US Boarding Schools have been covered in the earlier section including online links and resources, so the notes below deal mainly with Swiss, UK, Canadian,etc. boarding schools. This is not meant to be an exhaustive resource, merely a springboard for those interested in examining international boarding school options for their children. We are not experts on the topic in any way and recommend that you refer to the services of an educational consultant should you be serious in narrowing your search for the right boarding school for your child.
Swiss Boarding Schools
Some moms married to banker-husbands that I know swear that Swiss boarding schools are the world’s best. Educators and parents who value the challenging and rigorous IB curriculum and system of education. The IB education system delivers the highest levels of bilingualism or trilingualism. Many Swiss boarding schools are recognized as bilingual schools, meaning that lessons are taught in the regional tongue as well as in a second language (German, French, English or Italian), thus encouraging language abilities and cultural understanding.
Also while US boarding schools boast a 10-15% rate of multicultural diversity in their elite boarding schools, many IB schools will cap enrolment of any one nationality at a certain level, making the IB boarding schools a truly multicultural experience.
The Switzerland Boarding School website offers an information network that gathers the leading boarding schools in Switzerland that qualify to the international academic level. Switzerland boarding school network gives visitors the opportunity to contact each boarding school in Switzerland directly, reserve and acquire total awareness of the different Swiss boarding school programs and subjects, and get further information about fees and tuition and admission requirements. Each boarding school in Switzerland that offered an international program was reviewed here.
For the constantly moving expatriate family, the schools are usually a good choice because of the adaptability of the IB system leading to diverse kinds of qualifications:
- the Swiss Matura (German or German/English)
- the German Abitur (after 12 school years)
- the American High School Diploma (English)
- the International Baccalaureate (IB) in English
- the French school leaving certificate (Baccalaureate)
Top ranking Swiss schools (according to www.independentschools.com) are
Institute Le Rosey (Rolle), (dubbed “the School of Kings”)
Aiglon College (Aiglon College)
Leysin American School in Switzerland (Leysin)
International School of Geneva (Camous des Nations)
The American School in Switzerland (Lugano)
Another website adds the following schools to the top boarding schools listings:
International School of Basel Region
International School of Bern (Bern)
International School of Geneva
British School of Bern
College du Leman
International School of Lausanne
Brillantmont International College (Lausanne)
Institute Monte Rosa (Montreux)
St. George’s School
Institute auf dem Rosenberg (St Gallen)
College Alpin Beau Soleil (Villars)
Institute Montana (Zug)
International School of Zug and Lucern
Lyceum Alpinum (Zuoz)
Zurich International School
Swiss International School – Zurich
To get a feel for Swiss boarding schools, visit some of these sites:
Know however, at around 77,000 francs, the fees for Swiss schools are among the most expensive in the world.
For more information about Swiss schools, begin your research at the Intedu directory www.intedu.com
The online Swiss boarding school network gives visitors the opportunity to contact each boarding school in Switzerland directly, reserve and acquire total awareness of the different Swiss boarding school programs and subjects, …
More related links and info on Swiss boarding schools:
I survived Swiss Boarding Schools by Richard Rene Silvin read reviews at www.amazon.com
Profile: Richard McDonald, 48: boarding school executive by Daniel Johnson
UK Boarding Schools:
There are over 500 boarding schools and 75,000 boys and girls in independent boarding schools in the UK but the market in independent boarding has been shrinking fast over the last decade. The number of boarders has fallen by 30 per cent since 1988, and in that period 73 boarding schools have closed or been forced to merge.
It has been reported that boarding schools teach only 7% of English pupils but supply 38% of those gaining three or more A grades in the A-level exams taken at age 18.
Nevertheless, one of the key concerns raised at a Boarding School Symposium at Milton Abbey School, in Dorset that boarding schools are no longer a symbol of “something of educational value that only such establishments can provide?” but may be becoming a “convenient dumping ground for the children of busy middle-class parents”.
The Boarding Schools Association website represents over 500 boarding schools. It lists standards, publications, school search and contact details.
The Hobsons UK Boarding Schools Guide http://www.boardingschools.hobsons.com/
Boarding Schools Directory & Guide 2008/09 includes directory, reviews, resources , league tables, rankings, discussions, fees, jobs and more.
D’Archs Guide to Independent UK Boarding Schools including girls, boys and co- educational private schools.
Education: Sleeping giants must wake up – fast By John Rae The Independent – London October 29, 1998 Boarding schools used to build character. Now they sell convenience to busy, well off parents. Have they any special value left to offer?
Labour’s great experiment; Boarding schools. (What children in care have to gain from boarding schools) The Economist (US) May 6, 2006
Pupils dispel boarding school myths Poll Curtis
The survey of 527 boarders and their parents by Roger Morgan, the government’s children’s rights director, reveals that most pupils surveyed worried more about what they were having for dinner, than about being homesick or bullied. Cold showers, long runs and lumpy mattresses are,
Most pupils reported that “living with friends” as the best part of their boarding school life.
Ofsted concern at pupil safeguards in some private schools The Guardian According to the Ofsted annual report on inspections of 433 independent schools, only 5% of independent schools were outstanding and there are many in poorer quality schools which are less closely regulated by Ofsted. The report also said “It is a major concern that about a third of non-association independent schools do not fully meet the requirements for safeguarding pupils.”
British Council’s website offers an advanced search of Independent schools including boarding schools
Harry makes magic for boarding schools
Autonomy ‘key to school success’ HMC schools achieve better A-level results in 24 out of 30 subjects than grammar schools and in 29 out of 30 subjects than comprehensive schools and academies. A University of Buckingham study showed that the autonomy of the school is very effective in delivering high quality education. The research also found that independent schools were likely to recruit and retain the best teachers.Three times as many teachers moved from the state sector to work in independent schools, attracted by the greater freedoms to teach how and what they wanted. Report author Professor Alan Smithers said the autonomy enjoyed by the independent sector meant decisions were made “closer to the teaching”. The study was commissioned by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), which represents 250 independent schools across the UK. “Bearing in mind the importance of teacher expertise to student outcomes, it is reasonable to infer that a key factor in the quality of education provided by independent schools is the teachers they are able to attract.” — BBC News
Canadian boarding schools:
Canadian pte school search http://www.ourkids.net/school/school-search.php
Fraser Institute’s rankings of schools in Canada routinely demonstrate that private schools are doing a better job of educating children than are the public schools. URL
New Zealand boarding schools:
Boarding-school-finder.com This website is a good guide for international students looking to stay at boarding schools in the USA and Canada. North American (USA and Canada) boarding schools demand the SLEP-Test (Secondary Language English Proficiency Test), which is a multiple choice language test for students. This tests the child’s abilities after 3 to 5 years of English tuition. The test results supply information on the student’s ability to cope with lessons taught in the English language, especially during their first few weeks of school.
Educamia.org is a bilingual E/J website that can help in your search. It offers a more international and extensive directory of boarding schools than most other websites and allows you to search for details and informatin on boarding schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta, the UK, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Austrail, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.
Boarding School Finder This website is a good guide for international students looking to stay at boarding schools in the USA and Canada. North American (USA and Canada) boarding schools demand the SLEP-Test (Secondary Language English Proficiency Test), which is a multiple choice language test for students. This tests the child’s abilities after 3 to 5 years of English tuition. The test results supply information on the student’s ability to cope with lessons taught in the English language, especially during their first few weeks of school.
http://www.boarding-school-finder.com/hp_1403_2_22.html and http://www.boardingschoolreview.com/articles/1 provide very good overviews of considerations for choosing boarding school.
EDU*JAPAN is a site for Japanese students seeking boarding school options at middle school and high school levels as well as summer school programs overseas.
Preparing for the school hunt and boarding school admissions:
Research as much as you can about boarding schools and find out if your kid is a good match for your initial listing of schools but you will probably need the help of an educational consultant or a school placement counselor. But what sort of students are the boarding schools really looking for?
Before deciding on a particular boarding school, some preliminary questions you could ask yourself and your child are:
Where should the boarding school be located?
When should your child begin attending boarding school?
Which one is the ‘right’ boarding school?
Why should your child attend boarding school and whether your child agrees with the decision to attend a boarding school?
How to choose between the different boarding schools on my short list?
What information worth knowing prior to making the final choice?
You should check different criteria which will help you to find the ideal educational institution. There is a good printable checklist at the Boarding School Finder website which you can use to help you research and check off items as you visit boarding schools. Another excellent checklist is at If you have decided to start your boarding school hunt, use this checklist to help you keep your research/comparative info in order. http://www.privateschoolreview.com
What requirements are there for your school of choice?
Some schools insist on the SSAT-Test (Secondary School Admission Test), which is also a standardised entry test in the English language.
Most schools use the SSAT and/or the ISEE which are standardized admissions tests.
There will also be an essay and a few other bits of writing which you and your child will have to do. A word of advice about standardized tests: make sure your child has plenty of practice.
Preparing for the admissions interview:
Leave your favorite school till the last because experience helps.
Prepare and print out list of expected questions, and prepare list of qns to ask … it will not do to look disinterested.
Be familiar with information in your prospectuses, don’t ask questions already answered by the prospectuses.
Do a mock interview with someone.
Choose interview clothes and print out directions day before to avoid being distracted and harassed by non-essential details.
For admissions interview tips visit the Admissions Quest website: