The Boarding Schools' Association

The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) is part of the BSA Group. BSA Group supports excellence in boarding, safeguarding, inclusion and health education, serving more than 1,500 organisations and people in 40 countries worldwide. Since its foundation in 1965-6, BSA has promoted boarding education and the development of quality boarding through high standards of pastoral care and boarding accommodation.

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), Care Inspectorate (Scotland), Care Inspectorate Wales or Ofsted. Other boarding schools who are not members of these organisations can apply to be affiliate members. Similar arrangements are in place for international 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 were last updated in September 2022.

Relationship with government

BSA is in regular communication with the Department for Education (DfE) on all boarding matters in England and 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. Other governmental departments BSA work with are the Home Office, Ministry of Defence and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

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 three assignments. We run two modules each year starting in November and March
  • MA in residential education
  • 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 International Boarders
  • Specialist one or two-day conferences for Boarding Staff, Heads, Health & Wellbeing staff**, Marketing and Admissions staff* and State Boarding Schools staff and Safeguarding Leads**
  • A course for new and aspiring boarding Heads
  • Certificates in Mental Health. Safeguarding, Inclusion, School Nurses, Coaching and Mentoring
  • 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 launched The Institute of Boarding (TIOB), a dedicated association for supporting and recognising professional boarding school staff.

State Boarding Forum (SBF)

BSA support state boarding school members through the State Boarding Forum. There are a total of 44 state boarding schools across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. At these schools, parents pay for boarding but not for education, so fees are substantially lower than in an independent boarding school. The latest BSA State Boarding Forum Census was published in January 2023.

Legal Services

BSA Group Legal is the trading name of BSA Group Legal Services Ltd, a law firm authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales. The BSA Group Legal team works closely with the Home Office to support members with UK immigration matters relating to independent schools. In 2023 the BSA also partnered with Verisio to provide a Due Diligence service to support schools carrying out background checks on future students and their families.

BSA Group Leadership Team

Robin Fletcher: Chief Executive 

Aileen Kane: Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer (Maternity Leave) 

Lee Glaser: Director, Hieda and Group Services Director

Dale Wilkins: Senior Director

Kate Hollyer: Legal and Public Affairs Director

David Walker: Director, BSA

Chris King: Director of Operations (Maternity Cover) Caroline Nixon: International and Membership Director

Claire Dan: Director of Safeguarding and Director, Sacpa

Gaelle Sullivan: Director of Research and Inclusion and Director, TIOB

Bethan Waddington: Programmes Director, BSA Group and Director, BAISIS

Contact details:

Boarding Schools’ Association, 167-169 Great Portland Street, 5th Floor, London, W1W 5PF

Tel: 020 7798 1580