Any boarding school mums with new boarders this term? (all boarding mums welcome)

(77 Posts)
SoggySummer Tue 04-Sep-12 18:56:22

I thought I would start a thread for boarding mums with DC either new to boarding or starting boarding at a new school this term. Seasoned BS mums also welcome - your wisdom will be appreciated.

I am a mum of 2 DDs aged 11 and 13. Both full board and have done for a few years now. Eldest DD has just transferred from her prep school to a completely new senior school (into year 9). My youngest DD is still home for until she returns for her prep school next week.

Anyone else have a new boarder or a current boarder just returning or returned back to school?

happygardening Tue 04-Sep-12 21:01:58

We're about to go into our 8 th year of /full boarding. DS started when at prep when he was 7. We've experienced highs and significant lows in the past; currently on an up and hoping it will continue into the last 4 years.

Yes have two boarders in different schools. DD (17) just in final year ( has only full boarded for the last year- switched schools at 16) and she went back last week. Really enjoys boarding and the independence it gives her and makes the most of it.

DC (14) just went back yesterday for 2nd year of boarding at his school. Loves the school and had highs and lows last year in terms of how much he enjoyed boarding. It was very much his decision to do this, but certainly the last few weeks he was very would up about going back- much more so than when he started new last year!

His HM is fab though and says about half the house ( even very senior boys) feel like this after the long summer break, but within a week things settle down. DC phoned late last night to tell us about he timetable and that he had put all his posters up- so surviving so far! And he sounded happy!

How is everyone else doing?

Mutteroo Wed 05-Sep-12 11:34:35

Isn't it funny? Schoolchauffeur you talk about independence but this is the one thing DS felt he lacked at boarding school. It may well be because he boarded from yr9-11 & didn't get to experience the joys of sixth form? He's attending a local sixth form college with a glut of prep school buddies who have all chosen to leave ther respective public schools & attend the same college.

I wish all boarding parents old & new luck. It's been a hard 3 years for me & I'm personally glad DS is back home least till he heads off for uni!

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 11:35:24

We d

SoggySummer Wed 05-Sep-12 12:45:15

Glad there are some replies on here. I waas rather worried I would be chatting to myself!

Well I am rather emotional.

Eldest DD 13 does not cope with change very well at all. Hence why we opted for BS a few years back (frequent house moving and change of schools). She went off to her new senior BS earlier this week. I have had 2 phonecalls and several texts. Her voice sounded a little bit high and wobbly last night (which made me have a lump in my throat). She was chatty enough telling me about loads of stuff but she sounded very confused and rather stressed about a few things, more so with the school side of things than the boarding house stuff. I keep telling her to go and ask and ask and ask again and that because she is new no one will expect her know exactly what to do and where to go in these early days.

I felt rubbish last night after chatting to her because she kept saying she was fine but I could tell her voice wobbled a few times sad. I ended up emailing her housemistress who promptly got back to me, reassured me and is going to go over a few things with DD again today and keep an eye on her.

Its a massive change from small prep to large secondary and she has so much to take in that I actually think she is doing fab on the whole but I am stressing out a bit today. Its always tough after the long summer break but the whole new school thing is tough all round as well. New staff, new friends, new rules, new ways of doing stuff for the DC and parents!!

Am just making up a small parcel to send upto her with a pair of shorts (amongst a few other small treats) as the forecast this weekend is hot hot hot and she has packed jeans and autumnal clothes!!

How are the rest of you and your DC doing?

derekthehamster Wed 05-Sep-12 12:49:46

We weren't allowed to phone our ds last year when he first started, for the first 3 weeks, God that was hard for us! We had one phonecall from ds and his housemaster, a week in just to reassure us grin We sent lots of postcards during those first weeks, and still send 1 a week. Amazon is your friend too, you can send loads of fun things directly to them.

goinggetstough Wed 05-Sep-12 12:51:42

Good luck to all the new boarders!

Mutteroo my DCs have now left boarding school but I believe they too enjoyed their independence as schoolchauffeur mentions. From 13 they have flown home to us abroad. Yes, school transport took them to the airport at 13 when they were younger, but they still had to pack their own cases and get themselves sorted and from 15 get their train times sorted etc.

For activities e.g. D of E if they wanted to take snacks on their exped then they had to go into town and buy them and there was no parent to ask at the last minute etc or a shopping list to add their requests to. They have had to manage their own work etc Now I am sure many of you can pick holes in my above examples ( but they are only example) as I realise that day DCs have many of these skills too.

Boarders do have housemasters and tutors making sure they are OK but it is not the same as parents breathing down your neck or so my DC tell me. Schools though too vary so it is probably difficult to generalise as there will always be an exception. I believe my DCs benefited from their boarding experience.

