Choosing and assessing schools

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As with attending any school, choosing to board is a personal decision for parents to make with their child – and with support and advice from their chosen school.

  • Selecting a school

    Selecting a school

    A guide to the school application process  Carry out research into possible schools If possible, visit schools at least a year before the proposed entry date Complete application form Register with school Pay deposit/application fee during the year before entry (or earlier) Prepare for entrance examinations/tests/interviews Sit entrance/scholarship examinations at agreed location If possible visit the school for interview during...

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  • About Boarding

    What about boarding schools?

    The 2018 ISC Census showed that 69,979 pupils board at ISC schools. Overall, 474 schools, representing 36 per cent of all ISC schools, have some boarding pupils.  "Parents are able to choose between different types of boarding to suit their child." There are variations between different age groups. For the sector as a whole, 13.2 per cent of pupils at...

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  • parents’

    A parents’ guide to surviving the school marketplace

    I start reading car magazines in the barber’s shop, scroll through endless car websites, and my wife – who has only a passing awareness of Jeremy Clarkson – starts taking a geeky interest in mpg and 0 to 60 figures. The children compliantly troop around different garages with us for test drives, allowing themselves to be squashed into different seating...

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  • Inspections

    Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools

    If it is an independent school, but not a member of one of those associations or is a state boarding school, the inspection of boarding is carried out by a specialist team of Ofsted boarding inspectors. All accredited independent boarding schools are inspected under the ISI Inspection Framework which came into force in January 2017. Every three years, the inspection...

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  • Ofsted-Inspection

    Ofsted inspection of boarding schools

    In England, Ofsted inspects all state boarding schools and also those independent schools not accredited by one of the five independent school associations (GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads). Unless a school requires improvement or there are immediate concerns, Ofsted inspects boarding once in a three-year cycle under the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF): boarding schools and residential...

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  • Governors

    The importance of good governance

    Many parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child. Yet the role of governors is critical to the success of a school  In most independent schools, the governing board appoints the Head and will have a major input to the appointment of the Bursar or equivalent. These appointments...

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  • minimum

    Turning minimum standards into excellence

    The official guidelines for boarding staff in England are in the Boarding Schools: National Minimum Standards (NMS) (revised April 2015). Standard 15.1 identifies the levels of staffing and supervision – in essence the care – that parents can expect: Any staff member or volunteer employed or volunteering in a position working with boarders has a job description reflecting their duties,...

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  • School visits

    School visits: questions and answers

    The initial look round is absolutely vital. It is where a parent and their child start to assess whether they fit the environment (and whether it fits them). It is where prospective parents and boarders decide whether they like the location, the ‘buzz’ and the Head. Open days can involve a talk about the school, usually by the Head, sometimes...

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  • League Tables

    League tables – just one measure of success

    League tables measure examination performance and, at first sight, it might seem they would and should provide an objective, simple and straightforward measure of academic success. But the first challenge for those constructing and reading league tables is to consider the myriad of qualifications they need to measure and compare. At 18 there are A levels, the Cambridge Pre-U qualification,...

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  • Faith in our Schools

    Faith in our schools

    It is important to distinguish between majority faith schools where the curricular offering is very much mainstream and the very small minority of establishments where the curriculum is substantially reduced or distorted for doctrinal reasons. Our focus in this Guide is very much on the former and these include many well-regarded and well-established schools. There is a wide range of...

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