“Pack your Marmalade Sandwich, Paddington!”: Visiting London Boarding Schools

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of traveling to London to get my scone and clotted cream fix, collect my annual Harrod’s Christmas bear, and more importantly to learn about UK boarding schools. Within the greater London area, there are a wide variety of schools with amazing campuses, dedicated teachers, diverse student bodies, and stimulating curricula to prepare students well for global universities while living in an exciting, progressive city of immeasurable historical and cultural significance. In this and our next few international newsletters, I’ll showcase just a few examples of the impressive UK boarding school opportunities that await students seeking an exciting and transformative adventure for their high school years. (n.b. – The UK has laws preventing visitors from photographing any students while visiting schools, so you’ll have to trust me that there really are students attending the schools we feature!)

First, we’ll visit TASIS England in Thorpe, Surrey. 

The TASIS Schools were created many years ago when American Mary Crist Fleming decided that children needed to learn in beautiful, inspiring settings – namely the beguiling cities and landscapes of Europe. After creating The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) in 1956 in breathtaking Lugano, Switzerland, twenty years later she established a second TASIS in the quaint village of Thorpe, Surrey, just twenty miles west of London. 

Today, TASIS England serves preschool through high school, offering day and boarding (starting in 8th grade), and both the AP and IB curricula for high school students, of whom 40% attend university in the US, 40% in the UK, while the rest venture to Europe or a gap year. The truly international upper school includes 440 students from the UK, North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, and the TASIS campus itself has undergone significant building and renovations in recent years. 98% of dorm rooms have en suite bathrooms, and the boarding parents and tutors offer a nurturing, familial environment for students far away from home through their Thrive Curriculum that teaches students about developing healthy sleep, study habits, mental health tools, nutrition, and well being. 

The TASIS campus includes charming buildings that used to be a convent, chapel, stables, even a thatched-roof cottage, but all have been revolutionized on the inside to provide a 21st century educational and social experience. TASIS offers a wide variety of sports, weekend trips to London shows and museums, chaperoned international trips in October and March, and impressive performing and visual arts opportunities led by talented and encouraging teachers.

In November, the International Schools Association – a group of 651 Heads of leading UK boarding schools – recognized TASIS England as Boarding School of the Year. They’ve surely come a long way since Mrs. Fleming envisioned a school tucked between beside a pond, and pub and an ancient chapel dating back to Roman rule. If your child would enjoy a truly special experience immersed in history, TASIS England may be the place.

In our next issue…drama kids will appreciate a school that possesses – among other amazing artifacts – one of only 235 remaining copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio!


About The Author

Amy Christie, M.A.