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AMA

I'm a boarding school Housemistress. AMA

117 replies

HMno1 · 21/12/2022 17:19

Time on my hands.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:03

redbigbananafeet · 21/12/2022 19:08

How many children are there sleeping in each room? How do the girls have any privacy, personal space, alone time? Do you think they miss the love and comfort of their families? In what ways do you think it is better/worse than living at home? What chores/responsibility do the girls have?

How many children are there sleeping in each room? How do the girls have any privacy, personal space, alone time? Do you think they miss the love and comfort of their families? In what ways do you think it is better/worse than living at home? What chores/responsibility do the girls have?

There are 1-3 in a room, the ones in their own rooms have a lot of privacy I would say. Yes, lots of them miss their families. That's hard to see. They have to keep their rooms tidy, no other chores to be honest, unless they want to bake or something, then they have to tidy up after themselves of course.

I think it's better in that they gain independence, make really good friends usually, have a lot of extra curricular opportunities, and get to do fun trips at the weekend.

Downsides - 50 girls is a lot for a Housemistress and the team to look after. I would like to give them each more time individually but there isn't enough time in the day. Lots miss their families and of course the love many of them would have at home isn't the same as in school.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:04

Anotherdayanotherdollar · 21/12/2022 19:12

Are you on call 24/7, and if so, how do you manage your family life?

There are other residential staff who are on call at night so it's not always me. We rarely get woken up though, as they are quite independent because they are older. Ultimately I have responsibility which can feel overwhelming when I dwell on it.

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VoluptuaSneezelips · 21/12/2022 20:04

How do meals work? Who preps the meals? Is it the housemistress, kitchen staff or are students ever allowed to make their own meals? Do the children go to a dining hall where they mix with others or do the boarding houses have their own kitchen/dinning facilities? If meals are prepped is it a set menu where the food is ready plated or is it a canteen type situation where students have choices? What sort of food is provided? How do they deal with dietary requirements for allergies or sensory issues around food?

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:05

nancydroo · 21/12/2022 19:28

How do you think your boarders will remember you as adults when they look back at their time at boarding?

I hope they will remember us as kind, caring, and fun too.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:05

MrsMoastyToasty · 21/12/2022 19:33

Have you ever found alcohol on school premises?

Asking for a friend of course.

Yep! Suspended!

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:06

everydaysabeginning · 21/12/2022 19:34

Will many have to spend Christmas there? I feel that's really sad.

No, all from my house have gone home. To China, Hong Kong, USA, European countries, South Africa.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:08

mistopheles · 21/12/2022 19:49

How unhappy would a child have to be before you called their parent?

If they're generally happy and were having a bad day, I wouldn't call. Longer than that I'd start monitoring and may then call. If they disclose something luke they are thinking of harming themselves then would always contact them.

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Lilgamesh2 · 21/12/2022 20:08

@HMno1 are the MH issues largely real or is it a bit of social contagion going on?

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SurpriseSparDay · 21/12/2022 20:14

everydaysabeginning · 21/12/2022 19:34

Will many have to spend Christmas there? I feel that's really sad.

Sorry, not my thread - but what an extraordinarily Victorian idea!

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:15

Soscrewed · 21/12/2022 20:00

Do you stay in the boarding house in term time? Where does your 3 year old stay? Does she have dinner qnd things with the children? Does she enjoy it? How many children and adults in the house?

Thanks for the great AMA! Fascinating

She really enjoys it. We live there yes. The girls are very sweet with her and she knows some of they names. They play with her sometimes, although the 15/16 year olds are a bit too cool. The 13 year olds enjoy playing with her and I think it's good for her for now. She doesn't eat with the girls as they eat in the dining room and she eats in our kitchen. She does eat the school food as we are often too busy to cook!

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LaQuern · 21/12/2022 20:23

How does a boarding school set kids up for real life?

My husband went to boarding school and was (when we first got together) terrible with money and couldn't cook!!

Also, how do you celebrate kids birthdays? He (and others in his year) never had a cake as it would have needed to serve everyone! So no one ever got one, which made me feel sad.

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anerki101 · 21/12/2022 20:27

Interested to know more about parenting your own daughter. Who looks after her during the day while you and your husband work? Are there periods where you work and parent at the same time?

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:29

VoluptuaSneezelips · 21/12/2022 20:04

How do meals work? Who preps the meals? Is it the housemistress, kitchen staff or are students ever allowed to make their own meals? Do the children go to a dining hall where they mix with others or do the boarding houses have their own kitchen/dinning facilities? If meals are prepped is it a set menu where the food is ready plated or is it a canteen type situation where students have choices? What sort of food is provided? How do they deal with dietary requirements for allergies or sensory issues around food?

