Page 16 - Marlborough Living May June 2019
P. 16

boarding benefits
Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Boarding Schools’ Association gives us an insight into the modern boarding world and its many benefits for children and parents alike
Boarding today is a world away from the days dropping children off at the school gates, not to see them again until the end of term.
Good modern boarding is a richly fulfilling experience helping young people to realise their potential, spend time trying new things and make lasting friendships in a shared community.
It is my privilege to visit dozens of our member schools every year– here in the UK and internationally. One thing that I am constantly being told by students, their teachers and parents, is that boarding gives students a greater sense of independence and increases their confidence.
Before university, there are very few opportunities for children to live in an independent way, yet still have the support and guidance they need. Boarding provides this.
A boarding student has access to school staff and facilities once the teaching day
is over. For boarders ‘travelling’ to and from school simply means walking to the boarding house, giving them more time to be with friends, finish up homework and enjoy co-curricular activities.
To meet modern family needs, many
UK boarding schools now offer flexible boarding, giving parents and pupils more choice than ever before. Parents can be comfortable in the knowledge that on those days of late meetings, or travel for work, their children are being cared for and supported by caring, professional boarding staff, surrounded by friends. Particularly for families where parents are travelling for work, boarding provides children with a stability and continuity they would otherwise struggle to receive. For time-poor parents, boarding can be the ideal solution.
More than 80 per cent of boarding parents live within an hour and a half of their child’s boarding school, meaning they can still be – and often are – heavily involved with their child’s education and the school community. From attending weekend sporting events to nightly Skype calls with their child, boarding parents
are deeply involved with their child’s education.
But it is not just local students who benefit from boarding. For international students, or children of parents who are themselves overseas, boarding provides
a stable, pastorally strong home-away- from-home during term time.
On a more personal level, boarding children are given the opportunity – far more than their day student counterparts – to learn tolerance, acceptance and understanding. Boarding houses often have a mix of local UK students and international students – hailing from all areas of the globe. In no other situation would a child be given the chance to make such close ties with so many different people. Friendships made in boarding school often last for life and often span continents.
While boarding may not be right for every student, for those it suits it is a rare opportunity to thrive socially and academically while exploring their own independence in a safe space.
The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) champions boarding and promotes boarding excellence. The BSA represents over 580 independent and state boarding schools in the UK and overseas.
BSA services include professional development, government relations, communications, media, publications, conferences and events.
For more information visit

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