Boarding schools for children under 11 is just wrong

(552 Posts)
babybarrister Thu 21-Mar-13 22:13:49

If I were PM for the day this would be on my to do list.
Children under 11 are too young and if their parents cannot look after them it should be raising serious alarm bells not generating slaps on the back for complying with an outdated tradition.

AuntieStella Thu 21-Mar-13 22:14:48

Have you been near a boarding school recently?

HollyBerryBush Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:00

It's worked for genrations.

Its quite a modern idea to bring up your own children.

In fact the whole idea of 'childhood' is a particularly modern invention.

FelicityWasCold Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:04

Yabu. Do you know everything about every school and parent in the country?

How judgemental you are.

babybarrister Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:10

Yes plenty - why?!

UnEggspectedItemInBonnetArea Thu 21-Mar-13 22:17:03

YABU and goady.

Its wrong for some children and right for others. If you don't like them don't send your kids there but don't assume you know whats right for every child.

neunundneunzigluftballons Thu 21-Mar-13 22:19:16

YANBU being honest I am not totally sure about them for over 11 either. From being a day pupil in a school that had boarders it seemed at least some of them were there due to problems at home and their parents were struggling to control them, totally wrong reason to off load a teenager to boarding school IMO.

livinginwonderland Thu 21-Mar-13 22:19:35

<gets out popcorn>

Permanentlyexhausted Thu 21-Mar-13 22:20:33

I doubt you'd get to be PM for the day if you hadn't been sent to boarding school before the age of 11. It's in the job description.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Mar-13 22:21:22

I'll join you with the popcorn!

MintTeaForMe Thu 21-Mar-13 22:22:18

My DH went to boarding school aged seven. He LOVED it. I was sent to one aged 11 and hated it so much I got myself expelled. Don't think you can generalise about this.


TheChaoGoesMu Thu 21-Mar-13 22:22:36

I don't think its wrong. It can offer stability depending on the circumstances of the family.

nonotreally Thu 21-Mar-13 22:22:54

"...and if their parents cannot look after them..."

Please explain your logic here?

fishybits Thu 21-Mar-13 22:24:38

I went aged 7 and had a great time. My DF was in the Army and it gave me much needed stability <shrugs shoulders>

lemuzzy Thu 21-Mar-13 22:24:40

YANBU and I say that as someone who went to boarding school.

It was like a dumping ground.

Lucyellensmum95 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:24:44

I shouldnt have liked to go to boarding school, i shouldnt like to send my DC to boarding school. Other people however do like this arrangement and it seems to work for them.

I guess there is the worry they might turn into tomorrows David Cameron i guess but its a small risk

Really OP are you bored?

WafflyVersatile Thu 21-Mar-13 22:24:45

grin at Permanently.

'it's worked for generations'? worked at what?

While I accept that some situations may make (a good) boarding school the best choice available I'd like to see anyone produce evidence from a respected source that says sending a child to boarding school is better than them living at home with competent loving parents.

toobreathless Thu 21-Mar-13 22:26:08

Says who?

What do you base that on? Your own ignorance?

I went to bordering school aged 9 to 11 years as my parents (military) had little choice. It was not a decision they took lightly and they were doing what they felt was best for me and going against what they wanted (to have me at home!)

20 years later I am happy and well adjusted (I like to think!), am very close to my parents and my own child (soon to be children) I have a medical degree & a very satisfying career after my parents tried to give me the best education they could.

Reading your OP one could argue you might have benefitted from your parents doing the same for you.

montmartre Thu 21-Mar-13 22:26:30

Weird- none of the people I know that boarded from young ages were in a situation where there parents 'could not look after them'.

kim147 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:26:33

I hated boarding school. But Dad in the RAF so not much choice.

Dad was sent away at 7 in the early 50s. Don't think it helped him.

toobreathless Thu 21-Mar-13 22:27:20

Boarding not 'bordering' blasted iPhone!

WorraLiberty Thu 21-Mar-13 22:28:25

It's not for me and mine but I'm intelligent enough to know that it works for some families and that it has nothing to do with being unable to look after your own children.

AuntieStella Thu 21-Mar-13 22:28:36

No need to have a pop at OP, just because the post shows a narrow and unimaginitve view of reasons why parents might want to opt for boarding.

ReallyTired Thu 21-Mar-13 22:29:35

YABU for many reasons. Lots of parents who send their children to board do so with a heavy heart.

For example if you have a profoundly deaf child with learning and behaviour difficulties then you may be forced to use weekly boarding. Should such parents be forced to give up their jobs and move house?

Children whose parents in the armed forces often prefer the stablity of being in one school than constantly moving house every two to three years.

The cost of boarding is utterly astronomical. I doult that many people send their children to boarding school for frivolous reasons.

Smartiepants79 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:29:51

Unless you have a vast wealth if personal experience in this you probably shouldn't comment!
I have no experience other than a very interesting TV documentary on the subject.
Oh, and a friend who chose for herself to go as the opportunities were so good!
In certain circumstances boarding school is the one constant in some childrens very changeable lives.
Children of armed forces being the one Example I particularly remember.
Most parents make this decision after much soul searching. Many kids have very positive experiences.

HelloBear Thu 21-Mar-13 22:29:54


Just don't get it myself and makes me a little sad.

I know what people are saying up thread and don't mean to be judgy but it us just so young and certainly all the evidence about care suggests that the best place for a child is in a family unit (what ever form this takes). Why should this be any different just because boarding involves money and status?

magimedi Thu 21-Mar-13 22:30:36

You are so generalising & being very unreasonable.

I went to boarding school at 11 & loathed it - but I am not everyone.

toobreathless Thu 21-Mar-13 22:31:25

'Narrow & unimaginative?'

Stella you flatter the OP!

HelloBear Thu 21-Mar-13 22:31:39

Though granted service families/foreign civil service is a different case.

Corygal Thu 21-Mar-13 22:32:24

Ho hum. A lot of my DBs friends (boys) boarded young because their parents got divorced/travelled a lot/both worked. I was quite surprised because I'd always thought it was meant to be about the education.

Thing is, for a lot of these kids the option of being at home with competent loving parents simply isn't there.

Same for slightly older children - one of my oldest friends stayed at school despite being endlessly arrested because the school didn't think being home alone would do him any good. They were right. It was Eton, as it happens.

ScottyDoc Thu 21-Mar-13 22:32:25

I personally agree with you. I think children have a severe lack of parental one on one these days and too much nursery/childminder caregiving. At my ds's nursery before I removed him for various reasons, a key worker confided that some children were there from 8 until 6 all day every day because the parents had a certain lifestyle they wanted to upkeep.

There's little value in this society at being a SAHM and I think this contributes to the desperation in having it all. Except that you can't. I do believe however that it mostly boils down to the actual parenting. No reason why a child shouldn't grow up to be well adjusted and fulfilled if sent to boarding school, provided that child knows it is loved , wanted and why it's parents have chosen to send it there.

ReallyTired Thu 21-Mar-13 22:32:30

Some of the best boarding schools try to reproduce the family unit by having "house parents".

Talkinpeace Thu 21-Mar-13 22:32:38

there are as many reasons for using boarding school at that early age as there are children attending ....

MissBetseyTrotwood Thu 21-Mar-13 22:33:20

My DB (then 8) boarded as our DF died slowly and in agony at home. I'd have loved not to have lived through that day in day out.

Corygal Thu 21-Mar-13 22:33:55

The point I am making - badly - is that money and status can be a red herring. Your parents either want to bring you up or they don't, and cash only enables one extra choice, not determines the real issue.

WorraLiberty Thu 21-Mar-13 22:35:56

Anyway babybarrister you haven't made yourself very clear.

What do you mean by If I were PM for the day this would be on my to do list

What exactly would you do?

lemuzzy Thu 21-Mar-13 22:35:57

Reallytired I can't talk for all schools, but my experience of the house parent system was that it was woefully inadequate. There is no way the number of adults present could adequately parent that many children. Plus the behavioural difficulties of the children meant that they hardly tried as they were so difficult.

MintTeaForMe Thu 21-Mar-13 22:36:31

ScottyDoc: At my ds's nursery before I removed him for various reasons, a key worker confided that some children were there from 8 until 6 all day every day because the parents had a certain lifestyle they wanted to upkeep.

I imagine 'certain lifestyle' = a job.

Quite a few mum and dads have these, and their children have to be looked after.

Hopasholic Thu 21-Mar-13 22:39:02

I wish I had gone to boarding school. Always wanted to from about the age of 7.
Probably Enid Blytons fault ( and my dads behaviour but then that's another story confused

toobreathless Thu 21-Mar-13 22:39:45

Very interested to know what else would be on your list to do if you were PM for a day OP, care to share?

<Settling down with popcorn>

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 21-Mar-13 22:40:09

totally agree with you,
it is not a choice we DH and I would ever make. and we have our intentions and beliefs also written into our wills.

This is as a result of our experiences of being sent away aged 7.

Mum is determined that we would change our minds in so many circumstances but we wouldn't.

I dont think I can ever understnad it but then there are loads of things I don't understand that other people do and tend to just leave people to get on with the decisions that they make as a family.

LiseYates Thu 21-Mar-13 22:40:33

Completely not for me,and from a personal viewpoint don't understand why people would have children just to send them away to live at boarding school from a tiny age.
I have a 5 year old and a 10 year old and can't even begin to imagine them living away.
Why have them if you are going to send them to live somewhere else?
This is just from my viewpoint though and fully expect to be challenged on this as I know people will disagree or have different circumstances!

ScottyDoc Thu 21-Mar-13 22:42:24

No my love. Not just a 'job' , but the lifestyle that comes with that. I've known too many people with high flying careers that have children only to dump them straight into nursery at the age of a few months just so they can keep going and have the nice house, kitchen extension etc. that's the ugly truth of some circumstances. And I speak as a former HC professional and childcare worker myself.

There's a big difference in working because you have to and working because you want to at the expense of that precious time with your children, for the sake of material and social reasons.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 21-Mar-13 22:44:09

I agree scotty that there is a difference in my head between working all hours to put food on the table and working all hours to make sure you get a new car every three years and 2 holidays a year and so on.

PatriciaHolm Thu 21-Mar-13 22:46:02

"There's a big difference in working because you have to and working because you want to at the expense of that precious time with your children, for the sake of material and social reasons"

And obviously the nursery keyworker was privy to the exact reasons all the parents worked?

Boggler Thu 21-Mar-13 22:47:35

After today I'd love to send my dc's to boarding school, and I'm sure they'd prefer it to my screaming at them. wink

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Thu 21-Mar-13 22:47:37

Patricia, you are splitting hairs.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 21-Mar-13 22:48:18

There are lots of different reasons. I grew up on an arable farm in the middle of nowhere and am quite dyslexic none of the local schools believed in dyslexia in those days. My parents had a choice me spending 2 hours in the car going to and from school or boarding school. They choose boarding school they then pushed as much farming as they could possibly manage into term time so they worked much less when I was home. I probably saw far more of them than if I had been at school local and they hadn't concentrated there work.
I am now a vet and a lone parent it is an option I have and am still considering. Again I would push all my nights and weekends in to term time so that I would have more free time with DD. I might even work full time night shifts in term time to accommodate this.

sweetkitty Thu 21-Mar-13 22:50:11

I would have loved boarding school to get away from my parents but that's another thread.

I have a 8 & 7 yo and the thought of them being away is horrific but I wouldn't judge any parent who does, it's their child their choice.

IneedAgoldenNickname Thu 21-Mar-13 22:53:54

My cousin went to boarding school at roughly that age as she is profoundly deaf, and it was the best school for her.

A friend of mine went to boarding school as her df died, and her Mum struggled to cope with her heartbreak and her children.

Like a pp I always wanted to go to boarding school thanks to Enid Blyton!

Iggity Thu 21-Mar-13 22:54:16

Love how nursery staff appear to know the ins and outs of peoples lives. My discussion with my key worker focuses around my son's day there and if there are any issues I need to raise with them. I certainly don't discuss my outside life with them. They know I work across the road from the nursery. In any case, if I wanted to spend all day getting my big toe waxed, it would be none of their concern. In the 2 yrs my son has spent at nursery, the parents spend their time at work I'm assuming to keep a roof over their head. If that equates to a "certain lifestyle" so be it but beats living under a bridge.

Yfronts Thu 21-Mar-13 22:54:20

My mother went aged 7 and hated it, missed her family. She really struggled to bring up her own family as a direct result she said. An institution can't model a good family set up however good it is

Excuse me, I clicked on this because it was in active and DH was in boarding school from age 7 (and in a foreign country where he didn't speak the language), so he and I discuss this and I'm interested.

FWIW I know from him how kind they can be. Some of his teachers were second fathers to him. But, I saw this, and had to comment:

Its quite a modern idea to bring up your own children.

No, it isn't. Poor and ordinary people have always cared for their own children. That means most of us. It's true a minority have for a long time been sent away. But the ways this was done have changed a lot.

In fact the whole idea of 'childhood' is a particularly modern invention.

No, it really isn't. Medieval people, Saxons, Romans - they all had an idea of childhood.

It's a very nineteenth-century myth that it's only us who care about children and schooling. The reason that myth exists is to support the idea that is' ok for children to go to boarding school and to be treated harshly by their parents (as children were back then). I'm not saying boarding schools aren't ok - or even great, as they were for my DH who has so many fond memories - but please don't justify them like this.

stargirl1701 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:57:03

YABU. For forces children they provide stability and security. For children whose parents work overseas they are a home from home in a familiar country. For children from the most deprived backgrounds they could be a lifeline out of poverty.

I would've loved to attend a boarding school.

kim147 Thu 21-Mar-13 22:57:39

I survived it. Years of bullying. No one to talk to except a few friends. Bored at the weekends if you did not play sport. Bullying by the older children of the younger ones. Younger ones expected to do duties for the older ones. Including changing the TV channel and making toast.

No space to hide or to show your emotions. No one actually caring about you. Teachers getting drunk and shouting at you. And fuck all to do.

It has really affected me - academically I did well but emotionally, I know I still carry the scars.

TSSDNCOP Thu 21-Mar-13 23:10:56

I think if I were PM for the day this would be like miles down my "to do" list.

thezebrawearspurple Thu 21-Mar-13 23:12:38

It depends on the individual child, the school and whether or not they want to be there. There are circumstances where it may be for the best, in others it may be catastrophic. You can't judge all as wrong just because some are.

difficultpickle Thu 21-Mar-13 23:15:26

Utterly pointless pathetic and goading thread abandoned by an apparent barrister who cannot support her argument.

I told ds (8) recently that one of his old schoolfriend's mum had been vocal in criticising the fact that ds had gone to boarding school. Ds wanted to call her to tell her what he thought of her ill-judged comments.

Some children love boarding and some hate it. Obviously the ones who love it must have delinquent parents hmm

Janni Thu 21-Mar-13 23:16:12

Hopasholic - our childhoods sound rather similar!

Madlizzy Thu 21-Mar-13 23:26:19

My dh still suffers from 'Sunday night feeling' and suffered dreadfully Fter being sent off aged 9. It's affected him in many ways.

Bearing in mind this thread is focussing on children under the age of 11 and boarding we are talking years 4-6 (8-11years old) I do disagree with it. It would not be for us. Children still need their parents at that age and I don't believe a boarding school however good will ever care more about my child than I do.

The whole gives the child stability argument is also over played in my opinion Families give children the greatest stability not schools in my experience and opinion.

MsElisaDay Thu 21-Mar-13 23:47:32

YABU. If I was bringing up a young George Osborne I'd want to send him away, too.

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 21-Mar-13 23:54:22

Boarding schools for under 11s are like food banks. in a perfect world there would be no need for them, but for some they're essential.

iheartmycat Fri 22-Mar-13 00:30:32

As a child I changed schools and countries at least yearly, if not more often, loved it, didnt feel unsettled in the slightest -'security' was DM, df and ds. However, come secondary age, it IS much better to have the stability of one education system in the build up to exams - I didn't board as my mother decided to settle in one country with us while df worked abroad but many of my friends did. So, no, I don't think they are a bad thing - but not for the under 11,s.

DaveMccave Fri 22-Mar-13 00:40:43

I can relate tokim147

In my experience, the ones that loved it and raved about their 'opportunity' were the ones that encouraged the bullying by age, were the bitchiest, embraced pointless and damaging traditions without critical thought. They were also the worst at showing their true emotions. I can't imagine the boarding school lovers turned out to be rounded individuals, and I bet they're still in denial big time.

The notion of boarding school is abhorrent. Working overseas is not an excuse, change your career or don't have children if staying in the forces is so important to you. It's a pitiful excuse for parenting.

pigletmania Fri 22-Mar-13 00:52:54

I went when I was 11, my dad was dying of cancer and i chose to go as I did not want to be in the same school as my bullies. At first it was hard but then as I got used to it I really loved it, noi am not a bully or of the hooray henrietta variety. going to boarding school was the best thing that could have happened as it gave me a sense of independence that my very needy and possessive mother could not provide and to break free from all that. So baby your views are narrow and ignorant, it's not for you far enough but it does not mean its wrong.

ChocStocksRunningLow Fri 22-Mar-13 00:53:40

I boarded from 11, but my youngest brother and my sister started at 9 & 10. We were Forces children and all five us boarded. We all loved it, it didn't matter that we moved home and country frequently, our schools were the one constant in our lives.

My older children have boarded since year 7 and they also have loved it. We all have, as a family, a huge bond and are most certainly not scarred by boarding school. Quite the contrary rather.

ukatlast Fri 22-Mar-13 02:20:13

'Boarding schools for under 11s are like food banks. in a perfect world there would be no need for them, but for some they're essential.'

THIS. I personally wouldn't go for it over 11 either but it is easier to justify then.

tvmum1976 Fri 22-Mar-13 02:36:02

i think as a general rule YANBU. I"m sure there are lots of exceptions to this and worthwhile reasons but I agree that as a general rule, young children should be with their parents if at all possible and don't agree that it's a 'great opportunity' for them to be sent away.

Good heavens. There is nothing "modern" about the concept of childhood.

This is a type of argument used to undermine established social conventions (another example is the nuclear family) and is pretty much always not historically accurate.

HollyBerryBush Fri 22-Mar-13 06:39:10

There is nothing "modern" about the concept of childhood.

So we weren't shoving toddlers up chimneys, had them working between the looms in the mills, our gathering crops during harvest, powder monkeys on ships, down coal mines, the age of consent wasn't raised to 12 in 1865, and before the Education Act 1870, which made the provision for state education is all a dream in my mind and the little blighters were happily playing hopscotch until they were 18?

FYI there was so state provided secondary school until 1902.

So 'childhood' as we think of it, is a modern concept.

theodorakisses Fri 22-Mar-13 07:04:19

Troublemaking thread. biscuit

skratta Fri 22-Mar-13 07:06:00

I agree theodora

kim147 Fri 22-Mar-13 07:23:00

My sister did fine at boarding school - it suited her personality and she left with very good communication skills, lots of friends and mega confidence (but not many qualifications). If she'd have been at home, maybe our parents might have paid more notice.

It affected me so much. I had no one looking out for me for 7 years and that's all I want. Someone to look out for me, to love me and to actually care about me and what's going on in my life. I know that is all down to my time at boarding school and it's affected my relationships because that's the one thing I desperately want.

cory Fri 22-Mar-13 07:55:51

Being away from 8 am to 6 pm as in the post about children at nursery doesn't strike me as describing a particularly high powered or intense job: merely an ordinary 9-5 job with an hour's commute shoved in.

Keenoonvino Fri 22-Mar-13 08:11:57

My friend found a boarding school in Switzerland that takes babies from 6 months... Now that is unreasonable!

SucksToBeMe Fri 22-Mar-13 08:18:11

shockKeen, SIX MONTHS????

Keenoonvino Fri 22-Mar-13 08:26:00

Not Switzerland, I mean Singapore. But yes, 6 months. Makes me sad

pigletmania Fri 22-Mar-13 08:33:37

Oh goidness 6 monts why te hell do people have babies if they send them away

ThingummyBob Fri 22-Mar-13 08:38:14

I went at eight, loved it; twas all very Enid Blyton at prep school. Lots of love and hugs were freely given by matron and her team of helpers. I gained skills which have served me very well over the years.

One teacher has since been convicted of sex abuse crimes though. I can recall hating him with a passion and feel I was only lucky to not have had to deal with what he was clearly up to sad

It was right for me, but I wouldn't dream of sending my own dc's even if I could afford it

ScottyDoc Fri 22-Mar-13 08:45:08

People can justify boarding schools for babies and children as much as they want. I'm just glad my own kids are where they should be, at home with me and their father to tuck them in every night safe and secure. That's what should happen and that is what every single child needs. To be with their parents who love them, not send them away to an institution to be looked after.

My DD had had four schools by Year 2. We were about to move again. We decided that I would live in a home that we would buy to be near a good school. We looked everywhere and because of her particular needs (she has severe dyslexia, dyspraxia and mild aspergers) the school we chose was both independent and VERY expensive.

The military would help pay the fees if she boarded Mon-Thurs but not if she was a day pupil. We could not afford the fees without help. We still pay over 35% of my DH wages towards her fees and therapies. We made the decision for her to board at the start of year three.

I drop her off on Monday having spent an hour and half talking and laughing our way to school. I turn up every Wednesday for sports, watch her play, accompany her to match tea and then take her out for dinner. Drop her back at the boarding house literally to sleep. We have been all over and she is now aiming to be a resturant critic!! Both of us love this special time.

On Friday I collect her every fourth week at 12.30 (school exeat) and we spend the afternoon at places where she wants to go but would not enjoy if it was full of lots of other children - soft play centres, roller skating etc. We speak to her every night and frequently get told that she has to go as we are holding up a game of some sort. She loves her weekend and we always make sure as a family we do special things. She has exceptionally long holidays - she finishes for Easter today.

Is it what I would have chosen if all things were equal - No. I would have preferred that she could be at home every night. Do I feel the four nights a week that she spends away from home for 30 weeks a year a fair sacrifice for the fact that she can now read and write, she can now play a team sport, she has friends and is so incredibly happy at school - yes.

Do I expect anyone else to make the exact same decision - No. Each child is unique, each family dynamic is unique and what each scenario would gain/lose is unique.

It is impossible to give a definitive 'I would never do this....'

Indith Fri 22-Mar-13 08:56:11

We are all different and make different choices to suit our children and our lifestyles. It doesn't mean anyone loves their children any less.

Now lets all hold hands and sing a happy song.

JollyGolightly Fri 22-Mar-13 09:00:34


I went to boarding schools from the age age of 9, and have worked in one.

I'm a teacher, with post-graduate qualifications in child development and counselling. All of my personal and professional experience tells me it's a bad idea.

quesadilla Fri 22-Mar-13 09:06:04

Have to say I am with you OP. I know there are situations where it can work but this stuff about childhood being a modern invention doesn't wash for me, the Victorians and predecessor generations did some sick things and the fact it went on for generations doesn't make it OK. One could use the same argument about slavery.
I understand some parents (those in the armed forces etc) have to do it. But as a general rule I think prepubescent children need to be in a family or family-like environment. I knew quite a lot of kids who had boarded before the age of 11 and most of them were quite screwed up.

KoalaFace Fri 22-Mar-13 09:11:04

In my experience working with children I believe that being secure and happy depends on feeling loved and valued.

There's no reason for me to believe that going to boarding school equates to a feeling of neglect as long as they don't feel it's (to quote previous poster) "a dumping ground".

Under 11s do seem young to be away from the family home but I think that's more a personal belief than something I feel 'right' about!

Ragwort Fri 22-Mar-13 09:19:49

In my experience working with children I believe that being secure and happy depends on feeling loved and valued - that is a very good point, some children at boarding school may feel loved and valued because they just don't get that sort of nurturing at home.

Don't convince yourselves that every child who lives at home with their own parent(s) is an a happy/safe/secure and valued environment hmm. There are many, many children who would actually benefit from being in a boarding school rather than a dysfunctional home.

FWIW my DS would love to go to boarding school, as an only DC who loves sport he would be absolutely suited to that sort of lifestyle. Apart from lack of money it is the thought of all the 'judginess' that prevents us from sending him to boarding school.

I haven't read all of this but we are not in UK and growing up my brother went to boarding school aged 9. He had major learning needs and it was the only place that could offer support, it was boarding only and mum had to make the choice of giving him a chance at education or not...she took that choice and now I am a 40 something mum of an 8 year old with aspergers, dyslexia and dyspraxia...he cannot read and write and needs behavioural and social support....if there was somewhere that could help him more than I can I would have to seriously consider it.

Step Fri 22-Mar-13 09:32:41

Genuine question here.

I attended a boarding school from 7.5 to 18. Hated it like crazy at the start it was a fairly bleak environment with little real love for the kids there. I got used to it in the end, and if I blot out some of the terrible bullying the education was indeed fantastic. However with 2 Step kids + 1 baby, I'm becoming accutely aware that because of the upbringing I had there are "gaps" in my parenting knowledge. Simple stuff like parents helping with homework, dealing with "school" friends", staying up times, and other issues. The most accute of which is I suppose how to discipline kids as a parent. My parents were great for me, always lovely as it was always holiday time when I saw them and a relaxed environment. They didn't have to push me to do school work, that role was done in prep at school by teachers, and any behaviour issues were pretty much dealt with by the school or peers. I'm having to "learn as I go" as I never really had a domestic life like my kids have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not making a total pig's ear of it but I firmly believe boarding school has made me a worse parent...
Anyone else?

VeganCow Fri 22-Mar-13 09:38:51

I agree. Parents are missing out on the majority of their childs childhood. I was there every step of the way with mine, and I mean every step.
I also think full time nursery for under fives is wrong for the same reason. I think part time child care is not so bad, say 3 hours in a morning or afternoon, but have never understood how a parent can drop a child, some being babies, off at 8am and not see them again until 6pm.
I think the same of leaving kids in the care of a childminder. In fact I cant see anything positive about childminders unless its for pre school and after school care, ie taking child to and from school.
I know of mothers who go to work and earn only enough to pay the childcare..why would they do that? Why not stay at home?

VeganCow Fri 22-Mar-13 09:43:09

Yawningmonster, I forgot to say in my post that my views on daycare/boarding do not apply to a child with extra needs. I know how hard it is bringing up a child with special needs and sometimes expert care is the only option.

ReallyTired Fri 22-Mar-13 09:49:25

I think that children who are sent to boarding school are OK, provided that there is a clear reason for boarding. For example a child who is a gifted musican or a chorister may have to board to attend a specialist school.

I feel that you are very judgemental. Its not all practical or indeed healthy to be with your child every second of the day.

puffinnuffin Fri 22-Mar-13 10:07:41

It is hard to generalize. There are many different types of boarding. Our school has flexi boarding where children can choose to board for one or two nights a week. My 10 year old loves it and can't wait to board once a week. She has a sleepover with her friends and a break from her non sleeping brother! She asks to board.

It all depends on the individual school and their ethos as well as the child. Some children thrive boarding and some prefer to be at home.

ScottyDoc Fri 22-Mar-13 10:33:58

reallytired who are you to say its not practical or healthy to spend every second of the day with your children? Bizarre statement to say the least. Might not work for you, sure as hell works for a lot of people may I remind you.

everlong Fri 22-Mar-13 10:57:48

Ds has boarders at his school. He's always asking if he can board <cheeky sod> he reckons they have a fab time.

DeWe Fri 22-Mar-13 11:00:59

I have a letter from a little girl at the Dragon School, which was in a secondhand book I bought. I would guess she's about 8 or 9.

It's her first letter home to her parents and she is obviously having a wonderful time. The letter is filled with enthusiasm, written over several days, and the last thing she wrote was "thank you, thank you so much. I love it!".

I hope she managed to write another letter to her parents because it was just such a lovely happy letter. I wish I could have sent it to her parents, but it was unsigned and dated several years previously.

IWantAnotherBaby Fri 22-Mar-13 11:45:53

DS (9) started boarding one night a week this term. We do not need him to, and I was not keen. We live a short distance from the school, and I miss him on the nights he is away. But several of his friends board, they have fantastic evening activities between prep and bedtime (next term he's signed up for golf!), and he has been begging to be allowed to join them for one night since he started the school in September (the school would not allow him to board in his first term). He has absolutely loved it, and they all see it as a weekly sleepover with friends.

Despite this, I have always said no child of mine would board, and he will not be going to a secondary school where he has to board (although I would now let him do 'casual boarding' as he does now, if he wanted to).

I went to boarding school from the age of 12 (going to that particular school there was no weekly boarding or day option (there is now), and it was what I wanted at the time) and it suited me well. But, selfishly perhaps, I don't want my own children to be away from me for weeks on end. I know this attitude restricts their opportunities, and is perhaps short-sighted, especially when I consider what a fantastic time I had, but, right now, I think it would be the wrong decision for us as a family.

Jenny70 Fri 22-Mar-13 11:47:42

And at 11 they suddenly are old enough? They magically mature overnight on the night before they turn 11? Or is it 1 week before they turn 11? The week after?

Or, let's assume, that children have different maturities, different needs, different circumstances and let's not group them all together and say it's wrong, just because you wouldn't choose it.

<< but privately I wonder why I didn't consider boarding school for those awful 3yr old tantrums that went on until DS was 5! >>

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Fri 22-Mar-13 11:52:21

Step I think that is one of the things that I very much agree with.

My Mum is noticing that now I have children over the age of 7 at home that she never really experienced it. She is over eager to come to sports days and plays and general school stuff, in total contrast to us being sent to the other end of the country in September and going "home" at Christmas - staying with friends for half terms and staying at school through exeats.

I am finding my way with parenting but she can't help or offer advice as she never did any of it.

shewhowines Fri 22-Mar-13 12:59:06

Unless in exceptional circumstances such as extra needs, YANBU.

Step Fri 22-Mar-13 13:22:08


Thanks... I'm not alone then!

babybarrister Fri 22-Mar-13 14:19:59

Actually I have been travelling not 'chased off the thread' as some on here insinuated. I have plenty of experience of boarding and have seen it at all ages and for all sorts of reasons - social reasons, parents in forces etc etc
Having read about people's experiences of specialist schools for disabilities, I now absolutely accept that for some people that is the best thing for their child even if under 11.

Personally I would not send DS at any age but that is just me. As a family barrister I see how critical professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists etc etc are of parents who do not parent. The UK I consider has a very low threshold in relation to when it becomes acceptable for someone else to parent your child and I believe it is wrong. Foreign forces parents do not send their children to boarding schools under 11. They certainly do not send them to boarding school for purely social reasons at this age.
FWIW I have never met anyone who boarded under 11 who has a good word to say about it- they felt that their parents were abandoning them. An ex boyfriend who was sent at 7 never forgave his parents for sending his brother at 11. Needless to say he has not sent his own children.
IMO it is a social tradition that needs to end for all children apart from those with SN

As to other things on my to- do list as PM, I would change the second language taught in schools to Spanish, make all benefits means tested, raise the tax threshold to £20,000 and ban fake tangrin

Arabesque Fri 22-Mar-13 14:27:46

YANBU. Unless there is a reason that makes keeping the child at home very very difficult I cannot understand how anyone could send a child under 11 to boarding school. It would break my heart. Effectively, from the age of eleven they will never really live at home again and will only be there for a few weeks a year on holidays. Awful.

Piemother Fri 22-Mar-13 14:59:35

I went to boarding school when I was 8 and I loved it. Yabu

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 22-Mar-13 15:03:59

If I had had a husband that travelled with his work/was posted abroad my choice would hve been to be with him and send the kids to boarding school.

pigletmania Fri 22-Mar-13 15:06:42

YABU to say that boarding needs to end, for those in the forces it is vital to maintain consistancy. I was aware the many children under 11 at my boarding school were from Forces families where they were moving about a lot. Many not all children like boarding, I liked being away from my smothering mother and relished the independence, being from an only child family loved the company of other children.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 17:08:16

OP, I wonder why you think it is significant that you have never met anyone who boarded under 11 and loved it. Even if you have met very many people in your life they cannot be a useful sample of the number of under 11s who have ever been to boarding school. It sounds like 'I've never met them so they don't exist' reasoning. It doesn't make sense.

For the poster who thought it wierd that nurseries in some countries start taking babies at 6 months, it's the same in the UK. Just as an example, google the nurseries attached to Oxford uni colleges: 6 months for most nurseries, 6 weeks for some nurseries. And yes, happy adjusted babies/children with loving parents go there.

By the way it's possible to be an 'absent' parent while living in the same house as your children and swearing blind you'd never send them to boarding but never talking to (different from talking/shouting at), playing with and just being friends with them.

Also FWIW I think many of those countries who don't have boarding for under 11s have very dysfunctional ideas about schooling. I'd rather board at a good school in the UK than go to a dysfunctional day school in some countries I could mention. Obviously even in the UK not all boarding schools are equal, some are great and some are horrendous just like any other school. Those of you with unhappy experiences: it might be the school was not the right one for you.

Talkinpeace Fri 22-Mar-13 17:23:56

Statistically its highly likely that OP will have only met those who came off worse from their experience.
Because well balanced individuals who form stable relationships rarely have dealings with family law Barristers.

Medics rarely deal with people who can handle their drink and drugs.
The police rarely meet those who keep their noses clean.

elastamum Fri 22-Mar-13 17:26:11

I dont think it is fair to generalise.

I think 11 is young to board fulltime, but at our rural prep quite a few flexi board as they have very long commutes. As far as I am aware most of them seem quite happy with this. There are quite a few termly boarders, mostly from overseas, often countries where they couldnt get the same education.

It also depends on the child. DS1 has been keen to board for years. At 14 he now is a day pupil from 7.30am until 9pm and will probably board in his GCSE yr and sixth form (his choice). DS 2 absolutely hates the idea of boarding - and I would be delighted for him to stay at home - so at least I wont end up home alone grin

grovel Fri 22-Mar-13 17:31:04

Blimey, baby, you need to talk to more High Court judges. Loads of them boarded before the age of 11 and don't seem to whinge about it.

Midlifecrisisarefun Fri 22-Mar-13 17:39:35

I am always amazed that there are these kind of threads, but if anyone posted a thread saying parents are neglectful putting babies/toddlers in nurseries would be shouted down roundly! It could be easily said that those babies are not being parented during their formative years.
Those children then go to school followed after school activities being ferried around! Boarders have activities all on site usually and don't spend their free time in a car!
Holidays are long, exeat weekends frequent and flexible boarding gives lots of options for parents and children. Children are encouraged to ring/email/write I would imagine Skype these days to parents frequently!

My DS1 went to a brilliant prep school aged 8 as a weekly boarder, after half a term he asked to stay the weekends. He wrote home every weekend, we have kept the letters! The school unfortunately the school closed a few years ago but he has said he would have sent his own DS there in a few years if it was still open.
Senior school was a different matter and with hindsight we would have done things differently, but boarding wasn't the issue but new staff unused to 'boarding'.
To blankly say boarding is wrong and for that OP is BU. Parents have to do what they feel is right for their children, the fact the school exist shows a demand and I predict they will become more popular as time goes on...after all it is an extension of those wraparound nurseries.

I worked at a school that took boarders from age 8 (Y4).

Some needed to board because of their parents' jobs (military, diplomatic), some because of the parents' hours (worked 8-8 five days to give the children 100% focus at weekends), and some because of the parents', well, crapness.

I remember one little boy who was the only one of his siblings to board. Their house was right by the school. He knew they didn't want him at home: it was heartbreaking. But then maybe they were mean to him at home and it was genuinely nicer at school. Who knows.

I know that my DB who weekly boarded had an easier life than I did - he got up later, got fed better, saw more of his friends, did more clubs, etc. That was 13+ and his choice though I wasn't given the choice and am still bitter.

BigGiantCowWithAKnockKnockTail Fri 22-Mar-13 17:52:57

if their parents cannot look after them it should be raising serious alarm bells

Tell that to my DF who lost his wife leaving him with two daughters aged 7 (my DSis) and 5 (me). Due to the amount of travelling required for his job he had no option but to send us to boarding school. I carried on being a boarder until I was 18.

I'm not saying it was the best thing for me, but your OP is very narrow minded regarding the reasons that some parents have for sending their DCs to boarding school.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 17:59:08

Horry, for the unhappy little boy you mention whose parents didn't want him at home, that would be the case whether they put him in boarding school or not. There are many unhappy little boys in day schools whose parents don't want them at home.

I guess boarding school is a microcosm of society like any other. Some children there are from happy lovely families and some children there are from unstable unhappy families. I've read this whole thread and just not convinced you can point to the school to explain lives which turned out happy or unhappy. Not trying to deny anybody's experience, just saying it's easy to say you're unhappy because you went to boarding school. Other unhappy people (who didn't go to boarding school) have other things to point to as the explanation.

Some mothers just don't know how to parent despite never having been to boarding school, ever, in their lives. Some went to boarding school and find mothering comes naturally to them. Not saying boarding school has no effects, just that everything/everywhere we go can have positive or negative effects.

Talkinpeace Fri 22-Mar-13 18:08:23

When my sister was at boarding school, one of her friends arranged that people would go and visit her at home in Hong Kong in the holidays.
Then the flight ticket arrived at the end of term and her parents had split up and Mum had moved to San Francisco. They had neglected to tell their daughter. Boarding school was the safest place for the poor girl.

If they had been poor, the locations would have been Croydon and Sutton, but the idiocy of the parents would have been the same.

Boarding school is a choice, and often for parents a REALLY hard one. Do not add to their guilty feelings with uninformed comment.

b4bunnies Fri 22-Mar-13 19:13:08

met a woman whose husband was sent away to school at the age of four.

babybarrister Fri 22-Mar-13 20:38:29

The people I have met who hated it were not clients but friends ...
I am referring only to children going under 11 and as I have said, not o kids with SN
FWIW I work and I work hard - this is not a WAHM bashing thread.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 21:00:38

So babybarrister you take your friends as a sample, find all of them who boarded before 11 years were unhappy, and from that you conclude that such schools should be banned? Sorry your friends had bad experiences but I don't follow your reasoning about banning boarding for that reason. All schools should be banned I suppose because they make loads of children deeply unhappy.

Obviously if all your friends have this in common (they were all unhappy at boarding school) then no wonder you find it hard to imagine that there can exist people who had a happy experience of boarding.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:17:52

My cousin and her husband put their kids to boarding school in the uk so he can work abroad. Despite not working herself, and being a loathsome designer clad, be-sunglassed layabout, the cousin has followed her husband to his posting abroad, and sits at home all day filing her nails and doing her hair. I deduce:

1. She has chosen to live with her husband rather than her kids.
2. He has chosen a career over his family.

When you have children, don't put yourself and your job first. If your current job doesn't fit family life, get a job in tescos or cleaning toilets. Being poor is better than being rich but living without your children.

I know adults in their forties and 50s who will never forgive their parents for boarding them. They felt their parents careers came before them.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 21:46:40

My children don't board - yet - but they will probably do so at secondary age. My husband is in the army and we currently choose to live apart and have him come home every two or three weeks for a weekend.

However, this is not a long term solution and in a couple of years we will go back into quarters. I wouldn't choose boarding at prep school but I think we will do so as they reach senior school.

My husband leaving his job is not an option - what would he do? The job market is pretty tough these days!

impecuniousmarmoset Fri 22-Mar-13 21:48:43

60 years of psychology research agrees with you. Sure there'll be some positive experiences, but many many people are left scarred by being sent away to board at a very young age.

impecuniousmarmoset Fri 22-Mar-13 21:50:01

Secondary is a different ball game though jcscot the op specifically talks about under 11s.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:52:23

But both of you living without your children IS a LONG term solution?!

Its not ok for him to leave his job for him to be with his family, but its ok for you to leave your job, life and children behind so you can be with him?

missmapp Fri 22-Mar-13 21:53:16

DH went to boarding school at 8 and hated it, his mum still has the letters where he begged her to come and get him. BUT, he was the only child out of his 3 siblings to go to boarding school , so felt pushed out- had he been in a military/working overseas family, I think he would have been fine- it wasnt the school he hated, but being left out from home life IYSWIM.

I think some things work for some families and dont for others- it is very damaging to over generalise things IMO.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 21:53:43

Loads of parents put their careers before their kids. Some of these parents choose boarding schools, and some of them choose day schools. This is a matter of good and bad parenting, not a matter of boarding schools. I would only accept this logic if all/most children at day schools were happy and all/most children at boarding schools were unhappy. By the simple expedient of a full-time live-in nanny it's possible to ignore your day-school children entirely.

I went to both boarding and day schools. Was happy at both. Knew happly/unhappy people at both. The best thing you can do as a parent is choose the right school for your child whether that's boarding or day or home-schooling. And be grateful if you actually have a choice as many parents don't.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 22:03:26

Many many people are scarred by their school experiences full stop. School life is not a happy experience for many (see many examples here on MN) and that's true of all kinds of schools not just boarding ones. That's why many people choose to home-school if they can, and other parents are fighting tooth and nail to get their children into one school or the other because they feel that particular schools (day schools!) will scar their children for life. A good boarding school is preferable to a bad day school, and vice versa.

impecuniousmarmoset Fri 22-Mar-13 22:04:53

So to those who think small children boarding is ok - from what age? Start of primary at 4? If not, why not? If 4 is too young, what is so different between 4 and say 7? Children that age are v far from emotionally self-reliant, as boarding school requires.

My aunt was boarded from 2. I'm hoping no-one seriously thinks that is a good idea!! There must surely be a cut-off somewhere. To say 'its all down to individual circumstance' is ducking the issue.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 22:05:35

Duck, I don't have a job to leave. We currently organise our life in a way that suits us but, no, it isn't a longterm solution. We are far from rich (the army doesn't pay that well!) but will get help with fees if we choose boarding. Should we go back into quarters, boarding school will be a serious consideration. Forced life is one long exercise in squaring the circle - sacrifice no matter what choices you make.

I do agree that boarding at age 11 is a different prospect to boarding at age 7.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:08:08

Yes, but if they can afford a boarding school, surely then they can afford a good day school, if private is their choice. Then they still get to see their children each day, even if it is or a short while.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 22:11:17

Impecunious, I would say it depends a lot on the school. It would have to be a very special school with very special staff for it to work for young children. My dd went to nursery at a very young age (I won't say how young for fear of being flamed by those people who think nursery for babies is shocking) and I wouldn't have left her at just any nursery. I was lucky to be able to look around and choose the right nursery and also to get one with lovely staff (it was family run and had mother/daughters from the same family). My dd thrived there. She then moved to a lovely childminder who was/is like a mother to me. Same for boarding schools I think. I would have to see the school before judging whether it's ok to leave a young child there.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:12:27

Genuine question jcscot -do you not think that both you and your husband both working locally (doing anything) and being with your children is more important than all of you being separated because one of you has a job abroad?

thewhistler Fri 22-Mar-13 22:13:12

My DSis went to 9 schools by the age of 9. The last was a boarding school. It was the only school where she wasn't bullied for being the new girl and she had a chance to make and keep friends.

I went to 6 by the age of 9. I was horribly homesick at the beginning if each term and it was wonderful to be at home in the holidays, but not being bullied for being new was such a relief.

impecuniousmarmoset Fri 22-Mar-13 22:16:32

Day nursery is a whole different kettle of fish though- you see them in the evenings and they retain a primary secure attachment to parents. Long periods withouf a primary carer are quite different. There's a reason why orphanages don't exist in this country, and that is that with young children, no matter how amazing an institution, it cannot replicate a close parental attachment. If that attachment is absent or damaged, it has serious long-term consequences for a child. This is basic 101 paychology.

thewhistler Fri 22-Mar-13 22:19:55

Sorry, had to stop posting as DDog was sick.

But DH and I decided not to send Ds away at that age.

It depends on the child and the circs.

ScottyDoc Fri 22-Mar-13 22:21:52

What's the point though...having things as precious as children only to hand them over to other people? I'm talking about those who have a choice here. I'll never forget my neighbour who would drag her little girl of only a few months out of bed in the morning for a long day at nursery just so she could continue her high flying career at a bank. Her dh earned very very well and they were extremely comfortable but she couldn't bring herself to spend those vital months at home with her tiny baby.

To those who would happily send their kids to board from such a young age, what is wrong with you that you wouldn't want to spend quality time each day with these little people you created? This is how the world is going now though, babies left to cry by themselves in sleep methods, being told as mothers you can 'spoil' a child of five months old, babies put in cots in their own rooms away from the parents as soon as possible and generally a lack of respect or recognition for the sahm because its about careers and supposedly being able to have it all.

There are many deep rooted issues to all this IMO.

difficultpickle Fri 22-Mar-13 22:25:23

OP unless you are dating teenagers or have dcs under 11 who are boarding how on earth do you know what life is like in a boarding prep today? As with schools generally, it is a very different set up to how it would have been 20 years ago.

PlasticLentilWeaver Fri 22-Mar-13 22:26:18

If it's ok for military/SN, why not for others?
I know of one family who sent one son to boarding school in Y2 because they felt the discipline and distance from them would help him. Who am I to question their parenting decision?

jcscot as an aside, my DH recently left the Army because we wanted stability of schooling and didn't want to live apart to achieve this. The jobs ARE out there. DH had 4 or 5 offers on the table at one point.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 22:29:09

I agree that close parental attachment is important (psych 101) but I don't agree that if you don't see your child every day of every year this attachment is broken/damaged. You really have to lack imagination to assume that seeing them every day=close attachment, missing days of seeing them=no close attachment.

But I would concede that you have to make a special effort to keep the bonds of closeness if you don't see each other every day. Some posters upthread have talked about this; I especially liked the one whose parents tried to do all their farming work during term to leave holidays free to do things with the children. They probably got more from their parents than many children who 'see' the parents every day when really they just co-exist in the same house mostly looked after by the nanny, while smugly saying they would never send the kids to boarding.

Also, children thrive on other inputs and bonds in addition to those they form with parents.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:29:58

I think we're all perfectly entitled to question the parenting decisions of those who would do harm to their children, whether knowingly or not. Children are not the property of their parents.

LMFAO that parents of a Six year old claimed he would benefit from distance from his parents. And as for discipline, why could they not provide that?

gwenniebee Fri 22-Mar-13 22:31:12

I chose to go at 16 and in the end hated and despised it.

I taught in one (recently - 2008 - 11) where we took boarders from Yr 4. Some were very happy, others less so. It depended on the child. Many were military children and by the time they'd settled in, they loved the stability. The staff (especially house staff) were unfailingly loving.

I am interested about your comments regarding parents in the UK being more willing to let others parent their children - in the school I worked in, the majority of the pupils were from overseas.

Personally, I wouldn't want to sent my child to boarding school, but that says more about me than about the standard of the school I worked in.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 22:31:47

Genuine answer - no.

Firstly my children are very small, so I would be working in order to pay someone else to do something I can happily do myself.

Secondly, local jobs "doing anything" pay NMW and we would then be reliant on the State to top us up in order to live - something we do not do currently. A job at NMW would not pay for our (v modest 3 bed) house. We are comfortably off but we are not rich or extravagant and we do not place riches before our family.

Money is not the prime motivator in our lives.

Right now, our marriage is "on hold" to a certain extent in order to provide some stability for our children. As I have said, we will consider boarding school for secondary stage but I can understand why other Forces families consider it at an earlier stage.

It's a bit of a straw man argument to say "Well, just leave your job then!" - easier said than done, especially in the current economic climate.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:34:29

It's not a straw man argument. Your husbands job is not compatible with the fact that he now has a family.

PlasticLentilWeaver Fri 22-Mar-13 22:38:30

duck continuitybof education allowance is only paid to military families if the non-serving spouse travels with the one in service. It doesn't just pay out for private schooling.
And, if the 7 year old who went to board in Y2 was mine, I'd have probably sent him too! He is a pathologically unpleasant child, vicious, vindictive, violent etc. I'm sure I shouldn't say that, but it isn't just nurture or poor parenting, their other two kids are lovely.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 22:38:37

Plastic - yes there are jobs out there. We do keep an eye out for opportunities once my husband passes his IPP (in eighteen months).

My husband is in a niche trade and opportunities are out there but we have to weigh them carefully against him staying in for a full career.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 22:39:39

Forces families should not have children then? Really?

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:41:56

I genuinely wish you all the best jcscot, despite my obvious strong feelings on the situation for personal reasons.

I hope you manage to find a way to have your family stay together.

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 22:43:55

But yes, it does seem that life in the forces is not one that suits people with children because it 'forces' families apart.

ReallyTired Fri 22-Mar-13 22:47:41

"And, if the 7 year old who went to board in Y2 was mine, I'd have probably sent him too! He is a pathologically unpleasant child, vicious, vindictive, violent etc. I'm sure I shouldn't say that, but it isn't just nurture or poor parenting, their other two kids are lovely. "

That is so sad. He must be such an unhappy little boy that both his parents and teachers have that view.

Children need uncondtional love. I believe that being sent to boarding school is easier to cope with when a child knows that they are loved unconditionally by their parents.

PlasticLentilWeaver Fri 22-Mar-13 22:52:31

jcscot sorry, it was meant to be reassuring that there is life out here and opportunities also, even in the current climate, so not to discount it and resign yourself to boarding if it is not what you want. I am sure you/DH have done the sums, but we worked out that with the changes in pension terms, it was no longer the financially sensible option. And that the time to get any promotion related pension would be outweighed by civilian salary and related benefits.

NumericalMum Fri 22-Mar-13 22:54:42

scottydog did you ask your neighbour's DH why he didn't give up his career so she could continue to work?

Why should she have put herself in a vulnerable position of being unable to be independent should she need to be whilst he continued to work?

I am sure she struggled to work with such a young baby, juggling demands of a very difficult job, probably on very little sleep competing against men who have wives who stay at home with their DC. But of course she should have given up her career she worked for and scrounged off her DH instead.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 22:55:23

I find it sad to read what duck94 is writing here because I knew someone in the navy who was afraid of getting married/having kids so that people would not judge him for not quitting his career which he loved. He should not have to give up his work/duty/career to stay at home to be physically in the same room as his family every night of the year.

The closeness of a family is not determined by how many nights they all spend physically together under the same roof.

ScottyDoc Fri 22-Mar-13 22:58:02

"But of course she should have given up her career she worked for and scrounged off her dh instead."

Ahh. That nasty little anti sahm attitude again. Proves my point exactly if you read my post. grin will not waste my breath on a Katie Hopkins fan club member such as yourself.

mercibucket Fri 22-Mar-13 22:59:28

The weird thing is, other forces families don't seem to use boarding schools, or not the ones I met, anyhow. The americans just build schools for their kids wherever they have bases, well so it seems anyway

I see it as the upper class version of fostering. Probably a good thing overall for some children but still not a brilliant first choice and likely to be damaging

All the (frightfully posh) people (men) I know who boarded in primary are quite damaged individuals. Some of them would deny this, but I would say their rampant alcoholism/inability to form lasting relationships tells a different story

duck94 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:04:04

Kawliga - maybe not every night of the year, but most of the year he should want that? Otherwise, his precious career is more important to him than his family.

ScottyDoc Fri 22-Mar-13 23:07:00

It has occurred to me the amount of people desperately needing to have the actual offspring, but more desperately needing to pursue the career ladder at the expense of those offspring. It's a case of thinking one can have everything and nothing will (hopefully) suffer for it. A lie fed to us time and time again by the media and recently the government.

A child deserves to be safe and secure under its parents roof at night, it deserves to be cared for by its parent when it is sick or frightened, and it deserves to be treated as a priority that comes before careers or material objects. You bring it into this world through a choice, and that child has no day over the choice. But it certainly has rights and we as parents have duties to put them first and foremost. If you, as a mother, and with no financial need to work, can stick your tiny baby who needs your smell and touch into nursery for hours on end each day for the sake of a superficial career, there is something seriously and dangerously wrong with you.

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 23:07:48

"rampant alcoholism/inability to form lasting relationships"

I think you'll find this amongst men who went to day schools too, and at all levels of society. It's not the preserve of any particular background or school. Life is funny that way, much as we try to find explanations like 'ah, it must be because he went to boarding school'.

PlasticLentilWeaver Fri 22-Mar-13 23:12:44

mercibucket - its about continuity. You move every 2-3 years, even if the school is on the doorstep, the kids have to make new friends, adjust to a new teaching plan, probably repeat stuff because they're learning about the Romans in the new school and you did that last year and were looking forward to the Victorians this year....

Maybe the US don't change bases so often, so building schools makes sense? I've seen it criticised on here before now that civi families don't like there being forces families in 'their' school, because they will insist on moving on and it's upsetting for their kids to lose friends.

grovel Fri 22-Mar-13 23:17:36

ScottyDoc, it can enjoy boarding too.

mercibucket Fri 22-Mar-13 23:29:27

No, the americans move every 2-3 years, but they invest in schools for their forces kids, even in the UK there are American schools afaik, with their own curriculum so no repeating stuff (obv not in war zones!!) And they all seem to just move. Everyone I knew abroad did the same, unless they were posted somewhere unsafe. Do all forces kids go to boarding school or is it just for officers? It just seems quite a culturally British thing for military kids to board - or am I wrong (quite prepared to be told this, I just speak from what I've seen)

I did a quick google and found there is an actual website for 'boarding survivors' sad

It had this quote from the BMJ

Adults who were sent away to boarding school from their family homes often learnt to endure unacceptably brutal interpersonal practices ... When these kinds of trauma emerge in adulthood in the form of stress related disease, inability to sustain meaningful intimate sexual relationships, and mental and emotional breakdowns, adults often don't even know how to begin to acknowledge their long-hidden pain to themselves, let alone talk to someone else (such as their medical practitioner) about their suffering. This, as we know from the psychological research evidence, often leads to further psychosomatic difficulties in terms of overworking to the point of burnout, multiple serious health problems, and drug and alcohol misuse. ?
   -- Petruska Clarkson BMJ, Vol. 322, 31/3/01, reviewing Duffell, N. (2000) The Making of Them: The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System.

Anyway, my observation on the people I know personally is just anecdote, and yes, I know other people like that too, but they also had traumatic upbringings

kawliga Fri 22-Mar-13 23:30:57

Some of us believe that work is a virtue. To work, to contribute to society, these are the values some of us were brought up with and would like to pass on to our children. I am proud that my mother worked, and I would like my daughter to be proud that I work, and to pass that on to her own daughters. We work, and we add value to ourselves, to society, to the world around us. I do not believe that sitting in the house holding hands and playing happy families tucking each other in bed every night is the sole and supreme purpose of a family. It is an important part of being in a family yes, but it is not the sole purpose of why families exist. Families also exist to allow us to fulfil our potential as human beings. Working, going to school, even boarding school, is another part of what helps us to fulfil our potential as human beings. I do not think the two things are in conflict at all. I am astonished that some people think the two things are incompatible.

jcscot Fri 22-Mar-13 23:35:38

Mercibucket - economies of scale allow the Amercan military to build and maintain schools (and hospitals etc). Their camps are huge compared to ours.

CEA is available to all ranks in the Forces and are not the preserve of officers.

babybarrister Sat 23-Mar-13 08:04:42

I annoy going to comment on forces families but what about people who simply make a choice - why would they do that when the kid is 7? Society should not be tolerating this any more

In the grand scheme of things, where children are allowed to live with parents who hit them, fail to feed them appropriately, fail to clothe them appropriately, or whatever, boarding school isn't that big a deal.

NumericalMum Sat 23-Mar-13 08:07:51

Well said kawliga

Scottydog I don't read rubbish media and have no idea who Katie Hopkins is. My DC is 5 and went to nursery after I nurtured her and fed her and did constant night wakings and is a content, well rounded, happy child. My own DM and DMil didn't work and both were painfully aware they had no choices in life other than to stay in emotionally abusive relationships as they had not worked since their first DC was born. They both resent their DC and their DHs. I want my daughter to know I don't resent her. She has never felt abandoned or unloved and will grow up knowing being female doesn't preclude her from having a career or a family. There are 7 nights in a week and 2 entire weekend days. Those are fully devoted to her and I get 30 days holiday a year which we spend together. I really do have it all.

Talking about the boarding experiences of men who are now 40 is mad. Boarding has changed hugely in the last ten years, let alone twenty or thirty. Many schools are nearly empty at weekends.

Is it really better for a child to spend three hours a day in a car with its parent than be at school and have a long phone call instead?

AuntieStella Sat 23-Mar-13 08:15:51

Very few people do "just make a choice" when "the kid is 7". There are no 6 year old boarders in Britain at present, and only about 200 7 year olds.

Think about the number of Forces and Diplomatic families, plus allow for those in other peripatetic occupations, then those with home crises, and from some boroughs social placements, and I think the "parking the kid" parent is a myth.

greenplastictrees Sat 23-Mar-13 08:25:36

DH weekly boarded due to sickness in the family meaning his parents were at a hospital 100 miles away day in and day out for a while. The hospital stay thankfully ended. He chose to stay at school on weekly boarding because he loved it. He would have been about 11 at the time and pretty much boarded for the rest of his school life after that despite having a family who he loved dearly and enjoyed spending time with.

If it is what is best for the individual then fine.

greenplastictrees Sat 23-Mar-13 08:32:39

Managed to lose part of my post. I also meant to add he had a sibling who was 8 at the time who did the same and again, picked to stay boarding for most of his schooling after when he was able to opt out.

thewhistler Sat 23-Mar-13 09:24:26

Even US military kids have attachment issues, less prob if your whole battalion is moved but in the RAF and Navy, it isn't necessarily the case that all your friends move at the same time.

It's not just the academic curriculum. Doing the Romans or Tudors twice is boring but ok. The agonizing thing is having to make new friends again and again. It destroys your self confidence. Children are not nice to outsiders once their initial groups have been made.

I certainly wouldn't say boarding is necessarily best. And it is now mainly the reserved of the ultra rich or ultra bright. But for some children and in some circumstances, it is the right thing, even at a youngish age.

And the jury is out on childcare. A Swedish academic has just reported to the Education Select Committee that the Scandinavian model has created unhappy teenagers. But my mother was not interested in small children and would have preferred to work and resented the boredom.

We just need to realise perfection isn't possible, that it never has been.

If you were poor in previous centuries, the mother would not have had much time for childcare as she would have been pregnant or looking after the latest, dead, or working in the factories or fields. The childcare would have been delegated to granny, oldest non working girl or a neighbour.

If middle class, the first two categories apply, then a nanny.

We hark back to a nonexistent golden age.

babybarrister Sat 23-Mar-13 09:27:45

I know lots of people going down the prep boarding school route as a choice. Some start at 7, some at 8. The parents live and work in London. The DC do not have sN. Whether posters on here like it or not there are lots of people who CHOOSE this and I think it is very wrong for the children. I am quite, quite sure that no other country has boarding schools for under 11 s on the same scale as in the UK.
Some posters assumed I have no personal knowledge of prep boarding schools today - I do, in fact I have visited a few which would no doubt consider themselves to be the best ...
I still think that for under 11 s the children are better with their own families

meditrina Sat 23-Mar-13 09:34:54

What do you think of Southwark (I think it's Southwark, one of the S London boroughs) part funding a boarding prep and placing there children from difficult families?

I think it's wrong to make simplistic assumptions about quality of family life.

(And given how few children nationally board at prep age, especially younger ones, I'm wondering how many "lots" is).

kawliga Sat 23-Mar-13 11:49:16

babybarrister I think you've told us enough about your friends and we get it: your friends are all unhappy and dysfunctional. You think the reason must be that they went to boarding school. That's the only possible explanation you are able to identify. For this reason you do not believe that there exist people who could possibly ever have been happy at boarding school and would like society to ban boarding schools. I find your logic quite strange to be honest.

Maybe you need some new friends? Not suggesting you dump your existing ones, just that you could add some happy people from happy families to your circle? I assure you they do exist, as many posters on this thread have attested. It is easy for people to blame boarding schools but that's just lazy thinking because all types of schools have produced great misery through the ages and continue to do so. Life's funny that way.

Losingexcessweight Sat 23-Mar-13 11:59:09

I didn't think boarding schools were popular nowadays.

I don't know any in my county, don't know anyone that's been to one etc.

Losingexcessweight Sat 23-Mar-13 12:07:08

Just googled them, wow £24,000 a year!!

What's the point in having children if you're going to send them away and never hardly see them?

Flobbadobs Sat 23-Mar-13 12:08:08

After this week I think boarding school is a damn good idea...

manicinsomniac Sat 23-Mar-13 12:20:57

I am a boarding tutor in a school that takes boarders from 7.

We don't get many 7 year olds as full time boarders (2-3 a year tops) but lots do a night or two a week and we have about 20 full or weekly boarders under 11.

Reasons include being international students, having parents working overseas, forces families, parent/s who work long hours, a long commute, a difficult or unhappy home life, dead/terminally ill parent/s and just wanting to.
My own 10 and 5 year olds board twice a week because it is 11 before I finish my duty and they need to go to sleep before then.

For some children it isn't ideal but nor is it some terrible fate. The children are very happy, I actually feel sorrier for the parents who are often upset and anxious. Some children are much better off.

LosingExcessWeight ignoring the fatuity of the question, most boarders are at home every weekend, and up to 20 weeks of holiday a year (because of longer school day). That's hardly "never".

And by extension, anyone who chooses not to home-school might as well not have bothered having children.

kawliga Sat 23-Mar-13 12:57:09

"And by extension, anyone who chooses not to home-school might as well not have bothered having children."

Exactly. By that logic all schools should be banned, there is no reason to single out boarding schools for the ban. We could perhaps start with boarding schools but then roll out the ban to all schools. And why stop at schools? There must be other institutions in society that separate children from parents that we could ban. Like work! All those high-flying city types who work all hours, why did they bother having children? Workplaces should not be tolerated by society and should be banned (starting with banks, we all hate bankers at the moment so they could be first for the chop).

OrangeLily Sat 23-Mar-13 13:10:20

The only experience I have is that my DF was sent away at the age of 4. I know he found it tough but loved it as well. He had 3 older brothers there as well which I assumed helped but he said he didn't have that much contact with them. We would have gone to boarding school if my parents had the cash to do so.

5hounds Sat 23-Mar-13 13:28:37

I loved bording school I went as my dad was in the army, I was expelled tho as was a bit posh and I was a wild child

Bridgetbidet Sat 23-Mar-13 14:25:37

I went to boarding school when I was 11. I liked it.

The boarders who were there under 11 were overwhelmingly there for some kind of reason. Not that their parents couldn't be bothered. At my school this was often because their parents came from developing countries and had accepted jobs with people like the world bank or oil companies. These jobs were normally in unsafe countries which is why they had gone to people from the 3rd world rather than being snapped up by people from the 1st.

As these opportunities were scarce in the 3rd world they had to take them, but they also had to take up the offer of boarding school for their children in order to ensure they were safe. It was very sad when they were really little, like 5 or 6. But if you looked at it in terms of the advantages the parents were getting for them for the rest of their lives by making this sacrifice it was a lot more understandable.

girlwiththedragon Sat 23-Mar-13 15:12:09

OP you really shouldn't be such a troublemaker when you obviously don't have the foggiest idea what boarding schools are all about. They are generally not about parents who can't look after their children. Sour grapes because you can't afford the fees?

CelticPixie Sat 23-Mar-13 15:35:30

I don't agree with boarding schools either. To send children as young as seven away from their families is sick and twisted in my opinion. Children of that age need the love of their parents and honestly I don't care what anyone says I don't see how an appointed "house mother" or "house father" of whatever you want call them can replace the real thing?

If you can't be bothered looking after your own kids don't have them. I've nothing against private schools, but boarding schools are outdated institutions that should have gone out with the ark. Awful elitist nonsense.

Oh and to the poster who said the OP has sour grapes because they can't probably can't afford the fees, do you realise how far up own backside you sound?

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Mar-13 15:44:28

The flip side is that if the children are NOT at boarding school, they will probably be raised by nannies.
A family I was at junior school with were always dropped off by the chauffeur and the nanny.
The nanny and the housekeeper or gardener came to school events.
I never - in seven years - saw either of their parents.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 23-Mar-13 16:12:20

girl with a dragon, in contrast to your post you have clearly not read the thread

there has been a balance between those who send their children, or have sent their children and those who feel it shouldn't happen.

For once on a thread of this kind there has been no personal comments more general comments about situations...

Of course it isn't going to end in everyone agreeing but it has so far been a thread where people can put their opinions.
I have a foggiest idea about boarding schools from 7 as do lots of commentators on this thread, I can afford it and choose not to. Sour grapes can not wipe out all the negative views of boarding school.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Mar-13 16:34:10

Good to learn from this thread that allowing ds to do something he loves is going to screw him up for the rest of his life hmm

And clearly ds must just be plain weird in considering that being able to board is a treat.

grovel Sat 23-Mar-13 16:40:06

Don't worry, bisjo. At least he'll end up as Prime Minister or Archbish of C.

WorriedMummy73 Sat 23-Mar-13 16:42:27

1. I was desperate to go to boarding school as a child when I read the Malory Towers books. Midnight feasts? Swimming in a rock pool? Lacrosse? Compared to my scummy school where I got punched every day and no one spoke to me if I ate a sausage, what was was not to like?

2. I have told DD that if we win the lottery I will send all three DC off to boarding school post-haste.

That is all.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Mar-13 16:48:26

grovel that's good to know grin

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 23-Mar-13 16:57:03

My DC's school takes boarders from yr 3 not that they have many at that age. Last year though there was one little girl from another country who spoke no english.

She was clearly having a hard time adjusting and I'm afraid I did feel very sorry for her as there were no weekends out for her and no-one there to watch her in plays/matches etc.

Personally I wouldn't want a 7 year old to board - they just seem so young at that age and the adults I know boarded from that age feel it was too young.

livinginwonderland Sat 23-Mar-13 17:05:18

my school allowed boarders from aged 8 and there were a lot of them. mostly weekly, but there were a lot of children from military families as well as overseas students. however, from 13, there were a lot of full-time boarders and 95% of them loved it.

girlwiththedragon Sat 23-Mar-13 17:09:54

Not saying I can or can't afford it or I would necessarily choose it for my children but the OP's argumentative tone got my back up implying that boarding school is for parents who are unable to look after their children, this is pure bollocks and very insulting indeed to those parents who do choose this educational route. I was merely saying don't judge until you know the facts and it is a fact that boarding school is certainly not for parents who are unable to care for their children. ....Oh and there is a lot of bitterness on mumsnet about private education, which does come across as sour grapes

sarahtigh Sat 23-Mar-13 17:10:45

until very recently lots of state secondary schools in north of scotland the islands etc were weekly boarders as population so sparse it would have been 90 mins to 2 hours commute twice a day, all children over an hour away tended to board monday-thursday night, a lot of the roads have now improved and better buses but it is in no way ideal for 11 year olds to leave home at 7am return at 6pm then do dinner homework and repeat 5 days a week, some state schools in these areas still have boarders

I can not imagine sending DD to boarding school but it would be right for some children in fact for some very disadvantaged children with dysfunctional families it would be a huge bonus with possibly much better results than childrens homes ran by state

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Mar-13 17:15:16

Peter Symonds College in Winchester is the designated sixth form school for the Falkland Islands - THAT'S a commute ....

babybarrister Sat 23-Mar-13 17:16:20

I find the personal attacks hilarious - I can afford it fwiw but thanks for asking! As to my friends all being fucked up because of boarding and the helpful suggestion I should therefore get new friends well no thanks either. I only gave personal examples down the thread when I was challenged that I knew nothing about boarding schools for under 11s. I am sure there are many happy people who boarded under 11 - just think how much happier they might have been if they had put it off though ...

I sincerely hold the view that aside for SN children it is not the right thing to do and the UK is alone in thinking it is. No-one has come up with examples of what forces children do in other places save for the US where they have schools on the camps.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Mar-13 17:43:43

So your friends are all under 11 and boarding? Really? hmm

Or, more likely are your friends in their 30s and 40s and boarded 20 or 30 years ago? The world has moved on a lot in the last 20-30 years. I'm not sure why you are so anxious to convince everyone that life really hasn't changed at all in that time.

difficultpickle Sat 23-Mar-13 17:46:30

I'd also query what is your interest if you have no children under 11 who are boarding and don't know any children under 11 who are currently boarding.

I could start loads of threads about issues I know nothing about but it would be a bit pointless other than to personally attack those who make different parenting decisions to me. That seems to be the point of your thread.

girlwiththedragon Sat 23-Mar-13 17:58:50

bisjo I agree - the opening post definitely came across as an unprovoked and pointless attack on a group of parents for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that they happen to make different educational decisions to the OP

babybarrister Sat 23-Mar-13 18:06:06

I know lots of woke under 11 currently boarding as I have already said. I have also said I have recently visited various prep boarding schools - please read what I have said!!

babybarrister Sat 23-Mar-13 18:17:36

I mean I know lots of kids currently boarding

fishybits Sat 23-Mar-13 18:32:40

If abroad the MOD provides a school. It's not always a good one, the fact you are changing schools every 18 months to 2 years doesn't change, the fact 1 parent may be in a war zone or away for the best part of a year doesn't change. CEA provides stability and unless you have experienced life in a Forces family you cannot hope to understand the benefits a boarding school provides to service children.

How many children under the age of 11 do you actually know well enough to be able to say with complete confidence that they are being damaged by being at boarding school OP?

countrykitten Sat 23-Mar-13 18:39:12

I would have loved to board as a child but was not allowed to. I KNOW I would have been much happier. So CelticPixie please do not presume to know what it best for all children because you don't.

countrykitten Sat 23-Mar-13 18:39:56

is best rather - and the same applies to the OP.

looseleaf Sat 23-Mar-13 18:46:19

I haven't read the whole thread but boarded at 8 (with a year living at a relative's before that).
I can understand why the op raises the question but it's very wrong to judge others IMO. And surely some children would be happier than in an unstable home? (In my case I do really feel hurt and wish I'd been wanted at home with my lovely parents. But try not to dwell on it as even though I don't believe in boarding young everyone just does what they can or feel best and i think to raise the issue now would be pointless and damaging. at least I can bring our children up differently and I tell them constantly how loved they are as was never told once as a child even though I was.

grovel Sat 23-Mar-13 18:46:54

The OP has caught judge-itis rather early in her career.

girlwiththedragon Sat 23-Mar-13 18:50:46

OP out of interest - the kids you know who are boarding - are their parents friends of yours? Are they incapable of caring for their children and do you express your opinions to them? Why were you 'visiting various prep boarding schools' if you are of the opinion that they are such terrible places?

goingupinfumes Sat 23-Mar-13 19:26:23

Mt DH borded from 11 because he asked too!! he saw he was missing out on the fun.. he loved it.

OwnedByACockerSpaniel Sat 23-Mar-13 19:37:08

Fishybits Being a forces wife boarding school is something I have really given thought to. I don't think I would have the heart to uproot them everytime a new posting came about and should I have children I thought perhaps boarding them would be a good option, atleast they would have a stable friendship base and schooling.

However I don't think I would board them till 11+ when serious examinations begin so I can half see the OP's point but we know of many familes who boarded under 11 and their children love it, they dont have to follow mum/dad about and get to live with friends. It does not mean they love their children any less.

But I don't want people to think I can't look after them so have sent them away sad

jcscot Sat 23-Mar-13 19:44:21

Owned, I'm in the same position as you. My children are aged 6 and under and too young to board but it's almost certain they will board at senior school. Stability for education means boarding school or commuting for the serving partner. We're currently doing the latter but it's not sustainable for the long term although we're making it work for now.

countrykitten Sat 23-Mar-13 19:46:51

Cocker who cares what stupid people think- do what you want to do.

OwnedByACockerSpaniel Sat 23-Mar-13 19:47:04

We did commuting for about 6months and that was just between husband nd wife, we found it hard in all honesty. I can't imagine what it would be like for a family, it definatley is not sustainable for a long period of time like you say. I am sure you will figure it out smile

jcscot Sat 23-Mar-13 19:57:50

We've been doing it for six years - initially weekly as the posting was relatively near, then fortnightly when my husband was posted. He's also served two op tours in that period. I'm near my family, which helps a great deal but it isn't ideal. I feel isolated from patch life and we're out on a limb when it comes to accessing welfare etc. My husband's next posting will not be conducive to commuting and we're considering a move back to quarters. However, once we start that cycle, boarding will be inevitable.

I wouldn't be keen on boarding for prep unless necessary but age 11 is a different proposition. There are some schools which offer excellent pastoral care and take a lot of Forces children.

fishybits Sat 23-Mar-13 19:59:58

Cocker, you must do what is best for your children and your family. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

My brother and I went at 7 and loved it. My sister went at 11 and hated it so my DF left the Army to provide her with the type of stability she required. The local service school was not up to the job so really he had no option but to leave or to live apart from his family separated by 1000s of miles.

DH is in till he's 55 or until the job isn't fun anymore so DD is likely to go to boarding school but we'll see nearer the time what is best for her.

ihategeorgeosborne Sat 23-Mar-13 20:10:22

My dh went to boarding when under 11. He said he hated it. He was bullied and terribly home sick apparently. It has affected him as an adult too. He says he's never really felt like he knows his parents, and when he talks to them, conversations, seem stilted and not what I would describe as loving. He felt bad for years and had counselling and all this came out. I wouldn't send our dc to boarding school in a million years. I want to watch them grow up myself and know them and understand them.

countrykitten Sun 24-Mar-13 10:42:30

But what was wrong for your dh is right for many children - it's your choice not to send your dcs to board and it is just as valid a choice for other families to send their dcs to board. I would have loved it and one of our older dcs has asked to board next year and we are more than happy to let him.

Not all boarders are screwed up wrecks by their experiences and I do get annoyed with people who continually imply this - it suits some personalities and not others. Just like a lot of things in life....

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sun 24-Mar-13 14:57:29

One of the things that I am very aware of.. although I am VERY anti boarding... is that boarding is different to how it was when I went.

We had a letter a week from parents (if they had remembered to write) and a supervised letter each week that we could send. there was no phone contact at all. So from the age of 7 I was dropped of in a cold building (no central heating in those days) and picked up at the end of term 10-12 weeks later.
There were kind teachers and not so kind teachers and I would be misrepresenting it to say I was constantly miserable. However, it was not a normal, healthy upbringing.

I know that most boarders now have mobiles, skype and email to contact their parents, and the possibility of being able to chat to your parents whenever you need to is going to provide a much healthier relationship with parents than in the olden days. Also it was totally exceptional for someone to leave our school at any time other than exeat's half terms or main holidays. These days flexible boarding is much more common, once again, providing a healthier relationship with family.

The passionate feelings for me come from clear ingrained feelings of being stuck away from everyone and everyhting I loved. So even though I understand things have changed I personally can't get over the experiences i have had to make that choice for my children.

Sadly I feel that in order for people to make positive comments about modern boarding it feels like there is a "get over it - it wasn't that bad" undercurrent about peoples negative experiences.

A tough subject to be impartial about

teatrolley Sun 24-Mar-13 15:11:35

I wouldn't board full stop. I like seeing them everyday.

I'm not sure it's a one size fits all argument BUT

it royally fucked my gran up. She went from the age of 10 til she left school & despite meaning well & caring about us as a family she can be incredibly cold and even says herself that it stunted her emotionally, as she felt abandoned & just had to get on with it.

She basically has an extreme case of 'stiff upper lip'.

But some people are fine. Wouldn't do it myself though!!!

difficultpickle Sun 24-Mar-13 15:29:37

Sorry OP I must have completely misunderstood your posts. I guess you didn't mean this FWIW I have never met anyone who boarded under 11 who has a good word to say about it- they felt that their parents were abandoning them. An ex boyfriend who was sent at 7 never forgave his parents for sending his brother at 11. I read this as meaning you had friends who had boarded under 11 who were now adults.

I thought you were saying that you thought boarding under 11 was wrong because your friends had boarded at under 11 and were screwed up as a result. I didn't realise you had friends with dcs under 11 who boarded. If those dcs have confided in you that they are unhappy then surely you would say something to your friends, those dcs parents? I would be horrified if ds was secretly confiding in one of my friends about how unhappy he was boarding when he was saying to my face how much he loved it. I would hope that my friends would tell me.

wannaBe Sun 24-Mar-13 16:29:51

The problem is that by the time the damage has been done it's too late. And it's possible to love an experience while at the same time still being damaged by it.

I went to boarding school from the age of five. I am one of the "acceptable" hmm cases because I am visually impaired and therefore had to go to a specialist school. I weekly boarded here in the UK. We had midnight feasts, were told stories, in general there were staff we loved and we all became good friends - probably better than friends who only see each other in the playground. When I was nine we moved abroad and I was sent to the only school of its kind in the country, except this time I didn't speak the language. So I was dropped off at school and had to spend a week at a time in an environment where people wouldn't talk to me at first because I didn't speak their language and they didn't speak mine. There you had two choices - you learned the language or you didn't make friends. I was fluent within six months.

When I was eleven my dad was offered another job and my parents moved 500 miles away meaning that I then had to term board. I did so happily, by this time I had essentially become a part of a whole different culture, english was no longer my first language and we spent every weekend doing interesting things, music, mountain climbing, various other activities...

But it was no substitute for the fact that I never knew what it was like to goo home after school and tell my family about my day (my sister did). I never got to spend a birthday at home from the age of five or have a party. While our school was different to some that are mentioned on here in that we could talk to family whenever we wanted, and did, the reality is that when your family are 500 miles away (and have chosen to be) they can't be there for you when you need them. My parents didn't really know any of my friends, yes occasionally they came down and if I went with them for a weekend then I brought a friend, but they didn't really know any of my friends. They didn't know who my boyfriends were or get to meet them, it wasn't my parents I went too when I was upset but friends, or mostly I just dealt with it myself.

And now that I'm an adult my family wonder why it is I don't go to them, it's simple really, they couldn't be there when I was a child, so why would I choose for them to be now that I'm an adult?

And yes, I understand the thinking behind the fact that I had to go to a more specialist school. But no, I don't understand the thinking behind moving to a foreign country and then choosing to move 500 miles away from a child you already only see every weekend.

but in truth I didn't realise a lot of this stuff until I had my own child and suddenly realised all the things I never experienced when I myself was a child.

I can't say that I hated the boarding experience - I didn't. But I can say with certainty that boarding has a profound effect on people that we often can't see at the time. And I don't know a single other person who boarded (and I do know hundreds) who doesn't feel that way as an adult, even though the experience as a child wasn't necessarily a negative one iyswim.

difficultpickle Sun 24-Mar-13 16:42:52

wannaBe that sounds horrible. I'm lucky that ds boards because he wants to (he will soon have to but it is a seemless transition). We are near to the school so can see him during the week. He is allowed to phone home every day and has his own phone. He has plenty of local friends he sees at weekends. He is usually at school for his birthday but that doesn't stop him having a party at a weekend to celebrate. He works hard but gets to have fun too.

He was offered two places and we chose the one that was nearest to ensure that we play an active part in his school life, which would have been harder if he was further away. I can imagine it is a lot harder if you feel that neither you nor your child really has a choice about boarding.

becky2209 Tue 04-Jun-13 16:54:24

Reading some of these comments (not all) has really upset me in a way.

Reason being

I am now 22 years old and for the final 7 years of my education I attended two boarding schools the first of which was a specialist school for children with dyslexia (thats me). For my mother it was one of those situations where she felt she was doing it for my own good and not because she wanted to send me away or any of the awful things being mentioned above! I was 11 when I first started, it took me about a term to settle in during which term I admit I found it very hard but I was lucky enough to be able to go home every friday and come back every monday morning. However after the first term I really settled in and began to absolutely love boarding school life and I was actually very sad to leave at the end of my two years there. By the end of those two years my mother and father had then found me another senior boarding school to go to (per my request) I then spent from the age of 14 to 18 absolutely loving being at boarding school. Boarding school has formed the independent, strong minded, happy and energetic girl that I am today! I am currently on my gap year and am leaving to travel around the USA for 3 months in just over a weeks time, something I feel I would not have had the confidence to do without that boarding school experience. I also feel that being at boarding school helps you gain alot of expereriences as a child that you may not get until later on if living at home for use of a silly example, bed sheets, every Saturday morning was sheet change where the matrons would wash our old ones and give us new ones to put onto our beds, where as at home at the age of 12/13 you would go to school and mum would do that for you.

I remember having so much fun at boarding school like my school was set up into different houses, i happened to be a Crossways girl and each house had its own traditions like we were always known for our friendly family like ways and christmas parties along with other things which was amazing to be a part of! I also remember the midnight feasts, the long chats with the lovely matrons if you were really happy, really upset or neither were you could just talk to them about absolutely anything you wanted, i remember having constant girlie movie nights or trying to have roll call in the dark because of the power cuts! I have so many happy memories! People need to stop using boarding school as a threat for "naughty" children (I hate that word) it gives it the bad name that it really doesnt deserve.

Yes I know there are some good boarding schools and some bad ones and if you do choose to send your child to boarding school then that is something you need to be aware of but isn't that the same for day schools as well?

Veryunsure Tue 04-Jun-13 17:07:15

I always wanted to go to boarding school not any boarding school though, Whyteleafe I wanted to be friends with Elizabeth. thanks for that Enid

theodorakisses Tue 04-Jun-13 18:09:02

Agree that it's a troublemaking thread.

Zombie thread

trinity0097 Tue 04-Jun-13 18:36:39

There are plenty of children in this country who would benefit hugely from the stability a boarding school could offer!

xylem8 Tue 04-Jun-13 19:51:10

I think things have to pretty fucked up for a child at home , before a boarding school becomes a good option and I would include under 16s in that not just under 11s.

BeeMom Tue 04-Jun-13 19:57:51

At 9, when I had a disagreement with my mother, she said she had rung my father and that I was going to be sent off to a boarding school.

She was quite upset that her threat did not make me immediately cower.

I was even more upset that she was lying. I would desperately have loved to have gone to a boarding school. Sometimes, children thrive in boarding schools because the consistency they receive there is the closest thing to parenting they have ever known.

doitinaminute Tue 18-Jun-13 23:59:03

Strange thread. if I was PM for a day I'd make it illegal to 'ban' any opportunity that might help a family. So to add to the mix...

If you might think you've missed out by boarding from a young age, remember you could have missed out on negative experiences - just as damaging - as well as positive.

I found boarding a life-line after being seriously bullied at my day school, and then also at home by unhappy parents. I don't think marriages are any easier now than then.

I'd get to school after a weekend and it would take about 24hrs to relax - the first night i'd be a mess, then gradually I was happy again, until after being at home for the weekend but at least I had the reassurance that this misery would go because I was at school and had discovered that 'the problem' wasn't me because I was fine - lots of friends, happy etc.

Any school can be damaging - my problems started with the day school - home was a good and caring one (just with divorcing parents but that not unusual!).

Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to stay boarding (perhaps because of attitudes like some of the ones on this thread) and returned to living at home and day school, deeply unhappy because I needed to be out of there and living my life, not exhausted by propping up my parents lives.
My parents were good - they did their best - but no one is perfect.

I don't think there are perfect families, just ones who survive and ones who don't - if boarding school helps yours survive (staying together, with identity, love and a future etc) how can that be a bad thing?

When parents split, often kids end up with more than one 'home' - and become 'emotional currency' for their parents not to mention step-parents. No one wants this to happen but it does.

cory Wed 19-Jun-13 07:26:18

m8 Tue 04-Jun-13 19:51:10
"I think things have to pretty fucked up for a child at home , before a boarding school becomes a good option and I would include under 16s in that not just under 11s."

So what would you do with e.g. small fishing communities on remote islands that are too small to sustain a secondary school? Ban them from having children? Or let the children go without education?

vixsatis Wed 19-Jun-13 09:27:44

It's a shame my son (boarding from 8, now 12) is in school: he could write a pretty balanced answer to this. I think he would say:
1. I was really homesick to start with and cried whenever I had to go back; but the people at school were very very kind and I never ever thought my parents had abandoned me. I understood why I was going to boarding school because we talked about it
2. By the end of my first term I had friends, wanted to be headmaster when I grew up and thought that Christmas at school was like being at Hogwarts.
3. The holidays are really long and I see my parents about 2 weekends out of three. Boarding makes us all appreciate one another more.
4. I'm an only child. Boarding gives me friends who are like brothers
5. I like having friends from all over the world
6. Sometimes I would like a bit more privacy and peace and quiet
7. Both my parents work, not because either of them likes the job much but because they believe in hard work and self-reliance. I appreciate the financial stability this gives us. I like school far more than having a nanny.
8. We live in London. I have far more freedom to roam around the school grounds than I would around the streets where we live.
9 The food is absolutely diabolical
10 The school showers are rubbish
11I am getting an excellent education; but neither the school nor the parents are as pushy as they were in my London school
12 There is only one boy in my year of 60 (54 of whom board) who is really unhappy

KellyElly Wed 19-Jun-13 10:16:52

I went to boarding school at 9 (prep) and then boarded at a different school from 11. I loved boarding at secondary level but I did not like boarding at 9. A big part of it was the actual school, we had 'nannies' (as they called them) to look after us in our boarding time and some of them were quite cruel and certainly not looking after us the way someone who is there in the place of your parent should. There were also a lot of day borders and you could have your child every weekend (which my mother chose not to do) so it was quite hard seeing other children going home while I had to stay at that age.

Secondary boarding was a much better school, better social mix of children, better support network in the boarding houses and everyone had the same weekends and holidays where they went home.

To be honest my mother was a terrible mother so boarding school probably saved me from becoming more emotionally fucked up than I would have otherwise become. But saying all that, that's just my experience. I was a vulnerable little girl who had been passed around family members to be looked after as my mother was furthering her career and living her life and had experienced two deaths, one of my primary carer and another of a very close family member, and I really needed to be in a safe, secure and loving family environment at that age (9) but I wouldn't have got that at home anyway, so maybe it was the best place for me. Boarding at a prep school could suit a child who was more confident and secure than me, so I wouldn't judge parents for it. I wouldn't chose it for my DD though. Secondary boarding maybe, if she wanted to go.

doitinaminute Wed 19-Jun-13 12:42:47

BTW - agree with boarding if its the best option for a child (from 8 or 9) and there is plenty of contact with parents/family - not just cos I loved it myself.

I was one of those breast feeding, baby on the hip mothers too - not a career mum at all.

Not at all the same issue as full time nursery for babies. Mine (x5) as babies spent nearly every day, all day with me (yes, exhausting!) until part time nursery at 3, they never even had a cot as tinies, (they slept next to me until crawling).

If I add up the hours of parental contact before 8yrs, its more than some get all the way to 18

So many variables when you look closer instead of being prejudiced.

Boarding is not 'giving your kids to someone else to look after' for most people, its about giving them the best start in life, according to your circumstances.

LadyBryan Wed 19-Jun-13 13:17:50

If I were PM I would allow those who are capable to make decisions about the best education for their children.

Just saying.

Breadandcakes Wed 30-Oct-13 12:44:36

I would have loved to have been at boarding school and when I was a child frequently dreamed about it. The home life I endured was a nightmare. Don't think that every child has a wonderful life if they are not boarding

Strumpetron Wed 30-Oct-13 12:54:34

I honestly don't understand why anyone would send their child that young away to boarding school, unless it was for reasons such as high special needs, behavioural needs etc.

But that's just me, I'm sure it works for some families but for me id like to see my child everyday and have them grow up in the family home

Zombie thread!!!!

jellybeans Wed 30-Oct-13 13:23:15

YANBU There is one that takes 4 year olds sad So sad.

iloveu Wed 30-Oct-13 13:32:51

If people cannot be bothered to raise their own children then they should not have them.
I just cannot understand why parents ship their children off to boarding school.

SoupDragon Wed 30-Oct-13 13:34:29

WElcome to MN iloveu

Did you join just to post that stupid comment?

I can totally understand why children go to boarding school. affording them the best life chances for an excellent education.

I am against the principle of private education based on the rich having the best life chances.

Must take exception with one of the very first posts that stated that bringing up your own children was a modern concept.

not for the working class

nennypops Wed 30-Oct-13 13:37:28

I don't think it should be banned for absolutely every child - there are children whose parents have to travel who need the stability, and there are some children with severe disabilities who may need it. But I think in general the concept of boarding schools is very odd, and I write as someone who went to one. I would never send my children to one in a million years.

Heartbrokenmum73 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:38:39


what does that mean?

SeaSickSal Wed 30-Oct-13 13:45:11

I went to boarding school. The boarders under 11 normally had parents who's job or geographic location put them at risk. For example working for the world bank in a developing country where kidnap was a risk.

iloveu Wed 30-Oct-13 13:45:40

Nennypops - I agree regarding children with disabilities, in the services etc

Many of the ones I know who went to boarding school came from very wealthy families and the parents just did not want the hassle of parenting day in day out.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 13:47:13

There are some strange assumptions on this thread.
Firstly, why do so many think there needs to be a problem at home or that boarding schools are a last resort.
Some children thrive at these schools irrespective of their background.
There are many reasons why dc go to boarding school and everyone is different.
My dd is pleading with me to go to boarding school for secondary, she has her eye on a particular one and I'd hate for her to go. She is a happy child at home and we are a very close family spending most of our time together. She can just see the benefits in this particular school. We live close enough for her to attend daily, but she wants to board.
So YABU OP, everybody is different and all schools aren't the same.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 13:50:50

'it's worked for generations'?

it has been done for generations, I wouldn't say it had worked though.I don't know a single person who has boarded at a very young age from 7,8,9)who isn't emotionally immature.It as if the horror of the situation has frozen them at that stage of emotional development.
Things would have to be seriously bad at home for boarding to be the better option.And parents should change circumstances to avoid boarding young children being necessary.

Heartbrokenmum73 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:52:50


A zombie thread is a thread that was started months/years ago, died out and some arse body has found it and resurrected/commented on it ages afterwards.

As has happened here...

scarevola Wed 30-Oct-13 13:54:06

"YANBU There is one that takes 4 year olds So sad."

Really? There is one school that says it would consider 6 year olds, but school census shows none boarding at that age. The number of 7 year olds is tiny and it's still under 200 for 8 yr olds. I can easily believe that such small numbers are more likely to reflect exceptional medical and social needs.

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 13:56:44

Didn't seem to do our national team's cricket captain any harm - he chose to go to boarding school on scholarship from the age of 8, and has a fantastic relationship with his family, by all accounts!

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 13:57:54

Ah, didn't realise this was a necro thread. blush

hoppinghare Wed 30-Oct-13 14:00:39

I can't imagine a little child being away from their family night after night, day after day. I feel very sad when I think of any of my children in boarding school. I would wonder what circumstances could possibly lead to that being the best option.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 14:01:25

What difference does it make if it's an old thread?

Spider7 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:08:37

FFS! My mum at times worked 8-6 & then out again 7-01:00..... to keep a COUNCIL house roof over our heads, provide the most BASIC of foods & pay the huge debt my twat of a dad left us in! We had to look after each other. There were many arguments, fights, chip pan & grill fires. Pretty sure that had my mum been able to afford it we would have been much better off at daycare 8-6! So if she could have got a job that paid her that little bit extra.... do tell me why that would have been a bad thing? If she could have found a way to send us to boarding, again, tell me how that would have been a bad thing? She had to work to pay the debt, to provide roof & food & when lucky heating! Not everyone works those long hours for extended kitchens! And so what if they do, they are actually sending a positive message to the kids: you want something? Work hard for it. I would imagine quality time is found to make up for not always being there. Kids are not a right or luxury.

If you can afford to be a stahm then lucky you.... by afford I mean not having to rely on the state. Those who choose to pay for their own kids should not be lambasted! A good parent will always ensure they find time to spend quality time with their kids. I know equal amount of stahm that either do or don't spend quality time.... same with working parents. Why do people have kids but refuse to spend quality time with them would be more to the point. Those who work & so send kids to daycare or boarding are not refusing. Some might, but how do you know which? Certainly not all!

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 14:09:51

The majority of my ancestors were sent to boarding school - right down to our generation. My siblings and I were the first generation of our family to be educated at the usual primary and comprehensive schools.

I wouldn't have wanted to go to boarding school as a kid - I preferred reading the Malory Towers and St Claire's books as fiction from the comfort of home! Can't say it did the rest of my family any harm though. Most of them looked at it as an adventure and got past their homesickness pretty quickly - they were kids, they adjusted. The ones who didn't came home to be locally educated.

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 14:13:55

^it has been done for generations, I wouldn't say it had worked though.I don't know a single person who has boarded at a very young age from 7,8,9)who isn't emotionally immature.It as if the horror of the situation has frozen them at that stage of emotional development.
Things would have to be seriously bad at home for boarding to be the better option.And parents should change circumstances to avoid boarding young children being necessary.^

From my own family's experience, and that of various friends of mine, I couldn't disagree more with such a sweeping and absurd generalisation. I know plenty of kids who went to boarding school who matured FAR faster than their counterparts who didn't leave home early. A lot of them became independent and mature far more quickly.

Nataleejah Wed 30-Oct-13 14:19:07

imho, children belong at home with their family. Unless it is some exceptional circumstances.

Thants Wed 30-Oct-13 14:20:06

I agree op but I widen it to banning all boarding schools whatever age.
I don't believe in private education and the majority of boarding schools are private.

BrianTheMole Wed 30-Oct-13 14:24:16

I doubt the op is actually going to respond to this now, months later.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 14:38:34

I'm hard-pressed to understand parents sending extremely young children to boarding school,

Because it's such an extreme choice, I'd gather the kids are probably better off boarding then at home.

A fair few of my oldest son's friends will be boarding as of next fall. Because of this, I expect I'll be fielding requests to board at some point. I don't know how I feel about it.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 14:50:43

* The number of 7 year olds is tiny and it's still under 200 for 8 yr olds. I can easily believe that such small numbers are more likely to reflect exceptional medica*
where do you find this, I have tried to google this info?

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 15:00:02

My dsis went to boarding school age 4 in the mid eighties.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 15:09:44

Why, sparkly?

scarevola Wed 30-Oct-13 15:15:34

It's in the ISC Census.

2013 edition here. It shows no boarders at all until age 8 in the last year counted (I must have been remembering an earlier version; there are occasionally younger boarders).

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 15:41:41

I think you have only picked up the girls figure there not the boys
Your link says the totals for 2013 are

4-6 10 boarders
7 yrs 123
8 yrs 613
9 yrs 952

I would also be suspicious that that is undertated because it gives the total number of children in independant schools right through to Y13 as 508,000 which doesn't sound enough.

Fleta Wed 30-Oct-13 15:50:16

If I were PM I would ensure that there wasn't a "one size fits all" education system and that parents were able to choose what best suits their family.

And private education (and boarding schools) are a part of that choice that we have the right to make

Oblomov Wed 30-Oct-13 16:14:50

I begged to go to boarding school. I was desperate to weekly board and come home to my parents, who I adored.
Unfortunately it only lasted a few weeks. I had a diabetic hypo. Bit the matrons finger, nearly off. She was despised, so I returned as a hero. But it was the end of my boarding days. And I was gutted.
OP clearly knows nothing about this complex subject.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 16:24:01

Well the party line was that my Dad was in the forces and away a lot and my Mum worked full time so it would be more stable for us to go away. As I said dsis was 4, I was 9. Apparently she asked to come with me hmm. But who lets a 4 year old make that kind of serious decision?

I think parenting didn't come naturally to my Mum and she didn't enjoy it so off we went. We came out after three years when they got posted abroad and might have had to pay for a few flights back and forth.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 16:25:17

Oh and now with two of my own with a similar age gap I cannot begin to comprehend how people can do it. Sorry but that's how I feel.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 16:41:37

Blimey. Four years old is still a baby. They still need their parents intensely. How sad for your sister.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 16:42:54

what age were you Oblomov ,and weekly boarding is a world apart from full boarding

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 16:43:27

also I think you are proving a point that they didn't manage your diabetes very well

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 16:52:22

Having had children under 11, I would really worry that a child of that age (and older tbh) had had it explained to them that this was the best solution to a problem - the child, one assumes, being the main problem that needs solving by moving them away. I can't see so young a child actually wanting to be away from family unless they had been groomed that this was a fine idea, or were suffering abuse fo one sort or another.

If the problem is lack of opportunity where the parents live, there are other solutions to that - not easy ones. Is it that moving the child away is the easiest option? That saddens me.

If the problem is that the parents can't provide the right environment to nurture the child, then that saddens me too. Perhaps school looks like a fabulous option compared to seeing a family therapist?

If the problem is the parents need to work abroad, then it is just solving the problem by moving the child away, no discussion really.

I can see this doesn't chime with the thread but I deal with the repercussions of this on a daily basis, unfortunately.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 16:54:32

I think she still has issues arising from it tbh, I know I do. She's in her thirties and a professional sensible woman who is afraid of being alone and the dark sad.

All my life I have been scared of rejection and would do anything to stay with someone no matter how badly they treated me. It's changed since I had my children though. That relationship seemed to put everything into perspective.

People who say it isn't damaging? How can you know? How can you know the kind of person you might of been and relationships you might have had if you hadn't gone.

It's small things like crying my eyes out every morning because I couldn't plait my own very long hair. I used to get very painful boils that cleared up as soon as I left there, apparently we weren't being fed properly. Crying and feeling so lonely watching other weekly boarders go out with their parents, we weren't weekly. We lived in this terrifying old Elizabethan stately home and I used to wake up at around four every morning then just lie there awake until dawn, frozen with fear and too scared to move. Early morning waking - a classic sign of depression, I was 9!

I'm not close to my parents now and neither is my sister. I think at a formative time in family relationships they sent us away and it never recovered.

InsultingBadger Wed 30-Oct-13 17:09:27

My dp went at 7 and left at 16. He hated every minute but had plenty of friends who loved it hmm

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 17:11:27

The people I know who went from 7 to 18 are pretty much robots as adults. Nice but uninvolved in emotional issues. Very hard for their partners.

Abra1d Wed 30-Oct-13 17:13:14

I thought this was supposed to be a site for supporting other mothers? Lovely for some of them who have to send their children to boarding school because they are, say Forces parents, to read this thread and see that they are 'wrong'.

Theodorous Wed 30-Oct-13 17:20:33

Our experience as houseparents at a prep school were kids came in 3 categories. First those who lived locally and already were pupils and begged to board, second armed forces which split into those who were suited to it and a few who should never have been sent and third, the dumpers who had parents who genuinely never gave a fuck for them and these usually ended up spending Christmas and Easter in our home and eventually SS paid the fees as the only safe home they had.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 17:21:41

Well it's like any other thread on MN we are all sharing our experiences and opinions. I am not being unsupportive I am sharing how it affected me. There wouldn't be much going on if we all just agreed with each other.

Abra1d Wed 30-Oct-13 17:24:28

Sparkly, apologies, I wasn't aiming my comment at you and I am sorry if it seemed like that, just wondering what the purpose of the OP's thread was.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 17:25:24

Well then, let's just say it's all easy and lovely and never question it then.
After all, it is traditional hmm

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 17:26:29

smile It's fine. Such an emotive subject though isn't it?

Abra1d Wed 30-Oct-13 17:32:14

It is emotive and I am personally glad I haven't had to send ours to b/s and have, instead, had the pleasure of their teenage hormones, door-slamming and generally grubby habits each evening. Leavened with occasionally very intense and profound conversations as we lay the table for dinner or I nag them to do their homework. smile

InsultingBadger Wed 30-Oct-13 18:19:47

Ladyantigone - agreed, I hear you completely! He has emotional issues, finds it all incredibly hard hmm

PrimalLass Wed 30-Oct-13 18:30:27

there are children whose parents have to travel who need the stability

It's the have in that sentence that I disagree with. Make that parents who choose to travel. No-one has to do anything.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 18:31:25


Were the parents told which one of the categories their child was?
If they didn't settle were parents told.
How awful for that last group, the children who were dumped. It is so sad, but I bet these were a small minority?

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 18:34:33

Very few DC go to boarding school before 11 these days, and those that do are nearly always weekly boarders. As others posters have said, parents frequently choose boarding school because they think it is a better option to the care they are able to provide at home.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 18:35:08

I'm on the fence about boarding, but I second PrimalLass that the parents have a choice. Sounds like in many cases, it's husbands/wives choosing to be with each other rather than with their kids. This to me is uproariously funny, sorry, my husband knows where he ranks with the kids (below).

They have a choice.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:04

Parents do not always have a choice about work-related travel.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:58

The spouse has a choice about whether to go along, Bonsoir.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 18:39:45

What on earth do you mean?

PrimalLass Wed 30-Oct-13 18:44:07

What on earth do you mean? They have a choice about whether their job is appropriate given that they have children.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 18:45:10

I was referring more to the point that one spouse can stay at home with the children while the other travels.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 18:47:43

I think you're making perfect sense Crowler. Not sure why the incredulity.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 18:50:15

What about when both partners have a lot of work-related travel? Or a single parents has a lot of work-related travel? I have several single mother friends who, in order to earn enough to support their families, have heavy-duty travel (two weeks at a time, several times a year).

PrimalLass Wed 30-Oct-13 18:53:53

When you drill right down it is still a choice IMO.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 18:55:18

1. Both partners have heavy-duty travel schedules: fine, but that's a choice. Obviously. Given that boarding school costs about 35K per year. You really have to consider what set of priorities give rise to this particular scenario.

2. Single mother has heavy duty travel schedule: Sure, I can understand this. I don't think it's unreasonable for an older child, like 10/11 onwards. I don't think this can account for any meaningful proportion of boarding school cases.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 18:58:08

I don't understand why you think work-related travel is a choice. What are people supposed to do? Give up their careers because there is travel involved? When people set out on a particular career path, they don't know what will happen to their industry/company and work-related travel can arise where it previously didn't exist.

neunundneunzigluftballons Wed 30-Oct-13 18:58:20

I always puzzled about the forces related comments on these threads I grew up in a town when one of the major employers were the non UK Forces and no child I know here went to boarding schools. The majority of women stayed with their children when their husbands went abroad or else brought the children along if it was appropriate. It is not a universal forces thing. I can see plenty of logic sending older children to boarding school but their are only limited exceptions where I personally would see a reason to send an under 11 year old.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:05

Flexi-boarding is often a lot cheaper and a lot more fun for DC than a nanny.

manicinsomniac Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:29

* adults who had negative experiences at boarding school (especially people now over 40) are really not comparing like with like.

* we have a very young boarding house at present (includes 2 seven year olds, 4 eight year olds, 9 nine year olds and 8 ten year olds). One of the 7 year olds struggled to settle at nights for a while. She's happier now. The others love it.

* All of their parents have very good reasons for using the boarding house. Many work in the forces. Most of the others work abroard. A couple of the children have failed to cope at home for one reason or another. One is an orphan. I don't think many parents put their under 11s into boarding for the hell of it.

*We have plenty of 11-13 year olds who choose to board despite living locally. Another 70 or so children right from age 7 through to 13 choose 1 or 2 nights a week to board because it's like a sleepover and they love it (and for the parents it's cheaper than a babysitter)

*In my experience the parents find boarding far harder than the children. Parents ring in tears because they're missing their children and I have to go and hunt down the children who are playing in the woods, the pool or with their friends perfectly happily. I can fully understand why a parent wouldn't want to part with their child - but it's usually because they will be upset, not the child.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 19:03:09

I was a forces child boarder and while it was not unusual as such, it would be remarked on. The year I went there was only two of us out of a class of 30 children in a 100% forces primary school going. The rest were moving up as usual the next year. At the time I went it was certainly not an expected thing but everyone knew it was an option. Also it was mainly officers and other senior ranks who sent their children.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:04:13

Indeed. I have a six year old daughter of a cousin staying with me here in Paris this week. Her parents are in London. I have a great deal of difficulty persuading her to call them as she is having so much fun! I think parents overestimate how much their DC need them when they are happy.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 19:08:32

I gave up my previous job because I had to travel nearly 100%. It's hard to do that as a mother, and it's really hard to do it into your 40's. I couldn't deal with it anymore.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 19:10:42

Bonsoir I am not sure if I have ever read a post from you where you are not boasting about how other people's children much prefer being with you and can barely being themselves to give their own parents/parent the time of day.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:11:56

I agree it's really hard and I personally couldn't do it anymore, but I have the luxury of the choice not to do so. Not everyone does.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:12:37

My own DD is excessively happy when away in the summer at camp in the US for four weeks!

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:44

All this stuff about how kids couldn't possibly want to go to boarding school unless they were previously abused, etc, astounds me. It is tripe, in the cases I know of. The elder generations of my family all went to boarding school. Plenty of my friends did too (and I am 35, not 90.) I know younger people than me who boarded from the age of 8. In many cases, it was the making of these kids.

Apparently everyone has to be pampered until they are 21.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:14:30

What are people supposed to do? Give up their careers because there is travel involved?
well yes! Millions of people do!do when they have children.They take a step down, or change career or even become a SAH parent so that they can be there for their children.I think it is very sad that you think this is such a 'way out' thing to do!

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:15:47

The quality of the environment is paramount to children's happiness and well being. The parental home isn't always a better environment than any other.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:16:16

Apparently everyone has to be pampered until they are 21.
You mean cared for, nurtured and loved until they are at least 11 years old'

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:16:55

I don't think it is a way out thing to do - I did it myself. But I had the luxury of the choice - many people don't.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:17:12

Bonsoir your nieces daughter is on holiday as was your dd at summer camp.It is not the same thing at all! Nobody minds being on holiday!

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:18:06

Everybody has the choice bonsoir, it's just that often they don't fancy it

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:18:50

The point is that being away from parents is not such a big deal.

We sent DSS2 to boarding prep school twice, for half a term. He adored it. Several of our friends followed suit and, without fail, all the DC have begged and pleaded with their parents to be allowed to go to the same school full time.

Dawndonnaagain Wed 30-Oct-13 19:19:31

I would have given anything to go to boarding school, due to living with an abusive, narcissistic mother. She was a headteacher!

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 19:20:59

initgrand Ugh. Please. My mother didn't get the CHOICE to be a ''stay at home parent'' after my parents split up due to my father being an abusive, alcoholic fuckwit, who was sacked from his job. My mum stayed at home with me until I was 8, then she got a job. She went from earning 6k to earning 35k within 7 years. She was made to feel guilty because she had NO CHOICE but to work while my younger sister was two years old.... by people like you.

You think we'd have been better off if she'd sponged off the state and claimed benefit rather than providing for her own kids? It never even occurred to her - she was brought up better than that.

Not everyone gets the choice of a lovely (boring) sit-at-home lifestyle, do they??

...and breathe!

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:22:58

I would send my DC to boarding school any day rather than leave them at home with a nanny for days or weeks on end.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Wed 30-Oct-13 19:23:52

No. No. No.

If I couldn't be with my DDs on a (fairly routine) daily basis, physically see them, touch them, sniff their hair, listen to their voices, hold their hands, tickle them in passing...

...I genuinely believe that a small part of me would just wither away.

And, I speak as a Mum who had PND, and who was a self confessed, self-contained Princess, who was utterly shocked to find herself so besotted with her daughters.

I have to be with them, and share my daily life with them. I have to. Anything else, is just unthinkable.

No career, no job, no housing issues, no relationship issues, no marriage issues, no logistical problems could possibly stop me from sharing my daily life with my DDs. Not a chance. Ever.

They are worth every single sacrifice I would have to make, and more. And I would consider it a privilege to do so.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 19:24:37

It's not an insurmountable career obstacle for one person in a marriage to travel no more than say, 20% for 10 or 12 years in favor of raising kids.

And, you're not talking about a marginalized section of society. They have a choice.

I don't have a strong opinion on kids boarding at 11 or 13 or 16. Boarding at five or seven seems horrible.

elastamum Wed 30-Oct-13 19:25:33

I am a LP, with avery full on job involving lots of travel. My DC could board FT , but they dont, mostly because we live 2 miles away and I dont like the idea.

Lots of their friends board, most of the younger ones are day children, who have decided to board a few nights a week. They seem really happy - if anything it is the mothers who are heartbroken.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:26:12

fanjofarrow but I gather she didn't send you to boarding school, so your argument is irrelevant.Daycare I get absolutely.
a parent is there to put you to bed, listen to you everyday. know your hopes, worries dreams , share in and praise your smallest triumphs , advise you , care about your day.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:26:14

I have friends who scaled back their careers and work-related travel when their DCs were very small. But after 3 or 4 years, their companies asked them either to step up to the full responsibilities of their role or leave.

elastamum Wed 30-Oct-13 19:26:31

It is an insurmountable career obstacle for me - I'm on my own and we need my income

LaQueenOfTheDamned Wed 30-Oct-13 19:27:38

And, there were boaders at my school. Some only 9 or 10.

They tended to form strong attachments to the older girls further up the school. They struggled, and cried, and suffered from what I could see...and yes, eventually they were hardened to it after months of confusion and upset.

I would never want that for my DDs. I would never want them to have to be hardened at the age of 9 or 10, to live away from me.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 19:32:18

' their companies asked them either to step up to the full responsibilities of their role or leave.' who won? the company or the child?

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 19:34:30

The mortgage.

Thatdidnotgowell Wed 30-Oct-13 19:35:12

I started boarding school aged 8 through my own choice and thoroughly enjoyed it for the most part, it was a wonderful school. My parents were fantastic and more than capable of looking after me, but I opted to attend boarding school and with my Dad working abroad a lot and my Mum often going with him it provided me with far more stability. I went home every weekend and if anything it just made me far more appreciative of my time at home. Many of the pupils in my school eventually opted to board as we went up the year groups as the boarders often had more fun and didn't miss out on anything that happened in the evenings.

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 19:35:49

init Fair enough re daycare. As for what you said earlier, sending your kids to boarding school before 11 doesn't mean they are unloved.

It does grind my gears, though, that boarding school is considered to be so horrific. As I said, the idea that only abused and miserable kids could possibly want to be away from home is utter rubbish in the cases I know of, which are many. The idea that they end up maturing later is also laughable. (I know you did not say that, but others did.) Many of the kids I know who boarded are the most well adjusted people I have ever met... and no, the majority don't resent their families for giving them an education and some independence.

I think a lot of this is all about parents being unable to bear the thought of being separated from their little darlings, and nothing to do with the welfare of the kids. The boarding schools my friends went to all encouraged parental visits whenever possible, especially for the younger kids.

Anyway, we are going round in circles here, and I'm sure it's boring for all concerned, so I shall leave it here.

manicinsomniac Wed 30-Oct-13 19:38:24

LaQueen - there is no months of hardship, suffering, confusion and upset for children in modern boarding preps. There just isn't. The relationships between the children across the age groups and genders are lovely but they aren't unhealthy. The children feel it's like having a lot of extra brothers and sisters.

All these threads always revolve around how unhappy people who are now adults were at boarding school.

I have no idea what boarding schools used to be like, I didn't go to one. But I have been a part time boarding tutor for years now and don't recognise the picture given by older posters at all.

It's fine if you wouldn't want to do it. Most people don't. But don't make out it's detrimental to the children of those parents who do choose it because it isn't.

harticus Wed 30-Oct-13 19:51:21


My dear friend, now dead, arranged flexi boarding for her 10 year old son because she knew it would help provide continuity of care provision after her death. They have been incredible in providing support for a very distraught little boy and for the whole family.

On the flip side I have known several people who were packed off to board at a young age and they are all a bit of a mess emotionally - very bitter. My own grandfather was sent off to board at 7 and he was a complete wreck of a man who had no concept of what family life is all about.

Sparklysilversequins Wed 30-Oct-13 20:01:01

I suppose there's a lot of truth in that FF. Just as we have moved on substantially in our parenting attitudes and society is much more child centric, many boarding schools must have changed to reflect that. I can confirm that my boarding school was a pretty hellish place to be in the early eighties though.

intitgrand Wed 30-Oct-13 20:02:23

I have just watched the programme on Iplayer 'A very English Education'.
My analysis is that only one 'the shipping guy' had needed his private education to get ahead, but the cost of that was that he had an inability to express their emotions, and hadn't married.
The weird lord who had quit posh school at 15 and gone to a technical college was the only one who sent their own kids to boarding school and I got the feeling was that the parents wanted shut of him as he was quite 'lively'
The others wanted to be involved in their children's lives and wouldn't consider sending them away.Very telling

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 20:19:41

I'm sorry to hear that it was a bad experience for you, sparkly.

festered Wed 30-Oct-13 22:05:47

YANBU. If you want kids, you parent them yourself IMO. Sending a child away to be brought up by someone else and not respecting them enough to make a choice especially, is wrong.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 23:45:44

All this 'the kids are happy, it's the mothers who suffer' - you do all know that is utter bollocks, right?
Yes they are happy now but they are emotionally detaching and the damage isn't there to be seen yet. hmm
Wait until they process the notion that their parents couldn't or wouldn't raise them the majority of the time. It will take years yet, a small child isn't usually capable of thinking that way. But an adult is and that's when the problems become problems. Not when they are ten or whatever.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 23:47:27

And 'are they supposed to just give up their careers?'
Well, yes, it is a pretty good place to start parenting from, the understanding that if you have children then a career that keeps you at least in the same country would be a help hmm
<mutters under breath>

Wuldric Wed 30-Oct-13 23:51:29

I agree with the OP. There is no circumstance where a child should live apart from their parents unless their parents are violent, abusive or cruel.

I asked DD if she wanted to board for sixth form ... thinking it would be a good transition to living away from home at university ... build up a bit of independence and all that. The answer from DD was an unequivocal no. It would be the same answer from any child who is loved and treasured, IMO.

Yermina Wed 30-Oct-13 23:55:57


Children at boarding school are not being 'parented' while at school - not in the true sense of the word. And children need to be parented.

Adults kid themselves than houseparents love their charges. They don't. They are caring usually but they cannot parent dozens of children at once.

Wuldric Wed 30-Oct-13 23:57:27

All this career argument stuff is nonsense. The majority of boarders nowadays are either (a) people who are not UK nationals who want their children to be fluent in English and highly aspirational or (b) military families who are frequently moving with their postings. You can have a bloody good career in the UK and not need to use a boarding school. That is, if you want to have your kids living with you ...

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 00:00:59

BTW - I'm speaking from experience, as are those posters on this board who have positive stories of being separated from their families for months at a time as young children.

But anecdotes can only go so far - most people are emotionally invested in defending the choices made for them many years ago by parents they love and respect.

Where is the research looking at emotional outcomes for adults who experienced prolonged separation from family and home as young children living in institutions?

momb Thu 31-Oct-13 00:02:41

My two don't go to boarding school but certainly if I could have afforded it my YD would have from nine.
She attended a couple of short residential camps (one music, one holiday club) that year and got so much from being away from home at that age I would seriously have considered boarding school. It is of course horses for courses but I don't think you can say that residential school is inappropriate for all under 11s.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 00:07:08

"I don't think you can say that residential school is inappropriate for all under 11s."

No - many children have grim home lives and would benefit from being separated from emotionally cold, abusive or otherwise engaged parents.

Mimishimi Thu 31-Oct-13 00:43:51

YABU, seven has been the age since Spartan times... ;)

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 01:01:15

''Wait until they process the notion that their parents couldn't or wouldn't raise them the majority of the time. It will take years yet, a small child isn't usually capable of thinking that way. But an adult is and that's when the problems become problems. Not when they are ten or whatever.''

ladyantigone The friends I have who went to boarding school aren't kids, they're around my age (35) or a bit older. My family members who boarded aren't kids either, oddly enough, as they're the elder generation. None of them were turned into damaged nervous wrecks by being sent to school and seeing their family at the weekends.

This may well be true of some kids, but in the cases above, it's sheer nonsense. I don't claim to know how most kids are affected, but the ones I know are well adjusted happy adults.

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 01:06:01

...and they don't have hysterics about kids who genuinely want to go away to school either.

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 01:26:28

why would a child oe primary age want to spend 36weeks of the year away from their family- there is something amiss.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 01:47:05

Wuldric My DS is at boarding school - his choice. So you can imagine that your comment re: your DD saying no to boarding, "It would be the same answer from any child who is loved and treasured", I consider to be utter bollocks. Letting my DS go to boarding school has been the toughest thing that I have ever done. However, for him I know it is the right choice and because I love and treasure him. I have to do what is best for him (not me!)

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 02:09:59

an ex boarder once told oe that you either bully os are bullied . And whether a child likes badoptng school os not depends on which oe those two roles is your lot

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 07:44:03

Fanjo - I went to boarding school, as did my siblings. Everyone who knows us would describe us as happy and normal. But I know how we were affected emotionally by being separated from our family and it WASN'T a positive or even neutral thing. It caused us all prolonged emotional suffering - we just made the best of it, as people tend to do, and we don't wear our hearts on our sleeves .

Honestly - this idea that you can SEE emotional damage done in childhood, that it's obvious to friends and acquaintances...... sad

vixsatis Thu 31-Oct-13 09:01:59

boardingblues has it exactly. Some of us have our children in boarding school precisely because they are loved and treasured and we want the best for them no matter how much we miss them.

Boarding is a positive experience, not just a way of escaping an unsatisfactory home life (although the school certainly does some things better than I do); and once you take into account all the holidays, exeats, matches, Sunday lunches etc., it is scarcely half the year that they are away.

It is also nonsense to say that children survive because they harden and emotionally detach. My son is very sensitive, affectionate and emotionally intelligent and so, it seems, are a lot of his friends. He misses us and home but also really enjoys being at school and his independent life in the school community. It is possible to do both

Preciousbane Thu 31-Oct-13 09:41:24

Fil went to boarding school and is one of the most emotionally screwed up people I know. BIL also went, he seems fine. That's the problem some will thrive and some won't and until people reach adulthood it is not always patently obvious.

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 09:43:02

Hi Yermina - I'm genuinely sorry to hear that. sad I do understand that emotional damage is often concealed, I have various issues from childhood myself (all of which are irrelevant to this topic so I won't bore you with them!) I apologise if my comment came across as ignorant or flippant, which was not my intention.

I do know all of my own family's issues, as we became been very close knit when my parents split up 30 years ago. I can say with confidence that I don't think boarding school did them any harm. Mind you, in our family it was the done thing back then to send generation after generation of the kids to boarding school.

The friends I was talking about were given the option to go or to stay at home at day school, and they chose to go.

One of my very close mates who chose to go away to school at the age of 9 (his parents love the bones of him, of course, and they were determined that he should have his own say in the matter) tells me that he was awfully homesick at first, but that he settled in fast and saw it all as a massive adventure. He saw his parents every weekend and on one day in the week. I've known him since we were 15 and he's always been very mature for his age. He reckons that going to boarding school was the making of him and that he loved it.

I think it all depends on the individual child, really. There's no way in Hell I would have gone, but my brothers were really peed off that they weren't allowed to!

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 09:44:11

"it is scarcely half the year that they are away."

Oh, well, then that's perfectly okay then...spending over half a year away from your children?

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 09:47:09

"LaQueen - there is no months of hardship, suffering, confusion and upset for children in modern boarding preps."

What, none ? Never? Really...? How miraculous?

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 09:55:38

The big pink elephant in the corner of the room here is that obviously there are some parents who actually, are quite content (for a variety of reasons) to live apart from their young children for over half the year.

For a variety of reasons it suits them, and makes their life easier.

I've witnessed this with a friend of mine. She is very fond of her DCs in a casual kinda way, but is perfectly content to leave them (works away & likes to tag a several days travelling on to the end of her trips)) for 2-3 weeks at a time. She freely admits that she doesn't especially miss them, while she's away.

She is perfectly happy with the amount of time she spends with her DCs - I don't think she's even aware that for some parents her life would be untenable, and they would desperately miss their children on primeval level, that transcends anything else.

GobbolinoCat Thu 31-Oct-13 10:11:53

Its an interesting one.....

Some people also I think reckon its the best education they can provide, I know I wish I had been sent away, from horrors at home!

Some parents also sacrifice quite a bit to send their DC away because they think its the best education and its because they love their DC so much , they sacrifice larger houses, expensive holidays, nicer clothes, and little treats, to give their DC that start in life...not all but some do.

quickdowntonson Thu 31-Oct-13 10:18:02

Just pulled up a chair!!
As LaQueenofThe Damned says, basically some parents have a contented, but slightly distant relationship with their children. I also know mothers who travel with work, spend longer away than they need to, and don't miss their Dc's at all!
I would never send my Dc's to boarding school, but that doesn't mean everyone else feels that same way. Perhaps if DH or I worked in the military, or a job which entailed constant travel, it would be the only real option.
Also, my cousin has a DD with profound learning difficulties, who boards at a wonderful specialist school, and comes home at weekends. She is happy, receives the help and education she needs, and my cousin has her sanity and is able to spend time with her other DD.
Each family is different

frankie4 Thu 31-Oct-13 10:22:27

A good friend who is outwardly confident and happy and is a doctor, went to boarding school from the age of 11. She told me that she cried herself to sleep every night for the first term, but she said that she was really happy in all the letters she wrote home as she didn't want to worry her parents.

My ds finds the social side of school difficult at times, and I can almost see him breath a sigh of relief when he walks through our door every day when he gets home. A boarding school would be awful for him as there would never be an escape from socialising.

But I can see that a sporty outgoing child may enjoy boarding. I think it is better to wait til they are a bit older so that it is easier to make the decision based on what sort of person they are.

Abra1d Thu 31-Oct-13 10:24:45

Are pink elephants in the corner the same thing as elephants in the room?

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 10:31:35

I thought pink elephants were what Dumbo saw when his drink was spiked, myself.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 10:59:08

I just don't get the benefits thing.

How does it benefit a child to be supervised outside of lesson time by housemasters/mistresses instead of their own parents? Who do parents think staff who work at these schools are and what sort of training do they think they have? The staff don't love the children they look after, they don't parent them, they aren't experts in child development. They're often quite young themselves. My memory of house parents was that they were sometimes a very dysfunctional lot. Not many normal, successful people with happy family lives of their own want to do a job that isn't especially well paid and requires you to be on site 24/7, and have very little privacy. And yet it's these people that parents are relying on to provide around the clock emotional support and affection to their children.

Or maybe they think a 9 year old doesn't need parenting?

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 11:06:13

My DS is at boarding school - his choice. no it's your choice.I assume he doesn't have parental responsibility for himself?

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 11:14:33

My DS went to board at 14. I would find it hard to even consider boarding as an option before that. But you need to be aware that boarding is a broad concept now. There is flex-, weekly- and full-boarding. Even with full-boarding, I see my DS weekly. He is very intelligent and has a sporting talent. He is also an only child and we live in a rural area with no neighbours and no suitable schools in the area. Our local comp closed and our local options where very limited. More to the point, he wanted to board. He want the camaraderie of boarding (and has it), he wanted the challenging academic environment (he loves it) and also the sporting opportunities (he gets top coaching). As a parent it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to enable our children to grow and flourish. It should never be about parental convenience or preference (though I accept that sometimes it is). I have plenty of friends who went to day schools who were miserable, bullied or who just hated their school days. Perhaps that system is wrong too? Perhaps we should just keep our kids latched on to the nipple until we find them a spouse that we can then criticise on MN because they are not as good as us.

KeepingUpWithTheJonses Thu 31-Oct-13 11:18:39

I can understand boarding school for older teenagers who actively want to go - especially where they are specialised schools that support their interests. A friend of mine went to some boarding music/drama school from 14-18 on scholarship and she maintains it was the best thing she ever did because it was the only chance she would have to be so immersed in what she loves.

I do not understand parents who send away their young children to boarding school. Also, the thought that this is 'the childs choice' is laughable. Children want all sorts of things that are not in their best interests and you don't always comply...the choice is always ultimately the parents.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 11:19:54

intitgrand I am afraid that you are very wrong. It was his choice. He wanted to go to a specific school and launched a campaign to go there. I was firmly against it. However, his determination to go and his reasoning was compelling. His former headmaster was also convinced it was the school for him. I have to enable it. We do not run our family as a dictatorship. Our DS has a voice.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 11:32:40

AbraId, yes I think they must be grin I don't actually know where I got the pink from?

But, basically I think that because everyone is quite different, then it stands to reason that people can experience love, and bonding with their children in varying degrees.

From the parent utterly obsessed with spending every waking moment welded to their child's side [shudder] the parent who is quite content to only see their child for half the year, and secretly doesn't really miss them at all.

And, all the shades of grey inbetween.

Abra1d Thu 31-Oct-13 11:34:21

They sound more interesting than the normal ones.

I must admit that today I would willingly send my beloved teenage daughter to Lowood School for burnt porridge. wink

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 11:35:51

half a year? so only 26 weeks a year at school ie less than 9 weeks a term? I though it was more like 36?

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 11:39:19

Which school only has a 26 week school year? I thought ds's was short and that is 34 weeks.

KeepingUpWithTheJonses Thu 31-Oct-13 11:39:49

Boardingblues - whatever language you use, it IS ultimately up to you to make the best choices for your dc.

Your 'choice', your 'decision', your 'enablement' - whatever. The buck stops with you, as a parent. YOU get the ultimate choice.

I really dislike hearing major lifestyle changes described as a childs 'choice'. It smacks of excuses and trying to remove responsibility for these choices from yourself.

I'm not saying a child should not have input. But should they have complete control and decision making abilities over such important things? No.

festered Thu 31-Oct-13 11:43:26

My DP and his Sister were both sent to board when his Father got a job in a country thousands of miles away and they couldn't find a school that would take them both.
They both bear the scars, couldn't adjust to home life once out, they were both beaten, both speak of how they were underfed and beaten for stealing food-she suffered bed wetting and was horrendously bullied for it, he had his face slammed into a brickwall for a minor disobedience (At the time he didn't even know what he had done wrong). She started her periods there and had nobody to speak to about it and didn't know what was going on. He caught Chickenpox and was put in isolation, no entertainment or care, just fed twice a day.
She has suffered worse than him, speaks of feeling abandoned and scared, most of his evenings were taken up comforting her. They're kind of okay now but both still have issues, I am picking up the pieces still with DP, I resent this.
There was a local group formed alongside 'boardingschoolsurvivors' when I was at university and I used to collect a friend from there. The amount of students crying and scarred-so sad.

I am of the beleif that SOME children may thrive. I try to not generalise. But not most, and from the experiences I have close to hand I absolutely hate the places. Children need love,comfort, someone here for their worries, there when they cannot sleep-there when they're sick.
If a child is sent because there are better opportunities, and their emotional health is monitored whilst there , it can be okay. But for many people who send their kids away, this is not the case.

goinggetstough Thu 31-Oct-13 11:47:27

Bisjo I expect the 26 weeks allows for the days at home at the weekend. So approx 9+4+4 for main holidays. + 3/4 for half term term= 21 weeks.
23 weeks left each with 2 day weekend= 6 weeks plus 4 days

That gives you the 26/ 27 weeks.....

The above fact detracts from the argument!

We all have a choice, but it always amazes me that so many people can be quite rude when it comes to boarding a child if doing this doesn't coincide with their own personal view.

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 11:49:13

Or maybe they think a 9 year old doesn't need parenting?
Alternatively, maybe that's nonsense?

My friend's parents were worried sick about him when he went to boarding school at 9, even though he was only 20 miles away and they visited him twice a week every week. They were a close knit and loving family. There's nothing wrong with their parenting skills -their four kids were happy kids who have become happy and healthy adults. God help anyone who is dopey enough to tell my friend that his parents were bad parents for sending him to a school to which he wanted to go, and where he had great opportunities; he has achieved a hell of a lot since on the back of his education.

I've known this person for 20 years now, and I'm damn sure that if someone suggested that his parents couldn't be arsed with him, he'd laugh in their face for judging his family unfairly (while seething inwardly, no doubt!)

Everybody is different, I think.

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 11:54:24

As for the staff - according to him, his housemaster and housemistress were lovely people. It wasn't a particularly big school he went to, but it was a good school.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 12:04:43

Of course the parent has final control, responsibility and accountability for the choices. But in our situation, the choice was influenced by his desire and our situation. I could have sent him to a local school and ignored that the schools are not performing well (OFSTED's opinion not mine) and that his sporting ambitions could not be met. I could have explained that having him at home with us every evening was better for him because family outweighs everything else. I am sure that he would have fully respected by views and happily moved on because life is just like The Waltons. This is not a decision that anyone takes lightly and without weighing up all of the alternatives. To send him to his school has huge implications. My nickname is no coincidence here. I wait for his call every evening. I miss him like I would miss a limb. I spend 3 hours on the motorway every Sunday to have 3 hours with him. My DH and I go without a lot to pay the fees. But he is happy and is flourishing. We are regaled with stories of dorm raids, pillow fights, parties and so on. My DS never had a best friend at his old school. Now he does. At half term they are on FB and phoning each other all the time. He says that for the first time he feels that he belongs at his school. So, his instinct was right and my decision to support him was right too.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 13:23:20

I agree fester - I think a lot of parents (certainly friends of my parents) sent their children to boarding school, because ultimately it made their lives logistically easier, and they simply didn't feel any need to spend time with their own children on a daily, or even weekly basis.

I'm sure the parents were quite pleased if their child had ended up being okay at the BS. But, generally the view was that you had to stick it out, until such time as you adapted.

Children, even as young as 8/9/10 are quite astute. They can tell when they're not necessary at home.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 13:26:50

"Everybody is different, I think."

Indeed they are fanjo - and I think it safe to say, that everyone's need to share their daily lives with their own children, is very different and clearly varies a great deal.

FairPhyllis Thu 31-Oct-13 13:37:06

There are plenty of family circumstances which mean that boarding under 11 is actually best for the children, e.g. single parents in the armed forces whose jobs mean they get actively deployed.

A friend of mine and her brother went to boarding school at a young age because her mother had very severe mental illness and was constantly in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Their father was barely coping with keeping his job and looking after their mother's health. Boarding school, while not ideal, was a way of giving them a more stable life than they could have had at home with their mother's frequent psychotic episodes. What do you think of that, OP?

I don't think it is ideal for children under 11 but sometimes it is the least bad option.

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 13:46:09

I would say that being in the armed forces is not a suitable career for a single parent.

wordfactory Thu 31-Oct-13 13:47:08

AT DC's prep there was flexi boarding.

Mine never went, but many of their mates did. One or two nights a week. It was like a glorified sleep over, I think.

I actually think this type if faux boarding is less harmful than termly boarding post 11.

FairPhyllis Thu 31-Oct-13 13:54:47

intit You know that the armed services aren't like a normal career, right? You don't automatically have the right to leave if you suddenly become a single parent.

lonnika Thu 31-Oct-13 13:55:09

My daughter aged 11 has been at boarding school for a year -
The reasonis because I can't be bothered to parent her as I am lazy and thoughtless and really shouldn't be a mother - particularly in comparison to all you other wonderful mums out there ;)

Actually she is very talented at a paticular sport and has been given an opportunity to pursue that sport at a high level - in order to take up this opportunity she has to board!!!! She loves it - if she didn't we would bring her home in a flash. We couldn't deprive her the opportunity she had even though it means a lot of financial support form us as parents - we do our best for our kids- or at least what we think is best at the time !!!

Sparklysilversequins Thu 31-Oct-13 14:14:14

Oh I forgot this beauty. At MY school if you behaved badly you were put to sleep in the attic. One room, one bed nothing else. No one else, dark and desperately terrifying for a 9 year old. We didn't tell our parents because it was drummed into us how disappointed they would be if they found out.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 31-Oct-13 14:38:09

There are "acceptable" reasons for sending a young child to board, as has been often mentioned eg army.

However, the people I know sending dcs to board aged 8,9,10 can't use any of these excuses (not that they would excuse themselves because they think they are doing the right thing. They are using reasons like "the facilities are so amazing" and in one case "He's too close to his brother and we think they need more space from each other! shock .

