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Boarding school WWYD?

(24 Posts)
attheendoftheday Tue 28-Jun-11 12:59:08

I live currently with dp and dd in an isolated rural area. dd is currently young, so this is not an issue yet, but I've just discovered that the provision for secondary school is that the kids in our valley are fully funded to board Mon to Fri at the closest high school, about an hour and a half away.

I would not under normal circumstances ever consider my kids boarding, nor would I have considered private school, even if we had the money, which we don't. But there are no closer schools. The facilities look excellant, and dd would not need to start there until she was 13 (she can stay at the more local middle school until then), but I am really not at all sure about being seperated from her while she's still a child. Many of the adults in our area have previously attended this school as boarders, and speak very highly of it, and I am aware that if dd didn't go she will be seperated from her friends who will all go.

The options I can see are:

1. Move house to a different area before dd starts high school, though this would mean dp and I finding different jobs, and moving to a smaller property.

2. Let dd go to the school as a day student and arrange our own transport to and fro. This would be a pain but not impossible, but would mean a long trip for dd each way.

3. Let dd go as a boarder.

Dd is too young to have an opinion yet. Dp thinks I am mad to be thinking about this already, but if we did decide to move it would mean a major re-think of both of our jobs which would take time.

Has anyone ever been in a similar position?

titchy Tue 28-Jun-11 13:09:00

Or she part boards, say, 2 nights a week? TBH if this is the norm for your area (and I'm normally anti-boarding!) this won't seem like such a big deal. Presumably the kids go on Monday morning and board Mon, Tues, Wed and Thurs nights? Maybe she coudl start boarding Monday and Wednesdays? Then you'd see her every day at least.

Some people would give their eye teeth for provision such as this!

erebus Tue 28-Jun-11 13:09:48

I think boarding at 13 is a very different proposition to being any younger! Whilst yes, of course 13 is 'still a child' legally, the reality is that, depending on your DD's personality, she may well be taking the first steps into womanhood by then!

I think the fact all her friends will go is a big plus, and really, M-F boarding is in many ways 'ideal'! She's not a million miles away from you if there's a need for her to come home suddenly or for you to go there. Out of interest, how many of the DCs at the school are boarders? That's also a thing to consider, and do they just come from your valley or from many outlying areas? But it seems to me the boarding at 13 option is 'the norm' which of course will help her adjust to the idea.

Personally I would have killed at 13 for that opportunity! School week with friends, weekend and hols with mum and dad!

Fwiw, DH went to a State High (in Australia) where many kids had 1 1/2 to 2 hour journeys each way and it was a pita for them.

If you don't mind me asking, whereabouts are you, roughly? In the UK??

And no, you're at all mad to be thinking this through already. It's sensible!

erebus Tue 28-Jun-11 13:11:05

You're not at all mad, I meant!

attheendoftheday Tue 28-Jun-11 13:33:21

Thanks for the quick responses. I'm glad not everyone thinks I'm mad!

Erebus, I'm in the UK, in the north England. There are currently 45 boarders (including a sixth form) from my valley and a different rural area within the catchment, most of the school is made up from regular students.

Titchy, part boarding is a good idea, and would mean she could start to full board if she liked it and seemed settled. Thanks for this.

BerylOfLaughs Tue 28-Jun-11 13:39:34

I think if it's a good school and she is a sensible girl then this would be a fab opportunity. Try not to worry about it too much yet, it is a long time away. You'll know nearer the time how she would feel about it.

meditrina Tue 28-Jun-11 13:44:42

If you are really remote, it would be very difficult for her to take part in after school activities or hang out friends after school. If she flex-boarded, then she would be able to do oodles of activities and would have the (ok, small) boarding community at hand.

It'll all seem very different by the time she's 13, especially as she'll have peers doing the same.

clutteredup Tue 28-Jun-11 13:46:30

I imagine if everyone else is doing it as a 13yo she won't hear of having to come home to you while all her friends get to stay together and hang out. Try talking to existing parents with DC at the school and find out how it is for them and their DC, if everyone finds it OK, I'm sure you'll find it will be OK.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jun-11 13:49:46

At the age of 13 she will most likley love the independence. Also if you do live in an isolated area I suspect she will be very happy to be with her friends. She is a child now but as a teen she will be much more independent

I boarded in very similar circumstances (ie lived in a very remote country area) with a 1 hour 30 min drive to school. I loved it and was happier there than being isolated at home.