I've just sent my DS back for his final year at prep school. He was really looking forward to going back as really, he's had a bit of a dull summer. No exciting holidays this year (DH has own business and there's not a lot of cash around at the moment) and he has spent probably too much time by himself. Although on the plus side he's been a great companion for me - prep school has really helped him with maturing, and I've had some lovely (and weird smile) conversations with him.

I'm missing him hugely. It doesn't help that I've had to ask my parents to drop him off as I've had to return to work today.

Definitely a rapid eye blinking and wobbly lip day today.

I'm going to send him a little parcel and sneak some haribo in to the corners. smile

Mutteroo- yes my DD says she doesn't think she would have enjoyed boarding in the 13-16 years in her current school as it is much more controlled. The school makes a very conscious decision to give the sixth form pupils more of a taste of independent living. Still has to wear uniform and do chapel/activities etc but work organisation is entirely your own, off on expedition- you go to shop and hire all the equipment from school, arrange your own snacks etc, arrange your own medical etc appointments, go into town with some time restrictions to socialize/buy stuff. No set study periods in evening-its down to you to fit your work in around the other stuff.

DCs independence is more organizational- ie off on a rugby fixture on saturday he has to find the notice which tells you what uniform to wear, remember to pack kit bag, ensure kits is washed in time, pack shower kit etc. But if had too much freedom would never do any work anyway!!!

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 14:33:42

We dont go back till Sunday DS says he's looking forward to seeing in friends again although will "miss being at home" too. I never call he always calls me and when he changed to his senior school last year he didn't call for about 6 days. But we do txt each other most days. We won't see him till the first exeat at the end of September. Maybe I'm hardened to it after all these years but I take the view that if he has a problem at school his first port of call is his excellent HM although he knows we're always there if necessary.
I love Amazon I buy lots of second hand books often only costing a penny and send at least one almost weekly. My DS is frighteningly independent but after 7 years of boarding this is hardly suprising but so many comment on our obviously close relationship we all get on so well together much better than many who haven't boarded.

That's good to hear your DS say that about missing home but still wanting to go back. DS sat in the pub near the school we always go to for dinner on the way back and said" Half of me wants to go to school and see my friends and do everything" and "Half of me wants to go home".

At the time I was a bit sad but after reading your post actually that's probably quite healthy- to enjoy being in one place but miss another.
Thanks Happy Gardening!

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 16:19:28

I think it is normal to feel like this my DS is happy and busy at school but also loves being at home with us. Contrary to what the so tedious anti boarding brigade think children even 7 yr olds are perfectly capable of being happy in both places.

goinggetstough Wed 05-Sep-12 16:27:53

HG I am sure you are correct but I don't think we will ever convince the others!

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 16:37:45

I think it is normal to feel like this my DS is happy and busy at school but also loves being at home with us. Contrary to what the so tedious anti boarding brigade think children even 7 yr olds are perfectly capable of being happy in both places.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 05-Sep-12 16:43:34

Ladies, I don't want to disagree, but I think it is accurate to say that SOME children are capable of being happy in both places, however, it would be in accurate to say that this is a good option for ALL children.
Most of the totally anti boarding brigade are ex boarders for whom it was not a good/great experience - first hand experiences of sadness at boarding school.

I think it is great that your children are happy and content with the choices you have made.

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 16:47:34

Oops somehow managed to post same message twice!! You are right going despite the fact that many comment on how happy we seem as a family and also that my DS is quite obviously not dysfunctional sociopath and that I can give examples of 100s of other children who also board who are not dysfunctional sociopath and have outstanding relationships with their families the anti boarding brigade who lets face it know nothing about 21 st century boarding will still harp on emotional damage/life long scarring etc.

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 16:50:57

"Most of the totally anti boarding brigade are ex boarders for whom it was not a good/great experience - first hand experiences of sadness at boarding school."
"who lets face it know nothing about 21 st century boarding will still harp on emotional damage/life long scarring etc."
I rest my case!!

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 05-Sep-12 16:53:52

but by using the language that you are using you are being extremely insensitive about the experiences that they have had.
"still harp on about emotional damage"

It is accurate to say that boarding is different now, that communication between families and children is easier but that doesn't mean that their experience isnt valid.

SoggySummer Wed 05-Sep-12 17:23:57

I hope this thread does not get dragged down (like every other BS thread) with boarding school horror stories, and people telling us how wrong we are. I just wanted to start a thread for mums in the same situation. Other mums can talk about missing their DC or being glad to get shot of them on the first week back - why cant we?? Its just different.

I totally agree NeverKnowingly - Boarding is not right for EVERY child. Even today with the open door policy, all the safeguardings and easier and frequent communications.

