Study at State High Schools in England

Study at a state high school in England, whilst living in the local community with a friendly host family. Each year we provide a very personal service to a small number of students looking to study at a state high school in England. Over the years students have acheived great success during their study period at state high schools in England, which is of great benefit to them, the school and the local English students.

We offer an excellent opportunity to improve a student's English in a normal school environment, studying subjects and enjoying extra-curricular activities with their new English friends.

Important Points

  • Flexible study periods for 16+ year olds (younger if less than 6 months)
  • A choice of schools available for all abilities
  • One academic year from £15,350 (see Fees tab below)
  • Secure a school place prior to financial commitment
  • Host family relationship prior to study period
  • No closing date for applications
  • Apply through Barnes for a truly English experience in caring schools that really work hard to integrate our international students.

Exceptional Host Families and Guardianship in England

Our family organisation understanding

In 1975 with their own large family, Peter and Gaynor Barnes set up Barnes Educational Services. They understood the importance of providing a safe and caring environment to allow students to thrive whilst studying abroad at a state high school in England. The reputation for providing excellent host families in England to care for their students was soon recognised by The British Council.

By limiting the total number of students each year, you build up a close relationship with our small family team from your initial enquiry. Whatever time of day or night it is we can always react quickly since we are in the same country as your child with personal knowledge of their area and everybody involved with caring for them. We understand how important it is for students and their parents to have somebody available that truly cares about them.

Host family and Guardianship

Host families

We often hear parents say that they worry about the idea of their son/daughter staying with a host family in England whom they do not know. This is often the case where perhaps they have met a youngster who has told some "horror" story about his/her experience, perhaps when they attended a short summer language course and stayed with a local host family. Unfortunately there are some organisations that do not take great care when selecting families, but we will only use families that measure up to the high standards we have followed since 1975. To maintain these high standards we keep in regular contact with our families throughout the year.

When choosing families the overriding decision is always based on the family's desire to share their life and experiences with students giving them a real insight into the British culture. All our host families are different, as are our students, but we work hard to place like- minded host families and students together in each area to promote happy relationships forming. Moreover, most of our families host students for a number of years, since they enjoy the experience as much as our students enjoy it.

Our host families recognise that students will need a balance between family activities and private time. Each student will always be provided with their own comfortable bedroom with storage for their belongings so they always have somewhere to relax on their own. Our host families will always encourage a student to give appropriate time to their private studies and will provide a study area away from distractions.

We pride ourselves on the quality of host families we can provide since we know that they contribute greatly towards the success of the arrangement.

Mixing with English students

We ensure the overall percentage of international students is low in each school and place in schools that take time to help our students mix with local English students. This maximises our students' opportunity to improve their English by building friendships with mainly English students, giving them the best opportunity to really learn what it is like to live as an English teenager.

Guardianship in England

A worry that many parents have is what happens to their child if there is a problem involving perhaps the host family or the state high school in England. Our guardianship service is such that we take over the responsibility of caring for the welfare of your son or daughter. If they have a problem they may contact us or our local representative at any time when we will be pleased to help. Moreover, the schools and host families know that they are free to contact us if they are aware of any difficulties.

We carefully choose a local representative that we completely trust to assist the small number of students and host families living only a few minutes from them and a small network of support is developed centred around our local representative.

It is interesting to point out that most state high schools in the UK will not accept an overseas student unless he/she has an appointed guardian or the benefit of a guardianship service in England such as we provide. State high schools are not geared up to care for students outside of school, especially on weekends and in the half term holidays. Our host families are there to support and guide your child  in any situation, whether they are adjusting to living away from home, struggling with their homework or wanting to increase their social group by joining a club in their spare time. In extreme situations it is possible that a student needs to be moved to an alternative family quickly and so our guardianship service provides for a solution to resolve this need, whether this is due to an illness, an emergency or in a very small number of cases over the years where we have all decided it is better to move a student to a different family. The full guardianship agreement we offer is essential for the welfare of students studying away from their parents.


Once a school place has been secured we make all the arrangements in the UK on your behalf.  Each child is individually prepared for their study period. We assist families who would like to visit the state high schools in England and the local area before the study period begins (not necessarily essential). After introducing you to your host family we encourage you to build up a relationship with them to help you settle into your study period quickly.

Shortly into your stay, your local representative will arrange a gathering giving you a chance to meet the small number of other Barnes students in the local area.

