The Boarding Schools' Association

Since its foundation in 1966, the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) has had the twin objectives of promoting boarding education and the development of quality boarding through high standards of pastoral care and boarding accommodation. Parents and prospective pupils choosing a boarding school can, therefore, be assured that the 560 schools in the UK and internationally that make up the membership of the BSA 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 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 is judged against the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools which were last revised in 2015 and is set to be updated again soon.

Relationship with government

The BSA is in regular communication with the Department for Education (DfE) on all boarding matters. The Children Act (1989) and the Care Standards Act (2001) require boarding schools to conform to national legislation and the promotion of this legislation and the training required to carry it out are matters on which the DfE and the BSA work closely.

Boarding training

The programme of training for boarding staff from BSA member schools has been supported and sponsored in the past by the DfE. The BSA maintains the high standards expected as a consequence of that support and from the BSA’s Commitment to Care Charter – which all member schools must abide by.

The BSA organises five conferences and more than 90 seminars a year for governors, Heads, deputies, housemasters and housemistresses, and matrons and medical staff where further training takes place in formal sessions and in sharing good practice. The BSA provides the following range of training and information:

  • Professional qualifications for both teaching and non-teaching staff in boarding schools. The BSA has been responsible for the development of a number of courses: Certificates of Professional Practice in Boarding Education, Certificate in International Boarding, Certificate in Professional Practice for Nurses and Matrons, and a Diploma for senior leaders. The certificates courses are the result of at least two years’ study, and completion of the Diploma takes at least one year. Courses run across the UK.
  • A rolling programme of day seminars on current boarding legislation and good practice.
  • Bespoke training and consultancy on best boarding practice, particularly with regard to safeguarding.
  • The Accredited Boarding Practitioner scheme, where individuals working in boarding can have their service and experience accredited by BSA.
  • Centre for Boarding Education Research (CEBER) which brings together a wide variety of articles and research on all matters related to boarding.

State Boarding Forum (SBF)

The BSA issues information regards its 40 state boarding school members and the 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 Leadership Team

National Director: Robin Fletcher
Direction of Operations: Aileen Kane
Director of Training and International: Andrew Lewin
Head of Safeguarding and Standards: Dale Wilkins

Boarding Schools’ Association
4th Floor
134-136 Buckingham Palace Road
London SWlW 9SA
Tel: 020 7798 1580
Fax: 020 7798 1581

You can search for boarding schools on this dedicated page.