Gift for first day at boarding school

(52 Posts)
missoa Sun 16-Aug-20 12:35:49

Hello! Can anyone recommend any gift ideas for a nephew starting at boarding school (Harrow) this year, on his 14th birthday?

OP’s posts: |
clouds87 Sun 16-Aug-20 13:04:32

I used to nanny for a family, the oldest went to boarding school somewhere similar. He got given a lovely paperweight, cuff links and a nice tie - I know the tie gets used quite alot for dinners etc , hope that might help x

Grobagsforever Sun 16-Aug-20 17:04:59

He's starting boarding school on his birthday? 😢😢😢

missoa Sun 16-Aug-20 18:03:27


He's starting boarding school on his birthday? 😢😢😢

Yes! Bit of an unfortunate coincidence but hopefully he finds it fun

OP’s posts: |
missoa Sun 16-Aug-20 18:03:53


I used to nanny for a family, the oldest went to boarding school somewhere similar. He got given a lovely paperweight, cuff links and a nice tie - I know the tie gets used quite alot for dinners etc , hope that might help x

That's a lovely idea and very helpful, thank you!

OP’s posts: |
Countrylivingcityworking Thu 27-Aug-20 06:09:06

That’s sad. Does he want to go to boarding school? I only ask bc you mentioned it’s an “unfortunate” he’s starting on his bday. I think cuff links are nice but a bit sterile. Maybe write him a quick letter saying you hope this will be the best experience of his life so far and give him a couple “get out of jail cards” where if he ever feels overwhelmed, homesick or just want a moment’s escape and doesn’t want to bother his parents you can come fetch him for an afternoon for lunch or a weekend to hang out. He may never use them but just knowing that’s an option can lift his spirits if his parents aren’t around.

Orchidflower1 Thu 27-Aug-20 06:15:35

It’s shame you felt you needed to slot in where he was going.



MaidenMotherCrone Thu 27-Aug-20 07:19:04

I'd send him a little note saying your there if needed and at least it's not Eton. Every cloud etc.

MaidenMotherCrone Thu 27-Aug-20 07:19:44

You're not your!

Breastfeedingworries Thu 27-Aug-20 07:25:53

Some of these posts! He’s 14 not 10. Make sure you pack his special teddy and snuggle blanket. hmm

Harrow wow what a school! Erm gift wise projector for his room, make him the most popular kid there. wink

WouldBeGood Thu 27-Aug-20 07:27:16


He's starting boarding school on his birthday? 😢😢😢

This happened to me. It was fucking awful.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Thu 27-Aug-20 07:33:20

A small poker set (cards and chips and basic rules for, say Texas Holdem)

A blanket for his bed? Not sure what 14yos would have, but you can get ones that look like burritos.

Is he allowed into the local town at weekends? If so, check if there is a Nandos and give him a gift card for it.

Trufflepuffpuff Thu 27-Aug-20 07:44:30

I started boarding school on my birthday. It's not that bad, everyone was really friendly and I'm certainly not scarred for life! Some of these posts, honestly. The OP wasn't asking your advice about whether he should go or not. In terms of a present, it was quite a long time ago I went so not sure what's allowed these days but I agree that a voucher of some sort might be nice, or something to make his new room more homely. I also had a birthday cake on my first day!

Trufflepuffpuff Thu 27-Aug-20 07:45:02

Also to add I was 11, so quite a bit younger. It was still fine.

Countrylivingcityworking Thu 27-Aug-20 07:58:07

Oh yeah, you’re right. I forgot that at 14 yo is an adult and that can’t possibly need some reassurance when leaving home. How could we be so naive to think that a 14yo child would still need to know they have support and a sentimental gift tells them their family is thinking of them. UGH the horror. I truly feel for your child when they are a teenager if this is your outlook.

eurochick Thu 27-Aug-20 08:41:52

The tie, cuff links and paperweight seems a bit... dull for a 14 year old. The Nando's gift card sounds like a more appropriate suggestion!

AuntyFungal Thu 27-Aug-20 08:46:09

Ask the house master or matron to organise a cake. If they can’t (Harrow has a central dining hall) then ask if you can send one in. Enough for the year group rather than whole house.

bookgirl1982 Thu 27-Aug-20 08:50:36

Some sort of subscription - a magazine or food delivery on a regular basis.

user1471523870 Thu 27-Aug-20 08:57:57

No experience whatsoever as I am the mum of a little toddler and no nephews that age. But when maaaaaany years ago my then 18 year old brother left for his 1 year mandatory army service (however it's called, I am not from this country) I made him a box full of treats to be opened once there.
I think you could put a birthday card in it, some chocolate/snacks he likes, comic books, a t-shirt with a character he's fond of, a journal and a pen, a gift card for any restaurant/shop nearby he might like, funky socks, a personalized mug, an alarm clock for his room, headphones if he doesn't have them already?

GreyBow Thu 27-Aug-20 08:59:49

This is Harrow. Some of the advice is way off. The house structure is so strong, definitely don't get a cake for the year group. Year group in his house only. No older years in the same house will want it.
But think blending in as a new boy. Not the best idea on his first day perhaps on the very bottom rung?
It's also Covid. He might not be allowed out for ages and ages (plus they are super strict etc over boundaries), and so a gift card wouldn't work.
He might also not have exeats or be allowed hone for a bit. My Dd's school have stopped all exeats this term and changed their term dates due to Covid.
You don't give a rough price, but I am sending one of mine back to boarding school with AirPods. Any bit of apple tech always goes down well. If anyone else in the family offered to buy her something (and it's so kind of you!), I'd suggest an Apple Pencil as she keeps borrowing her sibling's one.

reefedsail Thu 27-Aug-20 09:08:22

Mumsnet grin. Intensively tutoring a child from 4 to get them into a super-selective day school where they have to get up at 5am for a 2hr London commute, then spending the whole weekend at a JD, is great parenting. Boarding school- abusive.

I think the projector idea is great. Or good bluetooth speakers.

frustrationcentral Thu 27-Aug-20 09:22:55

I have no idea whether it's allowed but I'd go down the AirPods/Bluetooth speaker option

GreyBow Thu 27-Aug-20 10:05:21

PS An alarm clock is a good one. We keep getting pleas from all HMs to send an old fashioned alarm clock and a normal watch back with them. The younger ones are not allowed their phones at night, and so can't use the alarm to wake them up. Apple Watches are not allowed in exams.

But if he's sharing a room in the first instance, no need yet for the alarm clock.

Oh, there's this thing all new Harrow boys need to know, isn't there? Some test they all have to pass on the weird little quirks and history of Harrow. I remember my friend's son being utterly freaked out by the thought he'd fail that. Definitely sympathise over that with him.

If you do go for the pack of essentials, mine go through sweets, socks, black rollerball pens and phone chargers on an endless basis.

AuntyFungal Thu 27-Aug-20 10:05:43

Sorry if I was unclear Grey - I meant the yr 9s in the boarding house. Not the whole yr group across the school.

Cake always goes down well in DS’s boarding house.

Mag / cool comic (graphic novel!) subscription?

WouldBeGood Thu 27-Aug-20 10:12:20

If they’re not allowed phones at night then something like an old school iPod/music player with earphones and definitely a torch: a mini mag lite, maybe.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in