BSA Academy

BSA Professional Pathway

The BSA Academy brings together professional development opportunities for practitioners working in boarding and is designed to provide a clear pathway to ensure the highest standards in the boarding sector. Academy training may be accessed in person, at a day seminar, conference or accredited training course. Entry-level training is available online via our webinar programme or courses run in conjunction with EduCare. Our work is delivered throughout the UK and worldwide and all training can be delivered in your school setting.

Your Personal Professional Journey

How will the BSA academy help me to develop personally and professionally?

  • Be able to evaluate and have a clear appreciation of the personal and professional needs and skills involved in a boarding role
  • Develop greater knowledge and understanding of the issues facing boarders and the boarding sector
  • Develop, through support and guidance, the range of personal strategies needed to resolve relevant welfare concerns for pupils
  • Develop the ability to reflect critically on work and evaluate the need for change or action
  • Develop study and planning skills and the ability to analyse reading and reference material
  • Be able to communicate and defend views and opinions orally and in writing
  • Develop a clear vision of the school’s management strategies for providing good pastoral care
  • Develop study and time management skills and an ability to analyse reading and a wide range of reference sources 
  • Develop, wherever possible, ICT expertise and the ability to access electronic information sources
  • Give boarding practitioners a development pathway to build professional competence and confidence
  • Professionalise your career in pastoral care.

Advice and Guidance

Advice and Guidance supporting our academy training programme, the BSA uses a network of professionals to deliver expert guidance on the issues that boarders, staff and parents face daily. this support can be accessed via telephone or email and aims to support boarding staff to confidently provide support to the whole boarding school community.  Guidance and briefing papers and publications on specialist subjects are accessible via the BSA members’ area of the website.

Centre for Boarding Education Research (CEBER)

Centre for Boarding Education Research (CEBER) the BSA and its Australian counterpart, the Australian Boarding schools’ association (ABSA), co-own the Centre for Boarding education research (CEBER), which brings together a wide range of research into boarding into one location. this research is then shared with other boarding professionals as part of our commitment to promoting and furthering best practice. 


Practitioner at Practitioner level, the BSA academy offers essential training in the skills required to work in a boarding environment. through a broad programme of sector specific courses boarding staff and the wider boarding community can gain vital insight and understanding of the skills necessary to work effectively and safely with boarders. 


the BSA runs several certificates and advanced certificate courses for staff working in the front line of boarding. most courses last two years and include independent work, four study days with a dedicated tutor (two intensive days for the international certificates) and culminate in a research assignment. Certificate courses are run at different locations across the UK on a two-year rolling cycle. with agreement of BSA, it is possible to take the modules in reverse order (Part 2 then Part 1), but the advanced Certificate will only be awarded when both modules have been completed.  successful candidates in the advanced Certificate will be entitled to apply for accredited Boarding Practitioner (ABP) status at level 2, subject to length of boarding service. the cost of the ABP is included in the course fee. 


Diploma at diploma level, the BSA academy concentrates on the leadership of boarding within a school. the BSA diploma in Boarding Practice (leadership) is aimed at experienced boarding staff in senior leadership positions. the majority of delegates will have completed BSA certificate courses, but it is not a pre-requisite. the diploma is built around three study days and involves a swot analysis of the boarding in the school, and which forms the foundation for a presentation and a research assignment investigating an aspect of the boarding provision. successful diploma level candidates will be entitled to apply for accredited Boarding Practitioner (ABP) status at level 3, subject to the length of boarding service. the cost of the ABP is included in the course fee. 


The BSA has partnered with the University of Buckingham to provide a ma in residential education. the course is aimed at experienced practitioners from the UK and overseas who wish to undertake a master’s degree. the course is built around an introductory study day at the University of Buckingham, followed by expert support from the University and the BSA.


BSA Academy offers a range of essential training for boarding staff, including online training, forums, roadshows, seminars and day and residential conferences.  Bespoke training is also available through inset and consultancy for individual schools.