Go for it!

titchy Tue 28-Jun-11 13:50:37

Any houses for sale near you? grin

Bunbaker Tue 28-Jun-11 13:52:20

Normally I don't care for the idea of boarding school, but the circumstances you describe make it obvious that it is the best option. My cousin's daughter went as a day pupil to a boarding school and she found it very difficult to fit in because of the established friendship groups amongst the boarders. If your daughter commuted she would miss out.

I totally understand why you feel it is "wrong" to be separated from your daughter all week. I don't think I could do it myself.

neolara Tue 28-Jun-11 13:54:27

I was a day girl at a predominantly boarding school. It was a bit rubbish as the boarders knew each other so well that the day girls couldn't really muscle in on the friendships. In addition, the day girls came from a very wide radius which meant that I knew no-one local to hang out with after school. Just something to consider.

TigerFeet Tue 28-Jun-11 13:59:37

I think that commuting every day would take up far too much of her time, by the time she'd done homework, eaten etc she'd have no chill out time.

Why not wait and see how she feels nearer the time? If all her friends are going she may well be fine with it, which will be far easier on you.

Would you be able to go and see her there on a school night? Take her out for a picnic for tea or something like that?

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jun-11 14:27:44

Bunbaker - yes I agree the day boys missed out on a lot of what the boarders enjoyed at my school.

attheendoftheday Tue 28-Jun-11 14:28:06

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I hadn't thought about it before, but I can imagine that at 13 dd isn't going to want to be the only girl coming home to her mummy, however much I want her to!

Meditrina, you're right about the activities, the school seems to offer some great opportunities for sports, clubs and the like in the evenings.

Morebeta, I'm glad to hear it worked well for you. Did you find that you lost touch with your parents when you started to board? Would you have been able to say if you were unhappy and wanted to come home?

Titchy, yes there are several, as long as you don't want to be connected to mains gas and don't mind being snowed in most winters. It is beautiful, though.

Bunbaker, Neolara, I had hoped that being a day pupil wouldn't be an issue as so few of the pupils are boarders (only 45 in a school of 700).

Tigerfeet, I'm inclined to agree about it being too far, and would consider us going to her if allowed.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jun-11 14:49:14

I was happy at school. Actually, it was the making of me.

I did essentially leave home at age 11 but only because my parents made no real effort to come and see me or be much a part of my life. We are still on speaking terms. They would have taken me out if I was unhappy.

What with email and mobiles and Skype you will not lose contact with DD.

grovel Tue 28-Jun-11 15:06:18

Haydon Bridge?

risingstar Tue 28-Jun-11 17:31:03

trust me, at 13 you will thank your lucky stars for this

mother of 3 daughters

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jun-11 17:32:24

My DSs have told me they would love to do weekly boarding. They are only age 11 and 9 but they see it as fun and freedom.

attheendoftheday Tue 28-Jun-11 17:37:33

I'd rather not go into my exact school/location.

Thanks for your kind words MoreBeta.

UniS Wed 29-Jun-11 23:39:42

As its the norm for your area DD won't be alone in starting to board age 13, she will be with kids she already knows from junior / middle school.

I'd check what teh school do if kids can;t get home at weekend due to snow... not that it will happen every year but nice to know what the plan is.

I'm rural too, not as remote as you tho. DS will just catch a bus daily to secondary, for some kids its bus plus taxi, there is boarding provision at the secondary school in one of our nearish towns.

Lisa20b Tue 19-Jul-11 13:16:37

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

fastweb Tue 19-Jul-11 21:22:14

Just chucking it out there so you know it is an option.

IF when the time comes the current options you have don't suit, there are online schools starting to pop up in the UK.

this is one

They aren't cheap, but they are cheaper than some independent schools. I don't know if your local LA would help with costs given the distance limitations you face, but I guess you could always ask.

I have no experience of using them personally, and it might not suit either you or your child, particularly given that your area is so isolated. But just in case you need a back up plan, they are out there.

attheendoftheday Mon 25-Jul-11 17:24:54

Thanks Fastweb, I'd never heard of online schools before.

Not sure if it would work for us, as dd wouldn't get time with other kids, but it's good to know about.

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