The UK remains one of the most popular choices for parents seeking an overseas education for their child. A reputation for prestigious schooling and world-class University progression are just some of reasons why students continue to choose the UK.
For students of any age, the UK offers a staggering number of course options. Many students join a UK boarding school at one of the standard entry points and progress through the school until they complete their A levels or the IB Diploma in the sixth form.
An increasing number have started to enrol for short term, taster or immersion programmes. These range from as little as two weeks to one full term and provide the full boarding experience, complete with lessons. This is particularly popular with European students, who can fit their time in the UK around their studies in their home country.
Also available are short language courses, which often run during the school holidays, combining intensive English language classes with a programme of activities and excursions to some of the UK's most popular tourist attractions.
For older students, particularly those who are hoping to progress on to university, medical or art school, a range of Foundation programmes are available at international Tutorial Colleges. Many have partnerships with destination universities and guaranteed progression onto an undergraduate degree upon completion.
The oldest school in the UK, The King's School, Canterbury was founded in AD 597, making it one of the oldest recognised schools in the world. Lessons have been taught continually on the site since the school was founded. Parents and students are often drawn to the historical architecture and strong traditions offered by UK schools, like The King's School, but equally impressive is the modern approach to teaching and student development.
UK independent schools have a strong ethos focussed on 'whole-person' education. Rather than just teaching students the academic skills necessary to achieve good results, they foster an environment that encourages personal and interpersonal growth. Students are taught to express themselves with confidence and to develop their critical thinking and creativity. With a wealth of extracurricular activities, including sports, art and debating clubs, to name a few, students can truly flourish.
Boarding accommodation gives students the opportunity to learn about other cultures, share experiences, develop key social skills and learn the importance of kindness, empathy and a sense of communal responsibility.
The UK is well known for providing excellent support to pupils with special educational needs (SEN). Specialist SEN schools can offer support to students with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and a range of other conditions, which is not often available in a mainstream school.
The government offers students who meet the criteria, an Education Health and Care Plan, also known as an EHCP or EHC plan. This care plan is required in order for entry to SEN schools.
With UK universities ranked amongst the best and most prestigious universities in the world, a UK education offers excellent preparation for entry. Careers and UCAS advice is offered to all students in the sixth form, which will help them to choose their university pathway.
For Oxbridge students, those targeting Oxford and Cambridge universities, some schools even offer a tailor made preparation programme with extra support, guidance and tuition, which is aimed at offering gifted students the best chance of entry into highly competitive degree courses. Specialised schemes are also available for other top universities.
UK Sixth form qualifications are recognised by the world's top universities, meaning that students have the option of completing their Higher Education studies in another destination of their choosing.
The UK is famous as a beacon of multiculturalism and diversity and this extends to the boarding school system, which welcomes a huge mix of international applicants each year. While studying at a UK boarding school, international students mix not only with local British pupils but have the opportunity to learn about the traditions and experiences of their fellow boarders. As a result, students develop a better cultural understanding and racial awareness, helping to break down barriers.
For many parents, one of the main concerns about sending their child overseas is cost. The average cost of a UK boarding school education is £35,000 per year. This compares favourably with the average fees in Canada ($45,000), the US ($56,875), Australia ($38,000) and Switzerland (€37,000).
A range of scholarships are also offered to international students who excel in music, sports, art and academics.