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Boarding school

Charterhouse - day pupil or boarding ?

38 replies

whattopick · 23/05/2023 15:47


My son has a space next year and we are deciding whether to be a weekly board or day pupil.

Any advice?

I think he should board Monday - Wed and a night at home then go back Thurs - Sat.

My husband thinks he should get a taxi there daily and sleep at home (30 mins in a taxi which is half the time of his current school so logistics are better)

Suppose I want him to enjoy the experience. However, if he didn't board would he miss out? With friends etc?

Anyone a parent with a day pupil? Apparently there is 2 day pupils to each house. However, do you feel like your the odd one out if your a day pupil? And never totally gel with everyone.

Suppose it's the first year and he could always change if he didn't like it (board or not board) When he gets older he will prob defo want to board and hang out with his friends.

Appreciate any advice,
Thank you

OP posts:
iulus21 · 25/10/2023 09:17

My daughter has a Year 9 place too and currently have the same dilemma.

whattopick · 25/10/2023 14:04

We decided on day - I’m sure we can always alter it - if the commute is too long.

is your child starting in sept? They are prob in the same year group. Have you been given a house?

OP posts:
whattopick · 25/10/2023 14:05

Although Sat am school my boy isn’t in love with 😂 I’m sure he will get used to it!

OP posts:
WonderingAboutBabies · 25/10/2023 14:12

Hi! My husband and I both attended boarding schools separately (not charterhouse) and I think our experiences are very similar to a lot of our friends who also made the same choices:

I boarded full time and had weekends/half terms at home. I am now 28 and I still talk daily with my group of friends from school - and I live down the road from one of them. We are so incredibly close and we had a fantastic time at school - we really loved it. In the evenings we'd play games/sports, gossip, eat, watch movies, all together. HOWEVER, it did impact my relationship with my family. I barely speak to my brother now (who went to a school local to my parents).

On the other hand, my husband didn't board, and he was always left out from the people who boarded. He was constantly bullied and picked on, and he was absolutely miserable. He would beg his parents to let him stay later so he could join in on activities and stuff. Now, he doesn't speak to anyone from his school at all. On the other side, he is super close with his family and they have a wonderful and fun relationship.

There are downsides to each option and it does depend on your parenting styles as well. My parents were very much leave us to get on with it, separate hobbies, kind of thing, whereas my husband's family are the opposite.

Best of luck!

Bleepbloopbluurp · 25/10/2023 14:26

It's always best to be whatever the majority at school are otherwise you do miss out. At Charterhouse surely most pupils will board full time? Because of how things have played out for us one of mine is a day pupil in a boarding house at her school and tbh it has been quite an effort to make friends and stay in the loop. She has done fine because she is very sociable and really went for it but I can imagine other children would struggle. There's also the fact that things are not really set up for her eg if they pass on information at 9pm she isn't there and so doesn't always know what's going on.
Having boarded myself I wonder about your Wednesday night at home plan. Sounds a bit disruptive to me.

LovelyGreenCushions · 25/10/2023 14:28

Surely a taxi with an escort would be similar in price to boarding?

TBOM · 25/10/2023 14:53

I don't think there is a Flexi option at CH (my DD is in Y11, and there certainly isn't one right now). So you have a straight day pupil vs boarding (Mon-Sat pm, Sat night at home and back either Sun night or early Mon am).

IME there is little difference between day pupils and boarders re integration/being left out. But being a day pupil can mean very, very late evenings by the time they are home - although it has a lot of day pupils, it is still primarily a boarding school and is run as such.

Medlady · 25/10/2023 14:55

What TBOM said.

TBOM · 25/10/2023 14:57

Depending on house and year capacity, it's not always that easy to switch from day to boarder, IME, much easier the other way around.

iulus21 · 25/10/2023 15:02

My daughter will be starting next September.

What days can they come home if they board? Do they do sports or lessons on a Saturday?

My daughter is keen on boarding as she doesn’t want to feel left out, however I don’t think she’s really thought it through yet.

Do they get allocated a house or get to pick?

iulus21 · 25/10/2023 15:10

Shes starting September 2024

TBOM · 25/10/2023 15:22

Lessons Sat am, sport Sat pm, pupils are expected to stay for sport even if they aren't playing (and most do).

There is one weekend a term where all pupils are expected to be in for the whole weekend, otherwise it's home on a Sat after sport, and drop back either Sun pm or Mon am depending on how feasible a Mon am drop off is.

One leave weekend Fri afternoon-Sun pm/Mon am per half.

Two week Exeat (half term) in the first term, one week in the other two.

And very, very long holidays. It feels like DD is home more than not :)

They put house choices in (3 choices) and every pupil in DD's year got one of those choices.

The majority of pupils board, I personally wouldn't have DD there as a day pupil, if you want day, I'd choose a different school. They frequently don't finish activities (which they are expected to take part in day or boarding) until gone 9.30/10pm. That's a really long day if they then have to be back in my 8am.

iulus21 · 25/10/2023 15:23

What’s your daughters time at the school been like? Pros and cons?

TBOM · 25/10/2023 15:24

@iulus21 I'm just about to hop onto a work call but will be back asap to update, I know it's a difficult choice and I'm very grateful for all the info parents gave us when we were choosing a school for DD.

iulus21 · 25/10/2023 15:25

Thank you so much, that’s so kind

TBOM · 25/10/2023 16:56

Jumping back in between calls!

So overall it's been an incredibly positive experience for DD, she really enjoys it and doesn't want to consider somewhere else for 6th form, even though we gave her the option of moving to a day school or to another boarding school. The things that she really loves are numerous (they're also the things I love).

