1. Key Points
i) PERMISSION: The most important factor, before School Britannia starts to search for a boarding school for your child, is to ensure that you have the permission from his or her current school to leave for a period to go to school in Britain.
ii) CHOICE OF SCHOOL: School Britannia will endeavour to find a school which best corresponds to your particular requirements. See CHOOSING A SCHOOL (3) below.
iii) FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Please read FINANCES (4) below.
iv) GUARDIAN: It is compulsory to name an adult relation or friend living in England who can be contacted and take responsibility for your child in case of emergency. The school will ask you to provide their name and contact details.
v) MEDICAL: Each pupil is registered with the school doctor and NHS on arrival and will provide medical care as required. Private medical insurance is offered as an optional extra. Your child should have a EHIC medical card.
vi) MEDICATION: If you child takes any medication to the school this has to be given to the school infirmary on arrival, together with the prescription. This is extremely important.
vii) INSURANCE: It is vital to ensure that your child is fully insured in case of accident. Please check your personal family insurance coverage.
School Britannia can also recommend AVI Insurance – details on the Partner Page.
viii) COMMITTMENT: Once the deposit has been paid and the offer of a place is accepted, a family is liable for the first term’s fees (or half-term). In the case of a cancellation, the deposit will not be repaid. It is important to read the Terms & Conditions sent by the school at the time of accepting a place.
ix) DEPOSIT: The deposit will be repaid after your child has left the school on receipt of international bank details.
x) EXPULSION: If your child is asked to leave for breaking the school rules, the school fees will not be reimbursed.
2. School Calendar
i) TERM DATES: These vary for each school but are generally:
5th September – 20th October + half-term holiday
1st November – 15th December
5th January – 10th February + half-term holiday
20th February – 25th March
19th April – 27th May + half-term holiday
5th June –2nd July
i) PREP SCHOOL: 8-13 years (Y4 – Y8)
ii) PUBLIC SCHOOL: 13-18 years. There are some Public schools (and all the girls schools) which start at 11 years (Y7).
iv) SCHOOL YEAR 2019/2020
YEAR 6 10/11 year 01.09.2008 – 31.08.2009
YEAR 7 11/12 year 01.09.2007 – 31.08.2008
YEAR 8 12/13 year 01.09.2006 – 31.08.2007
YEAR 9 13/14 year 01.09.2005 – 31.08.2006
YEAR 10 14/15 year 01.09.2004 – 31.08.2005
YEAR 11 15/16 year 01.09.2003 – 31.08.2004 GCSE
YEAR 12 16/17 year 01.09.2002 – 31.08.2003
YEAR 13 17/18 year 01.09.2001 – 31.08.2002 A level/I.B.
v) STREAMING: On the whole, pupils stay within their age group and are not kept down a year or jump a year ahead. This is because pupils are put into ability groups for most subjects and can therefore follow lessons at their own rhythm.
vi) WEEK-ENDS: Each school will have a different policy but many children will go home after lessons and matches on Saturdays. The school organises activities and outings for those children who stay at the school.
Many schools have one or two week-ends exeat when the school closes and pupils have to travel home or to friends.
vii) TRAVEL ORGANISATION: There is generally a Travel Co-ordinator who will arrange a pupil’s travel to an airport or train station. The school may organise a school minibus at the beginning and end of terms – or taxis for individual pupils. Taxi companies used are all well-known to each school and security-checked.
3. Choosing a School
i) LENGTH OF STAY : The process of finding a school differs greatly according to the length of stay. The longer time your child can stay, the greater the choice of school there will be. This factor will have the biggest impact on the choice of school.
ii) NUMBERS of BOARDERS : British families now often choose schools near their homes so that their children can weekly or flexi board. This often means that there is a smaller percentage of full-time boarders. Many full-time boarders are either British children living abroad or foreign pupils.
iii) LOCATION : Top quality schools can be found throughout Britain, not just near London. These can be reached by international airports such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.
iv) INTERNATIONAL : All boarding schools will have a percentage of international children (15%-30%); many of these will be long-term pupils with an advanced level of English. Generally, schools will ensure that there is an even spread of nationalities, but some schools have become popular with particular nationalities. There are a growing number of boarding schools catering solely for international pupils; generally pupils spend up to a year at these schools in order to perfect their English before moving on to a British boarding school.
