Boarding schools offer huge support to the parents who have busy work schedules.
They focus on the holistic development of the children and transform kids into young independent individuals well-equipped to face the challenges of the world. In the past, only the affluent families used to send their children to boarding schools largely as a part of their family traditions but now the trend is fast catching up with the urban middle class.
Following are some of the top boarding schools in India along with a brief look into their key features.
The Doon School, Dehradun (Uttranchal)
It is a boys-only private boarding school. It has been ranked as one of the best residential schools of India. It was established in 1935. The educational curriculum is based on ICSE Board (Class 10) and ISC Board (Class 12). The student: teacher ratio stands at 10:1. The school occupies a single campus covering approximately 70 acres. It follows a flexible modular scheduling to educate the pupils. It practices strict discipline and has been known to expel wards of even well-known families in view of non-adherence to rules. The school houses roughly 500 pupils aged 13 to 18. Admission to the school is based on a competitive entrance examination and an interview. Every year in January and April, the school admits pupils aged 13 in Grade 7 (known as D-form) and aged 14 in Grade 8 (C-form) respectively. Social work is also part of school life. All boys of the school must complete a mandatory quota of social service hours every term.
It offers exchange programs with a number of overseas schools like Eton College, King’s Academy etc. Sports are compulsory at the school. Extracurricular activities are also a compulsory element of school life, and magazines are published in English and Hindi. There are around 23 clubs and societies, including politics, drama, photography, aeromodelling, first-aid, dramatics, painting, sculpture, carpentry, amateur radio, music, senior and junior English debating societies, Model United Nations, chess and astronomy. The total fee of Doon School is highest among the boarding schools of India. It is close to INR 10L for Indian Students and INR 16L for NRIs/Foreign Nationals.
Bishop Cotton School, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
Established in 1859, it is one of the oldest boarding schools in Asia. It is a boys’ school affiliated to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) and The Indian School Certificate examination (ISC) The school has its own curriculum for classes III to VIII. Classes IX to XII follow the CISCE syllabus. Bishop Cotton is a 150+ year-old school, quite steeped in tradition, where the discipline is hard and conditions spartan. BCS is the first school in the country to introduce Scuba Diving. It admits children to Class III, IV and V. Classes VI-IX are non-entry points. The admission is based on the entrance tests comprising of half hour written tests in English, Hindi, Mathematics and General Awareness. There is also a reading assessment and a verbal and non-verbal assessment to see if the child is prepared to cope with life in a residential school. This school offers facilities like library, laboratories, well ventilated classrooms & a play area. The total annual fees is INR 3,20,000 for Class III-X and INR 3,30,000 for Class XI-XII which includes registration, admission, infrastructure and tuition fees.
Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer (Rajasthan)
Founded in 1987, the school provides education for girls from Class IV to XII. It is a purely residential school with English as the medium of instruction. It is affiliated to the ICSE Board (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12). It has a student: teacher ratio of 9:1. Their examinations have international equivalence. It comprises of classes 4 to 12. The admission up to Class 9 is based on the entrance test held in the 3rd week of November every year at various centers in India. The test comprises of English, Hindi and Mathematics to test the age specified skills. For entrance to class 11, admission is considered on the basis of the Board’s result of class 10. Admission is subject to merit and vacancy, and rarely does a student with less than 85% get admitted. Those who qualify are asked to appear for an interview in the months of February and March. It offers Science, Commerce & Humanities subjects in Class XI & XII. The activities provided include dances (folk, Odissi, Kathak and Bharatnatyam), art, craft, Indian classical vocal music, Indian classical instruments (sitar, tabla, harmonium, violin), Western vocal and instrumental (piano, guitar, violin, drums, Congo), pottery, creative writing, dramatics, Nature Club, computer related activities, quizzing and debating. The Dramatics Club is called The Sophocles Club, there is also a student-run newsletter called ‘Mayonnaise’. On Saturdays, a group of students go to an adopted village “Danta”. An organization, Hateli was created to help the women in the area learn skills and sell their handicrafts. The total fees is close to INR 3.5L for Indian Students and INR 6.5L for NRIs/Foreign Nationals.
Rishi Valley School, Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh)
It is located in a remote valley in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh (135km north-east of Bangalore). It was established in 1926 by the philosopher J. Krishnamurti. The curriculum is affiliated to ICSE board (Class 10) and ISC board (Class 12). It has a student: teacher ratio of 6:1. The campus, spread over an area of 350 acres, possess world class infrastructure including, excellent library, well-equipped science, computer centre with internet facilities and an audio-visual room, provisions for all major sports, art & craft department and special interest clubs like mathematics, electronics, current affairs, dramatics etc. It has 360 boarding school students studying in classes 4 to 12. Admission process is based on a written test followed by personal interview, conducted from late February to early April. Minimum age of children seeking admission should be 7 years. Its fee structure is as below;
Admission Fee (non-refundable) of INR 3700
School Fee of INR 2, 50,000 for Indian Students & US$ 7,500 for Foreign Students
Additional Fee for Class XI and XII students INR 20,000
Caution Deposit, to be paid once at the time of admission – equivalent to annual fees
Term Deposit, for miscellaneous expenses of INR 12,000
Welham Girls School, Dehradun (Uttranchal)
Established in 1957, it is affiliated to the ICSE Board (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) with English as the instruction medium. The School has classes from V to XII. The academic year begins in early April. For the Class XII ISC examination, the school offers all three streams – Science, Humanities and Commerce. Additional subjects available from class XI, apart from those already offered up to class X, include Psychology, Economics, Commerce, Accountancy, Computer Science and Elective Literature. The School is divided into five Houses, which compete on the games and sports field and in a wide variety of other disciplines such as dance, music, debating, quizzing, dramatics, etc. Admissions are offered only in classes V, VI, VII and XI, subject to the availability of seats. The entry-level for admission is into Class V to VII with minimum age of 9+ years. The admission into Class V to VII is based on Aptitude/Proficiency Assessment held in early November of the year preceding that in which admission is sought. In Class XI the admission is on the basis of Board Examination results and an Aptitude / Proficiency Assessment and subsequent qualification on the Merit List. Places are offered in all three streams: Arts, Commerce, and Science. The student is also required to pass a medical fitness test. The total fee is around INR 4.5L per annum comprising of tuition fees, scholarship fund, admission fees, imprest and uniform deposit & a refundable caution deposit of INR 1, 22,500.
Lawrence School, Sanawar (Himachal Pradesh)
It is a co-educational boarding school near Chandigarh, located in the Kasauli Hills. Founded in 1847 and is affiliated with India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). It makes use of Tutorial system where each child is a part of a ‘Tutorial group’. These groups are looked after by the teachers. Class V & VI have three sections each. From class VII onwards each class has four sections. Each section consists of 25 to 28 children. The School offers Humanities, Commerce, Medical & Non-Medical subjects in XI & XII. Children at Sanawar select a number of ‘hobby’ activities, which they pursue at different times of the year like, weaving, ceramics, fashion designing, Indian classical music & dance, photography, art, carpentry, sculpture, computers and paper recycling. It is a member of the Round Square International Service. This gives opportunity to Class XI students to take part in a student exchange programme with other member schools throughout the world. Dramatics, Debating, Elocution and Quiz contests are a regular feature. Admission to the School is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 9 to 16. Applications are usually accepted for children seeking entry into Classes V and VII for which the child has to be registered. The admission is based on an Entrance test/Interviews conducted in February. Admission to the school takes place in February. The annual fees for Indian Students is INR 3.5L, for children of Defense Personnel INR 1.5L and for NRIs/Foreign nationals US$ 16,530
Assam Valley School, Balipara
It was established in 1995 by The Williamson Magor Education Trust to provide the opportunity of a high quality education to parents throughout India and the region as well as for the children of those living and working in Assam. It is a purely residential school. Set amidst the extensive playing fields, the well-designed campus is spread on 250 acres and accommodates modern state-of-art infrastructure. It is a co-educational school with separate boarding houses for boys and girls. Every hostel is capable of housing 90 to 100 students in a variety of units ranging from 12 person dormitories, for junior students to 4 person bed suits in the senior years. A good number of Class 12 students have a room to themselves. The school has a highly qualified and committed staff. The overall student: teacher ratio is kept low (maximum 12:1) to ensure close monitoring of the progress of each student. The school is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi and prepares students for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examinations. Students can opt for Science, Commerce, Humanities or Arts streams. Boys and girls are admitted to Classes 4 – 9 on the basis of a written test – in English, Mathematics, General Awareness and 2nd language (Hindi, Bengali/Assamese) – usually held in November. Those who qualify in the written tests are called for interview held in December. Admissions are made in the month of April. Students are encouraged to play various games and sports like cricket, hockey, football, archery, athletics etc. Adventure activities such as mountaineering, trekking, camping and rafting are also popular among the students. The Music School trains students in playing the tabla, piano, sitar, and guitar. The school boasts an enterprising Craft, Design and Technology Department with an emphasis on textile technology. There are many hobbies and craft that are available for students to follow including, carpentry, photography and electronics. Community service activities are encouraged and these include adult literacy and membership of The Junior Red Cross as well as a host of conservation tasks both on and off campus. Fees’ including tuition, board and lodging is approximately Rs. 1.5 lakh per year.
