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
  • A choice of schools available for all abilities
  • One academic year from £10,400 (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 away from large numbers of 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.

A small number of students in each area

We limit the number of students attending each state high school; we place up to around six international students in each school. 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.

With only a small number of students in each area we can be very selective when choosing host families to care for our students. We carefully choose a local representative that we completely trust to assist the small number of host families living only a few minutes from them and a small network of support is developed centred around our local representative.

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.

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. 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 a small number of our international students has a beneficial effect on their English students and are happy to invest time integrating them into their school. We avoid schools and Further Education (FE) Colleges who accept large numbers of international students.

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.

A leading Grammar School in the South East of England

This state high school is one of the nation's leading selective grammar schools in England, with high academic standards only one hour from London. Each year it admits into its sixth form suitably qualified and able students, including a small number from overseas. Overseas students are admitted on to A-level courses for the full two years or for one year, depending on their needs.

The grammar school occupies a pleasant campus near the centre of Britain's oldest recorded town. The school itself has a long history and has received royal charters from Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Sport, music and drama are strong and complement the emphasis placed on academic achievement. The grammar school provides its students with a happy and well-ordered learning environment.

A specialist foreign language school offering the IB

Set on the edge of the delightful countryside of the Cotswolds, an area the rich and famous often choose for their country homes, including Madonna, this state high school specialises in foreign languages and mathematics.  It is also committed to excellence in sport with the Sports Academy seeking to combine long standing academic excellence with renowned sporting success.  This state high school offers both the UK's traditional A-levels in the 6th Form, along with the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

An 'Outstanding' school in the south east of England offering the IB

Based on a beautiful site near the centre of a historic town one hour from London, students appreciate the idyllic surroundings, with its lake, ancient trees, gardens and playing fields. This state high school has been awarded Language College status and the UK School's Inspection Team has awarded the school Grade 1 - 'Outstanding'.

Students benefit from the school's wide range of enrichment activities both on the school site and along the coastline close to the school.

A large and successful comprehensive school in the south west of England

This school is one of the largest state high schools in England with an outstanding record of academic excellence. The school has strong links to Japan, Spain, France, Germany and Italy where visits are regularly organised.  The school has received many awards for excellence over the years including the European Curriculum Award and The Times' Educational Supplement Schools of the Year Award. A comprehensive range of activities, include two orchestras, choirs, theatre groups, dance groups, film club, language clubs and a diverse range of leisure activities using the fabulous sports facilities and the local countryside, since this state high school is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of England.

A specialist technology school in the West Country

Based in the beautiful county of Somerset, only a short drive from the World Heritage city of Bath, this Specialist Technical High School provides students with excellent IT facilities and opportunities in Science, Mathematics and Design Technology, whilst also being strong in languages.

The UK School's Ofsted inspection team have awarded this school 'Outstanding'. The school has also been awarded Sportsmark Gold award, for providing the very best physical education and sports provision for their students, The Arts Council of England Artsmark Award for their art, dance, drama and music provision, The National Healthy School Standard and the DfES School Achievement Award to celebrate their high achievements overall. This high school achieves excellent exam results and a high proportion of their students go on to University, including Oxford and Cambridge.

A school with expertise in performing arts and engineering in the north east of England

Situated in the North East of England close to beautiful parks, countryside and miles of beach this state high school has been awarded specialist recognition for many years. The school is an Artsmark Award holder for its Performing Arts. They are a Centre of Excellence for ASDAN (Awards Scheme Development and Accreditation Network), a pioneering curriculum development organisation and internationally recognised awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. This state high school has been recognised for expertise in Engineering.

Like all schools we select, it is a very caring school aiming to provide a secure, safe and happy environment, where young people will thrive academically.

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. We also design special study packages to suit non EU students.

State high school fees (for students from EU countries)

School Year: September 2021 until June/July 2022

  • Pupils aged 16+ accepted
  • A-Levels and International Baccalaureate
  • Living with a host family
  • Guardianship Inclusive!
  • Our most popular and cost-effective option (from GBP 10,400* per study year)
  • No application fee payable

Length of stay / Total fee 

One study year (3 terms) September - June / July From £10400*
Two terms September - Easter From £7740
  January - July  
1 1/2 terms September - mid-February From £7230
  Mid-February - July  
1 term September - December From £6550
  January - Easter  
Summer term Easter - July £6250


For schools offering the International Baccalaureate the study year will cost from GBP 12,885*. "From" means, depending on the location of the chosen school, the chosen courses and the duration of the course. In any case, we will endeavour to offer a selection of suitable schools at the most acceptable price possible.

* - this price is only available when the full study year is committed to before the start of the course.

Junior and senior taster programme

A taster session at a state high school with all the benefits of our State High School Programme living with a host family (including full guardianship) for ages up to 18 year olds. Four weeks for GBP 2,860 then GBP 970 for each additional 2 weeks.

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 3.50. 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 GCSE and 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).

Fees for non-EU resident and non-EU students

For EU not resident in the EU the fee is £11,500 FOR ONE YEAR.

The total fee for Non-EU students (students that require a study visa to enter the UK to follow a study course) is usually from £16,500 FOR ONE YEAR (from September until mid-June or July). This fee includes the fee payable to the school which varies according to the school eventually chosen. It is sometimes possible for a non EU student to be accepted for less than a full year. Students normally have to be at least 16 years old by 1st September at the start of the course.
A £300 placement fee is payable for most upon securing a suitable place. 

Follow this link for what Barnes believes to be the best UK college for non-EU students - York College.

The price for the Junior and Senior School Taster Programme is GBP 3,450 for 4 weeks, then GBP 1,025 for each additional 2 weeks.

The same items are included and excluded where relevant as listed above for the EU State Day School Programmes.

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.


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. 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.