The experience of boarding school

Educational choices are important ones for all parents. My children were educated at states schools. I went to a Catholic comprehensive school. My parents had different financial situations as children so my mum left school altogether at the age of 12 whereas my Dad was able to go to Grammar School. A surprise during my parenting journey was to spend time home-educating two of my children for a few years. I can remember feeling envious when my friend sent her child to boarding school as I was not financially equipped to do that. It’s interesting to reflect on the experience of boarding school and how it compares with state provision.

The experience of boarding school

I only know what other people who went to boarding school have told me. Homesickness and bullying feature apparently. Then again, my children were bullied in state school eventually leading me to home-educate my daughter and youngest son. I struggle with the idea of sending my children away for other people to care for to be honest. I am just not sure I would want to give up on loads of memory-making with my children. I would miss all the giggles and snuggles.

Finding out more about the boarding school experience

I looked at the videos from around the world on to get a bigger picture on what boarding school might be like. I also spoke to my brother who has worked in a number of boarding schools. He told me about the great camaraderie and the supportive staff. I guess in many ways boarding school will be a bit like my Cambridge college in that regard. Certainly, kids who had gone to boarding school seemed to find the Cambridge experience that much easier from what I could see.

Individual freedoms

I am not the greatest fan of school uniform and would like children to be encouraged to express their individuality. If I ran a school it wouldn’t bother me one bit if pupils wore rapper jewelery from Stndrdz or wore clothing traditionally associated with another gender. I get the impressions boarding schools are very strict about such things. They probably like custom clothing like the ones available from Mato & Hash to represent houses for sport and academic achievements.  If I had gone to boarding school, I would have being a rebel.

Potential advantages of boarding school

There are certainly some cases where I can see good sense in the boarding school option. It can provide security and a sense of place for children whose parents travel a lot perhaps in the Armed Forces. My friend sent her daughter to boarding school part-funded by the Royal Air Force. A girl I was at university with was also funded to go by the Royal Air Force. If children have specific expertise in sport, music or singing, scholarships are available which make a high quality education in those fields possible even to poorer families.

Are you a fan of the boarding school experience or do you prefer your kids to be at home with you?


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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