Advice on what to take to boarding school(25 Posts)
Without knowing what is on your list, it's hard to know what you might not need!
Is there anything in particular you're not sure about?
Expect to need a shopping trip at first exeat/half term once she's sussed out what others have and what she would like/feels is missing!
Also, it's a pain, but labelling as much as you can is invaluable when things inevitably go missing.
Is there an induction day or an opportunity to visit the school before she starts? Those are good opportunities to collar matron or just ask questions in general about items on the list. If there's anything quite expensive you're not sure about, I'm sure you could get in touch with someone to find out whether it's vital.
I have known two DCs at Ackworth and some staff and IMO they were lovely. As you say what DCs take and what is actually on the list do differ. When we were in your position we asked the boarding school to put us in touch with a current parent and then I asked them directly.
From experience it is wise to ask if the DCs actually wear coats and carry school bags. At my DD's boarding school they didn't and at my DS's school they did!
whatever she takes - label it! It also depends on whether she has to clear her room each term, or they can keep stuff in house over the holidays.
My son takes the bare minimum as he can't stand packing it all up! Even postcards don't get pinned to his board as he can't be bothered to take them down at the end of term
A kindle is good as books are heavy and take up a lot of space.
Slippers which don't fall off during the nighttime fire drill!
Her own mug is nice. Feels a little bit homely when missing parents and being fed hot chocolate!
Cash's labels on everything. First job is for said child to sew the labels in. Get the whole family involved. Everything down to each pair of knickers, socks etc.
Don't send any nice clothes that won't withstand a boil wash. My dad used to pick up our homeclothes for school at discount places here in the US and I hated them. The boil wash quickly wore them out so it wasn't efficient at all. I would let my DC bring nicer clothes and tell my DC to not wash at school but bring them home at exeats. Only issue with doing this is that you should consider getting a 2nd washing machine so you don't spent all weekend washing clothes.
Electronics are only as good as the power being available for them. I would ask for the school policy on phones, ipads and kindles before letting them take them to school.
2nd a blanket. My dorms were always freezing as single pane glass. Find out policy on bed linen. We had school issued bedlinen so not a problem but I changed schools for 6th form and they allowed us to bring our own. Ponden Mills is awesome for bedlinen that can withstand boil washes.
on the subject of fire alarms - I think dressing gowns are useful. Not just for padding around the house generally, but good to throw on when the fire alarm goes off and it's spring/summer so there's no coat to hand.
Agree with the mug - try and pick a nice distinctive one so she knows it's "hers" (although there will inevitably be duplicate Cath Kidston ones in my experience!)
Bits that make her room 'hers' (or her half/part of the room 'hers'!). So duvet covers she's picked, if they have their own, blanket, extra pillow if she wants. Pictures for her board. Often this 'stuff' will multiply as the years go on, or once she's seen what others have!
In my experience boarding houses are often fairly warm (and so are rooms if there's a couple/few sharing), so just because it's winter doesn't mean short pjs aren't preferable if she doesn't like being too warm in bed.
We usually have girls bringing their DVDs from home which get watched en masse at the weekend. Not sure if she's 11 or 13, but pick age appropriate ones! Although we do buy some (currently being pestered to get Frozen!)
not just a boil wash - EVERYTHING gets tumble dried.
Send bed linen with button fasteners and not press stud ones as they get ruined.
Try to get all uniform 2nd hand. No point in buying new. All schools have a 2nd hand uniform store. She should listen to the girls re laundry. I would consider giving her enough underwear to see her through until exeat. It should be something like 20 pairs so not an unreasonable number. She can try the school laundry and if it doesn't work she can bring them home at exeat.
Def need a dressing gown and slippers. I would also take flip flops for the shower and a caddy with holes in it so she can easily take toiletries to and from her dorm.
Find out the policy on tuck. My Dad would send us off with crackers, pot noodles etc so we could get dinner into us if we didn't like the food on offer.
A secure box for her to lock away her important possessions. You can buy a "tuck boxes" from JL (they're not cheap) and lock it with a combination padlock.
My DS has full boarded since yr 2 (now yr 11) he would tell your DD not to try to hard to be liked, sit back and let them come to you, be yourself, never tell tales (a cardinal sin for boarders) unless it's something really serous, it's inevitable that children in boarding houses get up to some mischief or keep running to the house staff every 10 mins with trivial problems. From your point of view don't try and discuss something really important with house staff of the first day of a new term your HM will be trying to greet other parents/children etc, never walk into dorms (once you've done the initial dropping stuff off) common rooms,study areas without permission you wouldn't want a stranger walking into your bedroom. I assume you and your chose boarding, trust the staff, don't try and micro manage your DD's life from a distance, don't call morning noon and night to check she's ok, or call the house staff all the time, no news is good news, be positive about it, believe your doing the right thing, (your going to need skin like a rhino because plenty will be keen to tell you your not), look on it for what it is for the vast majority; a positive life changing experience that will stand a child in good stead when they go out into the real world.
