If they begged would you let them board?

(107 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 18:40:02

Ok, just that really.

<disclaimer> My child is very happy at home, no issues and we are a very close family who spend most of our time together.

She has made her mind up she is going and nothing will stop her.
I have nothing against boarding schools, but being completely selfish I wouldn't want her to go and hope she changes her mind.

Your thoughts, wwyd.

derektheladyhamster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:41:51

We did, it's hard though but ds is thriving.

Chubfuddler Wed 30-Oct-13 18:43:18

Can you afford it is the big question, I'd think.

If it was Monday to Friday flexi boarding yes, in a heartbeat if they wanted to and we could afford it. Full traditional boarding I would struggle.

RandomMess Wed 30-Oct-13 18:43:23

How old and why has she fallen in love with boarding, or is it a specific school?

Yes, but make sure she really understands what is involved. DD went at 16 to do A Levels having previously done some flexi-boarding at her prep school and one full term of weekly boarding. Her school at 16 was very much full boarding- there for four weeks and then a weekend off and then another four until half term. It was near enough for us to visit so we would go up sometimes in the interim weekends to do sunday lunch out. But she loved it, it made her as a person, she loved all the opportunities and by her last term she was so busy it was hard to find a time to see her, but it was a great preparation for university. She was very sad to leave and would go back in a heartbeat.

However, DS went at 13 ( at the same time as DD) to a different school- very much his choice and he begged and begged to be able to go as some of his best mates were going. After 18 months he decided he couldn't cope with the boarding- we were lucky in that we needed to move anyway so have moved nearer to the school so he could become a day pupil. So just be careful that she really understands what being a full boarder means, if that is what the school offers. Being there every weekend and not coming home ( even if you can have visits) for 3-4 weeks at a stretch can be very hard for some children.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 18:56:44

The money isn't a problem, we are poor, so wouldn't have to pay. I know that sounds weird.
Its a specific school and they come home one weekend out of 4 and of course holidays.
She is 9 would be y5 and there is no way we would agree until secondary anyway. It is specialist and super selective I think you'd say.

Chubfuddler Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:52

Is she already there as a day pupil and feels she's missing out?

In those circs I would have to say yes with proviso that if she changed her mind she had to say so.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 19:01:25


If you don't mind me asking, did it change your dc at all and did your ds get over the experience well? I hope he is settled now.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 19:03:54


No, but she feels as though it would be all or nothing and that she would miss out. I am trying to get her into the frame of mind of starting as day pupil and then boarding if she wants to.
We live about an hours train journey away and the school day starts at 8am, so would be leaving here at 6.30 in the morning.

BanjoPlayingTiger Wed 30-Oct-13 19:07:50

Yes! We just did this. My dd has started boarding school this year. It is a specialist music school. Up until this term we home educated.

She LOVES it! I had no intentions of sending her. But she looked up the open day and told me about it and pushed for an audition and sailed through to get her place.

I have no regrets. Though I am finding it a lot more difficult than she is!

WhatABeautifulPussy Wed 30-Oct-13 19:07:59

Yes I would let her. In fact DS will probably go board at 13 for continuity purposes and almost definitely for 6th form. If the school is right it can be a really positive and enriching experience.

RandomMess Wed 30-Oct-13 19:09:58

That is a very very long day at that age, I'd be more inclined to let her board!!!

In some ways when they are younger they have simpler emotional needs and she may be absolutely fine with boarding...

Sorry I'm no help. My dd was desperate to go to a certain boarding school and she found it hard but doesn't regret it - although the state alternative was absolutely dire!

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:08

Yes I would, although I would hate it. If they wanted to leave I would be completely fine and take them out ASAP.

I know loads of people who boarded, some hated it but some really loved it and it had a positive impact on then socially. Including DH who got loads out of it, so I know it would feel hypocritical to him to say no, and I can't be that negative about them.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 30-Oct-13 19:14:11

Is weekly boarding an option?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 19:26:47

I don't think weekly boarding is an option as they have compulsory elements at weekend.
I think my main concern would be having to cope for a full terms notice if I new she was unhappy.
We don't know a single person who has boarded, and nobody in our families have ever gone down this route.

JammieMummy Wed 30-Oct-13 19:46:10

Well....--at the risk of sounding sexist-- I would struggle to let my DD board but would be more than fine with DS!!! shock

This is partly due to the children and their very different personalities and partly that we are fortunate enough to live withing commuting distence of a whole range of schools for DD which mean she won't have to board (from top 10 school in country to those with other interests). There is nothing locally for DS.

That being said if she begged me and I was convinced that she has good reasoning behind it, knew what she was getting into etc then I would let her go. I would have loved to go to boarding school as a child and always felt a bit resentful that my mum wanted me at home so much that she wouldn't let me go.

When is your DD thinking of boarding? As I definitely wouldn't let her go before secondary level as I don't think they really know at that age.

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 30-Oct-13 19:49:01

Mine weekly board, and DD1 stays over quite a lot at the weekend anyway, to do extra curricular stuff. They seem to enjoy it. Most of the time, anyway.

Mine are 13 and 15, this is the first year boarding for both of them.

Labro Wed 30-Oct-13 20:30:47

I'd say yes if she genuinely knows what it involves, not some 'story book' version and not until secondary. Make sure that you check out the schools policies as it may be quite difficult to withdraw if fees are being paid etc. Do also make sure she knows about day options if there is anything nearer offering similar opportunities.
What age would she be going from as also be aware that if its a few years away her ideas may completely change.

mustbeabetterwife Wed 30-Oct-13 20:37:29

I wouldn't want her to board, especially as she is so happy at home.