These dcs are already at top London prep schools but this isn't enough, apparently. IMVHO for this group, which is admittedly small (though still much more bigger than I would have guessed before having my own dc), still considered smarter to have a boarding child esp at a fashionable school, like the Dragon, than go day.

ladyantigone Thu 31-Oct-13 14:47:24

fanjofarrow: you simply do not having the privilege of seeing into people's psyches from ordinary social contact.

People can be extremely well adjusted, successful, have rock solid marriages and happy children etc etc etc and yet you don't have to dig all that deep to find the lack of depth in all relationships, perhaps the intractable need to have a serviced and comfortable home, difficulties in showing emotions, in thinking of others.

It spoils happiness and the happiness of others. You will not see these problems and people may not even be able to articulate them (after having only had practise in hiding all feelings since there is nothing else to do but get on with it at boarding school). Classifying ex-baorders as 'nervous wrecks' or 'just fine' is inaccurate and not useful.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Thu 31-Oct-13 15:33:53

"We didn't tell our parents because it was drummed into us how disappointed they would be if they found out."

Yes, I've witnessed that too Sparkly the boaders at my day school often gently chided for worrying their parents, or that complaining would make their parents disappointed.

I imagine, that if your parents send you away for half the year because you're not necessary to them at home...the very last thing you'd want to risk is to disappoint them, and possibly make them withdraw even further from you.

vixsatis Thu 31-Oct-13 16:26:33

I promised myself not to look at this again because it is beginning to make me cross.

"not necessary to them at home" I love and adore my child more than life itself but this is not about what I feel; it is about what is best for him. He knows I miss him enormously.

When he is miserable (which is occasionally going to be the case whatever the school) I can tell and he talks to me about it- they can phone and email and I see him most weeks. Most of the time he is very happy and he is certainly much happier than he was at his day school, where he really was miserable.

He is not at boarding school to facilitate my lifestyle or because I have any "excuse" but because it is a marvellous experience for him: he loves home but there is more to life than being with Mummy. I'm not saying it is for every child and I would have taken him out if he were not happy but he is. I know my child well enough to be able to tell if he were not genuinely happy

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 16:34:11

lady You are quite right about me not seeing directly into anyone's head. You can't do that either.

However, I know my closest friends of twenty years' standing, and, (more to the point) my own family well enough; we're all extremely close. My lot all went to boarding school until our generation came along. It's something we have always talked about quite openly.

Of course there is a huge spectrum between being 'just fine' (whatever that means - I certainly never used the term) and being a nervous wreck!

Presuming all boarders are somehow irrevocably damaged is hardly helpful either.

I think it very much depends on the individual child in question. For that reason, I don't think one can generalise one way or t'other.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 16:44:21

I don't think all or even most children placed in institutional care - whether by the state (in the case of working class children put into care homes) or by parents (in the case of the case of middle and upper class children sent to boarding school) would show signs of emotional damage in later life. In fact it's a good thing for children from emotionally neglectful or downright abusive backgrounds whatever class they come from. But I still feel very strongly that children thrive best emotionally in loving families. The government clearly thinks this too, which is why care homes are a last resort for looked after children. It does seem off that we recognise this in relation to poor children but not in relation to the children of the rich. But maybe for those families educational attainment and sporting achievement will always rank high enough to warrent prioritising over family life.

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 16:48:43

Interesting points, Yermina. My mate who I keep banging on about was a working class lad - there's no way he would have been able to go to boarding school if he hadn't gone on a musical scholarship. His parents love him to bits like they do all their kids.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 16:50:22

How is boarding school a 'marvellous experience' for him?

Is he at Hogwarts or something? wink

How is it more 'marvellous' than going to a good private day school near home and having the chance to do hobbies and activities outside of school hours like the vast majority of children of posh families in the UK?

I think parents have to believe that boarding school is a massively superior experience to justify the huge financial and emotional investment involved in sending their children to one.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 16:50:25

How is boarding school a 'marvellous experience' for him?

Is he at Hogwarts or something? wink

How is it more 'marvellous' than going to a good private day school near home and having the chance to do hobbies and activities outside of school hours like the vast majority of children of posh families in the UK?

I think parents have to believe that boarding school is a massively superior experience to justify the huge financial and emotional investment involved in sending their children to one.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 17:05:47

I can only speak of boarding post 14 years and the occasional night (3 nights in total ever and because there were boarding parties) at prep school. However, my DS does an activity most evenings after school. He can try sports and activities that we don't have access to, he can find talents that may have not been found otherwise. There is no public transport where we live. He can have no independent life, unless we take him. As he entered his teens, we saw he wanted to spend more time with his friends - he loves us and we him, but we are not who he wants to hang with. For him it is marvellous to have friends on-hand, to be able to play footie or table tennis when he wants. He watches virtually no TV (although they can if they want), he spends virtually no time on games consoles (although he can if he wants). Instead he is active and stimulated. We get a nightly call just before bed that is a list of all the things he has done that day, who said what, who fancies who and the work he has done. I think our biggest problem will be to make the holidays and exeats as fun as school.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 17:16:33

Well - there does come a time when your children would rather spend time with friends than family.

And then they bugger off to work/university and you hardly see them any more. Your experience of the day to day intimacy of family life is already over by the sound of it - I'm sorry for you and glad I will have more time with my children - and they with me, before they fly the nest altogether.

There has to be a balance surely? To give up almost all family time for 2/3rds of the year in order to prioritise socialising?

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 17:22:35

Should add - I suppose that the 'activities' thing has passed me and my children by and maybe that's why our priorities are different. They play, do a bit of music, a bit of sport, read etc but I think their time outside school is more about being than doing. And that's ok with me.

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 17:23:14

I love how these threads always end up the same with the usual 'you can't love your children if you send them to boarding school'. Or 'I love my children more than you because I make sure I stay at home all day every day and take and collect them from school.' hmm

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 17:25:11

I also love the way that boarding schools are being compared to care homes on this thread. That is a new one for MN.

vixsatis Thu 31-Oct-13 17:30:29

We are a loving family. A very loving family. He is not without a loving family. We see one another a lot, just not every day

He is (not deliberately- I would have had four given a choice) an only child and boarding gives him quasi siblings with whom he has a fantastic amount of fun. He also has a lot more freedom to mess around with his friends in the grounds than he would here in inner London where he is not allowed to go far alone. He is free from maternal helicoptering over his work and his life and he doesn't have to spend any time sitting on a bus to get to or from any of his activities.

He has learned to live in a community with lots of people from different cultures. He has learned to help when other people are having a hard time. He has learned the sort of team spirit which has nothing to do with the sports field but a lot to do with understanding how other people tick

I don't have to nag about homework or lost socks or music practice: he has to sort these things out for himself and has developed much practical self-reliance (different from emotional self-reliance) and when we are together we have really good quality family time doing things we enjoy and catching up.

There is a complete ban on electronic gadgets and apart from the occasional big match and a Saturday night film, no telly. The boys are kept more constructively occupied than I could ever manage and their down time is spent doing daft things together.

The staff are not parent substitutes; but they are kind, dedicated and, in most cases much loved.

He was homesick to start with (he went at 8) but by the end of the first term he thanked me for sending him, said that he would like to be Headmaster and, believe it or not, that the dining room at Christmas was just like Hogwarts.

If I suggested now (he's 12) that he stop boarding he would be absolutely horrified

fanjofarrow Thu 31-Oct-13 17:33:03

I might show this to my mates and my family members who went to boarding school, and see what they think about such absurd and judgmental comments about their parents, their mental state, and their home lives.

Then again, better not. As they were all apparently unloved/unwanted/considered less important than free time by their thoughtless parents, they'd no doubt struggle to cope. hmm

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 17:40:58


We are faced with the same situation, our dd is 9 and I am trying to put her off until she is secondary. Your post is very refreshing after people in rl think it is such a bad idea. I think you also commented on my thread, thank you.

What people need to realise is everybody and family is different. Every school is different and everybody's options or opportunities are different.
We all have different circumstances.

If somebody had asked me to consider sending one of our older ds to boarding school many years ago, I'd have thought they'd gone mad, no way would I have considered it.
FF to now and a child who excels in music and a passion to attend a particular boarding school, it is unfair not to at least consider.

People change, situations change. Open your mind OP and you might learn something about boarding schools today.

FlapJackOLantern Thu 31-Oct-13 17:55:35

OP - are you telling me I was wrong to allow my Special Needs child access to equipment and education just because it was boarding school and he was under 11?

Fuck off, then fuck off some more when you get there.

You obviously have NO idea how much your statement has the ability to hurt.

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 17:58:40

somewhere upthread it has been clarified that the OP was not referring to children with special needs boarding.
so no needn to be so agrressive

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 18:11:55

I don't see why so many people are dead set against boarding schools. I can't help thinking its a type of jealousy.
I know there are some people who it didn't work out for and this is awful, but more a reflection of the times than the system today.

There are many parents who work full time, use childcare, wraparound, holiday care for many hours of their children's lives. Some only spend a couple of hours a day with them. When added up throughout the year this is far fewer hours than a boarder could spend with their parents.
But if you suggested this was wrong, or cruel, or shouldn't happen to dcs under 11 there would be an uproar.

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 18:14:24

I can't help thinking its a type of jealousy
then you are utterly missing the point

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 18:42:52

Yes, I was choosing to ignore the care home comparison!

However, I will assure Yermina that there is plenty of intimacy in our family life. We are very, very close. Boarding school was not on the agenda until we had to start looking at secondary schools. Then we listened to our child and to his teachers and considering all of the information took a decision.

I would not dream of posting ill-informed opinion or judgements of others choices regarding their children. I believe that most do what they believe is best for their children. We are very lucky that we can afford to pay for DS' school (after tax). If we couldn't then I really don't know what we would have done, because the local schools were really not an option for many reasons.

I have shown this thread to my DS, who found quite a lot of it very funny. He does not agree with boarding pre-13. But post 13, he thinks is great. He says that he feels sorry for the kids that don't get the chance to experience boarding.

intitgrand Thu 31-Oct-13 18:46:23

But boardingblues you are talking about boarding at 13+ , the thread is about under 11s . A Totally different animal

Bonsoir Thu 31-Oct-13 18:46:41

I think only children, or children with older brothers and sisters, can get terribly lonely and a bit desocialised at home with a nanny while their parents work. For that reason alone, boarding school is worth considering.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 19:03:27


I hope that it helps you. My strong recommendation is to leave boarding until your DD is 13. Start looking at schools next year and see if one suits her. If you don't find that one, then don't do it. But if you do find a school that fits, then go for it!

catgirl1976fucker Thu 31-Oct-13 19:03:50

My cousins little girls are under 11 and go to boarding school

But then, my cousin died of breast cancer, their dad has severe MS and they love it and it gives them stability and a break from a home with 1 deceased parent and 1 very ill parent

But yes, get elected and ban it. It will do them a world of good hmm

manicinsomniac Thu 31-Oct-13 19:56:12

Yermina - the resident houseparents at the school where I work earn just shy of £50K - each! So a joint income of £100K with no housing costs, no bills and no food costs - hardly a low salary is it! I earn an additional 4K a year just for doing two nights a week in the boarding house and I don't even I have to sleep in, I finish at 11pm!

LaQueen - the rest of my post pointed out that consistently unhappy children are not able to remain as boarders. So no, there is no months and months of settling, each child has a half term 'settling in' period and if it's clear they aren't going to cope they leave the boarding house. I'm sure there are some who would prefer to be at home. But actively unhappy, no.

And people are still giving examples of people who boarded from, I imagine, the 1950s-1980s as relevant to whether children should board now or not. I can guarantee, without having worked in them all (just one in fact) that no child in a 21st century boarding house is beaten or locked in an attic ffs!

And if people, in general, are accepting of the fact that boarding can be the right place for children with additional needs then why can't it be the right place for children with particular academic, sporting, musical, dramatic or social skill? Or children who have difficulties coping at home? Or children whose parents want continuity of education? Or any of the other very good reasons why children board.

Don't like it? Fine, don't choose it. But it is not some awful choice that suggests the parents don't care. It benefits many and rarely harms (as those blatantly unsuited don't tend to stay in it).

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 20:02:48


Thank you. My dd is looking at a particular one and my problem was that I'd hate for her to go. However, I would not stop her from pursuing her ambition, that would be selfish.
We would be going from H.ed and being with her 24/7, having never used nurseries or childcare. So the arguments that many put up about not wanting your children are ridiculous and bigoted.

I think too many people on here have too narrow a view and comments about care homes, dumping dc and such like would get the posters slated if they were commenting on childcare and in some cases in terms of hours spent with their dc, there isn't much difference.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 20:18:33

But Bisjo - boarding schools ARE institutions where children are cared for in groups away from their families. So in that sense they ARE similar.

And that's the main issue on this thread - the issue of children being removed from families and cared for in an institutional setting.

I don't for one minute believe that boarding schools these days are awful places. Even back in the 1980's when I was at boarding school most of the staff were basically kind (odd but kind!). But it was a professional relationship between us and the staff - even the really nice ones. It wasn't a familial relationship and was no real love involved. And for me this had the affect of making me feel alone and I consequently I had high anxiety levels. Nobody at the time knew this - I appeared to be coping well, didn't cry in front of anyone, and told my parents I was enjoying myself. It's only years on as an adult that I was able to look back and put a name on those feelings.

difficultpickle Thu 31-Oct-13 20:26:10

I have no experience of children in care but I don't think they have daily contact with their families. No doubt someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Also children in care homes are there because their family cannot care for them or provide for them or does not want them or may harm them. How on earth is that comparable?

I think you wouldn't recognise boarding schools today compared to how it was in the 1980s and the level of contact couldn't be more different.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 20:31:44


Sending DS off was awful for me... I wept like a loon for the week before term started! He did point out that he was only going to school and not to war! The boys had a taster weekend before the hols and had swapped phone numbers and made friends on FB, so they were fairly familiar on that first day. The housemaster, his family and matron were fantastic from the outset. I trust them and that is important.

Hats off on the homeschooling (I couldn't do it because I cannot teach, not because of having to spend the time with my child grin ).

There are some very narrow views expressed here, I am inclined to be less polite actually! My DS certainly was when he read some of the comments!

manicinsomniac Thank you!

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 20:38:58

Obviously children in care homes are there because their family has been 'broken' - not always through neglect/abuse. Sometimes it's as a result of illness. But most children are there are very damaged.

The accepted view is that care homes are a last resort - because children need to live in families to have optimal emotional development.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 31-Oct-13 20:44:07

I'm also smiling at the comparison between a good boarding school and a care home. Oh dear.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 20:58:26

Someone needs to break it to Yermina that Tracy Beaker is not a documentary! The underestimation of the plight of kids in care homes is staggering.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 21:05:20

I think the main difference between boarding schools in the past and boarding schools today is the amount of phone/email contact children have with parents. This is obviously a great thing .

Doesn't change the fact that the basic emotional tenor of children's day to day life is different when they are living with a group of peers around the clock then when their day to day life involves routine interaction, and physical contact with a parent. I know my children are DIFFERENT at school than they are at home. For a start they get a lot of physical affection when they are at home. I kiss and cuddle my ten year old several times a day, get into bed with him to read together at the end of the day. When I was his age and at boarding schools I had about a 100th of the amount of physical affection that my own child has now. The staff would give you the odd hug if you were down or hurt but it wasn't a normal part of our day to day interaction.

Anyway - I can only speak as an adult who now feels sad about the loss of intimacy and day to day interaction with my parents during my childhood that was a result of me going to boarding school.

I'd really like to see some good quality research done into long term emotional outcomes for adults raised in institutional settings as children. Something that 'controls' for the quality of care within those institutions so the impact of children being separated from parents and other family members was the focus of the research.

I think the hard thing about these discussions as well is that many of us here are worlds apart. I sit here looking at my beautiful children and I'm conscious of the fact that there are many parents posting in this thread who would consider their experience of life entirely unacceptable for their own children - because it doesn't involve an elite education and loads of extra curricula activities. Unacceptable to the point that they would be willing to give up the day to day interaction with their children in the last few years of their childhood in order to avoid it. I find that hard.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 21:09:13

Boarding - I know the emotional, economic and educational outcomes for children in care in the UK are terrible.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 21:11:31

It must have been a pretty piss-poor school that you went to, because it may have taught you to read, but not to comprehend. I guess that you missed the empathy classes.

Never mind. Enjoy looking at your beautiful children.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 21:14:17

What are the essential differences for children in care in terms of their day to day interaction with the adults paid to care for them, compared to those in boarding schools? Is the staff/child ratio in boarding school vastly better? Lower staff turnover? Are staff working in boarding schools better trained in supporting the emotional and social development of children? Removing the issue that children in care often arrive there very damaged emotionally, how does the basic relationship between children and the staff vary between different institutional residential settings?

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 21:21:42

Boarding - I'm sure you have very solid reasons for having your child live separately from the rest of his family. My parents did too (my father's job involved lots of international travel and my mother moved with him). They really believed they were doing the best thing for us, and had no reason to think differently as we always gave the impression that we were happy. I don't think sending your child to boarding school means you don't love them or want to be with them!

manicinsomniac Thu 31-Oct-13 21:25:58

Yermina - you aren't comparing like with like. A typical week for a child in an institutional care home is unlikely to include any contact with anyone who actually loves them. A typical week for a child in a modern boarding school will involve things like phonecalls/skype sessions/face timing their families, having their families come to watch them play in a match, play or concert, going out for a meal with friends or family, perhaps seeing parents collecting younger siblings daily and, more importantly than anything else, the knowledge that they actually have relatives who love them. The two situations are not the same.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 21:34:16


Are you out of your mind? My dc don't even board, I have no experience and even I can tell you the difference.
Children in the care system don't have loving parents who are a text, call, Skype, email away. They don't get to see them during holidays or a day during the week or at weekends.
They have more than likely suffered horrendous abuse or been woefully neglected. Their parents may have died, their parents could have been addicts and unable to cope.
Therr are lots/ most children in care who have had the most awful childhood at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them.
Please don't compare the two, you make yourself sound very silly.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:26:22

More - calm down! I've acknowledged that children in care are there because of family breakdown and that the outcomes for children in care are very very poor.

Did you miss that post?

Or did you ignore it because you want to rant at me?

The point remains - when social services are making decisions about organising care for looked after children they generally prefer it to be care in a family setting if it is possible, because of a strong acknowledgement that this type of care is emotionally optimal for children.

That's all I'm saying. I'm not saying that children in boarding schools are neglected, unloved or abused like some children who end up in care. I think you know this but are choosing to pretend I'm saying something else!

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:34:07

As for comparing the two - sorry, but there ARE some points of comparison. If you looked around most care homes and were given details of the sort of pastoral support children there would expect to get from staff it would be hard to distinguish them from the way children live in boarding houses.

Care homes are supposed to be 'home from home' settings, where children live in groups supported and supervised by a small number of paid professionals.

The families and background of the children may be very different in a boarding school, but the way they are looked after/fed/supervised will not be very different from that of children in care homes.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 22:34:55


It is sad that you were sent to boarding school for your parents own reasons and not because it was best for you. It is also sad that you could not tell your parents how are unhappy you were. However, you cannot project this on to parents of boarders now. Especially when they have told you explicitly that this is not the case. Unfortunately, your mother chose to travel with your father and I can imagine that that must hurt.

My (gorgeous) DS wanted to tell you that he knows that if he changes his mind, that he can leave. He says that won't happen.

As has been pointed out, children in care homes arrive there because they have no home, because there is no one willing or able to take care of them. They are children who have lost everything. The people who are for them will (probably) be very over worked and sadly underpaid. I have no doubt there will be many carers who are highly dedicated and motivated. A care home is the last resort for children who have been let down or left with no alternative.

Sadly, the 2 weeks of half term holidays are nearly over. We have had a great time and have done lots of fun things together. DS is keen to go back to school because he has a big match coming up and he wants to get back to training. He also has a tryout for the rowing team that he is excited about. Then there is a party... We are having lunch with him on the Sunday after he goes back. The following weekend he is away at a special sports training camp and then we have a long weekend away with him. Then it is two weeks to the Christmas holidays. Does this sound like being in a care home? For a clever and sporty boy it is nirvana!

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:40:37

Actually manic, most children in care homes have regular contact by phone/email with family - close and extended.

And probably most don't consider themselves unloved. And most parents with children in care homes probably feel they love their children and are devastated to have them removed from their care.

I know people who've spent time in care as children - in almost all cases it's been as the result of severe mental health problems in the parent culminating in the child being neglected. Which of course doesn't preclude love, does it?

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:43:39

MY parents had the option of putting us in local schools. they believed that stability was important for our education which is the reason a lot of forces and foreign office children end up in boarding school - it's done for their educational welfare. And we were all quite keen to go - we were kids, loved the idea of midnight feasts and endless sleep-overs. I think I was like a lot of children - not particularly analytical or emotionally astute....

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 22:47:18

am tempted to reply that not much has changed


utreas Thu 31-Oct-13 22:51:47

Most children who go to boarding schools tend to do quite well in terms of educational attainment and life outcomes so YABVU.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:54:55

Can I also add - given that you are keen to draw contrasts between my experience and your sons, not only is it NOT the case that my parents sent me to boarding school out of self interest (why did you jump to that conclusion when earlier on I mentioned that my parents believed they were doing the right thing for us educationally?), but also it wasn't true that I couldn't tell my parents I felt unhappy. I believed at the time that the emotions I was experiencing were normal. I didn't recognise my emotions for what they were. I think this is true of a lot of children - they're not emotionally literate. It's incredibly common for adults who've been through quite awful experiences as children to say they didn't talk about what they were experiencing or think to complain - even when given the chance to do so.

Yermina Thu 31-Oct-13 22:57:21

Utreas - can you direct those of us who are also interested in this issue to research on emotional outcomes for adults educated in boarding schools as children. Research which controls for social class obviously - otherwise it wouldn't be worth reading!

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 23:00:07

You stated that your father's job involved lots of international travel and your mother moved with him as the reason you went to boarding school.

