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Considering boarding for our daughter next year...

(126 Posts)
Chantal2009 Sat 16-Nov-13 21:53:14

her first year in high school was rather a bit of a challenge with her getting braces and all BUT overall it was very disappointing, from merit student, to poor grades, tons of peer pressure, continual focus on boys, no interest in sport or work.

One big reason is the high schools in the area are very mediocre to say the least and we considering sending her to boarding next year. The school Im thinking of is a really good / solid all girls state school about 3 hours by bus from home...kind of basic in someways so it is certainly not a fancy private one btw, which i would not consider even if we could afford it.

Challenge is how will she react to being sent? And then cope when there? Please note if i asked her she would just say no, and that would then close it down, so asking or engaging would not work. Secondly a friends daughter really struggled when she went seemed it was a big adjustment and it took over 6 months to even get used to it she is fine, 2 years later , actually getting on quite well but it was not easy.

I was wondering if any parents have experienced their kids going, ie being sent to board or even they went themselves?

Jiltedjohnsjulie Sat 16-Nov-13 22:30:19

Are you in the uk OP? Only its unusual for state schools to have boarders...

AntoinetteCosway Sat 16-Nov-13 22:43:42

There are some state boarding schools Jilted.

I'm an ex-housemistress, OP. The fact that you say she'd 'just say no' is a bit of a concern-if she wouldn't want to go then she probably wouldn't be happy, or at least not at first. She may also feel like she's being punished by being sent away. IME it's got to be a joint decision between parent and child and both parties have to be keen.

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sat 16-Nov-13 22:54:57

I boarded, very happily, at a single sex school. And I have experience with children boarding now, again very happily.

Forgive me OP, I may have misunderstood, but there is something in your tone that suggests a rather hardened attitude. People send their children to board for all sorts of reasons - but they do kind of need to be positive reasons!

I'm wondering what your own experience or understanding of boarding might be as you only mention one boarder who struggled for 6 months...

You are contemplating a state boarding school three hours from home? But you think your Dd would not want to go? And you completely dismiss all independent schooling - which suggests you have not done any research and are only reacting to a stereotype.

Firstly, your Dd has to want to go. Some children grow up with the idea, others suggest it themselves, others are dubious until they're taken to see some schools. But no child can ever have a successful boarding experience if they are sent there by force.

Secondly, if your Dd is not doing well at school at the moment you may need a more open minded approach in looking for a solution. What if the perfect school did not meet your criteria? What if she refuses the school you have chosen?

You need to make these decisions with her, not despite her.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Sat 16-Nov-13 23:02:13

Shows how much I know grin

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sat 16-Nov-13 23:06:02

We learn something every day JJJgrin

Don't fret, I'm sure you have lots of areas of expertise...

Jiltedjohnsjulie Sat 16-Nov-13 23:14:25

Mainly red or white...grin

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sat 16-Nov-13 23:16:53

Well you've cheered up my evening...

Come on - you must have some opinion on the OP's query?

Kenlee Sat 16-Nov-13 23:39:39

I sent my daughter to boarding....

She is now doing really well...K think she is enjoying it abit to much to be honest....

but my friend has had a bit of trouble ...

I tjthink she has to want it.. before she can enjoy it..

Unexpected Sat 16-Nov-13 23:48:04

If you can afford boarding fees, presumably you can afford day fees for private day school so why not consider that first? There must be some options in your area? If your daughter has gone from a merit student to poor grades in one year and lost interest in everything, that suggests more than just a poor school. Why do you think things will be better at boarding, particularly if she doesn't want to go?

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sun 17-Nov-13 00:04:18

OP Are you actually in the UK?

What is your Dd like? What are her talents and interests? How does she see her future?

Has she spoken to you about how school is at the moment? You don't say that she is unhappy.... Does she recognise a loss of focus on doing well at school? Does she care about fulfilling her potential?

Do you get on well? As AC suggested above boarding schools don't exist to punish undutiful daughters....

steppemum Sun 17-Nov-13 00:07:59

I went to boarding school

pretty much without exception, the girls who were there for a reason, eg their parents lived overseas were fine with the idea of boarding, even if they didn't always like it.
The ones who felt dumped there for some reason of their parents (eg convenience) felt, well, dumped, and it showed.

So i think you have to have her on board in this, she has to think it is a good idea, even if it isn't her first choice.

3 hours is a long way away. that is a 6 hour round trip fro a weekend home.

Lots of good questions to consider in sthingsmust's post too.

Labro Sun 17-Nov-13 07:41:18

If you are in the UK, state boarding schools usually require there to be some kind of boarding 'need' (ie military family, family problems etc) If she has completed the first year of high school, you are also looking at a non standard entry point.

The boarding school is very unlikely to offer a place when presented with a 12 year old or older who doesn't want to board and with no specific reason to do so.

