State boarding schools are often described as ‘education’s best kept secret’. Certainly I meet many prospective parents who have found the sector almost by chance and who once introduced are impressed by the range of facilities, types of school and examination results across our schools. State boarding is available at the time of writing to all EU-qualified pupils and the education is provided free of charge, so parents only pay for the boarding element.
When asked what the aims are for the provision of sixth-form education, I am sure that most leaders of schools and colleges with sixth forms would have a very similar response – to help pupils achieve the best examination grades they can while at the same time prepare them for life after school, in the broadest sense of the word ‘life’ – from social skills to careers. By exposing pupils to as many experiences as possible we can help to develop their ‘soft’ skills and character, and broaden their minds. We want young people to be alive to the opportunities that exist in the global village they now live in, while at the same time being open and sensitive to, and appreciative of, other cultures. I would argue that boarding schools are in a unique position to be able to meet these aims.
England’s state boarding schools have a very special place in our education system. They often have an ‘independent’ ethos and education is free. Boarding fees are typically around a third of the cost of independent boarding schools.