Well I have just had a rather ominous text from DD1 saying "Finally the end of a long and stressful day". Not much else to it except that she will call me later.

happygardening Wed 05-Sep-12 17:26:08

Firstly there are many children who have been or are unhappy at school for a whole raft of reasons and many of these don’t board.
Secondly whilst I accept their experiences are valid so are my experiences equally if not more valid because my experiences are based on current practices. But the ones I find most irritating are those who have no direct experience of boarding at best they are prejudiced by anecdotal evidence of their husband wife’s cousin time at his boarding prep 35 years ago or even worse those who know absolutely nothing about it and just assume that boarding must be bad and that parents who choose to board their children are callous and uncaring and delighted to see the back of their offspring so that they can get on with their lives.
The portrait portrayed by many has no resemblance to 21st century boarding, the descriptions of the effect of boarding is unrecognisable from any one I have ever met who has boarded or is currently boarding.
Its not for all but that doesn’t mean that there are not 1000’s of happy well-adjusted children with happy caring parents.

HolofernesesHead Wed 05-Sep-12 19:14:42

Hello there, another boarding mum checking in! smile Good to see this thread - let's support each other!

SoggySummer Wed 05-Sep-12 19:41:33

Just had a 40 minute chat with my lovely DD smile

She sounded alot better tonight although bless her I can tell she is stressed right out. I think she is totally overhwelmed with finding her way about her new school. She keeps getting lost and although has a few buddies the system seems to fail because they are setted for different subjects and sometimes she seems to just be left to find her way to somewhere.

She has found some clubs she wants to join but hasnt sussed out how exactly she joins them as she does not know who to see or where to go.

She seems happy with the boarding side but stressed right out with the school side of things.

I just wish I could give her a hug sad. I am so proud of her, it sounds manic and I think she is absolutely dead on her feet and has information overload poor kid.

Feeling kind of emotional now.

SoggySummer Wed 05-Sep-12 19:44:04

HolofernesesHead - are you a seasoned boarding mum?? Have yours just gone back?? How are they/he/she getting on so far this term?

I have been a boarding mum for 5 years but this new school thing has really got my bottom lip wobbling at the mo.

Colleger Wed 05-Sep-12 20:40:37

Just send DS off to first year of senior school. He did board at prep and the senior school is actually much closer and the house is so warm and lovely that I think I will see him more and be more part of the school. It's not a place where they want parents to stay away, which surprised me. smile

HolofernesesHead Thu 06-Sep-12 19:58:47

Hi SoggySummer smile (Great name! Very appropriate!)

No, not particularly seasoned yet - the dc started at their school just after Easter. They are getting on really well there; we've had a good 45 mins on the phone this evening, with a blow-by-blow acoount of everything that ds has had to eat since we spoke to him yesterday! He judges the school entirely on its food....! Dd is pleased to be back; there's such a lot going on that she really enjoys. I hope that you're feeling a bit less wobbly today! Have you spoken to your dd today?

Colleger, your ds's school sounds lovely!

SoggySummer Fri 07-Sep-12 00:24:00

Yes DD called this evening and sounded alot better although there definately was a wobble in her voice at the end when we were talking about her coming home next weekend.

Today at school went alot better for her and she now has 3 "fun" days as tomorrow is a trip and then they have an action packed weekend.

Despite her boarding for several years at her prep - I am really really missing her and dying to give her a hug.

Youngest DD has started to mention how excited she is to be going back at the weekend but also saying its going to be strange without her older sister there.

I think I will be totally lost next week when they are both back.

happygardening Fri 07-Sep-12 06:57:45

Dint get upset Soggy but is it wise to keep ringing every HM we ever had told us not to do it and every child I've known who struggles to settle has a parent ringing everyday and "popping" in to take their DC out to tea even when they're not meant too.

HolofernesesHead Fri 07-Sep-12 08:57:55

I think it depends on the individual really, doesn't it? We speak to the dc every day and it would unsettle them (and us) if we didn't. (Having said that, we didn't speak the other night as they were out swimming until just before bed.)

Just be kind you yourself Soggy, trust your decision to send your dd to that particular school, and allow time and the school to do their workand your dd time to settle in. Plan some nice things to do next week! smile

SoggySummer Fri 07-Sep-12 09:04:42

HappyGardening - I know where you are coming from. I dont call her. She calls me. They get given the option to collect their phones at the end of school and can keep them until bedtime (have to switch them off for prep and meals though).

When she started her prep we had no contact for a week which was hard. She never used to call every night at her old school, as she was usually so busy. I dont think I could say to her, dont phone me. I like to think I am giving her some practical solutions (or at the very least encouragement to chat to her housemistress about her feelings/confusion) to her issues and reassuring her that she is doing fab, considering the massive change from small prep to large secondary.

