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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?

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!

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

schoolchauffeur Wed 31-Oct-12 14:19:07

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.

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!

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!

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.

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

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....!)

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.

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

Should have said:
Do sort out the phone Pythonesque.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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

schoolchauffeur Sat 22-Sep-12 10:56:00

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 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?

schoolchauffeur Thu 20-Sep-12 09:14:19

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!

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.

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.

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