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Checkpoints when visiting a boarding school

Years of visiting schools with parents, as well as talking to school admissions teams about applications from our client families, have led us to bring together the tips below as a guide to the most important aspects for parents to cover in a visit to a school. There are lots of other areas which you will cover during your visit, depending on the age and interests of your child. However, these are our top 10 that we recommend all families cover during their visit.

If you haven’t found the right schools to visit yet, click here to find out how, via our expert boarding school advice services, we can support you in narrowing down your school choices. Or you can contact our expert team today for personalised education advice.

Meet the Headmaster/Headmistress

Meeting the Head is crucial. Does their philosophy about education match yours and do they come across as a confident leader and well-respected by current parents?

Popular subjects

Ask the question, what are the most popular subject choices at GCSE and A Level? Do these strengths in subject areas match the interests of your child?

Explore the classrooms

Pop into some classrooms. How are the children relating to the teacher? Do the children appear engaged and enthused? Is there a formal traditional ‘vibe’ or a more relaxed one and which suits your child better?


Look at noticeboards. Are they full of up-to-date information, pictures and notices about what is going on in school?

School days/School weeks

Ask about the format of the school day and week. Does this fit with your family as a whole? If you are looking for full-boarding, your thoughts on this will be different from a family looking for a day place, with lots of commitments at weekends.

Assessments & reports

Ask about the assessment and report to parents. Children respond to regular goal-setting, knowing where they sit amongst peers, and you will want the reassurance of regular updates on progress.

Sixth Form subject options

Ask about sixth form subject options, careers and university preparation. You’ll need to be sure your child will get the right support and advice at this crucial time in their school career. Likewise, in a prep school, ask about destinations of leavers and how the school supports the increasingly complicated pre-test and Common Entrance process.

Children studying at the school

Talk to the children about their school. Do they appear happy and passionate when talking about their school? Can you see your child in their shoes in a few years time?

Settling in period

Ask about the settling-in period for new pupils. Are they supported by a buddy system and how are they monitored by pastoral staff?

How you feel

Make your own decision on how the school feels to you on your visit. Boarding school advice from expert education consultants and opinions from other parents has its place at the start of your school choice journey. However, the final decision should be right for your child, not friends, grandparents or work colleagues.

How our boarding school advice can help

A boarding school search can feel daunting but visiting boarding schools is very exciting because you can finally get a hands-on-feel for the environment that your child will learn and grow in! Once you have come to our expert team for some boarding school advice and decided which schools you will visit, take this list with you so you can be confident that you’re not going to forget a thing while you’re at each boarding school.

If you need any further boarding school advice or guidance, please get in touch with our team. We’re happy to help.

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