She loves the teachers. She finds them to be extremely passionate about the subjects they teach, and creative about how to teach pupils with different learning styles, they've been very approachable when she's asked for extra help (which translates to "explain this to me a different way because I don't understand the way you explained it to the class"). They seem to genuinely care about the pupils - we frequently get OOO communications from her teachers on both positive things and constructive suggestions, both in academic and pastoral care.

She really enjoys the sport - feels like she's getting great coaching, and she's gone from being very meh at most sports to regularly making the top tier of teams. The only thing she doesn't like is the rotation from hockey to netball (1 sport per term) because she'd prefer to play hockey right through to the summer. She also does a few random side sports - racquets being the most obscure!

Art, music and drama are equally loved - she does backstage for drama (tech crew) and they have loads of art events and musical ensembles (she plays an instrument to diploma standard). So lots and lots of opportunity.

Really strong bonds between the pupils - usual drama, but nothing like at some other schools, and certainly amongst the girls, bullying isn't rife, and is cracked down on very quickly. She's got a great social circle (who seem to descend on my place during the holidays as a pack!), all of whom seem to be really supportive.

Things she doesn't like:

It's a bit strict - especially around cross-house socializing after school, which means she can't see her friends from other houses after dinner unless they're doing an activity together.

They hugely restrict device usage and internet access - which means she finds it harder to stay in contact with her friends from prep at other schools. And it means we have to plan our calls (we talk almost every evening) rather than her just being able to spontaneously call.

The food. She describes it as beige slop. Her house doesn't have a big kitchen so limited opportunity to supplement that with in-house food.

The houses are vastly different in terms of facilities, so choosing a house was a challenge (ethos vs facilities vs location - some of the houses are a fair distance from the main school)

Things I'm less keen on:

The fees have gone up a lot over the last two year. COL impacting schools as much as ordinary households.

The parents can be a bit cliquey (geo-based), but I think that's all schools.

Communication about events can be a bit poor - so a bit of last minute change of plans are sometimes needed.

But overall the pros outweigh the cons for her.

It is very much a boarding school (albeit geared to weekly) - so I'm not sure it's right for a day pupil unless very local.

MrsMitford3 · 25/10/2023 17:00

DD started out as a day girl in a school that also boarded.

She did not get the best of either worlds-left school when all of the fun was starting and got home too late and too tired to enjoy family life.

I agree with PP who says find out what the majority do.

Another question I would ask is if the Houses are mixed day and boarding or separate? Having them separate means they are a little bit more cut out of school life.

Good luck

TBOM · 25/10/2023 17:01

At CH houses are mixed day and boarder, so it's definitely better at integration (DD shares her room with a day pupil, which the day pupil uses in free periods or between school and activities, dinner). Just really tiring for the day pupils.

MrsMitford3 · 25/10/2023 17:05

TBOM · 25/10/2023 17:01

At CH houses are mixed day and boarder, so it's definitely better at integration (DD shares her room with a day pupil, which the day pupil uses in free periods or between school and activities, dinner). Just really tiring for the day pupils.


That's the way to do it 100%.

They didn't at the school where DD was and it was very much them and us.
It made her feel unconnected and isolated

Bullying was rife and uncontrolled and she left after 2 years.

TBOM · 25/10/2023 17:09

MrsMitford3 · 25/10/2023 17:05

That's the way to do it 100%.

They didn't at the school where DD was and it was very much them and us.
It made her feel unconnected and isolated

Bullying was rife and uncontrolled and she left after 2 years.

We excluded any schools that separated boarders from day pupils like that even though DD was adamant about boarding, just in case she ever needed to switch from boarding to day - that would have meant moving house in some schools.

WASZPy · 25/10/2023 17:16

DS doesn't sleep at his full boarding school, but that is pretty much all he doesn't do. He goes in at 7.30 for breakfast and doesn't come home until evening stuff has wound up in the house. However, we live less than 10 minute walk from the boarding house so it's pretty easy.

The trickiest thing is making sure he knows which 'house' his stuff is in.

TBOM · 25/10/2023 17:16

@iulus21 If there's anything else you want to know, do feel free to ask.


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SOBplus · 25/10/2023 17:28

There is the option for flexi discuss with head of house and depending on how often/how regular they will either ignore the extra meals or add it to the bill. Day students also get a room. Pre-Covid almost everyone was boarding even those who lived less than 2 miles from campus. After Covid, lots found they enjoyed the opportunity to get away from it all at home and kept it up following full re-opening. Ours boarded a year and flexi boarded a year and day student for the remainder. Yes missed out on some of the activities but on balance enjoyed his home life more than the opportunities and was very active in sports at the local facilities instead of the House games. And in relation to the above poster, we had no sharing of rooms in our son's house for him or others who converted to day. edited to add, we were at Daviesites.

whattopick · 25/10/2023 17:51

It’s cheaper to board 😂 rather than paying for a taxi both ways. But hey ho. Maybe he will change his mind. However the commute is a taxi is easier than the bus to his current school which nearly takes one hr.

I was tempted for Mon - wed night home back Thurs to Sat.

However I let my boy pick and apparently it can be flexible. I think he should board but my husband doesn’t (even though he is never at home excessive hrs at work)

We have been told the house but I can’t remember like 6 months ago and we are on hols at the moment - but will update.

Time will tell but happy with the decision at the moment.

Apparently 2 non boarders in every house ….

OP posts:
whattopick · 25/10/2023 17:58

Also, they mentioned a “bus service” but not sure where that is from and no update. Apparently that is supposed to start in sept. However, with the bad service from the trains not sure it will be any use 🤪

OP posts:
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