To Board or Not To Board?

14 posts
schoolsshow
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:24 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

To Board or Not To Board?

Postby schoolsshow » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:32 pm

The UK is home to some of the world's most famous boarding schools - some have been established for hundreds of years. Many of these schools will be exhibiting at the Independent Schools Show this weekend, ready to answer your questions about entrance requirements, fees and bursaries, taster days, and to help you consider whether a first class education would be right for your child.
 The oldest boarding schools were established almost 1000 years ago (The Kings School Canterbury, Westminster School) but some very well-known schools such as Millfield and Stowe were founded less than a century ago. UK boarding schools, whatever their age, have invested heavily over the last 30 years and their pupils enjoy world-class facilities.Is your child a future leader?Contrary to what some people think, former boarding school pupils don’t rule the world – but they would probably give it their best shot if the post became available. Famous former boarders of course include David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Justin Welby, but alumni are not just at the front in politics, the Conservative party or the church. Carey Mulligan, Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch all boarded. Boarding breeds top entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, business leaders, musicians and sporting heroes.Think cosyBoarding might make you think of Jennings or Harry Potter but those stories are based on conditions fifty years ago. Cold showers, huge dorms and bare floorboards are things of the past. The boarding houses are cosy, and children are encouraged to arrive with their creature comforts. Boarders are now even heard to rate the food - a truth that will probably be challenged by those who attended boarding school in the 80s.Obvious advantages Many children do not suit the highly pressured academic bubble of London schools. If you haven’t considered boarding for your child, below are a few reasons you should be exploring them:
  • Complementing family life – parents worry that the physical distance that a boarding school education provides will signify an emotional distance. The opposite may actually be true. The teenage years are a testing time for the whole family – often filled with daily arguments about homework, too much screen time or an over hectic social life. Boarding schools enable you to look forward to quality time with your children at the weekends and during the holidays; they'll certainly appreciate a home-cooked meal and some relaxing time with mum and dad after the busy life of a boarding school student!
  • Around the clock entertainment - children, as we all know, need a huge amount of entertainment. In a boarding environment not only is there continual activity, but the student is part of a strong community of other children, and friends made at boarding school last for life.
  • Extensive facilities - boarding schools usually have beautiful and inspiring buildings, spacious grounds and world-class facilities with great libraries, laboratories and IT. Those studying subjects such as music, theatre studies and art benefit from easy onsite access to facilities and likeminded peers with whom to practice and develop ideas and projects.
  • Time not spent in a car or coach - imagine no commute to school and no journeys to after-school clubs. Music lessons, sports coaching, play dates all happen on campus. Think of the hours saved each day for you and your child to have more fun and be more productive. 
  • Country life - the majority of boarding schools are outside London. This has significant pluses – far more space for sports grounds and facilities, as well as for outward bounds, climbing and other adventurous activities. 
  • Catering for a wide range of academic abilities - entrance to the top London schools is highly competitive. Some boarding schools are also highly selective but many cater for a far wider mix of abilities. If your child is a late-starter, or they have learning difficulties and would benefit from somewhere nurturing, boarding can be a game-changer.
Some frequently asked questions
  1. What age can my child start boarding?
    There are definitely good ages to start boarding. Prep boarding starts at the age of 8, but many children wait and join for the last two or three years when they are 10 or 11. This is a great preparation for senior school boarding which starts at 11 for girls or 13 for boys / children at co-ed schools. Boarding through the sixth form is also very popular, with some teenagers starting to board at 16 as a cushioned preparation for university life.
  2. Can I afford the fees?
    Fees are expensive – over £8000 per term is common. There are bursaries and scholarships available, but even without these many parents find boarding school surprisingly cost-effective. If you are considering boarding fees versus London day school fees, then the additional cost of boarding compares well with having full-time childcare (a nanny or au pair requires a salary, a bedroom and perhaps a car).
  3. Can my child try boarding to see whether they would like it? 
    Absolutely – most boarding prep schools (for children up to the age of 13) run taster nights.
  4. How often can my child come home?
    The days of whole terms away from home are long gone. Boarding schools have lots of exeats (full weekends off) and long half-term breaks. Lots of children weekly-board and some children now ‘flexi-board’. It is not unheard for children to board a few nights a week when their parents are busy.
  5. How do I know my child will be safe?
    Since April 2007 all boarding provision is now inspected by Ofsted every three years. This is a rigorous inspection regime and all reports are made public. Parents have never been better informed about the quality of care in boarding schools.
For more information, come to the Independent Schools Show this weekend to meet heads and admissions staff from the top boarding schools and independent schools from across the UK, all under one roof. Tickets are free when you register in advance.

