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Would you consider weekly boarding?

(21 Posts)
SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 21-Sep-12 17:47:45

My son (currently 8) has come home from school with a flyer in his bag from the grammar school in the next town (40 minutes away) which has a weekly boarding option. There's also a note from the headmistress that it's something we might want to consider.

The fees for boarding are considerably less than for a private school, but still not to be sneezed at. The school's results are excellent.

My son is bright, but not exceptional. Very good at maths and science but lacking in motivation and would probably love the Hogwarts feel of a weekly boarding experience.

Obviously it's all subject to entrance tests, etc. But would you consider it? Am I being mean to even think about sending him away all week as of the age of 11?

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 21-Sep-12 17:48:47

Just to add, driving him into school there every day would be a non-starter. I have to work and also have another child who would, by nature of her sex, have to attend a different school!

NatashaBee Fri 21-Sep-12 17:55:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 21-Sep-12 17:59:24

I don't know. It has his name on top of it. It's a new school and I can't really ask anyone else because a) I don't really know them and b) I don't want to look pushy if they didn't get it!

MsGee Fri 21-Sep-12 18:01:37

I would not consider boarding school for my child - but then my PFB is only four.

But even if I did it would not be on the basis on a flyer.

shineygoldpenny Fri 21-Sep-12 18:09:03

It depends on your ds. My ds is in Year 10 and has weekly boarded since he was 11. He was determined to go and he loves it and is thriving. He is with his friends all week and with us at weekends. He took to it straight away and has really got a lot out of it. There are loads of activities going on in the evenings, as well as study time and general socialising.

It was a killer for me though, and also for his younger sibling. The first few months were really hard, but I had to stay strong for dc2 and try not to let ds know how I felt as he was clearly having a great time. We are all used to it now and I would not change it at all. It has been the right choice for ds, but I am certain that dc2 would hate it and we will not make the same decision when the time comes.

Does the school do full boarding too? If so, be warned that it is really tough when there are exciting things going on and they decide to stay in for a weekend or even two in a row.

I hope this helps. PM me if you want any more info.

shineygoldpenny Fri 21-Sep-12 18:18:42

MsGee I would have said exactly the same as you when ds was 4 but, when it came to ensuring our dc were happy and at the right school, it was a bit of a no brainer. I did not ever intend to send my dcs to boarding school, but it has proved to be the right decision for ds. He has a fantastic peer group and has never looked back - and it was his choice, not mine, to go. The alternative schools around here were not really an option. Most of the children who board there live within a half hour drive of the school.

meditrina Fri 21-Sep-12 18:20:18

I'm confused: this is a new school but with weekly boarding fees lower than the private sector? So it's a free school? And therefore not allowed to select academically?

I'd be a bit wary of both the 'hotel' element of boarding being very cheap, and a new school which is advertising like this. Is it having a hard time attracting enough pupils? Why?

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 21-Sep-12 21:50:01

Thanks Shiney, that's good to know. At the moment this is very much a vague idea we're tossing into the air but it's good to know it has worked for you. As far as I know the school only offers weekly boarding, so no sense of missing out on anything.

Meditrina - I may not have been entirely clear. The school my son is currently at is a new school, inasmuch as we moved him over the summer holidays. The school advertising is an established grammar school with a boarding option. Obviously we wouldn't make any decisions based on a flyer, it has merely planted a seed in our minds!

Ragwort Fri 21-Sep-12 21:53:09

Yes, I would consider it for my DS - he is a very confident, independent child and also as an only child would love to be in a boarding environment; in fact he keeps asking if he can go to boarding school grin. However, it would be a non-starter for us financially and my DH would find it very hard if DS was away sad. What does your DS think about it or haven't you asked him?

Pythonesque Fri 21-Sep-12 23:05:59

My almost-10 year old has just started weekly boarding (choir school so will be full boarding from next year, 90 minutes each way drive). Like many above, we started from the "no way would we consider boarding" point of view but it turned out to be the right opportunity.

She's fitted in beautifully so far, loving it though rather tired. I should revisit this thread when I pick her up in the morning! She is also a child who is bright but without obvious internal motivation and we strongly suspect the structure of the day will help her.

If I were you I'd have a good look at it as well as the other local options, presumably you have all of this year and next to make up your minds about it?

SilverBellsandCockleShells Sat 22-Sep-12 06:24:44

Yes, any decisions would be a way off. Entry is at 11+ and he's only in year 4. We haven't asked him at this stage because a) He's not here, he's off at cub camp, which he loves, which bodes well for the boarding experience, b) We've only just thought about it and c) He might find it difficult to get his head around it being something he might do in three years time.

Thanks for all your answers, it's certainly food for thought. The other options are the local comprehensive, which is good, or private, which we can't afford.

It would also leave us with a quandary as to what to do with our daughter!

MsGee Sat 22-Sep-12 08:01:22

I guess I meant if I did it would probably have come up as an issue for the family before a flyer appeared?!

This just seems to have come out of blue and I would therefore be suspicious about why they are pushing this school if boarding hasn't come up before. But then I am naturally suspicious grin

HolofernesesHead Sat 22-Sep-12 08:11:06

My dc weekly board. Like others here, when pfb was 4, it wasn't on the cards at all, but for various very good reasons, it seemed like it might be a good idea, so we put it to the dc and they were keen. We both (DH and I) speak to them on the phone every evening, and hear all about what they are up to, which is just so much more, and so much more interesting, than they were doing at their last school. Most importantly, they are happy! There's a 'boarding school mum's thread in Education, so have a look at that, and if you'd like to, please do PM me. smile

SilverBellsandCockleShells Sat 22-Sep-12 08:53:56

MsGee, I think the flyer has sparked an interest because I wasn't aware of the boarding option. The school has been recommended to me before as a good option for my son, but I'd dismissed it because of the daily commuting. The boarding option gives food for thought!

Thanks HHead! I'll have a look ...

Mutteroo Sat 22-Sep-12 09:01:22

My DS weekly boarded between year 9 & year 11.

I will add it was totally his choice & my "but darling you will need to weekly board" tactic backfired on me! He's an independent young man who in the end hated all the rules & regulations & so decided to leave for sixth form. If I turn back time & change things or persuade him on an alternative school, would I? No. It really was the best school for him & even DS knew this.

Take a look around, consider how many pupils are boarding or how integrated boarders are with day pupils. Also make sure your child has an alternative day place should he really not take to boarding.

happygardening Sat 22-Sep-12 09:48:09

OP do look in the education section I and others have just answered a question about boarding. DS2 full boarded from yr 3 he is now entering his 7 academic year and it's not all been perfect all the way but when he had the choice to be a day boy or even be more flexible about boarding last year when he changed schools he choose to full board. In the rightschool it is a life changing and enhancing experience.

charlottehere Sat 22-Sep-12 09:50:37

No I wouldn't consider it but would consider flexi bording (max 2 nights a week), but guess thats no good/not an option for you?

Dustylaw Sat 22-Sep-12 10:18:59

Weekly boarding can work really well. Remember that your son will seem a lot bigger and more ready for things by the age 11! Of course it really depends on whether you think the school is friendly, well prepared and welcoming. Are the boarding facilities good, is it welcoming and homely, is there somewhere they can all eat toast and watch TV together etc. However, agree you do have to think of younger sister too.

blondefriend Sat 22-Sep-12 13:43:59

I used to work in a state grammar that offered weekly boarding. Not all students did it but the ones that did were well supported and seemed to have a great time (I wasn't a housemistress so wasn't really involved). There were homework clubs and organised games and sports. The students became very close over a number of year groups. Most of the boys lived within 30mins of the school but some travelled 100+ miles to attend. I wouldn't say it was ideal for all children but I would definitely consider it for my children especially if it meant they could attend an excellent school just out of catchment.

happygardening Sat 22-Sep-12 13:58:06

The only two problem with boarding in a state grammar is that boarders are usually in the minority I personally would only recommend boarding when boarders are in the overwhelming majority because activities are organised from right up until bed time. Secondly the facilities are likely to be not as good as those found in independent boarding schools and this means there are less opportunities in free time.
But definitely still worth considering.

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