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DD wants to board when she goes into sixth-form

(37 Posts)
hermy Fri 06-Oct-17 15:05:38

Hi there,

My soon-to-be 16 year old DD has been at the same independent school as a day pupil since she was three years old. She's been very happy there, is doing well both academically and in terms of activities etc. and we have been pleased with the school overall (we have two other children also attending as day pupils, but who are much younger).

She is a conscientious worker and has her sights set on university, and has asked us if we will allow her to board when she enters sixth form next September. She thinks it will benefit her academically and as she prepares for university applications, as currently her day is disrupted by a 1hr 15min journey to school (each way). This commute has affected her more this past year or so as she has more commitments and work - it is also difficult on DH and I when she has after school sports etc. and other 2 DC are finished at normal time.

I have always had rather a cynical view of boarding, and feel as though I would be sending her away - in a selfish way, I don't want her leaving too early, but on the other hand I don't want to hinder her and what may be best for her. I want her to be independent and get a Saturday job to earn money - as I did when I was a teen - but this seems unlikely at boarding school, and I don't want her to 'have it all on a plate'.

I'm just wondering what others' opinions are. Boarding has never been on the agenda for us before this. This is something she really thinks will benefit her and I don't want to get in the way of that, but I can't shake the feeling that we'd be sending her away. Has anyone else had this experience?

LadyRosalieBeauchamp Fri 06-Oct-17 15:35:29

My husband thinks he would have benefited enormously had his parents allowed him to board. If this is coming from her - definitely think seriously about it. She sounds very mature

squeaver Fri 06-Oct-17 15:40:38

I think 7 year olds boarding is utterly disgraceful. And I'm a bit sniffy about 13 year olds, tbh, but at 16, she's becoming an adult and you should take her seriously.

I know a few people who did this and loved it.

Could she do weekly boarding? And still get a Saturday job? Or she could get a job in the holidays.

Leeds2 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:01:48

My DD did this, at a school she had been at from Year 7. Worked very well for her, and was a gentle intro into life at uni. Sixth Formers were though allowed to come home on a Friday evening, and go back Monday morning, which I think helped her make her decision. She was happy to stay over at the weekend if there was something special on though.

I missed her dreadfully! But I think it was the best thing for her.

MrsMargeSimpson Fri 06-Oct-17 16:06:21

I’m very against young boarding, but in this case I think it’s roundly sensible - provided it’s economically viable. She’ll be leaving at 18 for uni anyway, and lodging there, it’s not much earlier. I left home to live alone at 17!

chocatoo Fri 06-Oct-17 16:07:13

Couldn't she just board during the week? I would probably think that would be ok as it has come from her (although I would HATE it if it was my DD). I think it would be a shame for her to stay for the weekends as her siblings would no doubt miss her and she would become more distanced from family life...that way she could still do the Saturday job, etc.

squeaver Fri 06-Oct-17 16:11:39

In Scotland, people often go to Uni aged 16.

Ttbb Fri 06-Oct-17 16:14:02

She's old enough to make her own choices clearly. It's not like you are dropping if a weeping 8 year old and taking off on a six month tour of the continent. 2 1/2 hours is a lot of time to spend commuting. I've known people who have done it happily but is she would rather board then let her.

Quartz2208 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:15:46

Cant you compromise on being a weekly boarder and then get to do the Saturday job and be around at the weekend - its seems the most sensible approach

A1Sharon Fri 06-Oct-17 16:17:51

Any boarding schools I know only allow going home every other weekend at most, so it may be that every weekend is not an option.
Also, many boarding schools offer a 'day boarder' option. Where they can have dinner with the boarders and then do prep with them for a few hours too.
My DB did it, as he never did homework etc at home and my mum was fed up. DB loved it, as he got work done and then had guilt free time when he got home.
Your daughter sounds like she has her 'eyes on the prize' with regards to results and what she wants to achieve, so I wouldn't worry about a weekend job etc too much at the min. She could do lots of baby sitting etc in holidays for money.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Fri 06-Oct-17 16:17:58

Weekly boarding would save her the draining commute but also mean she can get a weekend job

butterfly56 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:18:08

I would definitely let her do it. She's hardworking and sounds really mature.

juneau Fri 06-Oct-17 16:21:54

As someone who went to boarding school at age 11 I think it's an excellent idea to board in the sixth form, as long as you can afford it (and potentially for your other two DC to follow suit). Uni is a big step for DC who have never been away from home before, whereas boarding school at a familiar place with all your friends around is a nice halfway house to independence. She will definitely benefit from those extra 2.5 hours not travelling back and forth too - as will you as you won't have to drive her every day. I'd be glad that you've raised such an independent and secure DD that she feels that she wants to spread her wings. From your perspective, it's a much safer and more nurturing environment for her to do so in too, as opposed to when she goes to uni, when she will be on her own to a much larger degree.

peppatax Fri 06-Oct-17 16:26:10

With an 1hr 15 commute each week, I’m surprised you’re not thinking about sending her to board! That’s a long way for an adult to commute to work never mind a sixth former.

hermy Fri 06-Oct-17 18:42:44

Thanks for the responses. We are very proud of her, she's a very focused individual!

Weekly boarding is something we are considering. I just don't want her to miss out on something all the other borders are doing - although there is the option to stay for the weekend. Our minds are made up that we will let her as she is old enough to make the decision and we are in a position to facilitate it, I'm just so sad that suddenly she seems to be a young woman!

I struggled going off to uni at 18 so maybe this will be a bit of a stepping stone for her, to ease her into leaving.

We're organising a meeting with the school. Thanks for your assurances, it has made me feel better and less like we're sending her away- need to remember she's almost 16 not 8!

LottieDoubtie Fri 06-Oct-17 18:57:55

You're definitely not sending her away and what with the younger two you will still be there twice a day for pick up/drop off plenty of time for a quick hug and a chat if you/she needs one!

girlingerrupting Fri 06-Oct-17 19:57:26

I did this and my best friends in the world are from those 2yrs boarding. It transformed homework so much easier in prep rather than at home. I loved it my parents thought I was mad but it was brilliant would fully encourage. Would warn though that once I went away I never really came home because then it was yr out and travelling and Uni. It's all good but it might be you who missed out....

girlingerrupting Fri 06-Oct-17 19:57:51


happygardening Fri 06-Oct-17 20:18:05

Weekly boarding in many boarding schools means going home after lessons on Sat lunch time or later if you DD is sporty and in a match and returning Sun night or Monday PM.
I believe Brighton College and Sevenoaks do weekly boarding and no Saturday school.

happygardening Fri 06-Oct-17 20:19:46

Also if you're looking for Sept 2019 you need to get your skates on. Entry into very academic schools can be pretty competive.

happygardening Fri 06-Oct-17 20:20:13

2018 not 2019!

hermy Fri 06-Oct-17 20:54:14

DD would be at the same school she is at now (given that her GCSE results are satisfactory) so she isn't applying somewhere completely new.

I would rather myself miss out than she! She's rather a home bird so we were a little surprised when she first brought this up but this could be the start of her flying the nest!

Thanks for your responses this has calmed me down!

Bythebeach Fri 06-Oct-17 21:01:38

I did this although I changed school's for it. Went from an independent day school to a much more academic school and weekly boarded to save on 1.15 he commute. Home Sat afternoon and back to school Sun night/Mon morning. Absolutely loved it. One of the best bits of my life still at practically 40! And weekly boarding was an excellent balance between home and school - not like leaving for uni because you're home so often but great for gaining independence and confidence and friends!!

Bythebeach Fri 06-Oct-17 21:02:35

Although, as a caveat, most boarders were weekly boarders so I wasn't missing out at weekends.

Bythebeach Fri 06-Oct-17 21:03:58

Grrr schools not school's

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