities.