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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 00:42 GMT
Boarding schools tout for US pupils
The number of pupils in boarding schools is declining
The number of pupils in boarding schools is declining
Independent boarding schools are to try to recruit more pupils from the United States.

The international arm of the Independent Schools Information Service (Isis) believes the American market is yet to be tapped, with many families unaware of what schooling is available in the UK.

Representatives from 14 boarding schools in England will travel to Washington DC later this month to show off their wares at a conference of the Association of Boarding Schools.


We have the added bonus of our heritage, traditions and quality of lifestyle

Paul High, Isis International
Liz Pangu, a consultant for Isis International, said many Americans have an outdated view of British schools.

"They tend to think of cold showers and early morning runs," she said.

"But we think studying in our schools can offer an excellent cultural experience - even if it's just for a year or two."

She admitted it would be difficult to gauge the success of the trip, but said "the time was right to tell the American public there was an alternative".

Senior consultant Paul High said there would be no serious language barrier for American pupils attending British schools, as there was for many Far Eastern and European pupils.

"As to value for money, 15,000 for a year's education, accommodation, food and books in a good British boarding school compares very favourably with similar schooling in the USA.

"We have the added bonus of our heritage, traditions and quality of lifestyle," he added.

Declining numbers

With the number of children attending UK independent boarding schools steadily declining, the search for more pupils has grown more intense.

UK independent boarding school numbers
1985 125,920
1995 93,475
1996 89,668
1997 87,279
1998 85,211
1999 81,998

Isis says the decline is due to changes in patterns of parenthood, economic factors, the scaling down of the armed forces and a failure of boarding schools to market their facilities.

But as the number of British pupils in independent boarding schools declines, the number of foreign pupils attending them is rising.

Last year, more than 8,000 foreign nationals enrolled at UK independent boarding schools, up10% on the previous year.

Four out of 10 of these pupils came from the Far East, a third came from mainland Europe, and about 10% came from North America.

Schools involved

The schools being represented at the Washington conference are:

  • Bedstone College, Shropshire
  • Bethany School, Kent
  • Caterham School, Surrey
  • Denstone College, Staffordshire
  • Haileybury, Hertfordshire
  • Kelly College, Devon
  • King's School, Rochester, Kent
  • Giggleswick School, Yorkshire
  • Oakham School, Rutland
  • The Purcell School of Music, Hertfordshire
  • Roedean School, East Sussex
  • Rossall School, Lancashire
  • Windermere St Anne's School, Cumbria
  • Truro High School for Girls, Cornwall

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    See also:

    01 Jul 99 | UK Systems
    Independent schools
    02 May 00 | Education
    Rise in private schools 'babysitting'
    11 Jul 00 | Education
    Boarding school protection rules
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