Legal compliance

In addition to our extremely high standards and vast experience in selecting suitable host families we follow the latest legal guidance in the UK and we pay to check the background of all adult members of our host families by seeking information from a British Government department known as the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Attend an excellent State High School in England

Choice is important

We believe in each student attending the right state high school in England for them. This greatly assists in their happiness during their period of study. We consider all the information collated about you and recommend two or three* state high schools which are best suited to your needs. We provide unlimited consultancy and advice and do not ask for any financial commitment until an offer has been made by a school.  Not all state high schools in England are happy to accept international students. 

We have been working with state high schools since 1975 who recognise the presence of our international students has a beneficial effect on their English students and are able or happy to invest time integrating them into their school.

State High School in England

A small selection of our schools

Here follows a small selection of the types of state high schools in England that we could recommend to you after considering your application in detail.

* very occasionally the combination of the student's age, requested study period, specialist subjects and other criteria might mean that there is only one state high school that can meet all the needs of a student.

Study abroad in England at a State High School

Studying abroad in England while living with a carefully selected host family has significant benefits for any student - improving a foreign language, living within a different culture, learning a different approach to studying, becoming independent, building lifelong relationships, and building confidence. Many students decide that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and take time out of their school back home to spend a High School year in England. Other students wish to study abroad for a shorter period and return home to their same year group.

If you can't find a study period to suit you please contact us to see if we can work out a way for you to study abroad.

State high school fees

School Year: September 2024 until June/July 2025

  • For pupils aged 16+ on 31st August (younger than 16 if for less than 6 months)
  • A-Levels and International Baccalaureate
  • Living with a host family
  • Guardianship Inclusive!
  • Our most popular and cost-effective option (from GBP 16,050* per study year)
  • No application fee payable

Length of stay / Total fee 

One study year (3 terms) September - June / July From £16050*
Trimester September - Xmas From £7230 to £7950
   January - Easter   
   Easter - July   
Semester September - Jan / Feb From £7950 to £10085
   Jan / Feb - Jun / Jul   
Taster programme 4 weeks  £3080
   Each additional 2 weeks  £1090


Students must be 16 years old on 31st August for a full study year (n/a if less than 6 months).

A "From" price is shown since the actual price varies according to the location, the course followed, the study period and the school to be attended. In all cases we endeavour to offer a choice of suitable schools for each applicant at the lowest price possible.

* - Students studying for one or two study years. This price is only available when the full study year is committed to before the start of the course. Students will need a Student Visa to complete a whole academic year (not required for shorter study periods). Guidance will be given and external costs apply for the secure English test, the visa application and Immigration Health Surcharge.

BARNES can also devise other programmes for Non EU students which are individually priced. A popular programme used by some students starts in either January, February or March and finishes before Christmas. 

The price includes:

  • unlimited guidance in selecting a suitable school.
  • room and board (during the week - breakfast and evening meal, on weekends and during half-term holidays - full board) with a host family for the entire stay. The schools offer lunch in the canteen at about GBP 4.00. No accommodation is provided during Christmas and Easter holidays, when most students return home.Students will always be provided with their own bedroom.
  • a local representative briefing with the small number of other local international students.
  • professional advice at the start of school to ensure the appropriate selection of course subjects will help further the student's career goals.
  • exam preparation for externally assessed A-levels when the length of the chosen subject makes this possible. At some schools, the International Baccalaureate is offered.
  • "Guardianship" the BARNES family is ultimately responsible for each student's welfare during their stay - providing a permanent link between the student, the school, the host family, the local representative and the student's parents. The student's happiness is constantly under review and any problems that may arise are resolved very quickly.
  • arrangement of a visit to the school (if required) before your stay
  • travel advice and airport meeting arrangement service - if you decide to travel alone to England we can make the arrangement for you to be met at the airport and be transported to your host family.
  • insurance advice for your stay

The following costs are not included:

Round-trip flights, airport transfers to host family (an airport meeting service and transfer to the host family can be arranged), pocket money, any use of transport to school in England, insurance (trip cancellation, health and property insurance are fully recommended - advice can be given), external costs associated with securing a visa for students studying for one (or two) academic year(s).


From 1st January 2021 all students that do not have the right to abode in the UK will need to follow the new UKVI rules for entering the UK to study - Barnes is used to supporting students that need a visa to study in the UK.
Visas are not always necessary where a student studies in the UK for less than 6 months (EU/Swiss students do not need a visa for a study period of up to 6 months). Where a visa is necessary the time taken to apply for this needs to be taken into account when considering start dates. Also, evidence of an IELTS English test will need to be provided. IELTS tests need to be booked in an official test centre to be valid (for guidance see  ).


Early registration is an advantage, usually between 4 and 12 months before the start of the study period. However, we have no application deadlines. For applications received less than 4 study weeks (excluding school holidays) before the study period starts we charge an additional fee of GBP 200.