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Modern prep boarding


Modern prep boarding

A boarding school experience could be the best opportunity for your child.  There are benefits too for busy working parents with demanding careers; supervised homework and no battles; unlimited after school activities with no time spent in traffic, and cosy weekends with family at home.

“Modern prep boarding schools offer a new blend of education and extended activities whilst recognising the value of family time at the weekend,” says Hilary Moriarty, National Director of the Boarding Schools Association.  Weekly boarding with no Saturday lessons, or flexi boarding to help parents out with ad hoc days are just some of the ways in which prep boarding schools meet the needs of modern parents.

Better relationships

Increasingly parents talk of how relationships with their children improve when you remove daily battles.  Jane Gandee, Headmistress at St Swithun’s School, just an hour from London agrees. “Both boarders and their parents speak persuasively of how they enjoy a better relationship because the vast majority of the nagging so necessary in bringing up children can take place in school.”

Independent learning

Doing homework and fitting in after school activities on the same day can become a logistical and emotional challenge for many London parents, especially when they have more than one child to help.  “Parents are frequently worried about who will help their child do their prep as it’s such a struggle to get them to settle down at home.” Says Barnaby Gray Head of Boarding at Highfield School.  “Prep is supervised by teachers who know about the subject so if a child is struggling they can help out with any queries.”

Extending the day

Living at school also allows children to make the most of every day, cutting out commuting time to create precious extra minutes to reflect, relax or focus on a particular activity.  At Highfield School in Hampshire children are free to run in 175 acres of safe, private grounds enjoying the fresh air and beautiful rolling countryside. There are woodlands to explore and build camps in, and trees to climb. “Few children get to enjoy such old fashioned freedom today especially in our towns and cities,” says Sarah Gray, Senior Girls’ Housemistress.

Boarding young

But sending children to board young has its critics with some suggesting boarding under 13 should be avoided.  However, Dirk Flower a psychologist and expert in family therapy says there are several reasons why boarding younger is actually easier for the child. “Between eight and twelve children are much more open to learning a new value system and adapt well to the supportive structure of academic tuition. At thirteen children are at a stage of making a stand against authority and often look for ways to disrupt the system.”

Boarding isn’t the right choice for every child.  Nor does it suit every parent.  But for some families it provides the right balance between the demands of work and providing an enriching, intellectual experience for children.


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