Day pupil vs boarder (Yes, another private school post..)(10 Posts)
I'm wondering if you would mind giving your experience or thoughts on whether children will 'miss out' on feeling involved in their school if they attend as a day pupil. I seem to remember reading something ages ago that has obviously stuck in my mind about day pupils feeling 'left out', when their friends were staying at school and socialising together.
We've ended up with one child at prep school (unplanned, but worked out really well for him) and I'm looking at schools that are no more than 30 mins away from where we live because I don't want him to be far away, so I'm rather queasy about paying hefty boarding fees when they don't feel entirely necessary. However, at the same time, I don't want to be putting him in a position where he might feel he is not really part of the school (I'm thinking ahead to teenage years!).
Am I being over sensitive? What is your experience/ opinion either as a parent or having been a boarder/ day pupil? Thanks in advance!
It rather depends on the extent of boarding vs day. Dc school has about 25% boarders most of whom are from overseas but vast majority are relatively local ( within 30-40 minutes) day pupils. School day can run to 6pm with extracurricular activities so plenty of opportunities.
If the school is mostly day then the boarders feel left out, if it's mostly boarding the day pupils might feel left out. Though as pointed out, it's quite common now for day pupils to do everything except sleep at school so there's less division.
Ideally you want your DC to be in the majority group. And, if as a day pupil they don't clamour to board after a few weeks then it's possible the boarding is not well run.
But there are all sorts of variables. I'm sure a weekly or flexi boarding establishment where children might go home on Friday evening would have a very different atmosphere and emphasis to a full boarding place.
As you're only at prep stage why not just see how it goes?
I agree with what written above, IME when day can children miss out is when they are very much in the minority. In many schools where full boarders are in the majority day children often stay till 9 or later, usually till the end of prep/extra curticular stuff, but it's often at the end of the day when prep extra curricular activities are finished that boaders really relax and chill out and friendships are made/strengthened. This is why it's not uncommon for day children in these situations to ask to become boarders.
Thanks for your answers everyone - this has has given me some things to think about. Much appreciated.
Where my DDs went to school, they day pupils were called Day Boarders. The days were long and they were expected to stay for sports training, drama rehearsals, choirs, debating club, etc, etc, etc. Not every evening though. The fees for Day Boarders were very high. In our day, only about £1500 per term less than full boarding!
We always had a few day parents who did not want their children to participate in the extra activities on offer, or stay for supper, or take part in anything after school and certainly not on a Saturday morning. They did not seem to mind paying £7,000 (in those days) a term for Day Boarding but treated it as a standard day school. Over about 5 years, they grew in number and completely changed the nature of the school and spoilt the quality of what was on offer for the boarders. In the end, this diluted the quality and ehtos of the whole school because too many day parents did not want the "full" day and the standards of the activities that depended on participation and commitment were reduced. House Drama, House Music etc are now chronically under-rehearsed and it is such a shame. Even the choirs are nowhere near as good as they were.
Therefore I think being a boarder in a full boarding school is best. If you cannot commit to being there for activities after school, choose a day school.
Are there no weekly or flexi boarding options?
Does your child want to board?
I have two children and one is an extrovert and is dreaming about boarding non-stop, whereas the other is introverted and looks forward to a quiet evening at home every day - boarding would be a nightmare!
I wouldn't send a child who doesn't want to board, to a boarding school. There are other ways to get a really good education.
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