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How are places at state boarding schools allocated?

(41 Posts)
BikeRunSki Sat 01-Sep-18 15:17:16

DM lives close to a very good state boarding school (we live 200 miles away).DS will be starting secondary school in 2 yrs time, and asked if we’d considered sending him there? Its not something we’d ever thought about (we are rural and there is only one high school we can feasibly access), but DM has got me thinking.

Is state boarding reserved for looked after children and children of military/crown servants working overseas, or can anyone apply?

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Sat 01-Sep-18 15:26:10

They open to all living in Uk and most British passport holders living abroad but can be a mix of day/weekly/full boarding and have different admissions criteria for each type of place. Academically some are better than others.

LIZS Sat 01-Sep-18 15:28:03

Bombardier25966 Sat 01-Sep-18 15:28:47

You'd need to check the admissions criteria for the school in question. There is no universal policy.

MrsChollySawcutt Sat 01-Sep-18 15:35:04

Anyone can apply. You need to read and absorb the admissions policy for boarding. You can read the current year policy to get to grips with the process and the criteria for awarding places but these policies change year on year so it is vital to download and read the policy for the year you will be applying for when it is published.

You need to apply for secondary school places via your local education authority like normal, placing the state boarding school as one of your options. You will also need to fill out the schools supplementary information form (SIF) for boarding applications and send this direct to the school. At DDs school you will then be called for a boarding suitability interview.

Places will be allocated on the criteria set out in the admissions policy. At DDs school this prioritises applications from looked after children, armed forces, high level of boarding need and then siblings.

Boarding need is what you will need to demonstrate in your SIF - e.g. your work causes you to travel, family illness etc.

mpsw Sat 01-Sep-18 15:36:36

Anyone can apply. Usually boarding places are allocated by need to board, priority is given to Forces and other mobile government employees (who must be prioritised) then generally LAC, those with social need eg seriously ill parents, families where parents work overseas for charities or companies etc, where policy might vary depending on the school.

It's all a bit dependent on who else is applying and how your reasons for boarding stack up against theirs.

They may also want to check that the prospective pupil is suitable for boarding, which in practice may mean little more than checking the DC knows what is involved and says they want to do it.

LIZS Sat 01-Sep-18 15:39:51

At our nearest one it is easier to get a boarding than day place.

BikeRunSki Sat 01-Sep-18 16:00:11

This is interesting, thank you. We have no need for DS to board other than DM would love it! He would too tbh, but this is not a need.

OP’s posts: |
MrsChollySawcutt Sat 01-Sep-18 16:32:53

Have a look at the schools website, in the admissions section there should be a breakdown of the number of applications and how the places were allocated against the criteria. This will give you a good idea how much competition there is for places.

DD is going into Y11 and DS is joining her in Y7 this year. They are both weekly boarders so home every weekend and the school has very long holidays, similar to independent schools.

HollowTalk Sat 01-Sep-18 16:35:18

But don't you think she's got a nerve, wanting him to leave home just so that he's living near her? It's not even as though he'd be living with her!

Does she always want everything to be about her?

BikeRunSki Sat 01-Sep-18 16:51:19

I don’t actually Hollow. You have no idea of DM’s personal circumstances (teice widowed amongst other things) . It may actually not a bad idea. She mentioned it as a response to me saying that I had no idea what I’d put on ds’s high school application, as there is only 1 state high school that is practical to get to. She was trying to help us think of alternatives.
The school itself is Outstsnding, and ranked highest in the region.
Ultimately, I think it’s unlikely, as we are tied 200 miles away, but it has certainly raised my awareness of another option to explore.

OP’s posts: |
MrsChollySawcutt Sat 01-Sep-18 17:14:03

OP there are also various types of boarding to consider. DDs school offers full (full time boarding including weekends) weekly (home at weekends) and flexi (a long day at school, dropped off in the AM and go to breakfast with the boarding students then staying on for dinner and prep before going home).

Leeds2 Sat 01-Sep-18 17:59:41

Maybe check with your DM that, should DS get a place. she would be willing to have him stay for weekends/exeats, and be his named guardian. She could then do things like parents' evenings, if you were unable to, and have him stay at the weekends if he didn't want full boarding.
I know of only one child who has done state boarding, but he did have special circumstances. I don't know if they were taken into account. He didn't start until Year 8 or 9.

wurzelburga Sat 01-Sep-18 18:24:38

A number of state boarding schools seem to be able to offer places to children of UK expats who have settled abroad, want a UK boarding education but at are not prepared to shell out £36,000 per child per year for a private boarding school.

I have always wondered how the schools justify this given that these families pay no UK taxes and that there are children of UK tax payers in UK who also have a boarding need who are refused places.

MrsChollySawcutt Sat 01-Sep-18 18:30:35

You do know the boarding element is not free don't you? The education element is free as with any state school but you have to pay for boarding, roughly £4K per term.

True this is much less than independent boarding school fees but the ex pat child would be entitled to free state education whether day or boarding.

wurzelburga Sat 01-Sep-18 18:47:15

@Mrs Choll- I do realise that the boarding element is not free.

My point is that where you have two applicants for a UK school place, one from a family with a boarding need, resident in UK and paying UK taxes and one from a family which has settled abroad and is not paying UK taxes (which help fund the free edication element) it is interesting that some over subscribed schools appear to be able to offer places to the overseas students ahead of the UK residents.

BikeRunSki Sat 01-Sep-18 18:59:59

Leeds2 absolutely !

MrsCholly yes I do, we could manage that.

As I said, this was a very off the cuff remark only made earlier today, which got me wondering if it was even a possibility for families with no boarding need. If we didn’t have comitments in Yorkshire, I suspect that we’d have moved down there by now anyway, but for now I strongly suspect that ds’s loyalties lie with his cricket club and school friends!

OP’s posts: |
BellsaRinging Sat 01-Sep-18 19:02:54

Hi, my ds is actually just going into year 9 at a state boarding school. He had an interview to check if he was 'suitable to board'-this was about half an hour with a teacher, and he tells me it was a chat about what he enjoyed at school and why he wanted to board, and whether he had stayed away from home before. He had been away with scouts and to a holiday pgl type camp so chatted about that.
At his school they do several open days and have a weekend that prospective pupils can go to to see if they like boarding-worth a look.
Ds loves his school. We live in a small village and he was travelling c an hour to school. The big advantage is that he can do great activities at school in the travel time he would be going to and from school if he was at home.
Can't speak for all schools but ds got in with no problems, and we had no really pressing reason for him to go.
Happy to chat via pm if it would help.

MrsChollySawcutt Sat 01-Sep-18 19:23:08

Sorry Bikerunski the question about payment for boarding wasn't a dig at you. I was checking the poster who was frothing about ex pats had worked out that it's not a free boarding education.

Growingboys Sat 01-Sep-18 20:43:15

Hollow what an odd way to look at it.

If my DM had a state boarding near her she'd be pressuring us like mad to send DC there.

Nothing like a strong relationship between one's DC and DM. Good luck OP.

AgonyBeetle Sun 02-Sep-18 09:13:47

I have a child in a state boarding school that we are out of area for (100+ miles away).

Happy to discuss by pm if you want.

In general I would say that boarding places are often not that oversubscribed in which case ‘boarding need’ will be defined quite loosely. So don’t be put off applying if you think it would suit your family.

hertsandessex Sun 02-Sep-18 17:07:42

In theory it is based on boarding need but in our experience there don't seem to be enough applications from people with a really strong genuine need (such as parents living overseas) and lots of boarders end up being children who just like the school. Need to be a bit creative explaining the "need."

Duvetday123 Sun 02-Sep-18 20:29:42

Our local state boarding school is very over-subscribed for day pupils, but is quite easy to get into as a boarder. There are not many year 7 boarders, but the numbers increase as they go up the school. So it might be worth bearing in mind the size of cohort your son would be with in the lower years if he were to board.

ksb76 Sun 02-Sep-18 23:20:46

By the way, not all expats pay no tax in the UK. We have continued to pay UK tax on our UK sourced income while living abroad, yet get absolutely no benefit from it at all - while I don't need to use the UK state boarding schools, it is fantastic that it exists for families in a variety of scenarios.

LoniceraJaponica Mon 03-Sep-18 14:00:46

What does your son want?

Am I right in thinking that your LA still has a three tier school system? What age will your DS be if he goes to boarding school? Would he be starting at the beginning of year 7 like the other children?

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