v) SUBJECTS & QUALIFICATIONS : Pupils study the full curriculum up to the end of Y9. In Y10 and Y11 pupils take Maths, the 3 Sciences and English and choose 4 other subjects. In Y12 and Y13 pupils choose 3-4 subjects in preparation for the final exams (A levels). About 50 boarding schools also offer the Baccalaureat International. NB: German is not always offered as a foreign language.
vi) FEES : These reflect the reputation of a school and also the infrastructure. It may be possible to find a school with lower fees. In the case of Ireland or English state or Grammar schools, there will be larger class sizes and fewer boarders and a smaller curriculum.
vii) CO-ED : The majority of boarding schools are now co-ed, but there remain a number of reputable all-girls schools and a smaller number of all-boys schools.
viii) RELIGION : Although there are only a small number of Catholic boarding schools in Britain, the majority of schools have a Christian background and the Chapel plays a central role in the life of the school. Schools welcome children of all faiths.
ix) OTHER FRENCH PUPILS : School Britannia takes care to find out the numbers of French pupils at each school.
NB : it is important to give as accurate information as possible in order to identify suitable schools.
1) SCHOOL FEES
i) Public School (age 13-18) Y9-Y13
£9,500 – £12,500 per term – the price varying according to the reputation and infrastructure of the school.
ii) Prep School (8-13) Y4-Y8
£7,500 – £9,250 per term – the price varying according to the reputation and infrastructure.
2) FIXED EXTRAS
Registration fee: £50-£250
Deposit (repaid at the end of the pupil’s time at the school): £500 to up to a term’s fees. This varies according to the length of time spent at the school.
3) VARIABLE EXTRAS
- Transfer from airport/station to school
- EAL/ESL/EFL/TOFEL (cours d’anglais renforcé) – £150-£850 per term. These lessons are included in the fees at some schools.
- Uniform: the price for this will vary according to the length of stay. It is generally possible to buy items second hand.
- Outings: there may be a small charge for optional outings during the week-end
- Private lessons: eg. musical instrument, learning support eg.dyslexia
- Private Medical Insurance: this is offered as an option
- Public exams: if applicable
- Pocket money: this should be handed into the Housemistress or Housemaster. The amount is to be left to a parent’s discretion; it is not advisable – or necessary – for a pupil to bring large amounts of cash.
i) Schools will charge a pro rata weekly fee for stays of half a term or less.
ii) A term’s notice is required (unless otherwise specified) – in writing – to inform a school that a pupil is leaving. For example, if a child is leaving a school at the end of the summer term 2018/2019, written notice must be received by a school before the first day of the summer term 2018/2019.
iii) All bank charges are to be paid by the family.
5. Short Term Stays
British families will appy for a place for their child several years ahead. Generally, a pupil will go to the same Prep school for 5 years and then to a Public (Senior) school for 5 years.
- 5 YEARS (13-18 years) or 2 YEARS (16-18) The most selective British boarding schools require an application several years ahead. The entrance process is competitive, involving interviews and exams.
- 1 YEAR Many – but not all – good schools will accept a pupil for one year, subject to school reports, references, interviews and tests.
- 1 TERM A small number of schools will consider a pupil for one term, according to spaces they may have during the year. They will require reports and generally a Skype interview and tests in English and Maths.
- HALF A TERM Sometimes is possible to find a place at a boarding school for half a term (4/5 weeks), but the choice is very limited.
These schools will generally have only a small percentage of boarders, most of whom will be from overseas.
These are just some of the factors which a school, accepting a pupil for a short stay, will need to arrange for him or her:
- an individual timetable, so that the numbers of pupils in each class is not adversely affected;
- a suitable bedroom in the house;
- support for a pupil on arrival so that he or she is helped to find their way around the school and to adapt to the new environment;
- extra English lessons.
All this requires a considerable amount of work on all sides.
