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.

  • About Boarding

    What about boarding schools?

    The 2018 ISC Census showed that 69,979 pupils board at ISC schools, making up 13.2 per cent of total pupil numbers. 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...

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  • parents’

    Parents’ guide to surviving the school marketplace

    Contrast the way some parents approach choosing the right school for their child. I offer to see the parents of every new pupil coming to my school and I observe two broad approaches to choosing a school. There are the parents who are like me buying a car: they arrive having done plenty of internet research, quoting league table positions...

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  • Inspections

    Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools

    All accredited independent boarding schools are inspected under the ISI Inspection Framework which came into force in January 2017. Every three years, the inspection will be a Regulatory Compliance Inspection (RCI) which, in terms of boarding, will inspect the boarding provision against Boarding Schools: National Minimum Standards (NMS). Full details of the Standards (the latest April 2015 version) can be...

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  • Ofsted-Inspection

    Ofsted inspection of boarding schools

    Much of the material in the previous article Inspections of accredited independent boarding schoolsis relevant to Ofsted’s inspection of boarding schools and I would recommend reading this article as well. The material has not been repeated here as it is available on the previous pages. In England, Ofsted inspects all state boarding schools and also those independent schools not accredited...

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  • Governors

    The importance of good governors

    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 are key to the school’s performance, both academically and in terms of financial viability. Prospective parents should satisfy themselves that the school is likely to deliver a good education appropriate to their child and...

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  • minimum

    Turning Minimum standards into excellence

    Any staff member or volunteer employed or volunteering in a position working with boarders has a job description reflecting their duties, receives induction training in boarding when newly appointed, and receives regular reviews of their boarding practice, with opportunities for training and continual professional development in boarding.  The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) is committed to supporting everyone involved in boarding...

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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. Yet the first challenge for those constructing and reading league tables is the myriad of qualifications they need to measure and compare. At 18 there are the A levels (a mixture of legacy modular...

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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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  • Drama

    Specialist schools – arts, drama, music

    Currently there are nearly 3,000 specialist schools, or 88% of the state-funded secondary schools in England. The Government plans that eventually all schools in England will specialise. In the independent sector the term ‘specialist’ tends to focus more on developing outstanding talents mainly in a range of extra-curricular activities such as drama, music and the arts. The principal independent boarding...

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