What Can International Pupils Expect When Attending a UK Boarding School

Choosing a UK boarding school for your child is one of the biggest decisions you can make as parents. It will be exciting and daunting at the same time, but it’s important to remember that boarding abroad presents an amazing opportunity to immerse in new experiences and cultures. Here at Wycliffe Independent School in Gloucestershire, we welcome international pupils from all over the world and understand exactly what will make them feel comfortable and settled, so that you as parents are assured that they are well supported and looked after. We offer the perfect blend of international and English culture, and our individualised learning approach will allow your child to thrive, no matter where they’re from, their subject interests or their passions. However, all UK boarding schools will have core similarities, so we’ve put together this guide to help you understand what an international pupil could expect when attending a UK boarding school:

Living in the UK

Your child can expect to learn so much just by living in the UK; outside of school hours, English culture is vibrant with many quirks and unique characteristics. Let’s explore them further:

The British Weather

The weather is infamous – it’s mostly known for its rain and clouds, but this largely depends on where you are in the UK. In Gloucestershire, the South West, our winters can be rainy but summers cloud free and warm – so bringing clothing to suit all temperatures is recommended.

wycliffe pupils on a trip outdoors

Food and Drink

English food can be described as very varied – we like to adopt meals from different countries and cultures, and make it our own, so don’t be surprised if your expectations of a certain dish are different to what you expect! Our classics include fish and chips (crispy battered cod with thick chips, usually accompanied with vinegar and tomato ketchup) and Yorkshire puddings (not a pudding but a core addition to a roast dinner, mainly eaten on Sundays along with meat, vegetables and crispy potatoes). At Wycliffe, our caterers have refined our menus to include farm assured meat, sustainable fish and seasonal fruit and vegetables.  We use local suppliers and our meals plans are a combination of British staples and international dishes. Our suppliers Holroyd Howe take into consideration the make-up and age of our school community when crafting the weekly menu.

Location

When choosing a boarding school in the UK, location is key as you’ll want to ensure your child can fully immerse themselves in the culture and explore all the parts of the UK that make us who we are – and our history is vivacious. Wycliffe’s secure campus is situated in the middle of the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside and benefits from over 52 acres of land, fully enclosed so that pupils are free to safely enjoy the green space. Wycliffe is well situated within the UK; London is only 90 mins by car and 2 hours by train, with a direct-line station to London Paddington just a 5 minute-walk away. For those that need to travel to airport, London Heathrow is 2 hours away, Birmingham International airport is 90 minutes and Bristol is 60 minutes. We take the hassle out of international travel by having a department that can organise airport transfers to school on parents’ behalf.  This allows pupils to focus on enjoying their study instead of fretting about organising transfers. The UK also benefits from an excellent public transport system, so most cities and towns are easy to reach by train or bus – and we love to walk!

Studying in the UK

Your child can expect a typical English educational structure alongside EAL -provision when studying at a UK boarding school. Specifically,

UK boarding schools follow the UK curriculum, with all lessons in English and subjects that lead up to EAL qualifications, GCSEs and A Levels. Wycliffe has a strong EAL (English as an Additional Language) teaching department and can provide comprehensive support for pupils that need EAL Support. The amount of support is tailored to the individual learning requirements of the pupil.

International boarders share with UK boarders to ensure that they get to practice their English and become fully immersed into British culture and society. At Wycliffe all our boarding houses are culturally diverse, and we try to ensure that pupils from the same international country are in different houses to ensure full British cultural experience.

Boarding Schools in the UK

It doesn’t stop at life and study – one of the biggest pros of UK boarding schools is the extracurricular activities and learning opportunities available on site and out.

  • In our Prep School, every Thursday afternoon pupils can go off timetable and partake in an activity of their choice including Dance, Pivot Animation, Eco-Warriors, Art, Fencing, Chess, Knitting, Embroidery, Cart Engineering, Debate Club, Gardening, Netball and many more!
  • For our Senior School pupils, we have a varied extra-curricular programme. Clubs and activities include bee-keeping and yoga, and then there’s a myriad of sports, drama, and music programmes. Wycliffe is surrounded by the beautiful Cotswolds which gives our pupils the opportunity to enjoy access to moors, hills and the coast.
  • Our international pupils particularly enjoy outings and excursions both locally and to key cultural exhibitions and towns such as Bristol (Brunel Suspensions, SS Great Britain) Bath and Oxford. Pupils can also venture to Cheltenham and London on weekends to get a flavour of British Society. Our “learning outside the classroom” activities have included trips to castles, science museums, Shakespeare’s Stratford Upon Avon, art galleries in London and more!

Who can study at a UK boarding school?

Anyone aged 7 to 19 can study at a UK boarding school who has a Child Student Visa. They will also need to have a place confirmed by a school, such as Wycliffe, have the consent of their parent/guardian and, have the means to cover the costs of their education and living. At Wycliffe Boarding School in Gloucestershire, we also require that every pupil has a UK Guardian. It’s not essential for our pupils that English is a first language or mastered as we offer dedicated language support throughout. We host a pre-sessional week at the end of August for all new international pupils prior to the start of term, so they have a chance to settle into school life, meet their house parents and start to make friends before starting their studies.

Supporting International Students at Wycliffe

International students can board at Wycliffe Independent School from age 7 (Year 3). We have 50 boarders from Year 3 to Year 8. UK boarding schools, especially those with international students, will prioritise mental wellbeing and have strategies and guidelines in place to support and nurture. At Wycliffe our pastoral care is excellent. In classes we have a dedicated form tutor for every pupil who maintains regular contact with them and their parents. Outside of class, there are counsellors and independent listeners and in the boarding houses, the boarding Housemaster or Housemistress lives on site so is always on hand. House tutors are teaching staff that support the Housemaster or Housemistress and provide an alternative point of contact.

Talk to Wycliffe today to see how our UK boarding school could benefit your child and their educational development. With over 620 pupils, we’re ideal for international students – small enough to care, but big enough to deliver a broad curriculum and an extensive range of facilities. Contact us to learn more – call +441453 820470 for 3 to 13 year olds and +441453 822432 for 13 to 19 year olds.