There will be also be two fantastic educational theatres, sponsored by The Sunday Times and the Londons Parents Forum. If you're considering boarding for your child, come and hear from the experts and have your questions answered in the Q&As. Talks include 'When is the right time to board' by the Headmasters of Kings Canterbury and Maidwell Hall, 'The lifelong advantages of boarding school education' by the heads of Malvern College and Sherborne Girls, and 'why do parents-in-the-know choose boarding school', featuring the Director of Admissions from Sevenoaks School and the International Admissions Tutor of Marlborough College. For a full list of talks, visit our website. 
mum_1980
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:18 am
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby mum_1980 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:35 am

That is the question!! I went to boarding school and I hated it. My brother went to boarding school and he loved it. I think lots of parents get wowed by the prestige, grandeur, history, academics and facilities at boarding school, but before you look at any of that, my advice is to really understand your kid. You may want them to rub shoulders with the creme de la creme and yes many prominent people have gone to boarding school, but if it's not right for your kid, they will be miserable. There is nothing worse than feeling abandoned by your parents or not fitting into a school that you have to be at 24/7!! So really make sure your kid wants to go and will thrive. Don't send them somewhere highly competitive when you know that there is a chance they could be overwhelmed because it could crush their confidence. Also, they will probably be really excited about going and if they get there and love it, that's great. If they are consistently unhappy, take them out, you can always move schools.

Having said all that. Pastoral care is much better at boarding schools now than in my day so the boarding staff will be able to talk and hopefully reassure you.

And some kids love being at school and taking advantage of all the facilities and activities and being with their friends all the time. 

 
livegreen
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:14 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby livegreen » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:59 am

Boarding Schools are surely only for people who are unable to bring up their children (both parents travelling overseas where no schools available) or unwilling. Why else would you abandon your children into the care of strangers ?
Children are so precious and their childhood so short and yet some people want to abstain all of their responsibility.
Boarding schools have such a well deserved historical reputation for abuse and bullying.

I’m sure you’ll hear about all the new safe guards that have had to be put in place to protect children from abuse at these institutions. Leaving your children to be cared for by strangers for 24 hours a day - long term issues ?????
coldatchristmas
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:00 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby coldatchristmas » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:10 am

I agree with mum_1980. I do think it depends on your child. I have lots of friends who loved boarding but only one who hated it. 

I also think it depends on your options - it may be that boarding is the optimal solution given the increasing competition for London school places. It's also a far more fluid choice these days too - most schools offer weekly boarding and many offer flexi boarding.

CAC
petal
Posts: 1180
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:22 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby petal » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:33 pm

Why anyone would want to send their kids to board is beyond me.
What matters most for a child? Family love or academic success??
Don’t kid yourselves that weekend parenting is sufficient.
It’s abandonment dressed up as something else.
I’ve seen grown men still scarred by the trauma of abandonment at a young age when in need in need of their parents.
And no, 11 is still too young for those I only refer to 8.
Literally, why have kids?
Are you there when they are upset ?
Are you there when they need a hug?
And they will soon learn not to tell you int i phone that they are upset or lonely or sad
It’s an outdated idea, very and one in my Opinion.
Red1981
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:30 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Red1981 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:44 pm

I weekly boarded from the age of 7...30 years ago now. At the time my parents felt they had no choice, they were building the business, travelling all over the UK and this was their only option. In my opinion, even more so now I have my own child, it was far too young, I learnt quickly that I couldn't rely on anyone to be there for me, even to this day it takes  a lot for me to recognize when I need support and then pluck up the courage to ask another for help, you become self sufficient early on. That being said, it wasn't all bad, I made some great friends, the facilities were excellent etc but at what cost. 
Scottov
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:04 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Scottov » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:07 am

There are always a very vocal but in real a small minority wiling to share their negative experiences of a boarding education. And it’s true that it isn’t for everyone. Nor is it the same today as it was before

The majority of boarding parents boarded themselves, and scrimp and save to provide for their kids what was ultimately the happiest times in their lives where they made deep friendships forever

The things to remember are
1. It definitely isn’t for parents who want to outsource their parental responsibility. It doesn’t work like that

2. It is a specific type of education where pupils values and development are encouraged and supported around the clock. Being able to form meaningful relationships with adults who aren’t their parents is so important

3. The pastoral and academic aspects are individually catered for

it’s not for everyone, but it is for most. The real question is the fees which is a major stumbling block for both school and parent
Scottov
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:04 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Scottov » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:09 am

petal wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:33 pm
Why anyone would want to send their kids to board is beyond me.
What matters most for a child? Family love or academic success??
Don’t kid yourselves that weekend parenting is sufficient.
It’s abandonment dressed up as something else.
I’ve seen grown men still scarred by the trauma of abandonment at a young age when in need in need of their parents.
And no, 11 is still too young for those I only refer to 8.
Literally, why have kids?
Are you there when they are upset ?
Are you there when they need a hug?
And they will soon learn not to tell you int i phone that they are upset or lonely or sad
It’s an outdated idea, very and one in my Opinion.

