Bryan Ng
Bryan Ng, an MChem Chemistry student at University of Oxford

‘Having only experienced two years as a boarding school student, I still reckon the two years I spent at Bedford School will be the most spectacular  time in my life. I have built strong and long-lasting friendships during these two years, have learnt lots of life skills, and have gained unique experience. We needed to face problems and solve them on our own without help from our parents. This experience also improved my knowledge of UK  culture, like the need to talk about the weather at the beginning of each conversation; quite often British people comment on how the weather of the day has been or how it will be in the coming week. This cultural knowledge is quite useful for me, as the British very often allude to their culture when they talk,’ said Bryan Ng, a student at the University of Oxford pursuing an MChem Chemistry. 

Most UK boarding schools teach a mix of international pupils and local UK pupils. ‘Boarders’ are pupils who live at the school. ‘Day pupils’ live with their families and return home at the end of the school day. This mix helps to create a good social atmosphere.

Boarding schools usually close for the long summer and Christmas holidays, and pupils return home to their  families . Some schools do, however, run language courses during this period. 

For the shorter half-term holidays, some schools stay open. Typically, you won’t have normal classes but you will be supervised by staff and be able to take part in activities and events


At a boarding school, you live with other pupils in a hall of residence – there might be several halls in each school. Girls and boys stay in separate accommodation, but at coeducational schools will share common spaces like sports facilities and dining areas. There will also be at least one house parent who lives on the premises who is there to look after you and care for your needs. 

Young boarders will probably share a bedroom or dormitory with other children. Older boarders usually have their own private bedroom, or share a room with just one other pupil. You might also have your own bathroom or washing facilities.

Most halls of residence have comfortable communal areas where you can relax, socialise and watch television with your fellow pupils.

How to apply

If you are applying to an independent boarding school, you need to apply directly to the school. Look on the school’s website or contact them to ask about the application process. Applications for state schools are usually handled by the local government authority.

Tuition at state schools is free of charge, but you need to pay for boarding. For independent schools, you will need to pay for tuition and boarding. Boarding fees generally cover items such as accommodation, food and drink and laundry. You may be able to fund your studies with a scholarship or bursary. Ask the schools that you are interested in what they can offer.

You may need to take an entrance exam or take an English course, so please check the entrance requirements on your chosen boarding school’s website.

Study UK schools and colleges exhibition 2017

British Council’s Study UK schools and colleges exhibition 2017 will answer all your questions about sending your child to the UK for primary and secondary education. Representatives from over 40 UK schools and colleges will be there to provide comprehensive information, advice and consultation. A series of talks, covering various aspects of studying abroad at a young age, will help prepare you and your child for a new and inspiring learning experience. 

What’s more, those who register online on or before Thursday 12 October 2017 will be able to collect a free copy of the UK Boarding Schools Guide at the exhibition venue. The offer is valid while stocks last.

Act now for your child’s future!

Date: 15 October 2017
Time: 1.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Venue: The Ballroom, 7/F, Cordis, Hong Kong at Langham Place, Mong Kok

Bryan Ng

See also