Those precious years fly by. I would say to her start as a day pupil and then you will consider it after the first term.

Then think of all the ways to talk her out of it and hopefully she will come to her own conclusion that as a day pupil she isn't missing out at all..

From a selfish pov it will be more difficult to share that journey with her as she won't be coming home every evening to share her experiences with you.

It must be very hard for you as a parent, I feel for you. <sob, sob>

UniS Wed 30-Oct-13 20:41:13

if he begged AND the school was appropriate to his academic, sporting and social life, Yes.

Oh yeah, and if we could afford it.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 20:42:29

Hello Labro, and thank you all very much for your comments. I needed to get a perspective on this as it is completely new to us.

She would go now if we would agree to it, but definitely not until secondary as far as we're concerned. She would be y5 now so only really a year or so away. She has been talking about it for about 2 years now ever since she first heard of the school.

I really don't want to put her off, but the selfish part of me would miss her so much. She has also been H.ed for a while and we are really close.

starrystarryknut Wed 30-Oct-13 20:44:30

Is it a specialist music school then? If yes, think carefully. BTW my DC boarded and it was fantastic. I don't have an issue with boarding. But certain specialist schools need, shall we say, "due care".

ZZZenagain Wed 30-Oct-13 20:49:19

I don't think I would really but I know my dd. Yours may be very different. Won't this be a big jump from HE and being around her parents a lot of the time?

ZZZenagain Wed 30-Oct-13 20:51:15

If she is going, I think I might try and get her used to being away from home for a few days at a time if she has not done this before. Maybe a summer programme (such as BH) for music if it is a specialist music school she is going to?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 20:57:21


Honestly, it isn't a question of finances, we couldn't afford it if the school was managed differently. All parents are assessed on income and pay an amount in relation to this on a sliding scale.
It is the dc ability that is important to them and the school attracts huge awards for fees, that all parents can access.
This is why it is harder as well, we can't just say no way we can't afford it.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Wed 30-Oct-13 21:00:08

I would if I thought DD would thrive by doing so.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 21:03:39


You are scaring me now with your think carefully grin
Thank you, I hadn't thought of this.
Yes its the specialist music school I think you are all thinking about.
And yes, the fact she has been H.ed and close to us really worries me.
It is her suggestion though, and whilst I know nobody here has suggested it, the first time somebody thinks we just want to dump her at school, will break my heart.
We all love her so much, she makes our life complete and her two much older dbs love her to bits as does her dad.
I think it would break our family tbh, but she doesn't worry about this, almost heartlessly although I know she isn't.

Spongingbobsunderpants Wed 30-Oct-13 21:06:47

I didn't end up going to boarding school despite getting into a specialist music school on a scholarship- I was super keen initially but went to visit the place and just felt it wasn't for me. My parents never expressed a real opinion about me going or not going but sat me down and got me to visualise what days would be like - routine stuff like sharing rooms, morning times, what would happen if I was ill etc, and it really clarified that I would miss out on home life too much.

DH, on the other hand, went to boarding school-a very traditional one- and absolutely loved it. He has exactly the right personality for it though - quietly confident, optimistic, independent and enthusiastic for life. I was much more reserved and less confident - who knows what would have happened if I'd gone though ... I could have had a more successful career in music and been more rounded as a person. Maybe.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 30-Oct-13 21:10:55

Have you been to see it?

Having said it's a music school will she have events in holidays as well? Thinking about Christmas etc.
If you do go and visit, I'd try to go on a normal day, and,talk to the students about bullying/homesickness/evening and weekends... because how they react when you ask can say a lot.

It's difficult because the pastoral care will be the key thing, but it can be hard to get unbiased reviews of what it's really like.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Oct-13 21:51:17


I know exactly what you mean. We have been to open days, and read brochure and website, but imo these are mainly marketing opportunities and don't give a true picture.
I will try and make an appointment for a normal day and hope we get past the "come on an open day" response grin

Thank you all again for the lovely responses.

happygardening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:58:13

My DS2 has full boarded since yr 2 now yr 11 like your DD many years ago now he asked to go and with some trepidation I agreed. I adore him and like you he makes my life complete. But it's not about me it's about him and what is right for him. We've had some ups and downs with boarding or perhaps more accurately with his prep school which he boarded at but I've never regretted it. We've all just come back from a short break and I can see how boarding has and is influencing his life in such a positive way. My DS is happy at his school he is allowed to be the person he wants to be and receive the type of education that he personally thrives on. I suspect your daughter would get the same benefits at her specialist school.
Go for it, see it as what it is a positive life changing experience.

bebanjo Wed 30-Oct-13 23:44:26

I home educate, but if DD wants to go to summer hill when she is 8 she can go, I believe most children know what they need.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 31-Oct-13 00:21:07

Dd is at a specialist boarding school but doesn't board as she doesn't have an MDS award so we can't afford boarding.

I'm torn. In since ways her life would be easier & she wouldn't struggle to juggle the work, homework, practice, commuting & relaxation time if she boarded. On the other hand I enjoy seeing her each night even if she is only home for an hour before bedtime.

