In the UK, from princes to middle-class civilians, once they reach the age of 13 and enter secondary school, they experience boarding school life. Many people may think that British private boarding schools are exclusive to the upper class, but that is no longer the case. As long as students are sufficiently talented and possess extraordinary qualities, schools will accept students from various backgrounds. When it comes to boarding schools, the first thing that comes to mind is often the movie "Harry Potter." Although there are over 500 boarding schools in the UK, the true "Harry Potter"-style "full boarding" schools are few and far between.

Sedbergh School featured
Sedbergh School

British full-boarding schools are those where all or the majority of students live on the school premises seven days a week, including local students. For example, renowned schools like Eton College and Harrow School have a 100% boarding population. Some boarding schools have also introduced flexible boarding options to adapt to social development, allowing local students to reside on campus from Monday to Friday and return home on weekends. However, the proportion of students in full boarding schools in the UK still exceeds 80%, such as Shrewsbury School and Uppingham School.

Uppingham School featured


So what makes full-boarding schools so fascinating? The first important thing for students after entering school is the allocation of dormitories (House or College). Each dormitory in the school accommodates students from different nationalities and countries, and the allocation of dormitories affects the students' entire campus life. Full boarding allows students in the same dormitory to interact and live together from the moment they wake up, fostering cross-cultural exchanges and conflicts. In addition to having more time to train their English and communication skills, students can also establish long-lasting friendships with their dorm mates. Some schools even organise competitions between different dormitories, similar to the "House Cup" in Harry Potter. This dormitory culture not only cultivates students' team spirit but also instils a greater sense of belonging among international students towards their dormitories.


Due to the need to accommodate a large number of boarders, full boarding schools in the UK generally have extensive grounds and facilities. For example, Sedbergh School, a co-educational full boarding school known as the "Eton of the North," occupies 188 acres and features an art centre, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, music building, indoor sports facilities, shooting range, chapel, library, artificial turf sports field, and more. On weekends, various activities such as camping, equestrianism, debating, triathlon, and excursions are available to satisfy the active bodies and minds of hundreds of boarders. The level of enrichment is incomparable to that of non-full-boarding schools. For parents of international students, full-boarding schools hold additional significance. When their children study abroad at a young age, the concern of loneliness and isolation weighs heavily. Genuine full boarding schools ensure that students do not remain alone in the dormitories on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.

Sedbergh School gallery 6
Sedbergh School


In the world of Harry Potter, you might belong to Gryffindor, characterised by bravery and chivalry, or perhaps Hufflepuff, known for perseverance and honesty. Maybe you lean towards Ravenclaw, renowned for wisdom and knowledge, or you might find yourself in Slytherin, ambitious and cunning. In British full boarding schools, which House or College would you belong to?