Sixth form entry into a boarding school is becoming a popular choice for many pupils. Many families are keen to have their children studying locally for as long as possible, but they see transitioning to a boarding school at 16+ as a valuable stepping stone towards university.
The boarding experience gives their children a taste of independence, the opportunity to build a new network of friends and build life skills for taking the next steps in their education. As our education consultants have noted from their many visits to schools, boarding numbers often grow significantly at 16+ with many pupils actively seeking an environment where they have an extended school day to concentrate and focus and be well prepared for their academic studies and ultimately university entrance. They also prize the chance to socialise with their friends in their spare time and get a taste of living away from home prior to university. There are plenty of options to consider when thinking about transitioning for a 6th form ranging from a day school, a traditional boarding school, 6th form college or sixth boarding at one of the STABIS (state boarding) schools. For many the choice comes down to a dedicated 6th form college or a more traditional boarding school. A college environment offers a less traditional education experience with more freedom and flexibility for studying A Levels. Some independent 6th form colleges focus on a limited range of subjects, such as those required for STEM degrees whilst others offer a very bespoke small group approach to learning. Joining the 6th form in a boarding school will be a more familiar schools environment with all the opportunities for leadership roles, a more rigorous timetable and a chance to continue with ECA's and team sports. The combination of the excellent education and a boarding community enables pupils to make the most of their talents and abilities. Here are the top benefits of sixth form boarding schools: Outstanding Facilities Choosing to board in Sixth form further enhances the experience by introducing independent living in a supportive environment. Sixth-form boarders generally have their own study bedrooms in separate accommodation with well-equipped kitchens, washing machines, and en-suite bathroom facilities. For example, Uppingham School is set in elegant landscaped grounds, with state-of-the-art sports, music and arts facilities. Their sixth form buildings have been extensively refurbished and modernised, boasting generous common room facilities and spacious communal dining rooms. Uppingham also prides itself in providing a "sanctuary of immersive, family-oriented environments" - a place for rest and contemplation, as well as a hub for communal activity. Strengthens Academic Growth Sixth form pupils who board usually have access to tutors, who will mentor and support the pupils and their studies beyond the school hours. This enables the pupils to not only make great strides in their class learning but to build on this knowledge with their tutors support during prep time and after school hours. In addition, a boarding school generally offers much smaller class sizes, which gives every pupil a chance to build meaningful connections with their teacher and benefit in a more personalised way from their expertise. Their teachers may also be their sports coach, house parent or tutor, so they get to know them and bond with them in many guises. At Harrow School, each pupil is allocated a Personal Tutor, who meets regularly with their tutees to monitor their academic progress and guide each pupil through their academic journey at school and beyond. Family Focused Community There is a sense of family community that comes from living together, supporting each other, and enjoying free time together, a good boarding school offers a great blend of school and homelife. In a family-orientated boarding environment, there is constant formal and informal interaction between pupils and adults, creating a sense of mutual care, respect and trust. As quoted by Charterhouse, "Boarding is about joining a big family, and making great friendships. It is about trying different things and getting to know different people. It's more than just living at school." Leading Pastoral Care Boarding schools are extremely experienced at providing a strong pastoral support system for the pupils in their care. With dedicated staff trained to support pupils both emotionally and academically, they can provide a great safety net for pupils who are learning about their boundaries and starting to make their own decisions. Schools such as Marlborough College are dedicated to providing outstanding levels of pastoral care and support to its pupils. "We aim to equip our pupils with the tools necessary to cope with life in School as well as preparing them for a healthy, happy and successful life at University." They pride themselves on providing a fully rounded education, both in and out of the classroom, to nurture the individual qualities, aptitudes and personalities of every pupil. A happy and supportive environment enriches the learning process and equips pupils with confidence and self-discipline, necessary for an independent life at University. Contact Carfax Consultants If you’d like to know more about sixth form boarding, and how to find the right school for your child, please click here to speak with one of our school education consultants. Image Source: Brighton College