Health and your child travelling abroad to boarding school

By: Dr Aallya Qureshi

Raffles Hotel Arcade
Posted on: 9 Oct 2023

We have partnered with the British Education and Schools Show in Asia (BESSA) to provide families with a health and wellbeing overview for those considering an education in the United Kingdom.  

Osler Health International has several British trained doctors, so we have an understanding of both the health system here in Singapore and in the UK. In addition, some of our staff members have children at school in the UK and appreciate first-hand the considerations. Here is a list of some of the areas you may want to consider: 

  • Mental well-being 
  • Preparing children for the differences in climate and environment  
  • Continuity of care in the management of pre-existing medical conditions  
  • Potential and common health issues could emerge in the teenage years: eg. acne, mood disturbance, sports related injuries, menstrual changes or issues, body image issues, sexual health and contraceptive advice, hay fever, allergies, asthma 
  • How will any unexpected medical issues or illnesses be managed in the UK? 
  • How does the healthcare system work in the UK and how can it be accessed? 
  • What is emergency care like in the UK? 

How can Osler Health help during this delicate transition period? 

Starting a new school, abroad, away from family and usual comforts can be a simultaneously exciting and daunting time. At Osler Health, we are aware that this is a time when your child is vulnerable and may need some support from a trusted and familiar doctor. We are here to talk about mental health, or any other health concerns. You may want to get see a doctor prior to your child’s departure for any common conditions/ teenage ailments listed above for advice.  

With the help of telemedicine, we can carry on caring for your child and maintaining continuity – which can be very important and comforting during this new phase. (Please note that we are unable to create prescriptions for use in the UK).

You and your child are welcome to meet with any of our British trained doctors prior to their move so that they can continue to see the same doctor especially for an existing condition. Since they fully understand the National Health Service (NHS) system in the UK – which still provides majority of healthcare for everyone, as well as the increasing presence of the private medical system, they can reassuringly help bridge a gap for you and your child. 

Health provision in schools 

Independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom are required to meet Independent School Standards (ISSR) and, where applicable, National minimum standards for boarding schools (NMS). The school must demonstrate to the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), upon routine inspection, that it can ensure the following;  

  • Physical, mental and emotional well-being, appropriate and stringent first aid and medical emergency protocols, the safe use of prescription and non-prescription medication.  
  • Health education which helps the boarders maintain a healthy lifestyle and address their own personal health needs appropriately as part of developing into an adult. 
  • Timely and effective access for the boarders to local health services 
  • A designated member of staff, known to parents and boarders alike, responsible for coordinating access to all health-related services that your child may need (both emergency or routine), they will be involved in making sure that the parents are appropriately involved and made aware of any health concerns.  
  • That all medication is stored safely and securely with accurate records kept. Staff are trained to safely administer medications if needed.  
  • Importantly, that the confidentiality and dignity of your child is maintained.  

The main takeaway from what has been highlighted here is that there are robust mechanisms in place to ensure the safety and well-being of your child whilst under the care of the Independent Boarding School of your choice.    

It is wise to remember that, whilst each school will have consistency in all the above conditions being met, each child has unique needs. Discussing this further with the school is key to ensuring the right fit. Our doctors at Osler will be able to confidently guide you through the right questions to ask. 


 Most schools in UK will require confirmation of the following vaccinations in order to be in line with UK’s National Immunization Schedule during the application process:

Vaccines given during childhood

Vaccines given during secondary school


Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) 

Hepatitis B 

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio (Td/IPV) 

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) 

Meningitis ACWY  

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 

Meningitis B 

Meningitis C  

Pertussis (Whooping cough) 





 If you are not sure that your child has these vaccinations or would like us to review their vaccination booklet/ information before they leave for the UK, we can assist you. As an internationally focused clinic, we can identify any gaps and provide you with the necessary information and offer most vaccines in our clinic. We can also give you advice for travel vaccines that may be considered for school trips out of the UK, as well as the need for annual flu vaccines.  

Mental wellbeing 

It’s often difficult to know whether your child is experiencing worrying mental health issues or just going through the normal stages of teen development. This is where speaking to a doctor may be helpful. We try to see teenagers both alone AND with their parents to allow us to get a more complete picture. Sometimes parents come to see us without their kids just to see if their concerns warrant further assessment.  

It is completely understandable if your son/daughter has concerns about travelling abroad to school. This is a big step for your child and the parents. We have doctors at Osler Health who are known for their sensitive support for teenagers and can offer objective support.  

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please do make an appointment to see us and we would be happy to help. 

Dr Aallya Qureshi is a British GP doctor who is based at our Raffles Hotel Arcade clinic. Dr Aallya sees many adolescents for their physical and mental health and is known as a ‘safe space’ for teens to talk. Appointments can be booked here.

The BESSA Exhibition will be held on Saturday 28th October 2023
11am to 4.30pm
VOCO Orchard (former Hilton) Hotel
581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883
Please get your tickets here 


Raffles Hotel Arcade Star Vista