Boarding and day pupils - is there a 'them and us'?(10 Posts)
Can anyone wiser and more experienced than me give their thoughts please?! We're just starting to research independent schools for DS and some of the ones we're looking at take boarders as well as day kids. Should we weed these out? Boarding will never be an option for him, so while the facilities of these schools are often superb, should it put me off? Is there typically a 'them and us' between day and boarding pupils and do day kids miss out on stuff do you think? If a school takes boarders, are they the school's main focus? I guess boarding pupils are less likely to be local so that might affect friendships, activities in the holidays and so on. Would welcome anyone's take on it, thank you.
would start by looking at the proportion of boarders vs day pupils- this will help to eliminate some schools right off the bat
Not necessarily a "them and us" but you do need to be aware that boarding schools who take day children often have mandatory very long days starting at 8 am and often ending a 21 00 and all day Saturday as well. So is there much point in being a day child? IME many ask to board after a couple of terms.
My DS will also tell you friendships are made in dorms as this is often one of the few times children at busy boarding schools are just chilling out.
In DS yr at prep there were only a few day children they were always slightly on the outside.
From your point of view it might be ok if you choose a school with only a small minority of boarders - so that the normal life of the school is geared towards the day pupils.
There's no way a day school can replicate the breadth of activity at a full boarding school, so if you choose one of these your DS will, as HG suggests, only be coming home to sleep.
Is there an un-obvious reason for not wanting him to board?
Of boarding / days schools that I know of which have a proper boarding component there is usually the perception from the day children that they miss out compared to the boarders. A fair number who start as definite day children end up by wanting to board. However friendships are definitely made between day children and boarders. There are schools like Abingdon for example that have boarding and the facilities of a boarding school but are principally for day children. At the other extreme like HG says the day children just go home to sleep (usually senior schools) and are members of a boarding house. Boarding schools have weekend commitments which may be a plus or a negative for you depending on your reasons for discounting boarding.
Not really but I think our day children are sometimes jealous of our boarders (not really sure why, I would think the day children have the better deal in life really, as lovely as I think our boarding house is!)
My DS is a day pupil at a school where over 40% board. He doesn't feel a divide - is friends with boarders and day boys. His school offers very flexi boarding and I know one friend's dd boards every Friday night just for fun.
As others have pointed out schools that offer boarding often have school and then matches etc on Saturdays. That's the downside for me. I do resent the Saturdays! But on the other side I know the breadth of things on offer just wouldn't be possible if they didn't go on Saturdays.
Our DS is a day pupil at a predominately (75%) full boarding school. The facilities and schedule are definitely geared around the boarders but you know that when you sign up. He is at school from 8.10am to 7.45pm (which gets later as he gets older) but this includes all meals, sport, homework, music etc. So when he comes home it is downtime with the family (or his Xbox!). There is either school or matches on Saturday mornings and once a month Sunday service. We live within walking distance of the school so going to and fro is not an issue. The upside is he gets long holidays, the facilities are amazing and he is thriving.
In terms of friendships there is no distinction between day and boarding boys and he is friends with both. In the holidays they are not bothered about seeing each other as they are together so much in term time and he is actually glad of the time to be on his own doing his own thing at his own pace, as well as catching up with more local friends from scouts etc.
Brilliant summary 3nf. If MN ever do a "Guide to Boarding Schools" they should put your post right at the top.
And thank you for pointing out that it's not necessarily a failure not to be meeting up with boarding school friends during holidays. I've never seen it quite like that before.
Will try to stop nagging the child.
I don't know the proportions day to boarders at DDs DFs school, but I know their only real problems are they get grumbled at if they want to leave before 6pm* and they tend to have matches on Saturdays (rather than our state schools after school).
The other local private school does teach on Sat mornings.
As boarding friends can live all over Britain and the world, FB etc. get a workout in the holidays.
* some of the guides tell school to get lost and come in on time in uniform and some home in a few minutes late in school uniform. I suspect it depends on what clubs they do at school.
I don't think our local private schools are oversubscribed and if they are too awkward our local state schools are perfectly reasonable
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