If your child is that dedicated & focused on her art then you can't stop them. I didn't want dd to turn round in years to fine and say what if.

starrystarryknut Thu 31-Oct-13 10:24:40

potato Purcell, Chets, and Menuhin all have had problems recently. Wells seems a happier place. Is your DD at a Saturday junior conservatoire? That could be one way of getting the high level musical input without boarding.

casacastille Thu 31-Oct-13 10:42:17

My DD2 (Y9) started boarding this year at her own request - new school, first time in the UK - and she is loving it, doing really well and thriving socially.

We miss her like mad but I couldn't be happier that she has settled so well and is seizing opportunities to do new things. She has come back for half term so bubbly and confident that I can't regret it despite feeling bereft when she's not here.

The agreement was for a year only but I can already see that extracting her in the summer could be tough...

IndridCold Thu 31-Oct-13 11:02:56

Your DD sounds like the sort of child who will keep busy and thrive in the boarding environment.

You will miss her like crazy, but it will certainly not 'break' your family. In making these difficult decisions you also have to factor in the regret you (and your DD) may have in 5-10 years time if you deny her a fantastic opportunity to try something that she really wants to do.

LittleSiouxieSue Thu 31-Oct-13 11:11:33

My DD was keen to board. We are not from a boarding family and every other parent in her state primary thought we were barmy. She reasoned, correctly, that making friends is easier and that you have time to do lots of extra curricular activities. This suits an enthusiastic and busy child. I was also acutely aware that local parents formed horrible cliques and formed friendships for their children, from which others were excluded, my DD being one. She is intelligent and we thought that boarding would be a better way for her to make friends without undue parental influence! I can only say it was magic! 10 years later she has a huge number of schools friends, many from day 1 of boarding. She flourished and is self-motivated, highly organised, happy and confident.
I am slightly different, however, in that I wanted to her to go. We started off with traditional boarding but school became flexible later but she always took full advantage of trips and activities at weekends even when she could have come home. There was so much going on and the ones who went home all the time really missed out. I would therefore say that weekly boarding lessens the experience because Friday evenings and weekends are diminished in terms of school activities and the social side of boarding makes friends for life. Please think about your DDs education and well being and not just about your feelings. Make sure your DD really understands what boarding is all about but truly some children are made for boarding. Mine was and yours may be too. If so, give her the chance. It is something you and she will gain from enormously.

Theas18 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:22:58

Morethan, I think you are maybe being a little economical with the facts. Not stalking you, from other threads this would be a very specialist school and similar education is not really available to your dd without boarding I guess.

You've got to go for it if it is her choice.

Theas18 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:24:36

Btw we have transiently considered it for the same reasons, but the kids didn't want to specialise so much so early, but your child does.

girliefriend Thu 31-Oct-13 14:25:53

No, I couldn't bear it. I don't even like it when my dd goes to a sleepover as I miss her too much shock

Although may feel different when she hits the teens grin

She has said its a specialist music school up thread. Hence later references to Purcell, Chets and Menuhin.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 14:54:44

Wow, thank you all so much for the wonderful advice.
Both me and her Dad are selfish in respect of we'll miss her, I realise this.
Somebody suggested a jd instead of boarding, which she has agreed to try if boarding turns out not to be right for her.
I think I will bide my time until the time comes and if she hasn't changed her mind and all other factors are deemed suitable I will not stand in her way.
There is so much to consider and weigh up at the moment, but many posts have given me food for thought.
Many thanks.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 15:02:18


Its ok, yes you are completely right. She has known since she was a tot what she wanted to do and is the complete opposite to our other older dc.
I know we have spoken before, I know you aren't stalking.
I was being a bit economical with the facts as I didn't see them as important, but yes I guess they are grin
Thank you and you are so right, it would be wrong to stand in her way, but I can't help secretly hoping she'll change her mind.

peteneras Thu 31-Oct-13 16:36:15

We are all selfish parents and we all want our kids to be at home. But my philosophy is, a child's got to do what a child's got to do. My DS boarded full-time aged 10 and I knew he would be away boarding full time for the next 8 years (guaranteed) and after that more years still at university. Broke my heart of course, but I knew it was for the better. It's his future, not mine.

zingally Thu 31-Oct-13 18:16:37

IF you can afford it.

If he wants to try it on a trial basis, I don't see the harm in trialling it for perhaps half a term/a term. Although both of you would need to be flexible if it turns out to not suit either one (or both!) parties.

ie: If it turns out he HATES after a month, be ready to say "okay, come home", even if it means a lost deposit or something. But if he LOVES it, but you hate him being away, you'll need to come up with some sort of compromise where... I don't know... he comes home every other weekend.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 31-Oct-13 22:50:20


That's it in a nutshell really "It's her future not mine".

wordfactory Fri 01-Nov-13 08:26:20

OP, personally I wouldn't.

I've given this a lot of thought as after prep school, many of DC's peers were going boarding. I came under a certain amount of pressure to do the same (admittedly from fellow parents who have a vested interest in other parents doing the same).

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that to be the sort of parent I wanted to be I needed to see my DC most days.

Nothing to do with selfishness and all the other silly platitudes that are rolled out about this (frankly it would be much easier if my DC boarded), but more to do with how I viewed my responsibilities to my DC.

That said, there are certain types of specialist education that are very hard to access wihtout boarding. And I think those parents have a more difficult decision to make.

Since I think you're in that category, I don't envy you.

cory Fri 01-Nov-13 08:53:06

For me it would not be about selfishness, but about things I wanted to be around on a day to day basis to teach dc while they were at this particular stage of their lives.

