How to Choose a UK Boarding School

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How to Choose a UK Boarding School
By David Westley
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Choosing a school for their children is probably the single most expensive decision any parent will make. Over the course of a single child’s education, from Junior School to University, total costs can exceed well over a million dirhams for education even within Dubai. If parents are thinking about boarding schools, you can double or triple that.

The decision to send your child to a boarding school will also play a key role in defining his or her future.

Mistakes do happen and the financial costs will be significantly outweighed by the potential impact on the child of being removed from a school during the course of their education, whether because of their unhappiness, or the school being unable to meet their needs.

For families living overseas, or local parents seeking a UK boarding school education, choosing a school throws up very significant hurdles, not only because of the distances involved, but also the complexity that follows the number, types and requirements of schools – and the difficulty of matching those options with the needs and talents of respective children.

The whole decision making process is defined by complexity, cost, risks – and many families faced with such bewildering choices either opt for local schooling as a default fall-back, or, in most cases much worse, make a best guess decision and just hope for the best.

In the following WSA Guide to UK Boarding Schools we cut through the complexity as much as possible by providing a framework through which you can understand your options. We provide you with the same questions and framework that our own WSA specialist consultants use to advise families.

We cannot guarantee to mitigate all the risks - what soon becomes clear in educational decision making is that risk comes with the territory.

Nor can we ensure you will make the right choice of school for your child(ren) or even guarantee your child will be accepted at your ideal school after you have weighed up the choices using our framework. But we are confident the following will give you a degree of confidence that you can make a decision on considerably more solid grounds than the marketing of a given school’s prospectus or shooting blindly in the dark.

Next: What is a UK Boarding School Education (and should you want one for your children)?


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