Why comment when you clearly do not have the first idea what you’re talking about?

At all
Star
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 11:45 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Star » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:46 pm

There is a massive difference between boarding at age 13+, or 11+ and boarding from age 7 or 8. I cannot see it as anything other than cruel and neglectful.

My husband and his brother boarded from age 13 and had a fantastic experience and were definitely more mature at university than those living away from home for the first time. They achieved first class degrees because they had done plenty of mucking around with friends before school. They avoided the usual tensions they may have had during their teenage years with parents. They visited home many weekends and they would have bored stiff as teenagers in their village. Same with a good female friend of mine, she loved it and has always been a confident and independent woman over the 20 years I've known her.

But even they I'm sure had friends their age who suffered at boarding school. Actually I know a few of my husband and brother in laws friends who did suffer badly and suffering depression, another one a paranoid schizophrenic.

But at age 7?? really? A small child.
I remember seeing a tv series by Ian Hislop, Stiff Upper Lip, and in one episode he revisted his old boarding school where he went from a very young age. It was very sad to watch and explored how children were forced to bury their emotions. You could tell Hislop would never do it to his own children.
Scottov
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:04 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Scottov » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:55 pm

Star wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:46 pm
There is a massive difference between boarding at age 13+, or 11+ and boarding from age 7 or 8. I cannot see it as anything other than cruel and neglectful.

My husband and his brother boarded from age 13 and had a fantastic experience and were definitely more mature at university than those living away from home for the first time. They achieved first class degrees because they had done plenty of mucking around with friends before school. They avoided the usual tensions they may have had during their teenage years with parents. They visited home many weekends and they would have bored stiff as teenagers in their village. Same with a good female friend of mine, she loved it and has always been a confident and independent woman over the 20 years I've known her.

But even they I'm sure had friends their age who suffered at boarding school. Actually I know a few of my husband and brother in laws friends who did suffer badly and suffering depression, another one a paranoid schizophrenic.

But at age 7?? really? A small child.
I remember seeing a tv series by Ian Hislop, Stiff Upper Lip, and in one episode he revisted his old boarding school where he went from a very young age. It was very sad to watch and explored how children were forced to bury their emotions. You could tell Hislop would never do it to his own children.

Virtually no one boards at 7 or 8. Can’t understand why this is even being talked about

Even once great boarding prep schools like the Dragon have very, very few boarders at that age. And the only ones that do are usually from service families

11 used to be normal for girls and 13 for boys

Nowadays 13 is more common and the other major entry points are at 16
Star
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 11:45 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Star » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:26 pm

Nope. There are children who board at age 7 still in this country.
firsttimerSW11
Posts: 498
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:25 am
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby firsttimerSW11 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:42 pm

A person I know recently sent their 7 year old son off to board. I cannot understand it at all. Too young in my opinion.  That said, I wouldn't be averse to sending my child to flexi board at 13 but only if it was something they wanted to do/suggested themselves.
catboo1
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:40 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby catboo1 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:53 pm

This is the bit i found quite unsettling-

“Around the clock entertainment “- children, as we all know, need a huge amount of entertainment”

Who’s written this? Around the clock entertainment! I mean please. As if we don’t have enough of that in this day and age. Quite the opposite is what’s needed... less entertainment. Children need to sit with themselves and be a bit bored once in a while rather than creating an environment where it’s a non stop roundabout of activity and expectations.

I think boarding at prep age is barbaric. I’ve nothing against boarding from 13 but let’s face it you have to be prepared that your child is leaving home. The dynamic shifts. My friends son who is at Eton (at the moment) said to me, he and his friends learned to deal with their emotions from the start and not feel sad about whatever it is that might be bothering them. I think there’s a price to pay and I’ve heard a lot from some of my friends who have reversed their decision, a year in and moved their child back to day school in London
Red1981
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:30 pm
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: To Board or Not To Board?

Postby Red1981 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:19 am

In reply to Star

The old school that Ian Hislop visited was Ardingly, which was the school I went to from age 13 - 18 years old. I have nothing bad to say about the place, I boarded there as well and have some fantastic friends as a result. :)

In reply to Scottov

Unfortunately children do still board from the age of 7, we are starting to think about pre-prep/prep schools local to us and there are a few country traditional preps that I know of that cater for overseas pupils/london etc. I think 11 years old is a good age. It's worth bearing in mind that anyone judging parents for sending children so young, need to think about the reasons why those parents might do it, they aren't monsters - some of them, like my own, simply didn't have a choice. For example, living full time overseas and travelling with work, or were with the army, or with one friend, escaping a worn torn country with an education her rich aunt had provided!