If she is only weekly boarding, do the washing at weekends. Get a big laundry bag! Schools ruin nice things, eg bras go grey, elastic stretches, things shrink. Take plenty of uniform shirts, pullovers if they wear them, underwear, and sports kit. They lose things even if they are marked, especially sports kit. Other girls take them when they can't find their gear. It just happens. Lock personal stuff in the tuck box. Take photos, pictures for the bedroom to make it personal. My girls always took a fleece for their beds in addition to duvet etc. They wrap themselves in them whilst watching tv or a film. It won't be long before she comes home and takes more back to school. Girl thing - boys are more frugal. Get a trunk. Packing it is easier and you can get books in. We had very specific lists. Ask about a hair dryer and straighteners if she uses them and a coat if she is going on any school trips in the winter. Around school mine just wore blazers. We never had a school coat. It sounds like they provide the actual duvet and pillows. We had to provide ours and I think new ones are nicer personally. I would be surprised if you can get decent second hand sports kit. A bit smelly don't you think! I would get new. We also had astro turf boots and waterproof jackets, track bottoms and sports bag all with school logo emblazoned all over them. I never saw any of this secondhand. She won't need much for a taster week. More like holiday packing.
Has she really never been away from home before? I would get her to do a residential teen holiday this summer.
Our laundry is pretty good. Ok he wouldn't send a cashmere jumper to it but everything else is fine. We were told by the matron on our induction day that it was good, ask because she might want to take something that might be ruined in the wash.
They told me the laundry was good! We soon found out it was all done at warp factor 10 in the wash and in the dryer. Every bit of white undies went grey. Only hand over old stuff to the laundry until you know they take care of everything. In my DDs school the Housemistress took the school uniforms back to the laundry to get the blouses ironed. They looked like rags after a term and the pullovers doubled in size or became as stiff as boards. Very expensive to keep replacing.
Many boarding schools get children to put socks and underwear into separate net bags when they go to the wash. It's a good habit to get your DD into in fact despite being one of the most disorganised families in the UK, in completely out of character behaviour we now all do it at home as well.
I'm feeling a bit smug about the laundry at my DS's schools having read the comments about, we've never had a problem. Ive just looked at his school shirts worried I might be missing something and after two terms of school washing they look pretty good, the more I think about it I'd be slightly peeved if they weren't frankly it's not exactly rocket science to wash shirts in the correct way (suits are dry cleaned by the school). My DS's school is full boarding only may be this is why you'd have to be a very dedicated parent to turn round washing when they come out for the day on Sunday. I seem recall at prep jumpers were hand washed by long suffering matrons!
They have to take own duvets and stuff and yeah she sleeps with a blanket she's had from birth so she'll take that as it's 'homely'.
I always had a rule that DC should never take anything to school that they couldn't bare to lose. Stuff does go walkabout, unfortunately.
The "in" thing at the moment in my DDs school is to have a bedspread, old fashioned but you can use with duvet in winter and without in summer as boarding houses have no temperature control also apparently some teenage girl off vampire diaries has one and she's a vampire and cool
Lots of wash kit, shower gel last a week IME (DSs lasts a term) and a teddy even at senior school they all have them
Concerning laundry and labelling, my DS has a named net laundry bag given by his matron in which he puts in small items including socks . As it is the bag that gets put in the washing machine there is less chance of losing odd socks etc even the name labels have fallen off! My experience of laundry has been very good although DS would only put in stuff that can be machine dried.
IMO if she is to be a weekly boarder, start off fairly minimal and then she can bring items in as she wants after the weekends. If she is not good at organising, remind her to keep track of her belongings particularly sports stuff.
Agree that a lockable container (if they have n't got a locker) is very useful so that she does n't have to worry about keeping important stuff safe.
Hi Dreamgirls. My DDs board weekly. A bit different from your school, as mine have no uniform, but in the evening, they like slobbing about in onesies, PJs and dressing gowns, jeans and T shirts. DD1 said there are two types of girls, those who wear skirts or dresses and make up and those who wear jeans and T shirts or shorts and leggings, with a hoodie when it's colder. She is definitely in the second camp! She is the same age as your DD. Mine have taken books with them, posters (they have a pin board), teddies, ornaments, photos, cushions... They do have their own rooms though, so I would see how much space they physically have before she takes the kitchen sink with her!
Re washing, we've had no problems with DD2's stuff, but DD1 has had a lot of stuff ruined, such as pretty bras, and lost socks. She brings it home at weekends now, if she has anything delicate.
I think you need to wait and as Sheherazade said see how much space she'll have. If she has a good size lockable drawer them she probably doesn't need a further lockable box/tin.
Ask about the schools policy on a bank account/cash etc especially if she's travelling around. At my DS's school they are not encouraged to have cash on them but to have bank accounts with a debit card and we are strongly discouraged from putting large sums of money in it although plenty do. At other schools cash is given to house staff (especially in the early yrs) and they run a house bank.
DD2 has a "house bank" at her school; DD1 has the option of one, but we pay into her bank account every month, and she just withdraws money as and when she needs it.
The most important is a really good unlimited 3G option...for the phone....
My duaghter has just survived two terms Year 7...
I echo Mummy's attitude you don't need to be liked by many....just a few..The girls will argue over trivial things such as pop stars...If they are real friends they will get over it.
Boarding is fun but the end of term arguments drive me insane....(phone call home) then when you take them back they have missed each other so much its all hugs and kisses..
We found that a laptop is always handy too...and a big lockable tuck box....
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