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18 March 2022
by Ferdinand Steinbeis

England's Best: Our Top 5 Boarding Schools for Football

Warmest regards from Oxford!
This article is all about how to “get the round thing into the square thing”, and to do it alongside an excellent academic education. We're talking about British boarding schools with particularly good football programs. In this article we'll answer many of the questions about football boarding schools on the island which we hear again and again from parents at von Bülow. In addition, we'll tell you about our top 5 British boarding schools, where talented young athletes not only mature into great football players, but also discover and develop hidden skills.
Football Boarding schools in the UK – individual talent development
Is your child passionate about football and dreaming of a career as a professional football player? Football boarding schools in the UK offer tailor-made and intensive training programs. As well as fitness and football training, they also teach tactics and theory with modern equipment and modern teaching methods. The coaches are often very successful former players and/or coaches from the professional leagues. Many of them used to go to the British football academies themselves and have picked up all their know-how.
In a boarding school with an excellent football program in the UK, academic education with individual support in small classes for the best possible academic performance is just as important as athletic training. Because then, even if they don't make it into the Premiership, they'll still have plenty of other options open to them. Other sports which can be tried out, as well as extensive leisure activities, complete the offer of a British football boarding school.
Elite training centres: advantages of football boarding schools in the UK
Football boarding schools in the UK are actually boarding schools with the best academic education and a particularly professional football program. So they offer all the advantages of a good British boarding school with the best possible football education. On our School overview page for mixed boarding schools ((Here you can use the link to the landing page for mixed boarding schools in the UK, if it's online)) you can see all the advantages. British boarding schools specialising in football have other advantages, on top of the normal ones:
  • Comprehensive football lessons with individual training by professionals
  • Tournaments against other schools
  • No winter break and ideal training conditions
  • No travel to training
  • Enhanced tactical thinking, perseverance as well as self-confidence, leadership qualities, personality and team spirit through experiences of victory and defeat
  • Experienced medical staff on site
  • Football scholarships (often full scholarships) and other sources of funding may be available
Top 5 British boarding schools with good football: these are our favourites
Yes, we know. You're not supposed to have favourites. Still we're particularly fond of the following five boarding schools with excellent football training:
Bradfield College in action!
1. Bradfield College: a holistic elite football program
Bradfield College and sports go hand in hand. This boarding school in picturesque Bradfield in county Berkshire attracts students from all over the world with its impressive sports offer. All the trainers are qualified professionals. The director of the football program, Luke Webb, has a UEFA A licence and is still known to many as a midfielder at Arsenal (U18) and later at Coventry City and Hereford United. On top of training on the pitch, the football program also includes technical and tactical video analyses, endurance training as well as individual goal-setting and bucketloads of encouragement. Students can take part in the full-time U18 futsal program during the summer term.
The boarding school insists that it isn't a football academy, but a school with a holistic elite football and educational program. On top of the football training, students receive the best academic education and personality development. So, academically, all paths are open to them, after they've perfected their football skills by the time they graduate.
Millfield School's girls in action!
2. Millfield School: When you're not studying, it's about sports
Football is the most popular sport at Millfield School, which is considered THE boarding school for sports in England. Around 400 girls and boys of all ages play high-quality football in the 15 teams of this boarding school in beautiful Somerset. As well as its sports and football programs and excellent education, the boarding school also stands out for its broad musical education.
But back to football: all the coaches have had professional football careers and even seasoned Premiership players would love to train in the Millfield football facility with football pitches in Kingweston. At Millfield School, academic education and the promotion of personal development are just as important as comprehensive football training. In addition to football training on the field, regular performance analysis, nutrition and physiotherapy services are also part of the lessons. Millfield School has produced a number of professional footballers including Tyrone Mings, a defender at Aston Villa. Millfield School was also National ISEFA Champion 2020 and the girls' team reached the semi-finals of the ESFA. Very impressive, in our opinion.
Charterhouse School in action!
3.Charterhouse School: The Grande Dame of British boarding schools with excellent football
Charterhouse School is known as one of the best boarding schools in the UK. In addition to high-quality education with the best academic results, the boarding school offers a wide range of sports and arts. However, the Charterhouse is particularly well known for its football program, which has been here for as long as the boarding school itself. The first recorded game of the dreaded XI of the Old Charterhouse took place in 1862. In 1881, the team won the English FA Challenge Cup. That much tradition brings a commitment with it.
As one of the schools with the largest football programs in the country, Charterhouse is proud of its total of 22 football teams and 14 grass and artificial football fields. The Charterhouse Eleven (1st XI) competes in the ISFA Knockout Cup together with the U15-A team, which also makes its annual trip to the Gothia Youth Cup in Sweden. In each season, the teams play against well-known opponents like the teams of Eton, Repton, Shrewsbury and former Charterhouse pupils, the so-called Old Carthusians.
Repton School in action!
4. Repton School: Raising tomorrow's professional footballers
Repton School has an excellent reputation among the boarding schools with football programs in England. Repton also shines in many other sports and through the general academic achievements of its graduates. But hardly any boarding school in England has so many students who've started a professional career after leaving school. Will Hughes, the midfielder for Derby County and later Watford, who played first in the England U-17 and then in the England U-21 national team, is one example. Also Matthew Bowman, the current captain of the Repton XI, has just signed a professional contract with Dunfermline Athletic, who play in the Scottish Championship. The Repton Eleven (1st XI) has already won the ESFA U18 Cup and the Hudl League twice and the U15 has won the ESFA Cup.
Especially in girls' football, Repton School is one of the leading boarding schools with good football in the UK. Coach Molly Holder plays in the FA Women's National League North and will soon get her UEFA B coaching qualification. The football training of the boys' teams also takes place under the best conditions with qualified school staff and professional coaches.
Shrewsbury School in action!
5. Shrewsbury School: Facilities that even Manchester United like to use!
Like Charterhouse School, Shrewsbury can look back on one of the country’s longest football histories. The Salopians, as the students of Shrewsbury School are called, have played an important role in British football since its early days, according to the school. The school library even holds the oldest surviving edition of the Rules of Football. Even today, King Football is still a strong focus at the Salopians’ boarding school, although in addition to first-class general education, many other sports are also taught at the highest level. The boarding school has 19 teams which train on almost 450,000 square metres with nine grass playing fields and an artificial field, so Shrewsbury offers optimal football training in any season. An offer which even Manchester United are happy to fall back on when they hold their training in Shrewsbury. So it's not surprising that the teams regularly participate in regional and national tournaments and compete with their Eleven (1st XI) in the BoodlesCup and the English Schools Trophy.
Do you have any more questions about boarding schools with strong football programs in England?
Choosing the right boarding school to perfect the game of football and, at the same time, to open all the doors for your child through an excellent academic education, isn't easy. If you have any questions about accommodation, visiting opportunities, possible school qualifications and their recognition in Germany, funding opportunities and much more, just ask us.

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