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. 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
  • 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.


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.


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.

  • Part 1: BSA Certificate in Boarding Practice – (Pastoral Care)

and one of these:

  • Part 2: BSA Advanced Certificate in Boarding Practice (Boarding Management)
  • Part 2: BSA Advanced Certificate in Boarding Practice (School Nurses)
  • Part 2: BSA Advanced Certificate in Boarding Practice (Pupil Support and Welfare)
  • Part 2: BSA Advanced Certificate in Boarding Practice (International Students)


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 an 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.


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.


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.