But that would have to be balanced against the other, very specialist teaching they could only receive at a specialist school.

And their possibly lessened receptiveness to any teaching of mine if they felt I had done them out of the one thing they wanted to do.

Tricky one.

DowntonTrout Fri 01-Nov-13 09:18:17

I think that if it is a specialist school (as mentioned up thread) she will not get that level of education elsewhere. You have no choice really, other than to give it a go.

FWIW, DD so nearly went to one if the specialist music schools. We only decided against because her interest was broader than the music, she would have gone as a chorister and her first instrument would have been voice. However at 13 she would have needed to have something else as first instrument and her piano was never going to be strong enough for that.

We side stepped into a performance based specialist school. She boards mon to fri and her train journey is 2 hours. I wave her off on the train at 5.30 on a Monday morning and collect her at 7pm on a Friday. It breaks my heart actually. But she loves it. She is very happy boarding, there is always someone to talk to/play/practise with. It is as much about the social side as the education for her. In the end, it was our only option really, she is so happy. If your child shows promise and wants to go, I think it is only right that you support them as far as you can, and if the opportunity presents itself to give them a chance it would be wrong not to let them run with it. You, and she, can always change your minds.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 12:30:38

Gosh, it is so difficult.
Today, she has started saying sarcy comments in between practising.
Like, well if I had somebody to accompany me here I might be able to learn this song for next week. She shouts it so I can hear and then later will ask a question such as "If I do go to x school, will I have an accompanist"? She knows very well what she is doing, and can't pull the wool over my eyes grin.

Downton Of course you are so right, minds can always be changed, I am going round in circles and can't see the wood for the trees.

There is another bs thread resurrected from the depths that is running too, it seems like such an emotive subject for many.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 01-Nov-13 12:35:50

I wouldn't bank on her having an accompanist for general practice. She may or may not have one for lessons (often a senior piano pupil). Dh certainly didn't at conservatoire.

They will have accompanists for general rep classes/master classes.

peteneras Fri 01-Nov-13 15:30:51

” Eventually, I came to the conclusion that to be the sort of parent I wanted to be I needed to see my DC most days. . . . more to do with how I viewed my responsibilities to my DC.”

OK, and for the rest of you, the tens of thousands - me included - together with the many thousands of parents from the other side of the globe who send our children to boarding schools here, we are a different species; we don’t need to see our DC most days, our kids are not precious . . . . we do not have any responsibilities to our DC.

Talking about selfishness . . .

LittleSiouxieSue Fri 01-Nov-13 16:25:39

I think people seem to think that you relinquish parental influence and responsibility at a boarding school.... You absolutely do not. It is just not possible for a normal caring parent to hand their child over and not participate in their upbringing. I feel your DD will hold this against you, OP, if she does not get the chance and you may have bumpy teenage years ahead! I don't entirely think it is selfish to keep them at home but you can be a wonderful loving parent and still have a child boarding. I think parents are not there to be doting best friends every day of the week so letting them follow their aspirations, with your guidance, is all part of responsible parenting. You will be giving her a great gift by recognising her needs and letting her go.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Nov-13 16:41:49


It was just really an example of her behaviour atm, tomorrow it will be something else.
We also have "How am I supposed to practice with x going on" and several others.
I don't see this as a reason for going with her wishes irrespective of whether it is right or not, but she is certainly pointing it out to me atm. grin


I know you are right, she would hold it against me, even if it turned out not to be for her, she wants the chance to try.
There is no other way we could afford the lessons she wants as she gets older. Now it is around £60 per week and will be much more once she progresses more, the school is very heavily subsidised and would cost us not much more than a state school, with no extra tuition costs at all.

happygardening Fri 01-Nov-13 16:48:35

I totally agree with peteneras. It is a brave decision to choose to send you much loved DC to a boarding school. Far from shirking our parental responsibilities we are embracing them and accepting that we cannot provide everything our DC's need and that there are others out there who can in some aspects of our children's lives do a better job.
It is also not our children's responsibilities to make us happy. It is our responsibility to assist our DC to grow into well adjusted individuals who are equipped to take on all life's up and downs, form meaningful relationships with others and be decent citizens, hopefully have children of their own and bring them up to be the same and of course so much more.
We all parent in different ways no one parent can claim he or she is right, what works for my DC and myself may not work for you and yours, we also all have different priorities at different phases of our DC's childhood.

LittleSiouxieSue Fri 01-Nov-13 16:49:50

So..... Off she goes then... Dilemma solved. She can always change her mind if she doesn't like it. I bet she will though.

DowntonTrout Fri 01-Nov-13 17:02:24

And just to say, there is a lot to be said for being at a school where all around you have the same ethos,interests and work ethics. Instead of being one in a school who is different.
If you are musical, to be immersed in music is a wonderful thing.

grovel Fri 01-Nov-13 17:12:34

When my DS was full boarding he still slept under our roof 30% of the time (holidays, exeats, half-terms etc). I thought that was plenty in terms of conveying our values, understanding him etc.(particularly as we could talk on the phone, Skype, email every day if we wanted).

Theas18 Fri 01-Nov-13 18:40:41

Little missmorethan certainly is letting you know how she feels isn't she lol.

DeWe Fri 01-Nov-13 22:31:00

DD2 wants to board. In Austria or Switzerland. Preferably at the Chalet School. grin

We can't afford to even consider it, maybe if I'd called her Josephine Mary Maynard they'd have offered her a scholarship.

