The Boarding Schools' Association

Since its foundation in 1965-6, the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) has promoted boarding education and the development of quality boarding through high standards of pastoral care and boarding accommodation. So parents and prospective pupils choosing a boarding school can be assured that more than 600 member schools in nearly 40 countries worldwide are committed to providing the best possible boarding environment for their pupils.

A UK boarding school can only be a full member of the BSA if it is also a member of one of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) constituent associations, or in membership of the BSA State Boarding Forum (SBF). These two bodies require member schools to be regularly inspected by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI) or Ofsted. Other boarding schools who are not members of these organisations can apply to be affiliate members. Similar arrangements are in place for overseas members. Boarding inspection of ISC-accredited independent schools has been conducted by ISI since September 2012. Ofsted retains responsibility for the inspection of boarding in state schools and non-association independent schools.

Boarding inspections must be conducted every three years. Boarding in England is judged against the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools which have been newly updated for September 2022.

Relationship with government

BSA is in regular communication with the Department for Education (DfE) on all boarding matters in England and also with devolved governments for other parts of the UK. The Children Act (1989) and the Care Standards Act (2001) require boarding schools in England to conform to national legislation. The promotion of this legislation and the training required to carry it out are matters on which the DfE and BSA work together. BSA worked especially closely with the DfE and other government departments during the coronavirus pandemic, supporting the safety and continuity of education for its member schools’ pupils and staff.

Boarding training

BSA delivers the world’s largest professional development programme for boarding staff. It offers:

  • Two-year courses for graduate and non-graduate boarding staff – these involve eight study days and two assignments, each about 4,000 words long. This is the flagship training opportunity for staff seriously interested in boarding excellence
  • A Diploma course for senior experienced boarding staff, involving three study days and two assignments spread between March and October
  • A broad range of day seminars and webinars on topics of particular interest to boarding/pastoral staff – e.g. Essentials of Boarding, Leading a Boarding Team,
  • Meeting the Needs of Overseas Boarders
  • Specialists one or two-day conferences for Boarding Staff, Heads, Health & Wellbeing staff**, Marketing and Admissions staff* and State Boarding Schools staff and Safeguarding Leads**
  • Basic training online, for those very new to boarding.

*With SACPA (Safeguarding and Child Protection Association), part of the BSA Group

**With HIEDA (Heath in Education Association) part of the BSA Group

**With BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students), part of the BSA Group

In 2022, BSA Group also launched a new association, The Institute of Boarding (TIOB), which aims to be the world’s first professional association for boarding school staff.

State Boarding Forum (SBF)

BSA issues information regards its state boarding school members and BSA should be contacted for details of these schools. In these schools, parents pay for boarding but not for education, so fees are substantially lower than in an independent boarding school.

BSA Group Leadership Team

Robin Fletcher: Chief Executive
Aileen Kane: Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer
Dale Wilkins: Senior Director
Caroline Nixon: International and Membership Director and Director, BAISIS
Ammy Davies-Potter: Director of Guardianship and Inclusion
Jane Graham: Director of Health and Wellbeing and Director, Hieda

Boarding Schools’ Association
Unit 11/12
Manor Farm, Cliddesden
Basingstoke, Hants
RG25 2JB

Tel: 020 7798 1580
Email: Website: