New. At boarding prep school(627 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
My 8 year old has just started full boarding at prep school.The feed back has been so negative so far from the school.He is not organised enough etc.Now we feel we have made a mistake and not sure what to do.Any advise from mums who have been through this type of school would be very much appreaciated.
How does he feel about being there? I would start at that. If he is enjoying boarding I would work with him, if he isn't I would either go for day boarding or another school.
He said he was enjoying it , but now very worried about upsetting the school.He sobbed uncontrollably when we spoke to him( one of the negative comments was made in front of him).He is so well behaved and good at his school work but they didn't talk about this.
Poor little mite. How awful for him, are you overseas or could you visit? Is he coming home for half term?
If they are that negative with you, imagine how negative they are being with him. He's so so young. Please take him out.
Have you been in to the school and talked to his house mistress (or equivalent) and/or form tutor?
How exactly is the disorganisation manifesting itself? What are they doing to change this?
Yes, you do need to be fairly well organised at a boarding prep. But yes, they are totally used to dealing with very disorganised new arrivals.
When did your DS start there? Last term or this?
If they're making the negative comments in front of him I'd seriously consider pulling him out.
It sounds as if their pastoral care is a little lacking! Is your contact with house parents or tutors? I would have thought that house parents could adapt according to the various characters they have in their care - it's certainly very sad that a child who was happy has been made unhappy by negative comments. I would arrange a meeting away from your DS, and if you don't feel that this is the right thing for him, move him away.
What the heck are they saying? Sounds dreadful.
Honestly, it does take a little time to settle down but if he and they are incompatible, do not make him suffer... And look at options, like building it up, weekly boarding, or if he likes the school but not boarding, day?
I am going to visit him next weekend.We are based overseas but I am going to stay in the UK for a few weeks until half term.The school seemed so caring( but I guess they all do).I am from the US and needed a lot of persuading that this was the right path for my son.I never expected this so quickly though.
I think you need to pull him out. Your son is 8. I went to a boarding school from 11. This school has terrible pastoral care and is not the right place for him.
Where are you in the US? We are just south of NYC in NJ and there are plenty of excellent schools here, private and public.
Getting the hang of being organised at boarding school is hard for, probably, most children even when quite a bit older.
Eight is still very young. I doubt that our boy could have managed happily at that age. He could have managed but spent all his time stressed and alarmed or completely disregarded all the new responsibilities in favour of fun.
I'm assuming the boarding staff were not actually nasty about it? They should be entirely accustomed to chaos, lost stuff, lateness ... And ready to help, time after time, until he gets into the way of things. They should also be reassuring him that by the next year he'll be great at organisation and able to show new boarders what to do.
You need to give him two terms to settle - but you know your DS best. Perhaps he's just too young?
Our contact was his housemaster and it's things like the speed in which he changes for games and gets ready to go to breakfast etc.
it is NOT the right path
it is NOT the right path for any child to be in boarding school at 8 years old!! 8 years old!
i wor with 8 year olds and they are babies! they ar so very very young!
can you imagine not getting to go home at the end of the day and relax? having to stay with the same people who are not your family all the time?
having a bad dream and not having your mum to comfort you? feeling sick and not having your mum to care for you?
i am astonished that anybody still does this barbaric thing.
pull him out and have him at home with you
But what was the tone of the contact? Was he just giving you a detailed breakdown of things to be worked at or was he saying your DS would never manage?
And - given that he is so young - did you prepare him thoroughly before he started?
I imagine the OP had sensible reasons for starting him at eight - rather than just so she could boast a dinner parties or whatever ...
what sensible reasons are there for making a child board at 8?
i don't think there are ANY
8 is far too young for full time boarding in a different country to your parents. Sorry I know people will come along saying there are good reasons etc but honestly there must be an alternative.
gymboywalton I can see you don't agree with boarding at this age.
OP I have a child who started boarding at this age. The school pastoral care was very good as was the communication back home. When ds didn't settle into some of the routines quickly, the school let us know but they also said what they'd do to help him, and that they had seen it all before.
Did your ds start this term? Give it some time - he may be finding things tricky as almost all new boys start in September. Some things: like getting changed for sport - will apply in any school, boarding or not. Does your ds have processing difficulties or dyspraxia, or another condition which could make dressing and undressing harder? Or is he just getting used to the school uniform? My own ds can be pretty slow at organising himself, but he knows when he needs to do things quickly and has got much better.
Of course you have made a mistake. He is EIGHT. I don't care if I get flamed.
I think OP might need help in dealing with the situation as it is right now, not blanket statements on the overall desirability of what she chose (presumably with good reason and adequate knowledge of what it involves).
You really do need to talk to the house parents. Because he will need to learn to fit in with the school routines. And of course this involves mentioning to him when things are not going right (it would be far, far worse to not provide feedback to him). Did they also tell him where he's doing things right? What settling-in support was promised, and does it seem to be happening?
How does he seem when you have contact with him directly? (phone? email? SKYPE?)
The reasons we sent him was to attend an English public school when he is older,he would need to sit a pretest in a two years for the school we hope he will go.We felt if he was used to the school system that would be better for him.Also he would make friends to go on to his next school with.He has already begun to make friends.He was prepared as in showering,washing his own hair,doing a tie etc. but not quickly enough it seems.
When my dad started boarding at prep the games kit took some getting used to. There were different bits of kit depending on which sport they were doing that afternoon as well as different trainers and boots such as astrong boots and hockey boots etc. Dd used to get confused and wait and watch what everyone was putting on before starting to change.
The school were supportive and house staff used to help her know what she needed on what day and it only took a few weeks.
I think a visit is good. Definitely mention how unhappy you ate with negative comments being made in front of your son. Try and find out what the actual problems staff are having issues with, then what your son's problems are and help work out solutions that deal with both.
He needs support not criticism at this stage.
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