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The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) Group champions excellence in boarding and safeguarding and delivers services for more than 1,000 organisations and individuals in 35 countries worldwide. The BSA represents over 600 independent and state boarding schools in the UK and overseas. BSA services include professional development, government relations, communications, media, publications, conferences, training and events.
The BSA exists to:
• Champion boarding and promote boarding excellence
• Help member schools provide the best quality of boarding education and meet the highest standards of welfare for boarders by providing a comprehensive programme of professional development for all staff and governors of boarding schools
• Conduct appropriate research and produce regular publications on boarding issues and good practice in boarding
• Liaise with other bodies concerned with boarding – the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Independent Schools Council, the Scottish Council for Independent Schools, Ofsted etc
• Engage in a regular dialogue with government on boarding issues
• Provide a platform informing parents and prospective boarders of the benefits of twenty-first century boarding and offer a conduit to individual member schools for further enquiry
• Forge links with associations of boarding schools worldwide
• Speak for boarding in today’s world.
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 which are not members of these organisations can apply to be affiliate members. Similar arrangements are in place for overseas members.
Support for schools and other member benefits
Through the BSA Academy (training school), the association 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. Each year, the BSA runs a comprehensive programme of conferences, day seminars and webinars 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 teaching and non-teaching staff in boarding schools. The BSA Academy has developed a host of courses including: 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. A new MA in Residential Education was launched in conjunction with Buckingham University in September 2019. Courses run across the UK and worldwide.
• A rolling programme of day seminars on current boarding legislation and good practice.
• Bespoke training, INSET, 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.
• Membership of our Certified Guardian and Agent schemes.
• Centre for Boarding Education Research (CEBER) which brings together a wide variety of articles and research on all matters related to boarding.
Inspection and boarding standards
Boarding inspection of ISC-accredited independent schools has been conducted by ISI since September 2012, while Ofsted inspects boarding in state schools and non-association independent schools. Boarding inspections must be conducted every three years. Boarding in England and Wales is judged against the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools which were last revised for primary and secondary schools in England in 2015 and are set to be updated again soon. In Scotland, schools are inspected by the Care Inspectorate.
Liaison with national bodies
The BSA is in regular communication with several government departments, including the Department for Education (DfE), Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence. The Children Act (1989) and the Care Standards Act (2000) 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 BSA and the DfE work closely.
CEO, BSA and BSA Group: Robin Fletcher
The Boarding Schools’ Association
First Floor, 27 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, UK SW1H 9BU
Tel: +44 (0)20 7798 1580 • Email: