Choosing a boarding school for your child is a daunting task. As the influence of the immediate family is minimised and your child will spend most of his time in the company of new peers, it is very important to choose an institution very carefully. Excellent academics are a must, but beyond that you need outstanding pastoral care and a strong emphasis on character formation, a sense of community and respect and kindness among peers. Which boarding schools are the best world wide? Historically, the most prestigious boarding schools used to be Swiss, led by the elite boarding school Le Rosey that attracts children from families around the world. St George’s School in Switzerland is another institution that attracts international pupils who continue on to leading universities around the world. Swiss boarding schools are particularly attractive because of their often stunning setting, offering extracurricular opportunities such as skiing, swimming and hiking on a weekly basis.
If you focus on purely academic results, you may be leaning towards choosing a British boarding school, and this choice is increasingly attractive among families who would have opted for a Swiss boarding school in the past. Many Swiss boarding schools do not publish their IB results, but when they do, they tend to be far below the standard of the top British boarding schools such as Sevenoaks, Cheltenham Ladies’ College or King’s College that all achieve average point scores near 40 or above. Of course, they do have an advantage as they have a far higher share of native speakers, but if you want a rigorous academic education at a high level of English that prepares your teenager for entrance to leading universities, a top British boarding school may be the safest choice.
For parents emphasising an international community and a global upbringing, the United World Colleges with campuses in Singapore, US, Wales, India and more locations around the world are highly sought after. They offer a rigorous programme that involves pupils in the community around the clock, keeping them busy with extra-curriculars and community service beyond academic studies.
Families who have their eyes set on an Ivy League education for their children will also be attracted by the most prestigious US boarding schools, led my the Philipp Exeter Academy and St Paul’s School in New Hampshire.
Which school will you choose?
The Asian Correspondent has a great list of leading international boarding schools that includes many additional ideas.