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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.

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.

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.

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

Thanks Morethan and Whether I'm fine now smile

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.

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

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.

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 21:04:14

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

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 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 22:10:17

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

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