Grennie Thu 31-Oct-13 23:28:31

"There is quite a body of knowledge out there that suggests taking a child away at the age of eight or 11 to a boarding school is psychologically not the wisest thing to do for their development,'

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 23:38:51

Yermina, I know you acknowledged why children were in care homes. I wasn't ranting at you but pointing out that you really can't compare the two. Also that each situation is different, so you aren't really comparing like for like.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 23:40:18

Thank you Grennie, I'm going to read your link now thanks

Wuldric Thu 31-Oct-13 23:45:00

I know my child well enough to be able to tell if he were not genuinely happy

I do not believe that that can be a true statement. It was honestly delivered, and sincerely meant but it is NOT TRUE. I boarded myself and my parents believed me perfectly content (which I was) but they would have had no real idea. None whatsoever. Boarding is a process of detaching from parents. I was happy because my parents had a myriad problems and frankly, boarding school was a break.

You have no idea if you are a boarding school parent what is happening in your children's lives. You are not tidying away their socks, bringing them bacon sandwiches, getting flustered about their chemistry homework, ferrying them around to rugby matches. You are not there, as a boarding school parent. You do not have the nuanced relationship whereby you can tell in the blink of an eye that your DCs are not happy, and patiently waiting and teasing it out of them and cuddling them (literally and/or metaphorically).

I honestly believe that boarding school is for wealthy people who shouldn't have had children. Either because they are not logistically equipped to have them (vide the poster who claimed that boarding school was necessary because of where they lived - and blithely not realising that she could, in fact move) or because they are prioritising their careers ahead of their children.

<dons hard hat>

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 23:52:32


Thank you for your honest opinion and sharing your experience. no need to don hard hat, with me anyway grin

Do you have any experience of boarding schools now and would you suggest that parents still wouldn't know if they weren't genuinely happy?

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 23:55:07

Wuldric, you are a either a troll or a just pig ignorant.

Boardingblues Thu 31-Oct-13 23:56:01

You cannot move a farm

Grennie Thu 31-Oct-13 23:59:09

Lots of parents don't really know if their child is happy or not wherever they live. Lots of parents are stunned to find out their child suffered bad bullying they knew nothing about, or were being abused. Children for many reasons don't always tell their parents how they really feel

extracrunchy Fri 01-Nov-13 00:01:23

I agree 100% with Wuldric. Except in extreme logistical cases like parents in the forces, there is no good reason for a parent who actually wants to be a parent to send a child under 11 to be brought up by someone else.

Wuldric Fri 01-Nov-13 00:06:32

Erm, thanks for that smile

I namechange every couple of years but I have a long posting history and no, I am not a troll. I don't believe that I am pig ignorant on the topic, having boarded myself and having considered boarding for my DCs.

I considered it for my DCs for sixth form precisely because boarding schools are a process of detaching from parents. It might be the right sort of time for them to board. They are getting ready to leave home, and it's good to foster and encourage independence.

Leaving them in the care of a housemaster before then? Bonkers. Sorry and all that.

lonnika Fri 01-Nov-13 09:16:21

I think you have to accept that all schools are diffrent, children are different and circumstances are different. I would have HATED boarding. Too much of a home bird. My daughter enjoys it - she comes home every weekend and obviously every holiday. In addition we go and see her at least once int the week - but believe me it is more for us than for her smile. If anyone finds the seperation difficult it is me and not her - !! Necer judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes smile

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:02:48

"I don't see why so many people are dead set against boarding schools. I can't help thinking its a type of jealousy."

Certainly not jealousy for DH and I. We could afford boarding school, if we wished.

But, the thought of not sharing our daily lives with our DDs is simply untenable.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:10:28

"He is not at boarding school to facilitate my lifestyle or because I have any "excuse" but because it is a marvellous experience for him: he loves home but there is more to life than being with Mummy."

Well, if a child being away at school is actually a far more marvellous experience for them, than they can hope to find sharing daily family life within the home environment - then maybe boarding school is better for them?

And, call me bizarre - but, actually, yes for a child I do think they need to be in close, constant contact with their family, and living daily within the family environment (assuming it's a good, positive one).

It's perfectly possible for a child to be with Mummy on a daily basis, and also lead a busy and active life, filled with friends, and activities.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:14:49

"Lots of parents don't really know if their child is happy or not wherever they live. Lots of parents are stunned to find out their child suffered bad bullying they knew nothing about, or were being abused. Children for many reasons don't always tell their parents how they really feel"

I know how my DDs are feeling, just by the way they walk into the room, or the tone of their voice.

I am very highly attuned to their emotions, expressions, body language, could I not be, when I share my life with them on a daily basis?

I know them, on a very basic, primeval level - I can't even really put it into words.

So, I know I'd have a damned sight better chance of at least suspecting if my DDs were unhappy, or being bullied, if they were living under my roof...rather than on the end of a phone 50 miles away.

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 10:17:41

Yes I agree LeQueen. My point really was that some children may be unhappy at boarding school, and their parents may know nothing about it.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:18:35

And, I also agree with wuldric - and I speak as someone who knew boarders at her own school, and who has friends who boarded elsewhere.

I think boarding schools are fine for people who, while happy to have children, are also perfectly happy to simply not spend all that much time with their own children. And, who are perfectly happy to let someone else take care of them for most of the year.

It doesn't make them bad, or wrong - but it does make them a very different species to most parents, for whom not sharing their daily lives with their own children would be unthinkable.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:19:32

Agree Greenie boarders at my school were gently, but consistently chided for showing any unhappiness to their parents, because it might upset their parents hmm

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 10:22:23

And many parents make great financial sacrifices to send children to boarding school. If you know that is the case, it is very difficult as a child to say, actually you may have sacrificed a lot financially, but I don't want to be there.

You also need emotional intelligence to recognise you actually are unhappy somewhere, particularly the low grade chronic unhappiness sort. Some children of this age would not be able to recognise or articulate what they are feeling.

DziezkoDisco Fri 01-Nov-13 10:38:29

I agree leQueen, my cousin was deeply unhappy at boarding school but told his parents he was fine as he wanted them to be happy.

Seriously how can you tell on a half hour skype convo conpared to hours of interaction.

My cousin also fucked up his exams which gave him a huge guilt complex.

More selfishly I would just miss them too much. I was away this weekend for 2 nights and missed them, and they changed even in that tiny space.

I really feel for people that have no choice, due to unaviodable life circumstance such as SN or death/illness of parents

but if there is really a choice (ie your job is in the forces and tbh you made that decision and you can leave it) then I feel for your kids.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 10:38:50

LaQueen unless you are 14 or have dcs at boarding school you can have little idea of how boarding school life is like these days compared to when you were at school.

To say that dcs are 'consistently chided for showing unhappiness' is utter rubbish. When ds was unhappy at school his school called me and told me. We then had to work out why and that was a lot harder as ds is just one of those children who rarely talks about school (and that has absolutely nothing to do with boarding as he has been like that since he started nursery).

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 10:58:12

bis I don't think actual children have changed since I was 14?

Unless the boarding school is Hogwarts, I don't think the experience of BS could compare to the experience of sharing your daily life within a happy home environment.

And, on a personal level I would never want to be living a life, where someone else had to notify me that my child was really unhappy because they had more daily contact with my child than I did.

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 11:08:07

One of my relatives works in a very posh boarding school. They have lots of very unhappy children and very high levels of eating disorders amongst the girls.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 11:23:44

LaQueen I was referring to your 'chiding' comment.

As I said ds does flexi boarding so he is home most of the week. However school still picked up on the fact that he was unhappy at school. I'm not at school so during the day school do see more of my son than me. My contact is limited to evenings and weekends only (and of course some time during the holidays).

Maybe you have children who tell you everything about school? I know children like that who run out of school fit to burst to tell their mothers everything that has happened in their school day. Ds just isn't like that and can appear to be perfectly happy at home when things are going on at school to make him unhappy. To say that dcs are told off for telling their parents they are unhappy just isn't my experience of ds's school life at all.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 11:29:12

bis - there's simply no denying that boarding schools are primarily a business. They run to make money. All the staff have a huge vested interest in ensuring that they please parent's expectations, and that their pupils please their parents.

I don't think that any child is told off nowadays, for feeling upset? I think today's teachers/management are a lot more canny/savvy than that.

But, I do think subtle pressure is probably applied to persuade unhappy children to smile and bear it, just that bit longer.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 11:31:36

I do think subtle pressure is probably applied to persuade unhappy children to smile and bear it, just that bit longer.

Not true at all and if ds were at a school that did this he would be removed in a heartbeat.

Two words that you don't seem to be familiar with - pastoral care.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 11:35:42

I have friends with dc in state schools who are being bullied and the schools are doing jack shit about it.
One id self harming, the other on suicide risk alert, another school refusing.
It got to such a state before any of the parents knew as their children were ashamed or scared to say anything. Nobody was supporting and helping the dc because nobody knew, including the school shock
So the comments on bullying apply which ever type of school your dc go to.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 11:42:36


Most organisations be it nursery, pre school, school, wraparound care. granny etc spend more time with dc than their parents do, if they are both working full time. How is this different.
There are dc who live with their parents, sleep at home and never get to see them much. I don't see much of a difference tbh.
There are some dc who don't see their parents during the holidays as their parents are working until late and granny/nanny put them to bed.

Slipshodsibyl Fri 01-Nov-13 12:15:52

Grennie, you linked to an article about an inquiry, led by a Labour mp, into whether 'boarding very young children may be harmful'. The article is over 5 years old. Can you point is towards the conclusions if the inquiry please or any follow up information from expert sources?

Boardingblues Fri 01-Nov-13 12:16:03

I am experiencing this in reverse. My DS was not very happy at his day school, he was bullied for just about everything - being tall, being more physically developed, being a swot, you name it. It was awful for him and had quite an effect on him. So I was very surprised that this did not dent his desire to got boarding school. However, he associated bullying with the people and not with school.

Boarding schools are very different today, to how they were when I was at school. For a start, most are now co-ed and this makes a big difference to the culture. Contact with parents is now a matter of emphasis. We speak daily and see each other weekly and this is encouraged by the school. If there is an issue, the school contacts us. Matrons are very important and key to pastoral care.

One cannot make sweeping statements about boarding and more than one can about state schools for example. Generally I would not advise boarding for a child who is younger than 13. However, there may be extenuating circumstances for some parents that mean this is their only option.

After 13, then it depends very much upon the child. Children mature at very different rates and more responsible parents make a decision based upon the needs of the child. The cost of sending a child to board is so expensive now, that doubt many people can do it just as a parking place.

If my DS had not been accepted to his school, then we would have faced a huge problem. We cannot just up sticks and move for a lots of very complex reasons. Not least, because were we live is where we earn our livelihood. The nearest day school is a 40 minute drive away. It is not a good school and it has a bad reputation for bullying. Given that my DS has had a problem with bullying I would be loathed to put him into such a tough environment. The next school is 60 minutes away. His boarding school is 70 minutes away and so there is little difference in distance. However, you cannot do homework in the car and so such a long commute would have negative implications for him in terms of workload and then there is the social disadvantages of being so far away from your peers.

We have been lucky, we had a child who wanted to board, who has academic abilities that requires a school that can meet them, who has great sporting talent. We are very fortunate in that we can send him to a great school that is noted for its excellent pastoral care and that is able to provide him with the challenge that he needs, where he is not seen as odd and is not bullied for being clever.

Our choices have been very difficult to make. For others, who do not have a full appreciation of our particular circumstances to pass judgement and to suggest that we are not worthy or good parents is, for want of a better word, horrible.

I have seen people on these boards complaining about half term and other school holidays. Not us, we relish them. They are quality time and we all enjoy them. His FB page is now filling up with chatter about school activities and he is keen to see his friends again and to do the various activities that are planned. This is natural and good. The empty house next week will be sad for me, but I will survive the 6 days until I see him again.

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 12:47:52

I have just been reading this site. It also has stories from teenagers who are still at boarding school, or very recently left. None of them are shock horror ones, but they do talk about the negatives of having to detach yourself emotionally from your family.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 13:59:13

Grennie that site has a particular slant and seems to encourage people to view boarding as a overwhelming negative thing.

I'm interested in this statement Many schools do not allow phone calls for the first 2-4 weeks We have looked at 8 senior boarding schools this term. None have that policy. I know friends with dcs at three boarding prep schools and again none have that policy. Could you let me know which schools do do this?

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 14:05:04

I am well aware that site has a particular slant. No I do not know which schools do that.

manicinsomniac Fri 01-Nov-13 14:24:04

bisjo - I'm fairly sure no preps would do that. Oundle senior school advises parents not to call children for the first 3 weeks. It isn't forbidden if the child is unhappy though. I don't know of any others.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 14:31:17


This is just negative though, I'm sure there are similar/just as many negative sides to any form of education.
A balanced view is what is needed and reports/recent research findings of children at boarding schools today, this tells us nothing really.

Boardingblues Fri 01-Nov-13 14:32:10

I know schools that used to have no contact policies but that stopped years ago!

Boarding Concern does have a particular slant, but it is important that it exists. Parents must critically examine the pros and cons of boarding and then assess the relevance of each to their child and in the context of the schools that they are considering.

Many of the negatives relate to junior boarding. Even with the logistical problems that we have, I would never have considered this as an option.

fromparistoberlin Fri 01-Nov-13 14:36:53

under 11? I agree with you OP

now whether I'd make it a minesterial policy, hmm not so sure

Grennie Fri 01-Nov-13 14:45:50

Boarding Concern does give a negative slant. I can't find anything that is neutral. It is all either things like this, or from boarding schools saying how wonderful boarding is. The exception is short articles which list the pros and cons of boarding schools, and actually outline some of the pros and cons both boarding schools and Boarding Concern highlight.

Boardingblues Fri 01-Nov-13 14:53:18

My BF is married to a guy who started boarding at 9. He went because his father had a rather awful illness and it was too traumatic for him at home. He says that were it not for boarding he would not have coped. He was 16 when his father died and I knew him then. His school was marvellous. They supported him and his mother, even waiving their fees. At the funeral, the school enabled all of his friends to attend. There was a sense of community that was real and palpable. If a ban, as proposed here had been implemented, then I don't know what would have happened to him. He was very close to his parents, before, during and after school. His mother later went on to become a matron at a boarding school. Their children board, having started at 13. They are very happy and well adjusted.

My point is that there are exceptions to every rule.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 14:59:29

more maybe some parents do work long hours, just to make ends meet, financially. And, that means they can't spend as much time with their own children as they'd dearly like to.

But...they're still in daily close proximity with their children. They are still physically with them, on a daily basis - even if that's only on a more limited basis. It's still there. A quick cuddle...a few shared words...exhanging smiles...and still daily sharing the same roof, so you're surrounded on a physical and emotional level by the trappings of your home and family life.

Living at home, on a daily basis with your family you are a thread tightly woven into the very fabric of your family life. You are an integral part of the weave and the texture of that garment.

Living away from home, the child becomes like an attractive necklace that sometimes enhances the garment. But can be put on, or taken off as it suits.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 15:01:19

"Two words that you don't seem to be familiar with - pastoral care."

Of course I know what the two words 'pastoral care' means bisjo - after all, I provide it for my daughters on a daily basis.

Crowler Fri 01-Nov-13 15:06:40

Yes, I have to agree with LaQueen. I need to have a lot of physical contact with my kids every day. I'm not saying I am a great mom or more affectionate or interested in them than other people. It's just an obstacle I wouldn't be able to work around.

I enjoy my time away from my kids very much, am not a martyr, find them irritating as hell, etc - but I still think that boarding young kids is weird.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 15:13:55

I provide it for my daughters on a daily basis.

So do I (not your dds, and I have a ds not dds). Difference being I don't feel a need to subjugate ds's ambitions for my maternal needs.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 15:21:25

Only on Mumsnet can actually wanting to share your daily life with your child, be somehow twisted into something selfish, and unpleasant and cruel hmm

Yes, I freely admit it...I need to be with my daughters, on a pretty much daily basis. It's an emotional and physical need I can't really explain - and that actually I wouldn't have to explain to to the majority of parents.

I actually think it a true privilege to have this need. It has enhanced my life in more ways than I ever thought possible - and I like to think (hope) I have enhanced my daughter's lives quite a bit, too smile

Boardingblues Fri 01-Nov-13 15:36:23


I understand your need and respect your decision. I have the same need, but had to take another decision.

Unfortunately some posts on MN make postings and judgements that are overly harsh.

I have been accused of blithely sending off my DS. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the record, I again stress that I am generally not pro junior boarding but do believe for some children, secondary school boarding (post 13) is a positive thing.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 15:44:54

LaQueen the majority of mothers have the same you need you describe so eloquently but allowing your dcs to follow something that inspires them is something that I have chosen to do and you haven't.

That choice does not make you a better or lesser parent than me, at least that is my view. Your view is that it does make me a lesser parent.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 15:47:08

Borading ah, I see. Now, maybe post 13...yes, possibly?

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 16:02:39

Bisjo yes, the majority of mothers do (thankfully) have the same need. And, if I'm honest I can see how if your child is slightly older and has a true vocation for something (like choristers) I do understand how you could let them go to BS, to follow their passion. same if they have certain SENs. I do get that.

But, the sad fact is that many who send their DCs to BS simply don't have this need. And, they can twist and turn, and dress it up in 101 colourful reasons/excuses - but, essentially they don't have this need.

What they do have is a lifestyle not suited to having a child in it on a daily basis, and the money to completely outsource their childcare on a pretty drastic and permanent scale.

bigkidsdidit Fri 01-Nov-13 16:04:19

Re forces families, why doesn't the non-forces parent stay with the DC in Britain? It sits uneasily with me, the prioritising of marriage over stability for the children.

I agree with LaQueen on this one.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 16:12:34

Big my father served in the RAF for years, before I was born. My parents had lots of friends who sent their DCs back to the UK to boarding school.

My parents weren't interested in this option, at all. When I once asked her why so many of her friends did use this option she said very succiently 'Because children can't have affairs...'

meditrina Fri 01-Nov-13 16:13:44

It's for each family to decide what is right for them, whether Forces or civiilian.

What sits uneasily with unrelated people is probably bottom of the list of factors being considered.

bigkidsdidit Fri 01-Nov-13 16:15:15

That's very sad, isn't it. If I had to choose between living with my husband or my sons my husband would lose out, instantly.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 16:15:48

And, big what intrigues me even further is that I have seen time and again on MN, and IRL, forces families use the reasoning that sending their DCs to boarding school actually brings them closer as a family, and that it's quality over quantity, and that they really enjoy and savour their time together in the holidays and exeats, etc...and it's actually beneficial in so many ways, to live apart in this way.

Which begs the question, why don't the same rules apply to living away from your serving husband (or wife) for much of the year hmm

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 01-Nov-13 16:18:14

Big so would my DH, he knows there'd be no contest. But, then he would never, ever expect me to live apart from our DDs anyway. And, I would never have married him, if he'd expected it of me.

Depends what's most important to you.

Crowler Fri 01-Nov-13 16:33:20

If my 11 year old really wanted to board, I would tell him he could at 13 if he still really wanted to.

He's a homebody and this isn't likely.

My husband doesn't need me nearly as much as my kids do, so I would definitely choose to live away from him instead of my kids.

lonnika Fri 01-Nov-13 20:19:25

My dd started boarding in her 6 - I am not sure it is the boarding or her sport - BUT her confidence has soared. Bhe is lucky because she loves her sport and has to train for 2 ours a day sometimes including very early mornings. She is determined to succeed and do well and I admire her for her commitment, desire, passion and strong will!!!
She has just told me she loves boarding - I can only take her word for it. Do I risk her turning around at 18 and telling us we never gave her a chance at her sport or do I risk her saying she disliked boarding school?

Boardingblues Fri 01-Nov-13 20:40:40

Before you get leapt on, can you clarify when your DD started boarding, aged 6, year 6 or 6th form?

lonnika Fri 01-Nov-13 20:48:19

LOL in year 6 - just before she turned 11 -tbh we had never eer considered boarding - but unfortunately (or fortunately) my DD has a 'talent' for her sport - we have known ths for a few years. On top of this - her sport- is her number one love !!!!!!!! We are glad we can give her the opportunity to pursue something she enjoys - Woud I change hings - No I wouldn't take away her 'talent' to have her home with me - BUT yes it is hard with her living away during the week. What is worse us that DC number 2 also seems to possess the same 'talent' !!!!MM GAH

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 20:51:30


I am coming to the conclusion that you and many others including myself, don't really have a choice.
Whatever education our dc receive we have to believe they are at the best school for them.
I am not pretending that it will be easy for us as we spend nearly all our time together as a family, but like others have said, you can't deprive them of their goals, dreams, ambitions.
This thread has highlighted that even those not exactly pro boarding school believe it can be beneficial post 13.
We were looking at start of secondary but have listened and taken on board all the comments made and think we'll leave it until 13+ and hope she will understand we believe its for the best.
Many thanks to everybody, a very enlightening thread. smile

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 20:54:51


can you tell us what sport, I understand if you can't.
You must be very proud of her and I agree, you couldn't have not let her go.
With my dd it is music and similar story to your dd.

lonnika Fri 01-Nov-13 21:07:40

Would rather not say sport - Suffice to say it is a sport that you have to train a LOT or and e training is very intensive. I think when a child has a passion/Talent or something you have to go with them. The opportunities my DD has had are amazing.
it is hard but I hope regardless of what happens in the future, so worth it!

Wuldric Fri 01-Nov-13 22:51:43

Difference being I don't feel a need to subjugate ds's ambitions for my maternal needs.

The suggestion here is that parents who keep their children here are subjugating the children's needs and prioritising their own. That is, I am afraid, self-serving nonsense.

I would far rather be going out to dinner or to the theatre, than trying to remember how to do simultaneous equations to help DD. Far rather. The point is that as a parent I prioritise her needs ahead of my own.

difficultpickle Fri 01-Nov-13 23:29:02

The point is that as a parent I prioritise her needs ahead of my own.

The same as me. It is a shame that not all parents choose to do this.

Theodorous Sat 02-Nov-13 04:54:37

I don't get the angst. Some people want to, some people have to and some people hate it as much as a cat turd in the garden or a baby with gold studs.
What in the world is helpful about contributing "I wouldn't be separated from my children for more than 2 hours and anyone who is should be shot" type posts. Each to their own, not everyone is like that (thank God).
What a waste of being PM for the day, I can think of so many actual things that you could do to address real neglect and abuse.