Sometimes getting started with a new chapter in your child’s education can be very daunting, and if you are struggling then you need look no further as Abbie Neal has kindly put together 5 important things every parent needs to know for a successful application to a boarding school. This list is a great tool to use as a check list if you feel a little lost in the process and need reassurance that you are on the right track.

Get your entry year and child’s age right. 

A child’s age for each academic school is calculated between 1st September and 31st August. E.g. for the school year September 2021 to August 2022, a child born on the 6th September 2009 turns 12 on 6th September 2021. They would start school in September 2021 in year 7. (A child in year 7 turns 12 during the school year.) 

For more help and to calculate your child’s educational age head over to our What School Year Calculator.

Boarding school entry years 

  • 7/8+ start of boarding prep 
  • 11+ last two years of prep/start of some senior schools 
  • 13+ entry year to senior schools 
  • 15+ entry to 1-year pre-sixth-form courses 
  • 16+ entry year to sixth form 

 3 Words to describe your perfect school:

A great exercise to help narrow down the best school for your child is to bullet point the key words that would describe your perfect school. Once you have completed that task, choose the 3 most important.

Following this,  list key words that best describes your family and child, also narrowing them down to 3 most important words and remembering them, cross referencing them against the schools you are considering.

Here are some examples below:

Doing these two simple tasks will help find your child the perfect match for a school.

Getting the academic level and opportunities right: 

  • Challenging, yet realistic 
  • Learning support if required 
  • English level if it’s a second language  
  • Subjects offered 
  • Talents to nurture 
  • Current school reports (up to 2 years) 
  • CAT4 or other assessment scores 
  • Sporting or other achievements 
  • Ed psych or other reports as relevant  

What outcome are you hoping for?

  • University or career ambitions  
  • Senior School entry ambitions at 13+ 
  • Broaden opportunities and build confidence 
  • Learn English and cultural awareness  

Setting clear goals and outcomes can help with narrowing down the choice   

Considering your child’s personality:

  • Competitive vs. Nurturing  
  • Country vs. City 
  • Co-ed vs. Single sex 
  • Big vs. Small 
  • Traditional vs. Less Formal  
  • British vs. International approach 
Choosing the right schools for your application is just the start of the journey.