UK’s first state boarding school – aimed at parents juggling careers and childcare – will open in September with fees of £11,000 a year

  • Wymondham College Prep School in Norfolk is set to open in September
  • It will become the UK’s first state boarding school for boarders as young as 8
  • Dormitory ‘with a family atmosphere’, Underwood Hall, features 32 bedrooms
  • Offers ‘affordable’ boarding compared to independents charging up to £50K 

The first state school offering boarding to children as young as eight is set to open in September, in a bid to help families with two working parents.

Wymondham College Prep School in Norfolk, which is being built at an estimated cost of £9million, will offer 450 places to boys and girls aged four to 11.

Children aged over eight and in years 5 and 6 will be eligible to board in a purpose-built dormitory, Underwood Hall, which according to the school’s prospectus, ‘has been specifically designed with a family atmosphere to meet the needs of younger boarders.’

Artist’s impression of Wymondham College Prep School in Norfolk, which opens in September

The new school, estimated to cost £9million, is set to take in 450 girls and boys aged four to 11

The prospectus adds: ‘It will be staffed with specialist, experienced boarding staff.’

The dorm, which comprises 32 bedrooms, will also feature ‘teddy bears, tuckboxes, bedtime stories and Mabel, a Labrador, to cuddle,’ The Sunday Times reports. 

While education at the state school is free, boarding fees ‘will be in line with those at Wymondham College’, a separate secondary state school located on the same site, which currently charges £11,000 a year for boarders. 

Wymondham College, described on its website as ‘amongst the highest performing schools in the country’ has its own headteacher, leadership team and governing body, but both schools will come under the administration of Sapientia Education Trust. 

Wymondham College Prep School will become the first state school in the UK to offer boarding

In comparison, Brighton College charges £50,000 a year, while Eton’s fees are £42,501 a year and Harrow are £41,775. 

Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of the Sapienta Education Trust, said the new school offers a solution to middle-class families unable to afford such fees and ‘supports their working patterns’, with many parents having to otherwise employ after-school care to look after their children.

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