I'm not sure she'd like the reality and she would be dropping some of her extra-curriculum activities she loves too.

DalmationDots Fri 01-Nov-13 22:42:48

Cost issue aside, I'd let them flexi board or weekly board once they are 15/16. Earlier if there were issues or real reasons that boarding would be far more beneficial than day school.
Having grown up with an at times very rocky childhood which then smoothed out, for me, family life and time is not replaceable. When you loose it, you realise how precious it is and how comforting it is.
I remember how difficult it was for me when I was 18, and was for DD 2 years ago, to go off to uni (both to unis with college style/v supported halls). I wouldn't want DD to go through the challenges and emotions it can draw up earlier than 16. (I can see the benefit of weekly boarding for sixth form to prepare for uni in a supported and gradual way).
I also remember the friends I met at uni who had boarded from 11. They were so independent it almost made me sad and none of them could understand the close bond I had with my mum (not saying none of them were close to their mothers, but there seemed to be a difference). I felt like they'd grown up too fast.

Every family is different though smile

Kenlee Fri 01-Nov-13 23:55:40

I have just sent my daughter to board. She loves it...Although I have to admit she has a lot of new friends. We live 7000 miles away....

Downside she is too busy to talk to you even at weekends. So be prepared to lose some of the doting closeness ......

Tango works great as does Skype....The only problem is getting her on.So you can talk with her.....

happygardening Sat 02-Nov-13 07:57:09

Dalmation uni's with supported style halls are not like boarding schools at all. I have no doubt that those children you met when you went to Uni were more independent as they would be now but I don't see independence in day to day life at 18 as anything but a positive.
"None of them could understand the close bond I had with my mum"
Not only have my DS's boarded from a young age so have many of my friends DS's, all get on well with their parents and a close bond is very obvious. This close bond that exists in our family is frequently commented upon by others including perhaps most interestingly children who've never boarded. In contrast my best friend never boarded and there is no bond between child and parents and there never has been.
Boarding has also changed especially in the last 10-15 years, most schools encourage much more involvement of parents, as Kenlee said above technology allows regular communication between parent and child; no longer are mob phones routinely taken away, even full boarding schools allow children home on Sunday and as said above holidays are very long. In 2013 many parents work long hours and I would rather my DS's were looked after by trained dedicated staff surrounded by friends with a myriad of activities than au pairs or child minders. I also wouldn't want my DS's commuting from an early age for an 1-1 1/2 hours before and after school.
It is a personal choice there will always be those who it doesn't work for and I can understand why people think it's wrong but few making these criticisms have any current experience.

DalmationDots Sat 02-Nov-13 10:32:57

happygardening I guess I made assumptions. I have experience of boarding via previously working in a boarding school. I guess I've seen it from a different angle from those with children boarding, those who boarded themselves and those who have no experience.
I agree uni halls are not like boarding schools at all, but the feelings a child can experience going off to board can be pretty similar to a student going to uni for the first time. I agree independence is important, but the girls I knew would go weeks without calling home and not even think anything of it. BUT i recognise things have changed, boarding schools are no doubt very different now.
I have nothing wrong with boarding, it just wouldn't suit my DC, before age 16, or my image of how I want my family to be based on what I missed out on in some of my childhood. But I know for other families, it suits them perfectly and can even improve bonds between parents and children.

happygardening Sat 02-Nov-13 11:09:52

Dalmation so much depends on how we as parents view boarding if we're sending our children off in fear and trepidation seeing it as entirely negative then our children will quickly pick up on this and feel the same. But if we as parents see it as a positive life changing experience and also that we will support them all the way and that we are only on the end of the phone/skype/what's app etc then IME experience our children will go off and make the most of it. I work with children from all backgrounds including boarders the vast majority who are severely estranged from their parents are not boarders, what boarding can't always do is heal any existing rift between parents/family although I have seen it work wonders for children who have issues at home and especially for those with over protected over hovering mothers who won't allow their children to grow up and become their own person. Boarding can definitely provide a normal life of many.

chauffeurmummy Sat 02-Nov-13 11:33:44

In some ways boarding can bring you closer together as a family as when you are home everyone makes the effort to spend time together. As a teenager I definitely spent more quality time with my parents than some of my day pupil friends, I think if you are home everyday but everyone's busy then quality time can be difficult to come by. If you are only home for holidays then it focusses things! It is a different dynamic but Its not worse at all!! I am incredibly close to my parents and although yes I am independent, even now in my late thirties I visit 'home' a lot more than most people I know who don't live in the same town as their family.

I think it's harder for parents than the children though - at the beginning of term it's the mothers who are reaching for the tissues as they wave goodbye! I hate the thought of my dd going (she's too little at the moment!) - but I know that when she's older if she wants too then I'll let her. I couldn't deprive her of a wonderful experience and I am 100% sure that if our relationship changes, then it will only get stronger.

happygardening Sat 02-Nov-13 11:49:07

I frequently hear or read parents of day children moaning that their child is around too much during the summer holidays or they can't wait for holidays to end or at a loss to know what to do with them. I never feel like this I count down to all holidays and exeats and am sad when he goes back. We have quality time together just being a family and doing normal family things.

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Nov-13 11:49:12

As with many areas of education, the questions around boarding are about 'what is available without boarding' as much as they are about the boarding school itself.

In the OP's case, a full-time boarding music (?) school may well offer things that simply cannot be created without the boarding element.