Chinmaya International Residential School, Coimbatore
Founded in 1996, it is run by the Chinmaya Mission. It is located 30 kilometers west of Coimbatore in a place called Siruvani, India in the foot hills of Western Ghats. A state-of-art campus sprawling over an area of approximately 100 acres. It follows CBSE curricula from grades 5 to 12 and IB for grades 11 to 12. It is a fully vegetarian school. Emphasis is laid mainly on the Hindu culture and spirituality. The admission is based on entrance exam to test – English and Mathematics for grades 5 & 6, English, Mathematics, Science for grades 7 & 9; Medical, Non Medical and Management subjects for the respective IB & CBSE entrance exams for grades 10 to 12 and English, Mathematics, Science and General Awareness for IB Diploma. Sports and games form an important part of the student’s life. As part of the overall personality development programme, students are encouraged to participate in various hobbies and activities, such as Arts, Dance, Dramatics, Film & Photography, Heritage, English Literary & Journalism, Music – instruments and vocal, Science Club and Yoga & Pranayama. There are various social service programs available that students associate with as per their interests. The admission fees is approximately INR 5.5L for Indian Students and INR 6.5L (approx.) for NRIs/Foreign Nationals.
The Scindia School, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)
Established in 1897, it is a boarding school for boys. It is situated in the historic Gwalior Fort, in the city of Gwalior. It was originally started exclusively for nobles and princes of Royal families, particularly the Marathas, though it no longer discriminates on class. The total strength of students is approximately 630, with a student: teacher of 12:1. The school is particularly noted for its advanced IT facilities. The school computer centre has a network of Dell servers and 300 Pentium-based machines which run on a broadband fiber optic backbone. The centre has a wide variety of equipment, including Sony digital motion cameras, projection systems, zip drives and a DVD/CD writers — as well as an extensive suite of media editing software. A large number of educational multimedia CDs are available. The school has classes from grade 6th to 12th. It has a well-stocked library which remains open seven days a week, 14 hours a day. A health centre takes care of student medical needs. The students run a large number of societies to cater to interest in history, geography, mathematics, literature, science and ICT. There is a School Council, which is composed of elected students and teachers – this gives students a large degree of self-government. Students are also encouraged to pursue hobbies like music, photography, painting, clay modeling, stone carving, wood work etc. Students participate in educational camps, nature camps, adventure activities such as outdoor survival, mountaineering expeditions, white water rafting, skiing and cycling. A large multi-purpose gym also serves the students in their indoor sporting pursuits. The admission is based on a common aptitude test conducted in November and the Scindia School Aptitude Test, which takes place in February. Shortlisted candidates are then interviewed. The new admissions join the School in July. New admissions are taken in Classes VI, VII, VII and IX. The total annual fees come to around INR 4.5L
Birla Public School, Pilani (Rajasthan)
Founded by Sh. G.D Birla in 1944, it is a heritage premier institution of India. It has close to 1000 students studying in classes III to XII. The well-designed campus houses high-tech science laboratories, computer lab, audio-visual room, access to effective Wi-Fi system & a large auditorium with German technology and a seating capacity of 600. The school is granted autonomy by C.B.S.E to design its own curriculum, examinations and evaluation process for Class X in Science and Mathematics. The school for the last two years is providing special Coaching on payment to Senior Students for PET, PMT & IIT & also for admission to BITS, Pilani. Only meritorious students selected by school Academic Council can join this coaching. It also offers very wide range of extra-curricular activities in different fields like sports, debates, music & dance, dramatics etc. The admission for Class III is based on activity/interaction or interview with parents while admission for Class IV to IX is based on a written test (Hindi, English, Mathematics and IQ) and interview. Class XI admission is granted on the basis of Grade/marks obtained in Class X Board’s Examination. The total fees stands at INR 2, 25,000 (for Class III-V); INR 2,58,800 (for Class VI-VIII); INR 2,68,000 (for Class IX & X) & INR 2,92,000 (for Class XI-XII) which includes payment towards admission, computer, personal account, uniform, tours & treks etc.