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Big boarding school or small

(17 Posts)
Kenlee Sat 24-May-14 00:00:24

Well my DD is nearly completing her year 7. She is at a very small school with a high percentage of day pupils and weekly boarders. So leaving only a few full boarders at weekend.

So I asked her do you want to move to a school with more full boarders. The reply was No thanks. I like it here because my friends are here and being within a select few full boarders you get to know the older girls and they become in effect your big sister.

So now she has her own peer group in her year a mix of day girls/ weekly boarders and her best friends that are full boarders. She also has a lot of older girls that help her when she is down in the dumps over something silly. I think the best description is an extended family.

So would a big school 100 % full boarding provide this?

Im just curious

happygardening Sat 24-May-14 12:44:11

Yes every time. If you want full boarding you can't beat a proper large (700+ pupils) full boarding school, the sort with only a small % of boarders. The whole thing is geared up for the boarders, every activity, lesson concert prep session house dinner etc is organised for children who are there 24 hours a day. The ethos is a full boarding ethos everyone is signed up to it. I would never send a child to anything but a full boarding school if I wanted my DC's to full board.
Your challenge is to find one. Your get loads of suggestions now nearly all won't be full boarding only schools only a handful are.

Slipshodsibyl Sat 24-May-14 22:14:16

Yes. I chose large boarding school because economy of scale means greater resources. A good school ensures that the kinds of relationships you describe happen through things activities and having older students with formal responsibilities for younger. Eg, subject reps organising subject related activities; training students supporters; prefects organising charity or bonding events. Then, despite the school being large, a child still feels known as an individual.

Xpatmama88 Sun 25-May-14 08:23:15

Yes! Full boarding schools provide all that plus more activities and facilities for all the boarders over the weekends.
Being overseas parent, I don't think I'll send my DCs to a boarding school that will empty out over the weekend.

meditrina Sun 25-May-14 08:31:54

I don't think OP is after suggestions.

You'll never really know if it would suit your own DD better, as you'd be foolish to move her when she is well settled and does not want to simply because other types of boarding are also good.

The important thing is that when selecting a school (and OP is way past that stage, so this is more for any random readers of the thread) you understand what the community is like each and every day of term and whether it is likely to suit your own DC.

Children are not all alike. You are fortunate to have found somewhere where your DD is happy.

Kenlee Sun 25-May-14 09:16:41

I was hoping for this response but to be honest we will not move her just yet as she does enjoy it at school. I was just trying to think if things do go pear shape. What are tje alternatives...

Lottiedoubtie Sun 25-May-14 09:20:21

I think most of the advice you've had is good generally. When you are first choosing a school a 'big' full boarding one is often the sensible choice.

But on an individual level, if you have a happy daughter in a small environment there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that! Let her enjoy the friends she has made. If things change then look again.

IndridCold Sun 25-May-14 09:27:43

I think that a lot depends on how the house system works. My DS goes to a very big school, but the houses are small. This means that the scale of day to day living is more intimate and more manageable. He has friends of all ages in his house.

summerends Sun 25-May-14 10:20:52

Kenlee are you wondering whether she might outgrow what the school has to offer before for example a change for sixth form?
It is true that small and nurturing where she feels settled and comfortable sounds really important at this stage of life when she has made such a huge transition to overseas boarder.
If you have n't already why don't you look at some of the girls' or coed schools with year 9 entrance points in case she is attracted to the buzz of what a larger full(ish) boarding school might offer?
I know that a lot of the all girl schools have separate sixth form boarding houses (for understandable reasons) and I wonder whether in fact that does reproduce the atmosphere you describe as year 11 girls might be less mature and less prone to look after the younger girls.

happygardening Sun 25-May-14 12:58:43

I agree when with the logic of choosing a small boarding school in the first place. Most preps are pretty small, and I'm sure she's benefitting from a small nurturing environment but at yr 9 as she grows up she could really benefit from a change to a large boarding school with all the myriad of opportunities available 7 days approx 16 hours a day. As Indrid said on paper these schools may look large but if you choose a proper full boarding school she's likely to be in a house of about 60 other full boarders with a house mistress assistant house mistress hopefully a residential matron and then usually another 5-6 staff coming though the house every week, it's almost a small school within a large one. Also as children get older I personally feel they benefit from a living with large choice of friends of all ages, all pursuing different subjects, extra curricular activities, and from different cultures.

summerends Sun 25-May-14 16:55:48

I agree with HG that most children however nervous initially seem to grow into the need and enjoyment of the expanding horizons and friendships that a larger school offers, even at prep school age. The house system in boarding schools usually acts as a perfect springboard for that.

Mutteroo Mon 26-May-14 00:15:42

You know your child better than any of us OP & you know what would suit her better too. Those of us who have experience of our DCs boarding can also offer opinions, but ultimately if your DD is happy where she is, is it sensible to move her?

Year 9 may be a good time for your DD to reconsider her options & then again at sixth form. Personally speaking, I would probably keep my DD where she was already happy unless you have other concerns about the school such as financial.

IndridCold Mon 26-May-14 10:13:10

They can (and do) change quite drastically within a short time at this stage.

I remember looking at DS at the end of year 7 and thinking there was no way he was ready for 'big' school. However, just a year later he was raring to go, he was completely ready.

happygardening Mon 26-May-14 13:26:28

Absolutely Indrid DS felt the same definitely by yr 9 he was desperate for a bigger environment with more opportunities and a broad selection of friends.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 26-May-14 13:34:02

I am not experienced in boarding school pros and cons, but would like to add that a peer group of the same age children isn't the major advantage its cracked up to be.
Your dd having a range of ages as her peers will prepare her far better for life than just being with her same age group.
She will learn a lot from the older girls.

Kenlee Sat 31-May-14 17:21:55

Thank you all for your comments... My dd does enjoy school now. i think we will wait a little longer to see if she fancies a move or not. I have to admit the pastoral care at her present school fits her well. It was a good choice for young girls coming from overseas.

We will discuss this with her in year 9. At present she is reluctant to move.

happygardening Sat 31-May-14 20:48:10

Be careful Kenlee that if you don't anything till yr 9 that your not too late. If you have a couple on your horizon I would check registration dates etc.

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