I hope that once next week gets underway and she actually has a "proper" school week that all the clubs and activities will be up and running, she will get into a proper routine and she will have her time filled alot more.

IndridCold Fri 07-Sep-12 15:37:48

I think that sometimes the DCs ring home because they are feeling a bit homesick, they have a chat and go off feeling much happier but the parents are left to spend the rest of the evening in pieces worrying if they are OK.

Soggy the DD of one of my friends rang every day for over 2 weeks when she went up to big school, but once she had found her group of friends it slacked off significantly. I hope that when your DD is settled into her new routine with lots of things to keep her busy she will feel happier.

I was fairly confident about DSs move into big school, but it was still good when he rang yesterday evening and sounded totally happy. There are only 9 new boys in his house so I think that makes it a bit easier to make new friends.

ILoveChocolatePudding Fri 07-Sep-12 16:13:38

All I would say to all the BS mums out there is do what is right for YOUR child and don't worry about what others think. My own DS is in his third year of weekly boarding and was really looking forward to it. I have not heard from him all week which tends to suggest he is having a good time.

Over the summer holiday he struck up a conversation with a stranger and when he said he went to boarding school the first question they asked was did he like it. You get the look from casual acquaintances of almost "don't you like your child" because what everyone needs to remember is less than 1% of children of school age attend boarding schools, you are providing your children with a unique opportunity. Some children have difficuly with school whether day or boarding. At a local highly selective state girls school, one teenage girl is believed to have committed suicide due to work pressures. You just never know.

So fellow BS mums, wear your child's boarding status as a badge of honour, say it loud and be proud. Don't give a monkeys what the doubting Thomas's out there have to say.

HolofernesesHead Fri 07-Sep-12 16:47:41

Thank you, Chocolate Pudding! I have had my fair share of hmm looks and barbed comments. And downright condemnation, actually! Sigh.

I don't wear it as a badge of honour though - I just see it as the best choice we could have made as a family. Other families decide what they feel is best for them, and that may well mean something completely different to us. But we all want what we feel is best for our dc...

Loopy4got Sun 09-Sep-12 12:19:07

Hi, another boarding school mum checking in! Both at different prep schools, both fine. House quiet. House tidy! Food in fridge!
I don't phone them they phone me,but I do try to write, always in the first week of each term. I didn't know about Amazon and am very interested in that and sending something exciting to school for them.
I go to matches but none have started yet, think my first one is next Saturday. Can't wait!
Hope everyone else is doing ok?

SoggySummer Sun 09-Sep-12 13:18:09

Have finally just finished packing for my youngest to return to her prep school this afternoon.

Eldest seemed alot happier yesterday. Went to her first Lacrosse training and love it. She seems to be enjoying the boarding side but finding the school side tough, she said she was dreading Monday.

Youngest seems excited about going back and keeps asking when we are setting off. She is a little sad though because she wont see her Dad again after today until after his deployment as he leaves next week.

My youngest is too far away to go to matches really 2 1/2 hours drive. I am hoping eldest will get into a team so I can go and see her and take advantage (before we get posted) of only being an hour away from school.

happygardening Sun 09-Sep-12 13:46:07

We too are packing up today. The holiday seems to have gone on for ages and his going back to school will leave a huge hole in our lives. I comfort myself with the knowledge that it's the right place for him and that he's doing well participating in loads of activities that I could never offer in a million years and that at his school he at last feels free to be himself oh and my food bill will drop!! As a non team sports player the competitions for his choosen sport are all away for the next few weeks so we won't see him before the exeat at of September. But I do know how frighteningly fast the weeks/term/year will go in fact how frighteningly fast the remaining four years will go and then it will be the end of an era which has so dominted our lives in so many ways.

HolofernesesHead Wed 19-Sep-12 16:51:06

How's everyone doing on this thread? Hope your dcs' terms are going well. smile

All fine at this end. DD in last year at school so mad busy trying to get stuck into A2 subjects, do some AS resits in Jan and has a lot of responsibilities in school so hanging out for exeat weekend on Friday- haven't seen her for four weeks!!
DS settled in well- he was allowed home as a special treat last weekend ( even though not leave out) just for one night and he has settled back in well to school and that year older means he is now much better at managing his time and arranging activities etc at the weekends when they have quite a bit of downtime.
All good so far!!!
How are yours settling in now?

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 18:35:00

DS tired but happy.