I'm thinking that you are may not be in the UK as you describe your daughter as a 'merit student' which isn't a common term here.

In your position I'd suggest you look at all other alternatives, including assistance from her current school, as in your case its not really about whether boarding works or not.

happygardening Sun 17-Nov-13 09:30:23

I'm a great advocate of boarding believing its a positive life changing experience but your DC has to really want to go there. I also find teenagers never do well at things they don't want to do but their parents are making them do. I understand that many state boarding schools are quite competitive to get into and that prospective candidates are interviewed I suspect stating that you don't want to go is unlikely to endear you to the the interviewer and get you a place.

steppemum Mon 18-Nov-13 09:30:34

OP - have you disappeared?

pyrrah Mon 18-Nov-13 23:00:00

I was a boarder at a state grammar school. It was hugely competitive for the girls boarding places. There were a lot of Forces children there. Looking at the current fees, it's a lot cheaper still than a really good private day school.

I enjoyed boarding but then I knew I would be going to boarding school for secondary from when I was very young. My prep school was predominantly boarding so I did the odd week there when my parents were away and it meant that boarding was not something unusual in my mind.

Your daughter does need to be happy to board to a fair degree. The first weeks are tough and the goodbyes are hard for the first couple of years. Not too much home contact is a good plan to allow settling in.

Maybe just take her to look round a few...

Chantal2009 Sun 24-Nov-13 17:14:31

Hi, yes im here ...thank you for you honest and open comments and being an ex boarder really helped me ...yes on board but if she was given total freedom she would be to scared to do it without been " encouraged "... I know i would not even as an adult. So although encouraged and i will engage, take her to visit the school, talk about options, her goals etc etc in the end, in reality she will not really have an option not to go thanks for understanding, but I want to make sure she does not feel dumped may be tough but she must know we stand with her and are part of this opportunity we giving her.

On the distance, well they mostly don't come home weekends! She is going to find term boarding tough at first. They have a type of a dorm uniform, basically the full school track suite with school sandals , they wear afternoons, evenings and weekends when not in formal uniform. They only get to take a few casual outfits for special outings, events like the social. The school allows a home weekend every term, and terms are 11 or 12 weeks ...

Any ideas or input welcome...

schoolnurse Sun 24-Nov-13 17:41:14

I think you're saying your going to be take her to look at it, make encouraging noises, but if she says she doesn't want to go send her anyway! Oh nearly forgot you even as adult wouldn't want to do???
IMO and IME that's got disaster written all over it.

BeckAndCall Sun 24-Nov-13 17:48:49

It's a big leap from coed secondary school to single sex boarding OP. I'm not sure why you haven't considered single sex day school? ( I'm assuming that money is not a massive issue or you wouldn't be considering boarding - even state boarding fees add up)

Are you in the UK, as others have asked?

elliegoulding Sun 24-Nov-13 17:49:20

It sounds hideous, but then the thought of sending my children away for a term at a time makes me feel really sad! ... feel free to call me narrow minded and parochial smile

Are there no schools closer by that she could go to, either private or a better secondary?

LIZS Sun 24-Nov-13 17:53:01

Does she want to board ? If the year group is already established it could make integrating tricky and you end up swapping one problem for another. Is there a niche for her to fit into (particular sport or extracurricular activity?) How old is she and how would it fit exam wise ?

schoolnurse Sun 24-Nov-13 17:56:43

And a weird uniform they're expected to wear when not in lessons "home clothes" for special outings only I've never seen that before outside of a prep school what school is this can I ask? Sandals what even in the winter? I beginning to think this is a wind up! From your description it's a full boarding school there aren't that many around its a small world I can't think of any that match your description.
You seem pretty blasé about her finding it tough at first unhappy children don't get over it in a few weeks, we're talking a year at least. In that year they can do all sorts of things to try and get home and her education could come to a dramatic halt whilst she's settling.
I hope this schools has outstanding levels if pastoral care you DD is going to need it. When I say outstanding I don't mean platitudes on their website I hope you know it's got high standards of pastoral care because of actual experience you know other children receive.
Please think carefully about this and look at viable day alternatives before deciding.

PatriciaHolm Sun 24-Nov-13 18:01:25

I can't see a scenario here in which she doesn't feel dumped, tbh. You seem to be saying that you know she won't like it, will be unhappy, yet are going to force it on her anyway. Really, I would examine all the other options otherwise you will end up damaging your relationship with her forever.

AntoinetteCosway Sun 24-Nov-13 19:20:58

OP, I've got to be honest-as an ex-boarder and an ex-housemistress, I think it sounds like a terrible idea.

AntoinetteCosway Sun 24-Nov-13 19:21:33

(And I should add-I loved boarding both as a pupil and as a housemistress and teacher.)

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