Our introductory online training, in association with EduCare, serves as an initial introduction to those working in boarding. this training is designed to be an introduction to the knowledge and skills that are necessary to any role in a boarding community. there are two online programmes: ‘An Induction to Boarding’ and ‘An Induction to Boarding for International Schools’.  


The BSA programme of webinars provides a flexible solution to accessing our CPD programme. topics include, immigration, marketing boarding, safeguarding, mental health, guardianship and gambling addiction.

Day Seminars and Day Conferences

The BSA academy offers a comprehensive range of day seminars covering the latest training requirements for those working in boarding and those supporting boarders. Topics range from ‘Boarding Essentials’ and ‘Essentials for new School Nurses’, to ‘Leading a Boarding Team’ and ‘Preparing for Inspection’. in addition to the core boarding focused topics, the BSA academy offers a range of specialist seminars covering issues pertinent to the sector including; mental health, online safety, eating disorders and self-harm, safeguarding, gender, meeting the needs of international students; prep school issues and issues facing senior boarders. every year the BSA hosts a number of large one-day conferences to provide members with a deeper insight into specialist topics, notably safeguarding and tier 4.

Residential Conferences

Our range of annual residential conferences are aimed at individual boarding job roles and focus on a contemporary theme involving keynote speakers, breakout sessions, a formal dinner, exhibitors and time for networking.

•   Annual Conference for Deputy Heads and Heads of Boarding (January)

•   Annual Conference for marketing, Admissions, Guardians and International Conference (March)

•   Annual Conference for House Staff (April)

•   Annual Conference for Heads (May)

•   Annual State Boarding Conference (June)

•   Annual Conference for Nurses and Matrons (July)


The BSA Academy also delivers training to meet the specific needs of individual schools. these sessions are adaptations of BSA day seminars, delivered by BSA staff or the network of expert BSA Accredited Consultants, and can be an entirely bespoke programmes that cater specifically to the training needs of the school. run as full day, half day and twilight sessions, possible inset topics include:

•   Boarding essentials

•   Meeting the needs of boarders

•   Supporting international students

•   Developing a culture of wellbeing

•   Meeting the medical needs of boarders

•   Leading a Boarding team

•   Safeguarding

•   Preparing for inspection

•   Crisis management

•   Understanding the national minimum standards (NMS)

•   Creating a Boarding development Plan.


BSA consultancy work can be tailored to the specific needs of the school requesting consultancy work. This work ranges from delivering a review of a specific provision:

•   General boarding audit

•   Preparation for inspection

•   Safeguarding audit

•   Security review

•   Development planning

•   Marketing and admissions audit

•   In house refurbishment audit

•   Feasibility study

•   Medical Centre review

•   New Boarding house design

•   Staff recruitment

•   Policy writing

•   Staff training

•   Boarding development.


The BSA Academy is flexible enough to deliver up-to-date training around the country in conjunction with the regional BSA forums. The boarding landscape can change and, when new issues, guidance or legislation arise, the BSA can react to bring relevant training to boarding practitioners.


The BSA organises forums for all regions around the UK and internationally and in specialist areas of specific boarding practice (state boarding, safeguarding and professional development). each forum is chaired by a serving head from a member school and there is an open invitation to member schools to send senior boarding staff. the venue in each region changes from meeting to meeting and will be hosted in a BSA school. in addition to open discussion on boarding matters, there are training opportunities as required in the region.

Overseas Accreditation

The BSA overseas accreditation draws upon the highly respected and well-established benchmarks of the standards for boarding schools in the UK, but reflects the huge diversity of schools worldwide. The accreditation programme is designed primarily for schools which have their own distinctive character and are rooted in their own local communities but wish the added assurance of benchmarking against the BSA’s wider membership. Accreditation is available to any school outside the UK which meets the BSA criteria. The Accreditor(s) will need to be satisfied that the boarding provision is run efficiently and safely and with good outcomes for the boarders. schools which meet the accreditation criteria will be entitled to call themselves “BSA Accredited” and to use the BSA Accreditation logo on their branding.