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 19:06:51

DS was not impressed with me today when I picked him up from bording for a music lesson and then nice supper at home. Spent ages asking if I can take him back as his best friend was bording tonight and then glued himself in front of his laptop. And his only 10.. I wonder if its time for the another baby grin

Not a BS mum but very interested in why parents make this choice for their dc. Always read Blyton as a child and particularly loved boarding school stories smile

Not a hostile question, honestly!

BCBG Wed 19-Sep-12 19:25:41

Another BS mum popping in grin! We have one DD at senior school and i DD at Prep school, plus two DS who have both gone through: one at uni and one on a gap year. My littlest is 10 and i think that is a bit young sad but she is a) practically an only child as she has a 7 year age gap and b) is very very dyslexic/dyspraxic and only a boarding prep offered to meet her needs for routine, laptop support and no evening journey/homework (she gets tired v easily). Happy to support anyone who wants support - just fed up with the usual bunfight grin

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 19:32:35

The answer for us is full time work and a lot of extra-curriculum activities that boarding school accommodates (including homework). Mine flexi-boards though, sometimes 2 sometimes 3 nights. And neighbours are relieved from listening to his music practice as he does it at school. DS1 used to weekly board until 6th form as his sisters were in 2 diffrent schools. I remember coming to see him in the middle of the week only to find he was too busy with something or rather.He really enjoyed it until he turned 16 and wanted more freedom.

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 19:36:57

I do it because my DS has many more opportunities than he would ever get in any day school. This is education in the broadest sense of the word from the moment he opens his eyes till the moment he goes to bed. He can attend everyday clubs both sporting and non-sporting, at least four plays a term and usually about 30 concerts a term, there are lectures often weekly by eminent famous professors/professionals in their fields, he can attend the art room on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon and teachers are there to help. This is not a 3R’s education this is a true all round education.
Boarding is also I believe a positive life changing experience you learn to live with all different types of people some who you may not like, you learn to work and live as a team, do things that you may not want to do, organise yourself and your work and you learn to not be afraid of trying new things. Boarders also learn self resiliance they learn that thye have within themselvs the ability to solve their own problems.

Everything Happygardening said. My DS ( 14) boarding for a year has gone from a slightly food fussy, reluctant to try anything, grunting at adults kid to a kid who is tolerant of others, can deal with situations where things go wrong and sort them out for himself, get on well with a variety of adults ( not all of whom he likes!) and try new things and experiences.
For DD (17) she was in a very small school on the edges of a clique- boarding has given her a bonding experience with other girls she never had before, new and exciting hobbies ( both of which I could not offer her at home), on tap homework/study advice on her subjects available all the time.

They both chose to go- not our suggestion. They are not in the same school. They get on better than they ever have, text and email each other when away and really enjoy being together when they get home.

Thanks smile

All your experiences sound thoroughly positive.
Dd had the opportunity to go to a specialised school as a boarder (dance), but chose to attend our excellent local Academy.May still be an option at 14 or 16 so lovely to hear other's experience of educating their children away from home.

Emandlu Wed 19-Sep-12 20:06:01

I would be very interested in hearing your experiences. My dd is expressing a wish to go to a specialist music school which would involve boarding and tbh it fills me with dread.

We are going to an open day soon to have a look around.

What sorts of things should I be asking and thinking about?

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 20:44:42

I would think about non-music issues : i.e. - will your DD be missing out on academic work as this will be limited.Would it matter to her? Music issues - is she really commited, (I do apologise) is she really good at it? Is she up for super-competitive environment? Can she take all what comes with it?
Specialist music schools cater very well for certain type of children but will not automatically suit everyone.
Don't take me wrong - my DS is a musician and sometimes I feel he is missing out by not being in the specialist school full time. We might consider it when he is older However I dont think this would be a good choice for my DS now.He goes to JD on Saturdays.
There are some children who really need to be in a school like that because they would not fit/be able to fulfill themselves anywhere else. Is this the case with your DD?

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 20:50:52

After 7 years of boarding I believe the housemaster/mistress/house parents are everything. The HM is literally acting in your abscence and on your behalf. I am proud to say Ive never looked at a loo/bathroom in my life but spent a along time talking to the HM trying to work out what sort of person he is how he runs his house what standard he sets how he deals with problems and issues that are inevitably going to arise.
My DS's school is exeptionally housecentric (its famous for this) The HM is just "like us" we can relate to and feel comfortable when talking to him hes a problem solver no matter how trivial a big personality he has a clearly set out approach and an system to running his house he makes it clear what's expected of the boys they know where they stand and like him and are proud of their house. He also really cares about the boys.

Emandlu Wed 19-Sep-12 21:16:25

Thank you piano mama.

She is very committed. She does around 2 hours practice a day at the moment without being nagged into it. She will spend more time if she has exams or competitions coming up.
As for how good she is, well not being a musician it is difficult to say, I know in competitions she tends to be either 1st or 2nd and has passed every music exam she's done with a distinction. People say that her musicality comes through when she plays (musical people do anyhow). Naturally I think she is brilliant, but I'm her mum.

I'm not sure how she would cope with a super competitive environment. She really just isn't very competitive. It certainly wouldn't have suited her when she were younger but it might be good now.

I think she needs to try - not for me, but so that she knows that she has tried. She seems quite realistic about it though.

She currently attends the Sage Gateshead for their weekend school and though she loves it, just wants to be immersed in music for the rest of the week too.

Happygardening - the point about housemasters is a useful one too. Thank you.

HolofernesesHead Wed 19-Sep-12 21:50:21

Mine are well thanks, School chauffeur! They have both come such a long way academically in the time they've been boarding, and have made some good friends. Their confidence us reslly growing, which is so lovely to see. I've sent them so many postcards and little things over the last few weeks. It sounds like your dc are busy! smile Is your dd applying to university?

As for why we chose to board....long story, but similar reasons as everyone else! smile And we all fell in love with the sane school, which helped.

HolofernesesHead Wed 19-Sep-12 21:51:11

LOL @ sane school! I mean same school- although thankfully, the school is very sane! smile

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 22:01:08

Sounds like it might be a good choice for her.

I would find out about the music teacher(s) as for serious musician this would be the most important factor and she needs to get on with them.

I guess specialist schools are not quite the same as mainstream boarding schools.
Your teacher will be the making of you as musician, of cause HM are important as well.
I personally sometimes think that I would folow my DS music teacher to the North Pole if I have to smile.
If she is happy there she will have the opportunity to get immerse in music , to do as much practice as she wants and the company of like-minded kids.
As far as boarding goes - I am sure she will enjoy that aspect of it if she is generally happy at the school.It is so much easier not to have to commute all the time.
I know exactly what you mean about trying for it - dont forget that schools like that select kids who they think would benefit the most from being in their school and fit in well - chances are if she didn't get in it's probably not the right place for her anyway and vise versa.

Wish you and your DD the very best of luck , keep us posted.

Emandlu Wed 19-Sep-12 22:22:05

Thanks again pianomama, I do appreciate your input, and should probably apologise for hijacking a thread. Sorry!

I will let you know how things go.
Thanks again.

Hi Holo- DD can't really decide what she wants to do at the moment and was starting to get stressed about it so advice from us and careers at the school was not to rush into applying at the moment. There are one or two things she is looking at ( and we have the chance to arrange a good block of work for her in this next summer) but she is not sure she will get the grades so she is going to take a gap year, then see what her results are and see how she enjoys the work experience and take it from there next year. Her school are very happy to offer both remote and face to face career support/UCAS help for OGs and we are less than two hours away so very feasible for us to get her back there for the day etc

She is also quite young for her year- won't be 18 until the end of July after she finishes school so a year of other stuff won't hurt her!

HolofernesesHead Sat 22-Sep-12 08:19:50

Sounds like she's getting good advice! smile Gap years are a very good thing. What's an OG?

Looking forward to seeing the dc today smile smile smile They want to bake cakes, cuddle their pets and go to the park. Do you have any rituals / much loved routines with your dc when they're home, everyone?

Sorry OG= Old girl- former pupil!

As to rituals when they come back- home-made cakes, trip to favourite restaurant and catching up on a lot of sleep!!

HolofernesesHead Sun 23-Sep-12 15:44:05

Thank you! Neither DH nor I went to boarding school so we are learning the jargon slowly smile

happygardening Sun 23-Sep-12 17:08:35

Our rituals; walking the dogs, going to the movies, cycling around our countryside with DH, Sunday lunch and he sleeps in late nothing special just lots of ordinary stuff because that's what we all miss.

derekthehamster Sun 23-Sep-12 19:07:16

I've just been to asda to buy tuck for the next 3 weeks. God it was embarrassing, all the sweets i was buying blush

HolofernesesHead Sun 23-Sep-12 20:00:17

We were aiming for lie-ins this morning, Happygardening! Unfortunately our cats had different ideas...! smile I think that roaring fires and big Sunday lunches are going to be a big feature of our winter rituals, though.

Derek- I know, it's a bit obscene, isn't it? I sent my dc back with raaaaaather a lot of sweets and crisps. Jamie Oliver would not be impressed!

Pythonesque Mon 24-Sep-12 06:30:50

I'm pleased I found this thread. My daughter has just started boarding age 9 (well, very nearly 10). It's an hour and a half away, and we've tentatively said we'll have her home most weekends this year. It's entirely her choice and definitely something we wear a proud badge about, as she's a probationer at a choirschool. It means the boarding house is fairly small and most of the boarders have music practice. Just had her home after 2nd full week and she commented how fast it went, only seemed like 2 days ...

It sounds like she is fitting in SO well. The only problem is lack of sleep - the year 4 and year 5 boarders are in a big room together and only 1 of about 7 full time boarders in there has boarded before. So the chattering after bedtime hasn't settled down yet! A couple of nights ago she apparently ended up in sickbay upset and exhausted, and then had a lovely night's sleep ... Fingers crossed this will sort out soon.

She's also a child with the personality that thinks it is wrong to have to ask. Gets it from her father I think (you know the kind, looking at the instructions is the last thing to try!). I'm hoping she'll manage to phone my mobile this week so I can call her back - they're not allowed mobiles at her school which for prep is reasonable I think. I was repeating to her to ask the housemistress how to use the phones etc and she was very unsure about doing so. I think we're suppoesd to be able to set up a calling card arrangement for them, that goes on our bill.

I think my husband's missing her most acutely. To be honest I'm enjoying having a simpler school routine with her younger brother, and being able to give him a bit more time and attention.

happygardening Mon 24-Sep-12 09:22:55

I think boarders get very tired after 7 years of boarding my DS still sounds very tired and when home for the exeat next weekend will be absolutely exhausted. He unusually for a senior school is in a dorm of 8 this time and says they stay up chatting I think he would say this never settles down!
I only know about my DS but he is significantly busier than any day child he does sport of some description every day, at least 2 hours of homework 6 nights a week and then other extra curricular activities either informal; training for inter house competitions/general fun in house or formal other clubs. Its all very tiring.
Do sort out the Pythonesque my DS wasn't allowed a mobile at prep school but there was a phone we could ring on in every evening I think this is a fairly standard arrangement why don't you email the school and ask.
After 7 years we still miss him and are so looking forward to seeing him next Friday I don't think that feeling ever goes but we take the long view; he's very happy, thriving and doing well and thats good enough for us.

happygardening Mon 24-Sep-12 09:24:02

Should have said:
Do sort out the phone Pythonesque.

IndridCold Mon 24-Sep-12 12:00:24

I'm really happy at how DS has settled in at big school. There are 8 other new boys in his house and they have bonded incredibly well.
We had a phone call most evenings for the first week or so, but that is dropping off now he is joining more activities. We can Skype too which is great (not to mention cheaper).

I think happygardening is right, we miss him much more than he misses us! We are all looking forward to him coming home this weekend though.

Pythonesque DS had a BT Chargecard at his prep school. It's a bit fiddly at first, but works really well. You can set it up online.

HolofernesesHead Mon 24-Sep-12 19:30:00

Glad your ds has settled well, Indrid!

My dc were tired at the start of term, but less so now - the late-night dorm chat seems to have settled down a bit (although dd did get into trouble for 'whirling' at 9.30 the other night....!)

FleetofHope Mon 24-Sep-12 20:12:57

I'm not a boarding school mum yet, but just starting to look at schools for my DS. He's in yr 4 and I won't send him til yr7, possibly yr6. Don't think he'd cope any sooner - he's the kind of child who bottles things up so want him to be a bit more mature first! He's very dyslexic so looking for specialist school or school wih good sen dept and plenty of sport and creative arts etc! He could do with that kind of school now, but is still too emotionally young to cope away from home I think!

Most people think I'm a monster for even considering it, so would be good to air thoughts and hear other people's in a non-judgmental environment!

Anyone got any tips on what to look out for when visiting schools? First visit next week! Also any suggestions of schools to view would be welcome too if people have personal recommendations. He's dyslexic but v intelligent so is potentially a high achiever with right support

happygardening Mon 24-Sep-12 22:36:07

People on MN rave about Bruern Abbey dont know it yself but it states in its website that it get dyslxeic children through CE abd into super selective indepednent schools.
Where are you thinking of him going onto at 13? You need to ensure that your choosen prep has a recent history of sending boys to this school. By recent I mean in the last 3-4 years and preferably at least 1 every year not just 1 two years ago.
The most selctive baording schools are becoming increasingly diifcult to get into Eton in particular so your prep needs to have a proven track record.

SoggySummer Thu 27-Sep-12 09:03:31

Hi everyone,

I have been away from the thread for a while as I was making the most of time with DH before her deployed a few days ago. I am glad to hear everyone seems to be settling into the new term OK.

Eldest DD seems to have now settled into her new school. She has been home the past 2 weekend. The first weekend because it should have been her Dads last one at home (but his departure date was delayed). Then she decided to come home last weekend as well (she can choose any weekend to stay in or come home) because DD2 had a fixed exeat and she is really missing her little sister. She has stopped calling home now (a good sign she has found her feet)- have told her I expect at least 1 call a week and a few texts in between. I know she is busy but I know she has her phone from 4.15 until 9pm every day so dont think a quick txt every couple of days just to say Hi - am alive and well is too much to ask!