School canteen/dining room so it's kitchen staff. We have a kitchen in the house and they can cook at certain times. Not instead of going to dining room though. It's a canteen style and they can pick what they want. There's a salad bar and main course options. And dessert. The food is good at lunch times but not as good un the evenings. Terrible at weekends sadly. They deal very well with all dietary requirements and allergies. No nuts at all, and other allergies would have plated meals to avoid any contamination. There's a lot of choice usually.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:39

Lilgamesh2 · 21/12/2022 20:08

@HMno1 are the MH issues largely real or is it a bit of social contagion going on?

Mainly real and sometimes contagion. But everything needs to be taken very seriously. There are girls who self harm and a few years ago a girl took her own life. She was not a boarder. I still find it hard when girls disclose suicidal thoughts and feel somewhat responsible. They are very often not thinking of acting on these thoughts but still need counselling and sometimes are not suitable to continue boarding.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:41

LaQuern · 21/12/2022 20:23

How does a boarding school set kids up for real life?

My husband went to boarding school and was (when we first got together) terrible with money and couldn't cook!!

Also, how do you celebrate kids birthdays? He (and others in his year) never had a cake as it would have needed to serve everyone! So no one ever got one, which made me feel sad.

Probably better nowadays than when your husband was at school. Definitely on the cooking anyway. They love cooking and baking and have opportunities during the week to do this.

Money is different as I can't control their spending. If they were spending excessively I would speak to the parents but it's still largely out of my control.

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shreddies · 21/12/2022 20:43

How many boarders are from the UK and how many are international?

I was really surprised when I went to do a masters a few years ago and the number of international students (undergraduate not just post). So different from when I did my degree in the nineties

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:44

anerki101 · 21/12/2022 20:27

Interested to know more about parenting your own daughter. Who looks after her during the day while you and your husband work? Are there periods where you work and parent at the same time?

I don't teach very much, and some days I start work at 4 and finish at 10:45. So we tag team some days. She's in nursery 2.5 days a week. I couldn't work with her around as if something happens in the house with one of the girls, I'd have no one to look after her. When my husband is looking after her some evenings, she will come down and spend time with me if it's quiet or appropriate. If I need her to go, then I'd just call my husband to get her and she'd be whisked away in a few minutes by him.

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Temporaryname158 · 21/12/2022 20:44

How much of the mental health issues do you think stem from being sent away from home at such a young age.

it’s quite a pressure cooker with little family time when they only return home termly

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:46

shreddies · 21/12/2022 20:43

How many boarders are from the UK and how many are international?

I was really surprised when I went to do a masters a few years ago and the number of international students (undergraduate not just post). So different from when I did my degree in the nineties

Lots of boarders from China and Hong Kong. Some from Russia, Africa and European countries, and from U.K. too. Probably about 50% china and Hong Kong in my house.

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Smashingpumpkinsatchristmas · 21/12/2022 20:48

How much is it a term to send your child? I’m assuming quite a lot

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taxi4ballet · 21/12/2022 20:49

Tryfull · 21/12/2022 17:33

My DD is desperate to go to ballet school in September. She is 11. I really don't want her to go but it is her lifelong dream. Just wondering if you have any positive things to say about boarding? She is very mature and sensible, friendly and easy-going but I would miss her so much!!

If she wants to audition for September 2023 entry you need to get your skates on because auditions are already under way, and some schools have closed their lists and are not accepting any more applications.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:53

Temporaryname158 · 21/12/2022 20:44

How much of the mental health issues do you think stem from being sent away from home at such a young age.

it’s quite a pressure cooker with little family time when they only return home termly

I think it can often be a contributing factor to mental health issues. For some it's the beginning of the issues too, so I really don't think boarding too early or before they're ready is the right thing at all. Some parents really believe it's the best thing for their child though.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 20:55

Smashingpumpkinsatchristmas · 21/12/2022 20:48

How much is it a term to send your child? I’m assuming quite a lot

Full boarding is 12-15k per term. It's so much money. Even if my daughter did want to go, unless I was at a school with a better discount, I don't think we could send her! I'd like to work in an international School in the future though, and discounts are often better there.

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comical2023 · 21/12/2022 20:59

Just to say my DD is a day girl in a boarding house. She loves her house mistress and the house system is brilliant for building the girls friendship. They do seem to spend a lot of time stealing loaves of bread to make toast!!!

when she was in the prep school one of her friends was the child of one of the house mistresses and she loved going over to play in the holidays and have full run of the house and the school fields.

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HMno1 · 21/12/2022 21:04

comical2023 · 21/12/2022 20:59

Just to say my DD is a day girl in a boarding house. She loves her house mistress and the house system is brilliant for building the girls friendship. They do seem to spend a lot of time stealing loaves of bread to make toast!!!

when she was in the prep school one of her friends was the child of one of the house mistresses and she loved going over to play in the holidays and have full run of the house and the school fields.

Oh yes the grounds are amazing. We don't have a private garden but the grounds for her to run around are huge!

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