I recognise this, as as an 11 year old I was sent to boarding school with a full scholarship because, at that point, my parents could see no alternative route to give me the highly academic education that I needed [had they looked into their crystal ball, and seen my siblings, both of whom attended the local ex-SM-just-turned-comp, going on to Oxbridge, they might have made a different decision - but hindsoght is a wonderful thing.]

It is very difficult when a child's needs are highly specialised and one lives a long way from high quality day provision. DD dances, and we are very lucky in that we have an excellent non-vocational dance school in walking distance, which she can attend umpteen hours a week while attending a normal state school and from which many 18 year olds go on to vocational colleges. If we lived elsewhere, we might have had to look at vocational boarding in order to be able to access the same quality of teaching and future prospects.

TooBusyByHalf Sat 02-Nov-13 11:52:53

No. I wouldn't look at boarding schools anyway and I don't want them to and they're not going to. Maybe for sixth form if there was a really good reason (eg some kind of specialism not available locally). Trouble is once you've looked at the school and she's had the idea I can see how it would be hard to say no - which is one reason why we wouldn't even go to an open day.
Only have to look at my brother and all the other fucked up 40+ men out there to see why.

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Nov-13 12:21:17

Another thought.

I would investigate pastoral care and safeguarding VERY carefully. In 'specialised' schools for areas such as music or dance that are very competitive anyway, concentrating driven young people, and often 1 to 1 tuition by adults, into a single institution 24 / 7 can lead to some fairly unhealthy dynamics. It needs exceptional pastoral care and support to manage the effects of that.

DalmationDots Sat 02-Nov-13 13:46:24

I frequently hear or read parents of day children moaning that their child is around too much during the summer holidays or they can't wait for holidays to end or at a loss to know what to do with them.

This is a good point and I hear this often too.
I think this is not necessarily directly due to going to a day school, more that the child hasn't particularly got hobbies they want to persue, the parents can't afford camps or holidays, the children are used to parents always organising things and so don't know how to entertain themselves etc etc. the list goes on!
For me, part of family life is that you have both quality time packed full of things to do and catching up, as well as family time where you are all doing different things or just peacefully enjoying lazy weekends, catching up on homework or doing rainy day type things. You can turn the argument round that 'running out of exciting things to do' can be a good thing!
Think this has gone off the boarding/day opinions and more to family life. IMO the potential of children being around too much in holidays or not having enough to entertain them with can apply to both boarding and day parents.

happygardening Sat 02-Nov-13 14:47:18

Toobusy I now really only work with children but spent some 20 years working with adults again from all back grounds. I've met some seriously "fucked up" people of all ages not one in my memory remember stated that boarding was the cause.

JammieMummy Sat 02-Nov-13 19:58:27

Just to wade in confused I have one friend who was forced to board from the age of 8, father in the military and the family moved around a lot, she was literally given no choice. She was badly bullied due to undiagnosed learning difficulties and ended up being held back a year. At secondary she had the choice of WHICH boarding school she was going to attend from a list of 3. There was never any question that it would be a boarding school.

Recently she was saying that going to boarding school has severely effected her ability to form relationships; I disagreed and after a long discussion she agreed with me. It was nothing to do with the school and everything to do with feeling that her family didn't want her or love her enough for her to live at home. Even though logically she knew their lifestyle meant boarding school was the only reasonable option she could never shake the feeling that if they loved her properly her parents would have found a way around it.

That massive long waffle is to make the point that it is not boarding schools, per se, which cause the issues in adults but the reasons you were sent there and if your opinion was taken into account. You should never force a child to board but if they are happy and want to go, it is a completely different story.

noteventhebestdrummer Sat 02-Nov-13 20:58:03

It's not necessary to board to get the best from a specialist music school. I have ex-pupils who attended the one in Manchester as day pupils.
At that school your DD would need to go as an instrumentalist in Y7, not a singer, yes?

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Nov-13 21:07:21

It depends on distance. Dd is currently commuting each day to her school she heaves at 7.30am & gets back at 7.45pm. It dies mean we arnt ferrying her to umpteen dance classes but she does have to go to bed early each night & so struggles to fit homework in.

Boarding would be less tiring for her. However there are a couple if children who only live about half an hour away from the school for whom it works fine.

During performance/rehearsal weeks we may book a travelodge.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 21:41:46


Yes that's the one, singing not until 6th form, but lots of choirs to join, they just won't train the voice.

We are only an hour away, but the fact they start at 8.00 and finish at 600pm on a normal day would mean her leaving at 5.30 and arriving home at 8.00 a very long day.
Driving there would take even longer/earlier start and later home.
Then there are concerts of course, and homework.
It just seemed a good idea to consider boarding.

A Travelodge, I hadn't considered that one.
I forget now is your dd at H?
I was raised about an hour from the area, don't think it existed all those years ago. If it is the area is so beautiful, lots to see and do.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 21:42:40

Sorry, 6.30 not 5.30 grin

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Nov-13 21:47:27

More than - those timings arnt viable. Dd does 8.55 - 6pm each day plus Saturday mornings with a similar commute & it's just about viable.

The school has been there a long time. Dds old dance teacher trained there. It's up a country lane.

BanjoPlayingTiger Sat 02-Nov-13 21:48:35

I'm not sure the days are quite as long as that morethan. The school day starts at 8.30am and I'm pretty certain they are normally finished long before that as day pupils. The boarders do prep that takes them until 5.30pm but the day pupils leave before then.

mathanxiety Sat 02-Nov-13 21:50:37

When I was a child, my mother, who went to a strict Irish boarding school, used to threaten us with being sent away to school. One day I remember saying 'Would you pleeeeeease send me?' I think I had been reading a lot of Enid Blyton and was captivated by the jolliness of it all and the thoughts of tuck boxes and all the delicious things they might contain.