DD1 seems to love her new school. She is finding it very tiring. She has alot more freedom than at her prep school which she thinks is wonderful but at the same time she has alot more responsibility which is rather challenging for her as she can be quite disorganised! LOL. After staying up to silly o'clock the other night to say goodbye to DH, I was woken by a text from DD1 at 7.15am from DD1 asking if I had seen her maths book!!!!!!! Received another text at 4.15 to say she had found it. She is doing lacrosse training every day - Lacrosse is new for her - and she is desperate to get into the team. He PE teachers seem very impressed with her effoerts and commitment.

DD2 seems to be enjoying being back at school but missing her big sister. She brought home a little package for her sister. A small teddy that was DD1s but found in a dorm at the start of term, some conkers from the school conker tree and some pressed leaves from the "magic tree" in the shool grounds. I thought it was quite sweet.

Both DDs were absolutely exhausted at the weekend. We didnt do much. Infact like most weekends they are home I let them pretty much dictate how we spend our time. I just feel they spend so much time at BS being busy and living quite a structured routine that I just let them chill out at the weekend. We popped out for a walk and had a Sunday roast. DD1 did have some homework so she had to do that (its a new thing for us having homework at weekends - at the prep school exeats were fixed and no homework was sent home until just before CE). Then she attached herself to facebook and the PS3 as well as "playing" with her sister. Youngest managed to create chaos by building a Sylvanian Families village all over the dining room. I only tidied it away yesterday - felt a bit mean but neither of them are home now for nearly 3 weeks and I cannot spend the next three weeks stepping over it.

Am now feeling a bit lost! I am here all on my own until the 2nd weekend in October!

BlissfullyIgnorant Wed 31-Oct-12 14:11:34

I'm new to boarding this term. DS full time and DD part time. Still getting used to it and I guess it may take a while as it will only get quieter as DS moves up - she will probably increase her days in later years.

Question for everyone: With Christmas just around the corner, what is appropriate to give HM and matron/dame? At prep school we gave collective gifts which was ok, but I have no idea what the standard practice is, other than the maid is tipped and it's added onto the fees.
Glad this group's here!

Not sure there are any hard and fast rules on this one! My DD is at a school where a lot of the children are from overseas so make their own way home so a lot of parents will not see house staff at Christmas. Last year ( first year in school) I gave a bottle of champagne to HM and some vouchers for local garden centre to Matron as she had been telling my DD all about moving into a house with a garden for the first time over the holidays. I should say that they had both been particularly supportive/helfpful and really gone the extra mile for DD.

DS (14) at different school with more locally based pupils- HM study was awash with bottles of booze,chocs etc. DS mentioned he is really into golf so we got him a box of balls and some chocs ( for his wife) and for Matron a plant. All gifts seemed to go down well.

Haven't decided what to do this year yet- but will probably be wine/chocs.

helpyourself Wed 31-Oct-12 14:24:42

I have 2 boarders; I'm away with the new boarder and stuck in NY grin, emailing home with instructions for getting the younger boarder back without mummy packing. sad

ILoveChocolatePudding Wed 31-Oct-12 23:41:08


Saw your post by chance. My DS is weekly boarder at Bruern Abbey and can confirm that it is for boys with dyslexia and dsypraxia and other learning difficulties. Its a small school of about 90 or so boys in Oxfordshire and it prepares boys for CE. Some also go on to state day and boarding schools as well. There is an ping pong discussion currently on going about the school if you want to learn more on the Education thread.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 08:58:37

At Christmas we usually give the HM a bottle of decent bottle of wine, flowers for the wife and chocolates/biscuits for the matron.

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 13:57:34

Ds is a new part time boarder. He did two/nights before half term and is now doing three nights. Thanks for the heads up on presents. Ds has a boarding master, two matrons and a chorister chaperone to think of.

He is absolutely loving boarding. He settled in straight away and got a glowing report from the boarding master at half term. Huge relief that he likes it as he is only young (8). The absolute best thing about boarding for me is all ds's sports kit stays at school and gets washed grin

BlissfullyIgnorant Mon 12-Nov-12 18:26:28

bisjo, you're right about the sports kit! And everything else for us grin

4happyhours Mon 11-Mar-13 16:44:37

Just started my 11 yo DS (soon to be 12yo) at lovely boarding school two weeks ago, for 18 months ahead of 13+ CE. Been having a weepy moment - just taken him back after first exeat last night and empty house = miserable!

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