Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

International Families

International Families

International Children

Belhaven is one of the UK’s leading prep schools, feeding to all the major public schools in Britain. The school prides itself on being a welcoming, family-friendly place offering a home to all its overseas pupils. We have a long association with international and expat families who choose Belhaven for our exceptionally high standard of pastoral care, outstanding education, excellent ‘full boarding’ provision and beautiful location on the East Lothian coastline.

International children typically immerse themselves fully and quickly into our English-speaking boarding school, although we do have a strict policy regarding the maximum number of children coming to Belhaven from any one country in any one year. Some international pupils will join us for as little as one term and others will stay longer (often for more than one year – and not necessarily consecutive years) in order for us to prepare them for the top UK senior schools. The majority of our international families have discovered the benefits of Belhaven through ‘word of mouth’; many of these families have been coming here for generations.

"Sending our children to Belhaven from Madrid has been a brilliant experience for us. Lots of outdoor space, close to the beach, sport every afternoon. The school and all the families have been so welcoming to our whole family. Three daughters and one son, all of whom now speak wonderful English and they have made friends for life - some of them come to stay with us now in the summer here in Spain". 

Zarraluqui family, Madrid

Our international children come to us from Year 3 (age 7 onwards) until Year 8 (age 13) and, because they are a relatively small percentage of the total pupils, they immediately become absolutely integral members of our boarding community. We really value the contribution they make to our school and the diversity of culture they bring with them.

As the only seven-day-a-week ‘full boarding’ prep-school in Scotland and Northern England which doesn’t offer ‘flexi’ or ‘weekly’ boarding, our boarding houses are full on Saturdays and Sundays during the term time. Apart from school holidays, half-terms and fortnightly ‘weekends out’, all our boarding children live and work here during term time. We are fully dedicated to supporting the pastoral and emotional needs of all children whose parents are living in another country. Our expert staff are permanently on hand to create a happy, nurturing home-from-home environment for all of our children. Each of our girls’ and boys’ boarding houses has a dedicated Houseparent team with a raft of Matrons and committed Gap Year staff who have a single focus: the wellbeing of the children. The boarding houses are a real home to the children - for downtime, for laughter, for fun, for relaxation and most of all, for sleep, after incredibly action-packed days.

“I was working as an expatriate in the Middle East and when she completed primary school out there we decided to send our eldest to Belhaven, my old prep school. Any concerns we had about her being so far away were quickly allayed because it was clear how happy she was in what is an exceptionally happy school environment and so the following year we decided to send her younger brother too. The school did a very good job managing logistics with travel and it was great to have a full boarding setup where all the boarders stayed in for action packed weekends.”

Osborne Family, Dubai/Amsterdam

In line with our ethos, we nurture and encourage all our children, whether British or international, to show kindness and consideration to others and our shared values are as important as they are timeless: we encourage the children to Be Courageous, Be Creative and Be Courteous.

Located just off the A1 in Dunbar, with a main East Coast (London to Edinburgh) railway station just 10 minutes’ walk from school and only 40 minutes by car to Edinburgh Airport, Belhaven has excellent transport links. International flights into Edinburgh from all the major European cities, the Middle East and North America make life easy for families from a number of international locations.

We will of course arrange and manage your child’s travel plans as necessary. Our dedicated team of school bus drivers and a local taxi company will hand over/collect your child directly to/from an airline and transport them directly to/from Belhaven. Our School Secretary, Elaine Morris, assists with all such travel arrangements – from co-ordinating airport/train transport, to organising the staff to accompany them to passport control (if they are travelling unaccompanied), and of course to ensuring they have their tickets and passports.

Visas and Educational Guardians

For further information regarding Admissions, Visas and Educational Guardians, please contact our Registrar Olivia Reynolds who will be delighted to help; she will take you through the entire process from your first enquiry right through to the day your son or daughter arrives on our front steps.

Belhaven has a Student Sponsor License to allow a small number of non-British passport holders to come to study here. We will introduce your family to our chosen Immigration Lawyers who will be able to assist you in applying for your child’s Visa. We are members of Aegis UK which is the British Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students. Aegis will guide you to a range of accredited Guardian Agencies – every overseas pupil must have an Educational Guardian in the UK, ideally within an hour’s drive of the school. The selected Guardian Agency will assist you in finding an Education Guardian for your child’s time at Belhaven – a person who has been appointed to care for international pupils in the UK when the pupil is not in school (eg weekends out, half -terms, holidays or if the school has had to close for times of emergency).

To find out more, please contact our Registrar, Olivia Reynolds on +44 (0)7900 491681 or