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Welcome to the State Boarding Forum website. Choosing a school for your child is one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. We hope that the information on these pages will help to guide you as you consider state boarding – the jewel in the crown of the UK education system.

Irfan Latif, Chair of the State Boarding Forum and Head Master, Sexey’s School

State boarding. A smart choice for parents.

Choosing a boarding school can be a bewildering experience for any parent. You want league table-topping education, state-of-the-art boarding facilities and exceptional pastoral care. But the soaring cost of independent boarding education is making parents question whether independent boarding schools really provide value for money. Especially when state boarding schools provide top quality boarding care and academic excellence at a fraction of the cost.

What is a state boarding school?

A state boarding school is one where you pay for boarding and the education is free. The government pays for the education as it would at any other state school in England. This means you would be paying around £4,000 a term for full boarding rather than around £10,000 a term at an independent boarding school.

Excellent results

Each year, state boarding schools regularly out-perform other state schools with many topping academic league tables around the country. The combination of the excellent state-funded education and a stable boarding community enables pupils to make the most of their talents and abilities.

The best of boarding care

Increasingly, parents are considering state boarding schools ahead of boarding in the independent sector as they see they can get the education and pastoral care they are seeking for a fraction of the cost. And when you visit these schools you can see why. The facilities are excellent and the quality of teaching is frequently judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. The demand for places at these school is so great that the Government is increasing the number places available by introducing boarding to some schools and expanding the facilities at others.

Variety of schools

Most schools are 11-18 schools, though there is one 13-18 school, two which offer Primary Boarding as well as Secondary Boarding and one 11-16 school with a nearby Sixth Form College. Most schools are mixed, but there are a small number of girls' schools or boys' schools. Some schools are selective.


Admission to state boarding schools in the UK is limited to children who are nationals of the UK and are eligible to hold a full UK passport, or those who are nationals of other European Union countries or those who have the right of residence in the UK. Please note that the holding of a BN(O) passport does not make the child eligible for a state boarding school in the UK.