Top 100 boarding schools

Is it worth sending your child to a private boarding school overseas?

Private school fees for day pupils in the US range from around £13, 000 to £32, 000, according to the report. International schools in popular expat locations such as New York, Washington, DC, or Boston, cost around £21, 000 a year.

Day school fees in Canadian international schools average £11, 000 a year, the same as the UAE. Switzerland, which is known for its good international schools, has day fees averaging £22, 000. Hong Kong works out at £16, 000 and Singapore £18, 000 a year. Australia and Germany are better value at just over £12, 000 for non-boarders, while French international schools charge nearly £14, 000 a year on average.

A 2015 survey by the Independent Schools Council found there are more than 31, 000 foreign and British students in independent schools whose parents live overseas – the vast majority of these are boarders. Some schools charge higher fees for overseas students adding between 8 per cent and 25 per cent to the charges.

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The FXcompared report estimates it costs nearly £1 billion a year in total for parents from overseas to send students to school in the UK, and that’s just in fees. You’ll also have to pay for uniforms, sportswear and equipment, lunches for day pupils and possibly extras such as music lessons. On top of this are the air fares for your child to fly home in the holidays.

Daniel Webber, managing director of FXCompared, said: “There are steadily increasing numbers of pupils in the UK whose parents live overseas, part of a billion pound market for international boarders at UK schools.

“It is important that people take the time to consider how they transfer the money from abroad for school fees. Using the right methods can save around £10, 000 from Years 4 to 13, meaning that a full term is basically free.”

Education consultant Sara Sparling from Anderson Education, which helps British expats place their children, said they often choose the UK because they believe the standard of education is good and it will provide stability especially in the lead up to GCSEs or A-levels.

“If your children have been living overseas for some time, they may take time to acclimatise to British culture, ” she said.

“Boarding in the UK, particularly in the sixth form, is a popular option. Students have the opportunity to gain independence in a safe and secure environment and to adapt to life in the UK before progressing to university.”

However, many countries have good local independent or international schools and cost is only one consideration – the quality of education is also key. The United Nations’ latest Human Development Index, which includes an Education Index, gives one as the highest score. The UK scored 0.86 and was beaten by the US and Holland at 0.89, New Zealand at 0.92 and Norway at 0.91.

It’s best to visit schools on your short list with your child and meet the teaching staff before making a decision.

Looking for an international school for your child? Check out our International Schools Directory.


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Interesting facts:

Jilin Provincial Experimental School (Chinese: 吉林省实验中学; pinyin: Jílínshěng Shíyàn Zhōngxué) is a coeducational public middle school for both boarding and day students from grades 7 to 12 (ages 12 to 18). Founded in 1948, the school was originally located in Jilin...

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