Best Girls Boarding Schools In The UK – 2023 Guide

Are you a parent searching for the perfect boarding school in the UK to provide your daughter with an exceptional education? Look no further. In this article, we have curated a selection of the best boarding schools for girls in the UK. Each of them offers a nurturing environment that promotes academic excellence, character development, and independence. Join us as we explore the top boarding schools in the UK, guiding you toward the ideal institution that will unlock your daughter’s potential and shape her future success.

girls boarding schools

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What is a Boarding School?

A boarding school is an educational institution where students reside on campus, typically away from their families, and receive both academic instruction and other forms of support. Unlike day schools, where students commute to and from school each day, boarding schools provide a complete residential experience. Students live in dormitories or houses under the supervision of resident staff members and follow a structured daily routine.

Boarding schools offer a comprehensive educational programme that includes academic subjects, extracurricular activities, and often emphasise character development and personal growth. They typically provide a range of facilities and resources to support students’ academic pursuits, such as libraries, laboratories, sports facilities, and arts spaces. Additionally, boarding schools often have dedicated staff to offer guidance and support, fostering a sense of community and providing a holistic educational experience.

The boarding school environment also promotes social interaction and the development of life skills. Students learn to navigate a community of peers from diverse backgrounds, fostering independence, resilience, and interpersonal skills. Boarding schools often offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports teams, allowing students to explore their interests and talents beyond the classroom.

Why Choose a Girls Boarding School?

There are several advantages in choosing a girls’ boarding school: 

For starters, girls boarding schools often provide a specialised learning environment that caters specifically to the needs and learning styles of girls. Research suggests that single-sex education can offer unique benefits, such as promoting academic engagement, reducing gender stereotypes, and encouraging girls to pursue traditionally male-dominated fields like STEM subjects.

Girls boarding schools can also foster a supportive and empowering atmosphere, where girls can develop their voices, build self-confidence, and take on leadership roles without the presence of gender biases or stereotypes. This can create a more inclusive and empowering environment for girls to thrive academically, socially, and personally.

In order for that to happen, these schools typically have a faculty and staff composed predominantly of female educators, mentors, and role models. This can provide girls with a strong support network and inspire them to pursue their aspirations, breaking barriers and challenging gender norms. On top of that, they will be surrounded by peers who share similar experiences and challenges.

Best 5 Girls Boarding Schools in the UK

Here are the best girls boarding schools in the UK entering 2024.

1. Wycombe Abbey

This is the crème de la crème when it comes to the best girls boarding schools in the UK. Aside from a strong background in education, Wycombe Abbey has a sense of community and is focused on addressing mental health issues. Headmistress Jo Duncan also plans to bring about transformational changes, including the construction of a new boarding house and refurbishment of existing ones. The school has a competitive admissions process and looks for bright, curious, and kind students with a strong work ethic. The curriculum is academically rigorous, with a focus on achieving excellent exam results.

The school also offers support for higher education and has a strong track record of placing students in top universities, locally and abroad.  Extracurricular activities such as music and drama are available, and the sports department offers a wide range of options. The boarding experience here is full-time, and the school provides a supportive environment for both sporty and non-sporty students. Overall, you can count on Wycombe Abbey for its illustrious track record and ability to build a bright future for your daughter.

2. St Mary's School Ascot

St. Mary’s School is a selective, all-girls Catholic boarding school known for its impressive academic results and strong sense of community. With a mixture of academically diverse students, the school’s stellar results demonstrate its commitment to nurturing each student’s potential. The curriculum offers a “super-curriculum” that integrates interdisciplinary topics and emphasises core subjects like English, maths, and sciences. The school’s strengths lie in its outstanding results at GCSE and A Level, particularly in single sciences and languages. The dedicated teachers provide extra support, and the small class sizes ensure that no student falls through the cracks.

In addition to academics, St. Mary’s offers a vibrant arts and extracurricular programme. The drama department produces impressive productions, and the music department thrives with choirs, orchestras, and various bands. The school always encourages participation in clubs, societies, and community service, fostering a well-rounded experience for the girls.

Sports play a significant role as well, with a wide range of activities being offered. The majority of students are full boarders, creating a tight-knit community where everyone is known and supported. The school’s rich heritage and strong values contribute to its unique atmosphere, and parents appreciate the emphasis on tradition and the absence of distractions. St. Mary’s School is an excellent choice for girls aged 11-18 seeking a Catholic education, full boarding experience, and top-notch academic opportunities.

3. St. Catherine's School

St. Catherine’s School is a highly selective and academically driven girls’ boarding school. With a meticulously organised entrance process and helpful staff, the school admits students who are curious, interested in the world, and passionate about education. St. Cat’s boasts impressive academic results, with high percentages of students achieving top grades at both GCSE and A-level exams. The teaching is traditional, with purposeful and engaging lessons. The school provides a wide range of subjects, including IGCSEs and GCSEs for core subjects, as well as art, religious studies, and languages.

Beyond academics, the school excels in the arts and extracurricular activities. Its excellent facilities and vibrant co-curricular timetable offer over 100 clubs and activities. The school’s strong pastoral care, inclusivity, and discipline ensure a supportive and nurturing environment for its students. With its exceptional value, St. Catherine’s School is an ideal choice for academically ambitious girls seeking a well-rounded education.

