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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 more than 600 schools in nearly 40 countries worldwide 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 are due to be updated in the next few months.
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 BSA work together. BSA has worked especially closely with the DfE and other government departments during the coronavirus pandemic over the past 18 months, supporting the safety and continuity of education for its member schools’ pupils and staff, both domestically and internationally.
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 on topics of particular interest to boarding/pastoral staff – e.g. Essentials of Boarding, Leading the Boarding Team, Meeting the Needs of Overseas 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**
• 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
State Boarding Forum (SBF)
BSA issues information regarding 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
Chief Executive: Robin Fletcher
Chief Operating Officer and Director, Sacpa: Aileen Kane
Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation: Dale Wilkins
International Director and Director, BAISIS: Caroline Nixon
Director of Guardianship and Inclusion: Ammy Davies-Potter
Director of Health and Wellbeing and Director, Hieda: Jane Graham
The Boarding Schools’ Association
First Floor, 27 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, UK SW1H 9BU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7798 1580 • Email: