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Boarding School

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"Don't believe everything you hear about our boarding schools (Beat) Don't dis-believe everything you hear either."

The misadventures of students at boarding schools were once a staple of children's literature, starting in the Victorian era, but they fell out of fashion in The '60s. Starting in the late 1990s, however, the Harry Potter series, a Heroic Fantasy taking place in a wizarding boarding school, revived many of its tropes (although significantly breaking from the tradition by making the school mixed instead of single-sex; and also free to attend). note 

While elite boarding schools such as Eton and Harrow get a lot of attention in Real Life, mostly, the boarding schools depicted in stories were for the aspiring middle classes, so did not have particularly elaborate facilities. The biggest educational difference from other schools was the syllabus, which led to a few jokes about Latin classes, but the classrooms and facilities were typically much like any other because that wasn't where the story was.

The story was in the fact that they were boarding schools; the children lived on the premises, sharing dorm rooms and eating all their meals together. The Boarding School genre revolves around the impact of this — children, separated from their parents, growing up together and without much supervision in their off-hours. All the advantages of having a story about orphans sans the tragedy of dead parents.

The cliché plot in the genre is having the protagonists decide to break school rules so that they can "do the right thing" or help someone. When they are caught, the wise Headmaster or Headmistress punishes them, but in a measured way which takes into account their honorable motives, the Reasonable Authority Figure trope.

Quite often, the school buildings would be old and in fairly bad shape — leaking roofs, faulty heating, and clanking pipes - leading to stories where the children attempted to raise enough money to save their school. If the boarding school is in an old castle or manor house, the kids may explore and find hidden Bookcase Passages, Secret Underground Passages, and Secret Rooms, in which they may find antiques and mysterious items. If it's a fantasy story, they may find magical items or portals.

While this article focuses on UK boarding schools, stories with boarding schools are also set elsewhere in Europe, in North America, and in Japan, among other locations.

Common elements in the Boarding School genre include the following:

Hell, with all these pranks and sneaking around, it's amazing they ever get any schoolwork done!

The Good Old British Comp is the other UK school trope. Overlaps with Elaborate University High, if the boarding school has many buildings and extensive facilities. Contrast with Off to Boarding School, which generally portrays the experience as negative, along with the Boarding School of Horrors, which is even worse.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler: The Weston College from the public school arc is quite a fancy example of this. Complete with pranks and hazing, school houses, school sports, a spoilt student who went too far, Ciel posing as a perfect and kind student, fagging, and one minor antagonist abusing the Situational Sexuality.
  • Blue Exorcist: True Cross Academy is one. In addition to being a magic school where some of the students secretly learn to fight demons.
  • Candy♡Candy: Saint Paul's Private School, which is a mixed-gender academy with separate dormitories for boys and girls. There Candy meets up with her Second Love Terry (whom she actually met during her journey to England), befriends Patty, is bullied by Eliza and her Girl Posse, finds Annie and Albert again, etc.; all of this has a HUGE influence in her Character Development.
  • Code Geass: Ashford Academy is a fancy school for Britannian kids, and both Lelouch and Nunnally reside in its fancy dorms (with C.C hanging out in Lelouch's room). Kallen instead lives at her paternal family's Big Fancy House and at the end of R2, in a small apartment that she shares with her mother.
  • Detective School Q: One of the cases happens in a boarding school. Megu and Ryu are asked to pose as New Transfer Students to find out the truth about a missing School Idol, and have to deal with the overbearing Student Council President and the well-intentioned but very nosy members of the Broadcasting Club. The Student Council President is messily murdered. And things go From Bad to Worse from then on.
  • Devils and Realist: the protagonist, Wiliam Twining, goes to an all-male boarding school in Victorian London which has a church on campus. Angels and demons regularly pose as students and faculty/staff.
  • Eyeshield 21: Shinryuuji is revealed to be a boarding school.
  • Haunted Junction: Haruto and Kazumi are tasked with infiltrating an all-boys boarding school where the boys are attacked by the sexy female ghost who haunts the bathrooms. She is the Blue Spot Girl, Red Mantle's long-lost and antagonistic younger sister.
  • Here is Greenwood: Set in the "boarding dorm" of a prestigious high school. Most of the students live at home, but none of those are in the central cast. Two of the central cast could live at home but choose not to.
  • Jewelpet:
    • Jewelpet Sunshine: Sunshine Academy. It's a co-ed high school with separate dormitories for boys and girls.
    • Jewelpet Happiness: Jewel Academy. It's a very large and fancy Elevator School with dorms for the students to commute to. It's also co-ed.
    • Lady Jewelpet: the Jewel Palace and the Royal Palace are functionally schools so large that their students are expected to live there (they ARE palaces), and they're dedicated to teaching girls to be ladies and boys to be gentlemen. Though they're co-ed, girls and boys are usually separated since they learn very different things, coming together for exams that require them both (not that they don't hang out in their free time).
  • Downplayed in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Shuchi'in Academy has both boys' and girls' dorms, though most of the cast (including all the main characters) live off-campus with their families. Only two characters (Kazeno and Makkii-senhai) are actually confirmed to live in the dorms.
  • Little Witch Academia takes place in Luna Nova Magical Academy. A very large all-girls Magic School.
  • Flora Girls' Academy for Witches in Lapis Re:LiGHTs is this, alongside a Wizarding School and an Elaborate University High. It needs to be this, considering it hosts a number of international students from all over the world.
  • Fuuka Academy in My-HiME and Garderobe Academy in My-Otome.
  • Mahora Academy in Negima! (a big one, too).
  • The setting for the anime adaptation of the St Clare's series, Mischievous Twins: The Tales of St. Clare's, was adapted into German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Arabic, but never into English.
  • Otoboku - Maidens Are Falling For Me: The main characters attend an all-girls boarding school. In fact, Mizuho's dead grandfather states in his will that if Mizuho wants to properly become his heir, he must disguise himself as a girl and attend said school without being discovered. Said boarding school also was the alma mater of Mizuho's Missing Mom... and her dead roommate who had a massive crush on her returns as a ghost....
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: The Suimei University of the Arts High School, and one that is not elaborate at all. The story happens in Sakura Hall, a dormitory for troubled students kicked out of the school's normal dorms.
  • The Prince of Tennis: St. Rudolph is not just a Catholic school but also one of these. This is a huge plot point in the Saint Rudolph's arc since Fuji's younger brother Yuuta, in his quest for his own identity, chose SR as his school because among other things, it had a dorm and thus he could move out of home. He stays there even after his Character Development in said arc.
  • The school attended by the main characters of Princess Princess is similar to the above example in this regard. There's also the option of living in the dorms during summer vacation albeit the number of students who choose to do so aren't enough to justify keeping the air-conditioner on.
  • Princess Tutu: Kinkan Academy (translated as "Gold Crown Academy" for the dub).
  • Private Actress: Ryoukou Academy is this and an incredibly prestigious Elaborate University High, never mind the very odd demises of least five students and one teacher. And then Shiho is hired to infiltrate it and investigate the latest death, involving a girl who was literally bullied to death...
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: The deceptively gorgeous Ohtori Academy. No wonder there's so much Scenery Porn.
  • Silver Spoon mixes things up a little and makes it a rural agricultural school.
  • Sweet Blue Flowers: None of the main characters live in the dorms, but the fancier school is boarding-optional.
  • The yuri manga Tokimeki ★ Mononoke Jogakkou takes place in one of these.
  • Vampire Knight: Cross Academy.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Duel Academia.
  • Two mangas by Keiko Takemiya (Kaze to Ki no Uta and Natsu e no Tobira) and one by Moto Hagio (The Heart of Thomas) take place in boarding schools which were inspired by the French film Les amities particulieres.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men: The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, which is a separate place from, and should not be confused with Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. That's right, the X-men had TWO boarding schools (before they moved to San Francisco).
  • The St Trinian's school for girls, as shown in Ronald Searle's wonderful comics.
  • Morning Glories: Morning Glory Academy.
  • The Winker Watson strip in The Dandy was set in a boarding school named Grey Towers.
  • "The Four Marys" from Bunty was set in the fictional St. Elmo's boarding school.
  • Batman:
    • When Tim first tracks down Dick and asks him to come back to Gotham to partner with Bruce again, he's in a boarding school for middle school and says he's gone to boarding school all his life. He'd evidently gotten really good at sneaking out. He manages to talk his mom into letting him go to public high school.
    • Robin (1993): Tim's father loses patience with his supposedly bad record (despite his getting excellent grades) and after realizing Tim didn't try out for football he yanks him out of public school to send him back to boarding school, at Brentwood Academy, in the middle of his freshman year of high school. Tim adjusts to the school but compares it to a prison and is almost happy when his dad makes a financial blunder that bankrupts him and causes him to stop paying Tim's tuition.
    • Gotham Academy takes place at the titular school, where most students live on campus and some special cases live there even during summer break because they have no other housing and the school is their guardian due to their parents being incarcerated or deceased.
  • All-Ghouls School is set in a girls boarding school that is also an All-Ghouls School.

    Fan Works 
  • For a while it was generally assumed by the Glee fandom that Dalton Academy was a boarding school, for a few different reasons: because Dalton fit the image of a boarding school, because it's far enough between Lima (where Kurt lives) and Westerville (where Dalton is) that a daily commute seemed improbable, and because the idea of an all-boys' boarding school existing within canon greatly appealed to many fans. It was Jossed eventually when Kurt mentioned in passing that he still lived at home, but many fanfic writers still hold onto the idea, either by explaining away or outright ignoring Kurt's comment, or by having Dalton be a boarding school that also has day students.
  • In the Discworld continuum, author A.A. Pessimal has taken Terry Pratchett's concept of the boarding school - Pratchett famously said he took a typical British boarding school and turned all the knobs up - especially the one labelled "violence" - and elaborated on it still further, adding more detail and new ideas, especially about the new tensions caused by the A.G. school going co-educational. Pessimal has written a few stories revolving round events at this singular school. A typical one might be Fresh Pair of Eyes, or The Graduation Class, or Murder Most 'Orrible.
  • Alongside the aforementioned case of the Saint Rudolph School, a pretty persistent fanon in The Prince of Tennis dictates that Hyotei Gakuen might be a boarding school for rich kids, based on how one of their top players is from outside Tokyo (more exactly, from the Kansai area). It has neither been confirmed nor Jossed in canon.
  • Child of the Storm has a slightly meta example in that the author periodically makes reference to attending/having attended a British Boarding School, with the odd, slightly dark comment about what it's like, and the occasional confirmation that Hogwarts is very true to life... except that in real life, there is much more sex and violence. Particularly violence. Doesn't, however, often come across since most of the action is set outside of Hogwarts.
  • Skyhold Academy is a boarding school, with the series being a modern High School AU type of setting for Dragon Age. It subverts a lot of the tropes, however, not least because of its true mission, and the plots focus much more on the Teachers Out of School than on the students.
  • The Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfiction Outcast, being a Highschool AU, takes place at the exclusive St. Hetalia Academy for Boys. The St. Hetalia campus is dominated by a towering lakefront castle/ mansion with dorms, classrooms, school library, and even a subterranean hot spring and spa all located in the same building. A sister school, the St. Hetalia Girl's Conservatoire, is also mentioned.

    Films — Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School is about Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy getting jobs as gym teachers at an all-girls boarding school for female monsters—they signed a contract to stay on at least for at least one school year, though Shaggy and Scooby initially tried backing out after discovering the true nature (as they had initially assumed that it was a school for female humans).
  • The Wild Thornberrys Movie has Nigel's mother convince him and his wife, Marianne, to send their youngest daughter, Eliza, to an all-girls boarding school in London, England to be more "civilized" and have a calmer lifestyle. Darwin manages to sneak along with her by hiding in her luggage.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Au revoir les enfants happens in a French boarding school during WWII.
  • Almost Angels takes place (and was filmed) in the Real Life Palais Augarten, a former Imperial palace used by the Vienna Boys Choir as a boarding school.
  • Cry_Wolf is set in one of these, but does not really use its tropes.
  • Class, starring Rob Lowe & Andrew McCarthy, in which McCarthy's character is a working-class type straining upwards and Lowe's character is a super-rich blue blood...and McCarthy has sex with Lowe's mom.
  • Cracks is set in a British boarding school for girls.
  • Dead Poets Society takes place at an American boarding school for boys in Vermont during the autumn of 1959.
  • Auradon Prep from Descendants.
  • The Emperor's Club is about an American private school. This one's from the point of view of a teacher, the school is a good place, and it's all thoroughly in the tradition of molding boys into men, etc. There's still some of the "overbearing rich parent damages adolescent son" plot, but that's treated as more of a sad fact of life than an indictment of the whole system.
  • The heroine of Fire with Fire (1986) attends an all-girls Catholic boarding school.
  • John Dugian's Flirting is set in an Australian one of these, or rather a pair of them (one for each gender) set across a lake from each other.
  • In Fresh Meat, Hemi believes that he needs to drink the blood of his virgin daughter in order to gain immortality. This is why he sent her to an all-girls boarding school. Too bad he hadn't factored on lesbians.
  • In The Hairy Bird, a.k.a All I Wanna Do or Strike!, the teenage protagonists attend an all-girls boarding school set in Connecticut during the 1960s.
  • Handsome Devil: A teenage boy moves to an Irish boarding school and is put in a dorm with someone completely different. While Ned is into the alternative music scene and playing guitar, Connor is passionate about soccer. They bond over their interest in the guitar, but people start to suspect Ned is gay and bully him for it.
  • Much of Harry Potter takes place at Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards.
  • The cult British film if.... (1968) deconstructs this viciously. Most famous for launching Malcolm McDowell's career.
  • Loving Annabelle: Annabelle is sent to a Catholic boarding school by her mother, as she's been expelled from her past two schools. We're told that if she's expelled from this as well, she'll go to military school. It doesn't work, and she will likely be sent there in the wake of the film's events.
  • Mommie Dearest, Like in daughter Christina Crawford's autobio, first sent to Chadwick, then Flintridge Sacred Heart under total isolation from the outside world.
  • Private School, starring Phoebe Cates and Matthew Modine.
  • The St. Trinian's series. This series is most notable for popularising the "sexy female school uniform" trope.
  • Scent of a Woman is about a poor boy who has a scholarship at an expensive American boarding school that prides itself on producing good future Officers for the Army, as he takes an extra-curricular job looking after a blind ex-officer who teaches him to stop being so driven and to enjoy the finer, simpler things in life (i.e. the scent of a woman).
    • His school only becomes a main part of the film towards the climax.
  • In The Sound of Music the Baroness jokes about sending the children off to boarding school when Max laughs at the idea of her being a mother to seven children. At least we think she was joking...
  • School Ties is set at an American boarding school in Massachusetts during the 1950s.
  • Taps is set at Bunker Hill Academy, a military school whose cadets stay in barracks on campus.
  • Toy Soldiers takes place in a boarding school full of kids who've been kicked out of other boarding schools. A ragtag group of misfits, if you will. And then the terrorists come...
  • Upside-Down Magic has the Sage Academy for Magical Studies.
  • Wild Child has this boarding school in England.
  • The Young Sherlock Holmes movie.
  • In Mandy (1952), the residential Bishop David School for the Deaf is supposed to be one, but Mandy adjusts so badly to campus life that the headmaster makes an exception for her and lets her live in an apartment with her mother.
  • The Getting of Wisdom is set in an all-girls' school located near Melbourne in the 1890s.


  • Tom Brown's Schooldays, by Thomas Hughes, is the genre-founder, published in 1858. It is set at the real Rugby School, which Hughes attended.
  • The other Trope Maker is Eric, or Little by Little, by Frederic W Farrar, also first published in 1858. Farrar was a master at Marlborough College, although the novel is set at the fictional Roslyn School. Its reputation compared to Hughes' novel has suffered from its extremely melodramatic tone, overt religious fervour, and Downer Ending.
  • The Trope Codifier of the British boys' boarding school story, however, is the Greyfriars stories by Frank Richards (real name Charles Hamilton), known for their Breakout Character, Billy Bunter.
  • The Trope Codifier for the girls' boarding school story is the work (over fifty novels) of Angela Brazil. They were the original source of most of the tropes that came to be regarded as boarding school cliches in later years and suffered badly from Once Original, Now Common as a result.
  • Madeline takes place in a French one. (It's an orphanage in some of the adaptations, but in the original books it's a boarding school; in one of the books we see Madeline's parents.)
  • C. S. Lewis' first autobiography goes into great detail about his rather traumatic experiences at two different boarding schools in his childhood.
    • Roald Dahl's autobiographical 'Boy' isn't full of happy moments either.
    • Neither is George Orwell's essay 'Such, Such Were The Days'. Though contemporaries recalled Orwell as being quite happy in school, and something of a teacher's pet. Literary standards at the time demanded a miserable boarding school background, so...
  • The Great Brain at the Academy by John Dennis Fitzgerald. It's mentioned in every book that anyone wanting more than a sixth grade education has to go boarding school in Provo or Salt Lake City until some parents get together and build a seventh and eighth grade "academy".
  • The YA series Pen Pals by Sharon Denis Wyeth features students at a girls' boarding school in New Hampshire who seek pen pals from the local boys' boarding school.
  • Is That You Miss Blue by M.E. Kerr.
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.
  • Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling, and assorted little sequels including "A Deal in Cotton" (in Actions and Reactions) and "The Honours of War" (in A Diversity of Creatures). Only both the school and protagonist are... rather unusual. At one point the protagonists are reading Eric, or Little By Little and mocking it roundly.
  • Most of the first decade's worth of P. G. Wodehouse's books, including Mike, which introduces the character Psmith. He had a couple different ones, of which at least St. Austin's and Wrykyn are the setting of more than one story. Neither is horrible, but do have a strong focus on sports (cricket and football, of the rugby flavour, being the main ones) and house-pride. Even when the school itself is out of focus, friendships maintained from it can still be relevant to the plot — for example, Ukridge (who was expelled from Wrykin) spends most of his time sponging off old school friends.
  • Jennings is the Trope Codifier for the comedy boarding school subgenre, concentrating on pranking and Zany Schemes.
  • Enid Blyton's had three series centred around this, all of them pretty similar \ - St Clare's, Malory Towers and The Naughtiest Girl in the School (although the Naughtiest Girl novels were unusually not set in a One-Gender School). Most of her other series' protagonists - e.g. those of The Famous Five books - are mentioned as attending these as well.
  • Harry Potter is set in one of these. J. K. Rowling's great achievement is not so much the fantasy fiction element of the Potter novels, but that she reinvented and breathed new life into what was by the start of the 21st Century a moribund clichéd genre - the boarding school novel. Rowling confirmed in July 2015 in answer to a fan dispute that Hogwarts is not a fee-charging school, however; all tuition is paid for by the Ministry of Magic.
  • Discworld:- The other British author who has re-written the boarding school novel is Sir Terry Pratchett. In Pyramids, he introduces the Assassins' Guild School as a parody of the boarding school novel - Pratchett has said that to visualise the School for Assassins, he took a typical British boarding school and turned all the knobs up - especially the one labelled "violence". Elsewhere in the Discworld there are other examples, including the Quirm College for Young Ladies, Hugglestones, the Fools' Guild school, and the Assassins' Guild School. In particular, the opening section of the novel Soul Music covers most of the stereotypes of the genre at the Quirm College for Young Ladies. Don't go to the Fools' Guild school, by the way. It's a crying shame.
  • Brazilian realism novel The Athenaeum by Raul Pompéia. On the very first page of the book Sérgio narrates his arrival at the boarding school: "Thou shalt meet the world, told me my father, at the doorsteps of the Ateneu. Have courage for the fight! I later experienced the truth of that warning, which undressed me, in one gesture, of the illusions of a child educated exotically in the greenhouse of tenderness which is the regime of domestic love, different from what is found outside, so different, that it makes the poem of the maternal love seem to be a sentimental artifice, with the only advantage of making the creature more sensitive to the rude impression of the first teaching, burning search for vitality under the influence of a harsh new weather."
  • The beginning of Jane Eyre, though this predates the genre proper. Subverted in that Lowood is not a comfortable or even reasonably accommodating place for middle-class students, but a charity institution for orphan girls; it is a textbook Boarding School of Horrors and the girls there are horribly mistreated by orders of the Holier Than Thou owner, despite the opposition of a more reasonable governess. Until an epidemic exacerbated by the insufficient food and heating breaks out and several students die. It's based on the real Clergy Daughters School and its typhus scandal, so closely that when the book came out everybody knew who she was talking about. She lost her two older sisters there.
  • The Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer.
  • The Dimsie books and the Springdale books by Dorita Fairlie Bruce.
  • Garnet goes off to a boarding school towards the end of Jacqueline Wilson's Double Act; when she writes home, she says it's nothing like what Enid Blyton portrayed.
  • The majority of My Sister Jodie takes place in a boarding school called Melchester College, after sisters Jodie and Pearl's parents take jobs there, though it is also a day school. Interestingly enough, one of Pearl's classmates mentions being friends with a girl called Garnet at her old school but whether it's the same Garnet in Double Act isn't specified.
  • The Agatha Christie novel Cat Among the Pigeons.
  • Les Disparus de Saint-Agil
  • Aglionby Academy in The Raven Cycle. None of the main characters actually live on campus, but they do still attend classes and have plenty of the boarding school tropes.
  • The Bruno And Boots book series by Gordon Korman, set at Macdonald Hall, which is near the fictional town of Chutney, Ontario, a relatively short distance from Toronto. Also featured in the series is Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies.
  • The story of Rachel Klein's novel The Moth Diaries unfolds in a boarding school.
  • The Catcher in the Rye begins at a boarding Holden is expelled. The rest of the novel is him bumming around New York for a few days before Christmas break, at which point he'll have to go home and tell his parents.
  • The Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand features the titular now-retired commissar as a teacher at a Schola Progenium, a sort of state-run boarding school for orphans specifically devoted to educating future members of the Ecclesiarchy and the Commissariat. This being the Warhammer 40,000 universe and Cain being a Hero of the Imperium, not much time is devoted to actually developing much beyond Cain's class and work associates before the action starts. However, from the innumerable references to Cain's own experiences in a similar body, it's clear that the Scholae Progenia are essentially British boarding schools IN SPACE!!
  • Coates Academy in the Gone series is a boarding school specifically for "difficult" kids.
  • Mordantly documented by Nigel Molesworth (with Ronald Searle doing the illustrations) in Down with Skool! and its sequels.
  • Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women in I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You.
  • Alabaster Prep in The Disreputable History Of Frankie Landau Banks.
  • A Separate Peace is a rare American example.
  • Miss Minchin's boarding school in A Little Princess.
  • Easton Academy in Private, as well as Atherton-Pryce in the Spin-Off Privilege.
  • Ariadnio in Greek Ninja is a school in Greece, with students coming from all over Europe to study.
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's short story William Wilson, the narrator attended one of these in his youth.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels have elements of this, particularly those set at the Collegia in Haven.
  • Bethel Woods Orphanage from Hours (2012) is actually more of a boarding school for gifted geniuses. Who also happen to be orphans.
  • Paul Murray's Skippy Dies (set in Dublin).
  • Evelyn Waugh's first novel, Decline And Fall, is largely set at one of these, though it concerns one of the tutors rather than the students themselves.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Between Planets begins with Don Harvey attending one for several years on Earth while his parents are busy with archaeological digs on Mars. Aside from academics, it is also a dude ranch with each boy being assigned a horse to care for.
  • The House of Night.
  • The children of Ender's Game attend a futuristic one.
  • The Liar (novel), which has Situational Sexuality all through it — unsurprisingly.
  • In The Migax Cycle, Aksel is a boarding school that the main characters attend.
  • Ursula Nordstrom's classic The Secret Language is set at Coburn Home School, which has both boys and girls; mostly middle-class children of single parents who have to work a lot. The education, food, and accommodations are all right but newcomer Victoria North, aged eight, is severely homesick and a bossy, military-style housemother doesn't help (she's replaced by a gentler one, so there's that one). Deadpan Snarker and math whiz Martha Sherman connects with Victoria and teaches her the three words of a "secret language", a kind of doubletalk made up by a close friend. They both learn from each other and face life in their own styles. Interestingly, the girls lampshade the "midnight feast," inadvertently proving it's impossible because everyone falls asleep first.
  • The first half of A College of Magics covers the protagonist's time at Greenlaw College, the boarding school of the title, and hits many of the tropes for the girl's boarding school subgenre.
  • In The Island of Sheep, Haraldsen enrolls his daughter in an English boarding school under an assumed name to keep her out of the sights of the criminals who are pursuing him. When Lombard goes to retrieve her, one step ahead of the villains, the school is like something out of an Angela Brazil book, and so is she. She becomes less like a school-story character the more time she spends away from the school.
  • Book five of A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Austere Academy, is set in Prufrock Prep, an abominable boarding school. Although instead of the usual boarding school tropes there's trademark Snicket weirdness, like a teacher who only teaches how to measure things, a Giftedly Bad violinist vice-principal who makes students attend his recitals, a new PE instructor who's really Count Olaf...
  • The Tower of The Girl Who Drank the Moon trains the Sisters of the Star with both combat practice and classic scientific education, but all students are expected to leave their families and live at the Tower for the duration of their service.
  • In Impractical Magic The banner of the website says, "Welcome to Istima, the Six Court Academy, where reality is a suggestion, magic is king, and knowledge is currency. Study, survive, and hold your secrets close."
  • Lovelace ½ takes place at Brooks-Carillon Academy, a fictional New England boarding school; the protagonist, Andi Gannett-Moore, has been going to boarding schools since first grade.
  • Vanessa from My Dark Vanessa is sexually abused by her English teacher while attending a boarding school in Maine.
  • Olivia (1949) is about a teenage girl who is sent to finishing school and falls for her female teacher.
  • The three main characters of The Poison Apples meet at a fancy private boarding school in Massachusetts, complete with one of them being a Scholarship Student. For bonus points, they are there (voluntarily or involuntarily) because of their Wicked Stepmothers.
  • In Navigating Early, Jack is sent from Kansas to a boys' academy in Maine because his mother died and his father is fighting in World War II. He befriends Early, an orphan who attends school there for free because his father was on the board of trustees.
  • Strawberry Panic!: Astrea Hill's three schools, in which the series is entirely set in, are all prestigious girls-only boarding schools. Makes it easy to isolate all the yuri melodrama from the outside world.
  • This Is Not a Werewolf Story is set at One of Our Kind Boarding School, which is for kids who have various problems at home. There's one Sadist Teacher, though the others are all rather nice, if prone to keeping supernatural secrets. Also, the school borders a magic forest, though the protagonist is one of the few who learns this.
  • Void Domain has Brakket Magical Academy, one of five boarding schools for magic around the United States.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • The stories mostly take place at Whateley Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire.
    • And the classic British boarding school is the backstory for Beltane. When she manifested as a mutant and got her powers over ectoplasm, she pranked the entire school, creating what appeared to be the worst haunting in British history.
  • Wings of Fire has Jade Mountain Academy, a boarding school for dragonets of all tribes founded by the protagonists of the first arc.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Both Knightcharm, the 'good' school where the protagonist starts out, and The Scholomance, the evil school which the protagonist infiltrates and then is trapped in, are boarding schools. Taken to an extreme in the case of the Scholomance, where students are stuck there for years except for brief 'missions' to the surface world.
  • Jane Eyre: During her childhood, Jane is sent to a horrible one. Also applicable to all film versions .
  • The Jeremiah School Of Young Prophets in The Jeremiah School is an American boarding school, where young children who are called to be prophets of God go to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends: Chandler reveals he attended boarding school. The details aren't revealed (apart from being all boys), but he doesn't make it sound like fun and it's hinted he was bullied.
  • Medenham Hall in HEX. That is, until Malachi burns it down...
  • House of Anubis, where all the action takes place in a British Boarding School that was built originally as a real house for a famous archaeologist. Despite its appearance and charm, it's more of a Boarding School of Horrors.
  • Mad Men: Teenage Sally Draper gets sent to Miss Porter's School, an old (for the U.S.) and exclusive all-girls boarding school in Connecticut, for high school. She doesn't like it much, and at first gets up to antics there, including sneaking in boys and beer (getting suspended for the latter), but later matures, especially after her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
  • Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends is set in the Fashion Academy of Milan, an international boarding school, and Maggie herself is a Scholarship Student.
  • The short-lived Make It Pop revolves around three female students at a boarding school who form a band.
  • The Argentinian Soap Opera Perla Negra starts in a boarding school for rich girls located in the Argentinian countryside. Two former students, Eva and the titular Perla, get in a car accident: Eva dies, Perla survives but is mistaken as Eva, and she decides to maintain the masquerade to protect Eva's baby son Charlie, whom she loves as if he were her own child, from Eva's Big, Screwed-Up Family. What Perla doesn't know is that she was dropped off at the school when she was a baby, with 22 authentic black pearls to pay for her education, and that she'll eventually learn who did this to her and why...
  • Parodied and subverted to hell and back in Tompkinson's Schooldays, the first episode of Ripping Yarns. Actually, Greybridge itself (the school in the story) probably counts as more of a Boarding School Of Horrors, but it's intended as a parody of this trope.
  • The forgotten teen sitcom Running The Halls was Saved by the Bell IN A BOARDING SCHOOL!
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch put Libby on a bus in season 4 and explained that her parents had sent her away to boarding school.
  • Tower Prep is set in a boarding school, which none of the students know where it is, or why they're there.
  • USA High, a '90s series from the same people who brought you Saved by the Bell and Running the Halls, was basically SAVED BY THE BELL IN PARIS!
  • Strange Days At Blake Holsey High is about a group of teens discovering a wormhole in the science classroom of their Canadian boarding school.
  • The third episode of Threshold is set at a Military School-type boarding school.
  • The premise of Wednesday is Wednesday Addams being transferred to Nevermore Academy, the boarding school that her parents met at, because none of the local schools are willing to take her anymore.
  • The Worst Witch is set in a boarding school for young witches.
  • The entire point of Zoey 101, in perfect combination with Elaborate University High.
  • Season 3 of A.N.T. Farm, where the students move to a technologically advanced boarding school.

  • Bob Geldof, lead singer of The Boomtown Rats, describes his experiences at a Catholic boarding school in Ireland during The '70s in his memoirs. It was not a pleasant experience to put it mildly, and contributed greatly to his disenchantment with the Catholic Church.
  • Pet Shop Boys' "This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave" is a more restrained but still negative depiction.

    Video Games 
  • Bully plays with a lot of these tropes, though the game is set in New England. Some of the Preppies even affect upper-class English accents to suit — which they tend to drop when angered.
  • Life Is Strange is set at Blackwell Academy, an elite co-ed boarding school in Oregon.
  • Main setting of Luminous Arc 3, although the students are only shown in class twice and even then they're barely learning.
  • Main setting of Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis and its sequel.
  • In Persona 3, Gekkoukan High seems to have both day students and student dorms. However, the main characters live in a boarding house some distance away from the actual campus.
  • Warnings at Waverly Academy.
  • St. Frost Academy in Wasted Youth.
  • The Gardens in Final Fantasy VIII.
  • The Officer's Academy of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a boarding school and Military Academy. The titular three houses refer to the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions, and the Golden Dear, the houses for students from the Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance (respectively).
  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Naranja/Uva Academy is a huge school which includes dorm rooms, since it attracts people from all ages from all over Paldea. It's not completely a boarding school, since students who live in Mesagoza, the town where the academy is located, aren't allowed to have dorm rooms (not that they would need them anyway). Also, the majority of students from the neighboring town of Los Platos don't bother with the dorms either and preffer commuting each day.

    Visual Novels 
  • Little Busters! takes place in a co-ed boarding school.
  • Kanenone Gakuen ("Sound of the Bell Academy"), the school in Green Green, which is an isolated all-boys school at the start, but is invaded by girls, making it co-ed.
  • Katawa Shoujo takes place in one for the disabled.
  • Magical Diary takes place in a boarding Wizarding School but subverts the British trope expectations. While there are Halls, it's purely a social grouping, there's no competition between them. The only sports games involve students from all Halls taking part just for fun. There is a (brief) equivalent of fagging, in the American hazing tradition of Freshman Initiation.
  • Missing Stars takes place in a Vienna boarding school that helps students with mental health issues.
  • Princess Evangile takes place in an exclusive all-girls school that seeks to subvert its status as such due to financial troubles.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court. Except so far the Houses seem to exist not to compete with each other, but give a measure of separation keeping some minimal sanity and safety for everyone involved, given that the students evidently include borderline Mad Scientists, reincarnated Fairies and really unusual cases.
  • I Fell in Love, so I Tried Livestreaming: The main characters live in a co-ed dorm in Seishin Academy. Due to the dorm being co-ed, most of the rooms also have security cameras.
  • Early chapters of Drowtales.
  • The Sokolov Academy, a boarding school for the children of wealthy and influential werewolves, is where most of the main cast of Bad Moon Rising first met. They return there for a school reunion of sorts in the second arc.

    Web Original 
  • Ever After High takes place in a boarding school for the children of fairy-tale characters, who are in turn meant to inherit their parents’ roles.
  • Shows up a few times in Survival of the Fittest. Version one had students abducted from schools all over the world, a few of which were boarding schools, while version three's Dorian Sanders briefly spent time at one that may have been a Boarding School of Horrors.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko. Interestingly, the school the children go to is heavily visually based on real locations in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. It isn't a boarding school in real life though; the writers consciously changed that to keep the characters together (even though one does live off-campus).
  • James Bond Jr., the Animated Adaptation of James Bond.
  • Ultimate Book of Spells: The Wizarding School is just one of the many reasons the cartoon is considered a copy of Harry Potter.
  • Polly Pocket: Polly Pocket's would-be stepmother tried to convince Polly's father to send her to one.
  • In an episode of American Dad! called "Top of the Steve", Steve and Roger run away to a boarding school called "Pendlingtonton Academy" after getting fed up with Stan's attitude. But shortly after arriving, they discover it's an all-girls school (Steve was let in due to some kind of technicality in the school's charter). After noticing how so much about their situation at PA is just very off, Roger's Genre Savvy enough to figure out that the whole thing is a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a spin-off with Steve as the lead character.

    Real Life 
  • The USA has a few schools like this, generally old and expensive and in the New England region. Historically, the USA had several public (in the US sense, meaning state-run) boarding schools in rural areas, although they are extremely rare today. Boarding schools for families of all (above-average) incomes abound in The Commonwealth. They make occasional appearances in non-British movies and TV and use pretty much the same tropes as in the British model. Modern-day and non-American boarding school settings tend to place more emphasis on getting into good universities; outside the USA, one can no longer get into a good university without good grades.
  • In Japan, the boarding school idea shows up a few times, though not in the more realistic anime, because boarding schools are a foreign idea in Japan and its only real boarding schools are exclusively for international students. High schools are not region based but more like American colleges; as such, some students' parents rent their kids small apartments or rooms so they can go to the school they attend without waking up really early or the whole family having to move to another city.