6. Uniform/What to bring
i) List of items to bring: this is sometimes very long. Your child will notnecessarily need everything, particularly for a short stay.
ii) It is important to sew nametapes on to all items of clothing and mark belongings with your child’s name.
iii) Clothes are washed weekly by the school laundry.
iv) Schools will generally provide a duvet (couette) and pillow. Sheets can also be provided upon request.
v) Pack one or two electrical adapters.
vi) The school will provide all books. Your child just needs to bring his or her pencil case (with calculator/dictionary)
vii) Mobile phones and computers. Most pupils have their own phones and most senior schools now require a pupil to bring their own laptop for school work.
Each school will have their own policy regarding usage. It is possible to use school computers for email and Skype.
viii) Pocket Money: It is advisable to be keep this to a minimum. Pocket money can be given to the Housemaster/Housemistress for safekeeping.
ix) All medication must be given to the House Matron together with a prescription.
x) All pupils must have a pair of plain, black leather shoes.
A QUICK UNIFORM GUIDE
- Skort = jupe-culotte
- Hoody = pull à capouche
- Tweed jacket = veste en tweed
- Shin pads = protège tibias
- Mouthguard = protège dents
- Kit bag = sac de sport
- Sponge bag = trousse de toilette
- Baselayers = sous-shorts etc. pour le sport
7. Travel Matters
Parents are responsible for arranging their child’s travel, either:
- accompanying them to the school
- arranging for their child to travel alone.
A school can arrange transfers from the airport or station with qualified drivers. The cost will be charged to the parents’ account and deducted from the deposit payment.
Each school will have a different system with regard to organizing transfers: often this will be a central travel coordinator.
It is important to check:
- that your child has a valid passport
- the airline policy with regard to age if your child is travelling alone
- whether your child needs an ‘authorisation de sortie de territoire’ or any other document to travel to Great-Britain.
WiFi is available throughout schools, although internet access is screened and turned off over night.
Mobile telephones. Most children have their own mobile phone. Each school will have their own policy on usage. Although parents can telephone their children, it is advisable to limit this so that a child can concentrate on this integration and become fully involved in school life, and interact with other pupils. This applies equally to British children as to international pupils.
Computers. It is generally necessary for a pupil to bring their own laptop for school work. He or she will also have access to school computers for internet, email and Skype.
Parents will be given the email address of the Housemaster/Housemistress and can contact them if and when necessary.
9. House Life
From Year 9 -Year 13, your child will be allocated a house.
There will be between 25-55 girls or boys per house.
There will be a mixture of children from each year, although some schools (and generally all girls schools) will have a different house for each year group together.
Children from the same year group share rooms. As a general rule:
- Year 9: 3-6 sharing
- Year 10: 2-4 sharing
- Year 11: 2 sharing
- Year 12: single room
- Year 13: single room
Prep schools generally have one floor or wing of the house for boys and the other for girls.
- Housemaster or Housemistress
- Deputy Housemaster or Housemistress
- Gap students
- Domestic Helps
- Common Room (salon)
- Games Room
- Boot Room
- Trunk Room
- Housemaster’s/Housemistress’ family flat
- Pupils’ bedrooms: between 1 and 6 pupils per room, depending on age.
- Inter-House sports competitions
- Inter-House music competitions
i) Supper is at 17.30/18.00 (between lessons and Prep).
ii) There are Parent/Teacher meetings once a year to discuss your child’s progress. Ask your child’s tutor for the date in advance.
iii) Your child may be in a school play or music concert to which you will be invited. It is important to ask your child to let you know as soon as they know the dates.
iv) Each term there are different team sports, so that schools can play matches against each other. Generally these are:
- Autumn term:
Boys – rugby
Girls – lacrosse or hockey
- Spring term:
Boys – hockey or football
Girls – netball
- Summer term:
Boys – cricket
Girls – rounders
There are also many other sports played throughout the year.
v) Some year groups spend a week away on a trip. In the summer term of Year 7 this is often to France.
vi) G.P. = médécin traitant
vii) There is an infirmary at each school where a child can go if they do not feel well. Often there will be bedrooms where children can sleep if they are ill.
viii) It may be possible for your child to work towards a certificated English exam during their time at the school. This needs to be discussed with the EAL department.
ix) There is one or two hours of homework – prep – at the end of the day.
x) Many staff at boarding schools are husband and wife. For example, the husband might be a Housemaster and his wife a teacher and will live at the school.