What do you know about British independent schools?

Most children at independent schools are day pupils but there are boys and girls who attend eight hundred independent schools in the UK as boarders. They work, play, eat and sleep in their schools. They learn to live in a community and think of their school as one big family. They enjoy close friendships with other pupils, get to know their teachers well and take advantage of opportunities for sport, drama, music and clubs. There is a complete educational experience. British independent boarding schools pride themselves on their high academic reputation, high standard of English language, wide range of activities outside of the classroom, small classes and good discipline.

Many schools have a tradition of welcoming boarders from overseas: children whose British parents work abroad and foreign children whose parents regard British boarding schools as the finest in the world.

Some schools are in or near towns and cities, others are set in beautiful countryside. There are schools entirely for boarders and schools with a mixture of day and boarding pupils. And there are excellent schools throughout the United Kingdom which make good internal communications by air, train and road.

Check whether you know these words:

  • a day pupil is a pupil at a boarding school who attends lessons during the day but does not sleep at the school
  • a boarder is a pupil who lives at school during the term
  • a community is a group of people having cultural, religious,ethnic, or other characteristics in common
  • to take advantage of is to make good use of
  • an opportunity is a situation in which it is possible for you to do something that you want to do
  • experience is knowledge or skill in a particular activity, which you have gained
  • pride oneself on = to be proud of
  • wide range of = great variety
  • overseas = abroad, foreign
  • to regard means to believe
  • entirely is a synonym to completely

Do you know …

In the United Kingdomindependent schools (also private schools) are fee-paying private schools, governed by an elected board of governors and independent of many of the regulations and conditions that apply to state-funded schools. For example, pupils do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Many of the older, expensive and more exclusive schools catering for the 13–18 age-range in England and Wales are known as public schools. The term “public” derived from the fact that they were then open to pupils regardless of where they lived or their religion (while in many other countries a public school is run by the state or municipality). Prep (preparatory) schools educate younger children up to the age of 13 to “prepare” them for entry to the public schools and other independent schools. Some former grammar schools converted to an independent fee-paying model.

There are around 2,600 British independent schools, which educate around 615,000 children, some 7 per cent of all British children and 18 per cent of pupils over the age of 16. In addition to charging tuition fees, many also benefit from gifts, charitable endowments and charitable status. Many of these schools are members of the Independent Schools Council. In 2017, the average annual cost for private schooling was £14,102 for day school and £32,259 for boarding school.

The best -known public schools are:


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