It’s that time of the year when parents are starting to think about which 11 PLUS exam and school to choose for their children in Year 5. Very few parents are aware that they have the option of sending their children to a grammar boarding school.

We have had the wonderful opportunity to find out more about grammar boarding and will be completing a special feature of one of the UK’s top grammar boarding schools- Ripon Grammar School.

Ripon will be helping parents to understand the benefits of attending grammar boarding, what life is like at a grammar boarding and the process of applying to a grammar boarding school by telling us all about their school.

Over the next four weeks we will be looking closely at Ripon, so be sure to catch the full four- part feature.

Ripon Grammar School (Part 1)

Ripon Grammar School is one of a small, select group of state boarding schools, one of just 36 in England and the only one in Yorkshire. This means we can offer an outstanding education free to all our students, who pay for accommodation only.

With its iconic Victorian clock tower and 23 acres of grounds with swimming pool, tennis courts and pristine playing fields, RGS is often mistaken for an independent school, which it’s not.

Our boarding typically costs a third of independent school fees and we believe we offer an attractive alternative to the private sector.

The school, situated in the largest rural county in England, began offering boarding more than 450 years ago, in order to offer children living in outlying farms and villages access to high quality education. Now students from all over the UK benefit from boarding at RGS.

Our setting, in the magnificent, small historic cathedral city of Ripon in the Yorkshire Dales, means we are a short distance from the popular spa town of Harrogate and the ancient city of York and close to major rail and road networks.

Consistently ranked as one of the top-performing state schools in the UK, our excellent academic reputation is second to none in the whole of the north of England and we are delighted to have retained The Sunday Times ‘Top state school in the North’ title for the past five years.

Our boarders enjoy in-house support from highly-qualified staff tutors and peer mentors and often perform better than their non-boarding fellow students.

They benefit from having extra time for studying – since they don’t have to travel to and from school – as well the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of first-class facilities and activities on their doorstep, both in and outside normal school hours.

Our boarding, like our education, is rated outstanding, with Ofsted reporting that our strong and caring community supports boarders to realise their full potential, providing them with a good springboard to the next step in life.

The comfort, wellbeing and welfare of students in our care is as the heart of all we do and today’s two well-staffed boarding houses, set in extensive and beautiful grounds, truly are a home from home.

With a continual programme of improvement, including a recent £1.1m boarding extension, we offer warm, comfortable, high-quality accommodation for up to 100 girls and boys on a weekly or termly basis.

Grade II listed School House for boys and the purpose-built Johnson House for girls are not add-ons but fully integrated into everyday life at Ripon Grammar School, where boarding is at the heart of our community.

Both staff and students share a true sense of family and community and our professional, enthusiastic and dedicated boarding team, made up of both teaching and non-teaching staff, are on hand to support and care for our students, encouraging them to achieve their potential academically while enjoying their lives at RGS to the full.