4. Cheltenham Ladies' College (CLC)

Eve Jardine-Young, the headmistress of the school, is highly regarded by both parents and students. She focuses on building strong relationships with the girls, emphasising trust and positive reinforcement rather than strict rules. Jardine-Young’s personal journey and her commitment to the students’ well-being contribute to her effectiveness as a leader. She prioritises the development of the whole person, aiming to create lifelong learners prepared for the future. As a result, the school’s academic reputation is solid, with impressive results in GCSE, A-level, and IB exams. The curriculum includes innovative subjects such as engineering and textiles, fostering creativity and problem-solving skills.

The arts and extracurricular activities are also highly valued, offering opportunities for musical performances, drama productions, and participation in the renowned Cheltenham Performing Arts Festival. While the school acknowledges its weaker sports programme, it compensates with state-of-the-art facilities and a variety of sports options. Overall, Cheltenham Ladies’ College is a well-respected academic institution that nurtures students’ personal growth and offers a rich and diverse educational experience.

5. St Swithun's School

St. Swithun’s is a well-regarded school that welcomes girls from various academic backgrounds. They have a strong emphasis on rigorous teaching and offer a STEM-focused curriculum, with excellent results in subjects like biology, chemistry, math, geography, and psychology. The school encourages a stimulating and challenging academic environment where girls can thrive.

They also prioritise the well-being and personal development of their students, promoting inclusivity and offering support through their SEN and EAL teams. The school has a vibrant arts and extracurricular programme, including music, art, drama, and sports, where students can explore their talents. St. Swithun’s is known for its strong sense of community and supportive atmosphere.

How to Choose a Boarding School for your Daughter?

Choosing a boarding school for your daughter is a significant decision. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice:

  1. Academic excellence
  2. Pastoral care and support
  3. Facilities and resources
  4. Extracurricular activities
  5. Size and culture
  6. Reputation and alumni network
  7. Financial considerations
  8. Parent and student feedback

Girls Boarding Schools League Table

Here are the latest rankings for girls boarding schools in the UK. 

#A + A* %NameDay/BoardBoy/GirlDay (Ł)Board (Ł)
179.89St Mary's School - AscotBoardingGirls33,15044,100
274.3Wycombe Abbey SchoolBothGirls32,46045,570
371.7Cheltenham Ladies' CollegeBothGirls20,53534,275
566.44Royal High SchoolBothGirls29,88038,340
660.38St Swithun's SchoolBothGirls32,88044,220
759.4St Catherine's School, BramleyBothGirls18,30042,540
857Benenden SchoolBothGirls21,48043,245
956.6Burgess Hill GirlsBothGirls24,61543,170
1055.5Roedean SchoolBothGirls24,66048,990
1155.14Woldingham SchoolBothGirls32,28043,260
1250Mayfield SchoolBoardingGirls32,64943,503
1349Headington SchoolBothGirls15,78635,427
1449Queen Anne's SchoolBothGirls25,12538,925
1548.5Badminton SchoolBothGirls22,41039,900
1647Royal Masonic School for GirlsBothGirls (Co-ed 6th form)17,67936,387
1745St Mary's School - CambridgeBothGirls26,67641,682
1844.8Sherborne GirlsBothGirls26,11543,830
1942St Mary's School - CalneBothGirls25,23037,590
2042Harrogate Ladies' CollegeBothGirls20,05535,190
2141St George's School - AscotBothGirls28,27539,900
2238.5Monmouth School for GirlsBothGirls24,48039,600
2333Heathfield School - AscotBothGirls25,60544,280
2430Kent College PemburyBothGirls18,27937,887
2528.4Queenswood SchoolBothGirls25,18540,050
2663%Downe House SchoolBothGirls17,98543,230

Frequently Asked Questions about Girls Boarding Schools in the UK

While girls boarding schools are single-sex environments, they often organise social events and joint activities with neighbouring boys schools, allowing students to interact and socialise with their male counterparts. Additionally, during weekends and holidays, students have opportunities to spend time with family and friends, fostering a balanced social life outside of the school environment.

Girls boarding schools in the UK prioritise the safety and well-being of students. They have dedicated staff members who provide round-the-clock supervision and pastoral care. Schools have robust safeguarding policies in place to ensure a safe and secure environment, including measures such as regular health and safety checks, strict visitor protocols, and comprehensive support systems for students’ emotional and physical well-being.

Yes, girls boarding schools in the UK offer a wide range of academic subjects and extracurricular activities. They provide a well-rounded education that includes traditional subjects, as well as opportunities to explore arts, sports, STEM, and various other areas of interest. From music and drama to sports teams, clubs, and societies, these schools encourage girls to pursue their passions and develop their talents outside of the classroom.

Girls boarding schools in the UK are known for their academic excellence and high standards. They provide a challenging and intellectually stimulating environment that encourages students to strive for their best. However, it’s important to note that each school has its own academic ethos, and the level of competitiveness can vary. It’s advisable to research and visit different schools to find the right balance between academic rigor and support for your daughter’s individual needs and aspirations.

Apply To The Top Boarding Schools In The UK Today

Speak to us today for free application assistance and education advice. Our expert consultants are more than happy to help!

Apply To Your Favourite UK Boarding School Today!

Speak to us today for free application assistance and education advice. Our expert consultants are more than happy to help!

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