If your DD is really keen I would send her, and I would take her home again and pick up where you left off if she decided she didn't like it after all, but with my blessing if she took to it. Maybe you would feel happier if you looked at it as a good sign that she knows her own mind and has enough confidence to spread her wings?

(I agree with your point there JammieMummy)

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 21:53:11


Really? Please tell me you're joking or else I started this thread for nothing grin

Do they not start practice at 8.00? Or is that just boarders.
It says on website too, and at open day it was what they told us.

Oh dear, I seem to have my facts wrong, what time do day pupils finish then?

BanjoPlayingTiger Sat 02-Nov-13 21:58:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BanjoPlayingTiger Sat 02-Nov-13 22:01:51

Ok, just checked the handbook. Day pupils have to be there by 8.15am and finish at 4.30pm.

Hope that makes things easier for you! smile

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 22:10:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Nov-13 22:13:11

It might be that he chooses to stay & do prep with the boarders.

We choose for dd to eat her evening meal with the boarders. It means she leaves at 6.30 instead of 6pm

Leaving at 6 if homework is already done is a bit different than dd whose classes end at 6pm then she has to travel hone & do homework.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 22:48:57

Sorry I asked for the message deletion, it contained something I shouldn't have disclosed.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 02-Nov-13 22:54:10


I hadn't thought of that, wow I am learning so much about boarding schools. Its a good idea your dd having her meal at school, then its just homework and time with you, maybe?
I have also learned that some dc can stay over just for the sake of it or because they have a late night concert.
I imagine this must be good for boarders who have day friends, especially for birthday sleepovers.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Nov-13 23:06:06

They can't just stay over at dds school as the boarding houses are very small with limited beds but some schools do offer flexi boarding.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 02-Nov-13 23:07:54

Yes, it also means if dh is a bit late coming out if work she isn't hanging around waiting for him. He's usually ready by 6 but is definatly ready at 6.30 when she's finished eating.

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 03-Nov-13 12:59:37

You're proposing a LOT of changes in one go there.

To go from HE to specialist school with boarding sounds like a big deal to cope with, however confident and aware your DD is about the whole idea. Also I do wonder how realistic her understanding of the set-up is? It's not exactly Chalet School! The kids have to be very independent and while they are clearly VERY well cared for, it's just not a family atmosphere and a family-orientated girl might well mind that more than she thinks.

Why not go in Y6 as a day pupil and take it from there?

GrendelsMum Mon 04-Nov-13 14:07:01

A friend's daughter started boarding at secondary (yes, again specialist music school). It's only 40 mins door to door, so they imagined that she'd come back regularly for some of the weekend, perhaps go out in the evenings from time to time, etc. In the end, she's enjoying it so much that she wants to come home much more rarely than they anticipated.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 04-Nov-13 14:15:44


yes, she is a very homely type of girl even though very independent. The point you make about it being a huge change needs careful consideration, she's rarely been away form family, apart from the obvious sleep overs with friends.
Having been on that other boarding thread that was resurrected about under 11s I came to the same conclusion as your post. grin
Also after finding out the day would not be as long as I had first anticipated, see no reason why she couldn't attend daily until she is a bit older.
This and the other thread have really opened by eyes as I knew so little before.

Thank you all again for your wonderful thoughts, opinions and mostly your advice flowers

DalmationDots Mon 04-Nov-13 15:08:51

I second what noteven says, even if your DD seems keen and it appears a great place for her, you have to anticipate the potential difficulties that come with such a huge change.
My DN was desperate to go off and board, they lived near a very good boarding school which offered some amazing things. She got there are all the novelty was gone, her expectations very different to reality and, like your DD, she was such a 'home' girl who had never experienced homesickness. I think she got the shock of her life and struggled a lot for the first term.
After that, she did settle and thrive there but there were many times her homesickness kicked in or she would come home and remember how great and comforting home can be. It is so difficult!
IMO while you need to push your child slightly and they need to built up resilience, it is also a very delicate age and schooling is something you only have one real chance at, so your child's happiness and well being is so vital.

I hope you manage to work out an arrangement which suits her smile

noteventhebestdrummer Mon 04-Nov-13 23:00:16

You're welcome - I know this school and I know a lot of talented musical kids (I have 5 sons who all played/sang) - and I would hesitate to send my kids or to encourage students to go and to board at a young age, that's all. The same characteristics that make some kids excellent musicians make them more needy of emotional support, IMHO.

jellybrain Mon 04-Nov-13 23:16:41

I begged aged 10 and went to boarding school. Wish I hadn't to be honest.
Wouldn't send my dcs to boarding school and I always feel overwhelming sad when I hear a child is going to board. sad
My parents have no idea I feel this way as I know they think they were doing what I wanted. I have no intention of telling them. They would be devestated.

onebananatwobanana Tue 05-Nov-13 13:06:43

Jellybrain - can you say why you wish you hadn't?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 05-Nov-13 15:29:03


Thank you for sharing your story with us, I am sorry so sorry you weren't happy there, I hope you have had people in rl who you could tell as you can't tell your parents.

jellybrain Tue 05-Nov-13 20:11:26

I think not having family around when things weren't going well- having a bad day. Being able to talk to mum or dad and have them give you a hug and telling you it will be ok.
Lonely sometimes, had to grow up fast.
Having said that I had plenty of friends and it wasn't all bad.
My younger sister started at the same school but only lasted a term after I left at 16.
She said recently that she only coped cos I was there and she really thought I'd been brave. She just refused to go back without me.
It was a convent - the nuns were emotionally cold in the extreme.
I'm all teary now - daft sod that I am.
DB also boarded and I think had a bad experience - think he was badly bullied though he has never talked about it.
Dad was in the airforce and it was quite common for kids of military families to board. Not sure if that's still the case.

jellybrain Tue 05-Nov-13 20:59:20

Yes I have spoken to friends and dsis about it in RL though not often it still makes me feel overwhelming sad. Had a few tears after I posted soppy mare that I amsmile
Mostly there was no emotional warmth from any of the adults involved in our care and a lot of the time we were very wary of .
I remember being aged 10 or 11 and taking it in turns to go to the loo and make ourselves sick by sticking our fingers down our throats before the Rev Mother arrived to administer punishment usually a hefty wack with a stick and the promise of eternal damnation for some misdeed or other.
I missed my family, I had to grow up before I was emotionally ready. I think it has had a lasting effect on me well into adulthood and I left school more than 30 years ago.
Any way sorry I seem to have hijacked the thread somewhat OP. My answer to your original question would be a resounding NO.

jellybrain Tue 05-Nov-13 21:04:14

Whoops sorry didn't mean to post twice. I lost my phone signal and didn't think the first one had worked.

LittleSiouxieSue Tue 05-Nov-13 21:08:15

You cannot compare Catholic boarding 30 years ago with quality boarding today. There is just no comparison! Lots of forces children went to the less good establishments I'm afraid but boarding is just not like that now and most children get a lot out of it and name friends for life.

jellybrain Tue 05-Nov-13 21:17:14

I'm still in touch with friends from school so that's not an issue. I just think that children should grow up with their families.
I'm not sure that the catholic bit is completely relevant - DB didn't go to a catholic school and also had a poor experience. His school was very well regarded and still is I think.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 05-Nov-13 21:42:43


How awful for you and your siblings. Its ok for people to say its not like that anymore, but how do they know it doesn't still exist to some extent.
I would like to thank you again for sharing and so sorry that the thread upset you.
it is important to hear all views when starting such a thread and I have taken on board what you have said.
I also believe as others have suggested on here that personality plays a large part in the ability for dc to settle to boarding.
I am not 100% sure my dd would cope, despite her pleading to go. If today has been anything to go by then definitely not, because an upset had her crying on my shoulder for a long time.
Maybe at some time she will be ready and as I said certainly won't stand in her way, but it has to be right.
I hope you are ok jelly flowers

whethergirl Tue 05-Nov-13 21:51:38

I feel for you, I would find this a very difficult situation. My instinct is to say no, but then I only have one very clingy mummy's boy DS who wouldn't dream of leaving home!

A friend of mine's ds won a scholarship at a ballet school and boarded there, she was totally heartbroken but eventually got used to it.

jellybrain Tue 05-Nov-13 22:27:42

Thanks Morethan and Whether I'm fine now smile

schoolnurse Wed 06-Nov-13 08:27:16

"but how do we know it doesn't exist to some extent?"
The majority of boarding schools are regularly inspected and boarding and pastoral care are a large part of that inspection. minimum standards are laid down and children and parents are interviewed asked to complete questionnaires, At all the boarding schools i've worked in children are provided with a list of people they can turn if they're unhappy in general children are told all staff will listen but then specific staff are listed e.g. chaplains schools provide a free counselling who children can access confidentially and in confidence. All our housemaster are parents themselves (as are most of the teachers and staff) and work tirelessly for the the children in their care often putting the needs of the of the boarding children over their own children: sending emails to parents at 2 in the morning, accompanying them to hospital, attending pastoral care meetings where unhappy children are discussed and solutions sought, talking to parents both on the phone and face to face at all hours and just being with the children. We all (from cleaners to head masters) attend child protection training. Parents are also significantly more involved many will list pastoral care as one of the most important things when looking for a school, gone are the days when parents drop their DC's off at the beginning of term and pick them up at the end, most parents are in regular contact with their children they know what os going on.
I'm not deluding myself there are children in all boarding schools who are unhappy being there (we have them and even advise parents to seek alternatives and some wont) but the vast majority I believe feel supported and cared for and IME the vast majority who are unhappy have problems outside of school and in fact we are often the safe port in a storm we have children who cant wait to get back to school away from dysfunctional parents becasue they feel secure cared for.
I had a child in a state school with a reputation for high standards of pastoral care misunderstood by his school he became unhappy frankly i felt the school couldn't give a toss about him they were just going through the motions in the end his GP intervened and had to point out in no uncertain terms that they like those who work in boarding schools have a duty of care but unlike us who take this very seriously they were not. This would never happen in any of the boarding schools I've worked in.
There will always be cases of abuse, uncaring staff etc, but this in the 21st century in the exception not the rule.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 06-Nov-13 16:57:11


That was my exact reasoning, yes the exception to the rule. I was saying that nobody could really say that all the children are happy and whilst maybe the problems are different from yesterday, we could still be talking about their affects in years to come.
I think it is wrong for people to say, well that doesn't happen anymore when people are talking about harrowing experiences.

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