Sending a child to boarding school is a major decision for a family. But how do you pick the right boarding school option?
First and foremost, parents must ensure boarding is the right choice for their child as not every student will be suited to a boarding environment, just as not every school fits every child.
Here are 10 considerations to look at when investigating a boarding school for your son:
Ethos and Philosophy of the school
Take the time to attend Open Days and Information Mornings – here you will gain an understanding of the ethos and philosophy of the school from the Principal and members of the teaching staff – are they in line with yours?
Current Students and Alumni
The best advertisement for any school is its students, both past and present. When in contact with these students do you like what you see and hear from them? Do they conduct themselves in a manner you would like for your son? Talk to boarding alumni about their experiences and ask if the school and boarding prepared them for life at university and/or the workplace.
Parents and the Community
Whilst it is a good idea to speak with current and past parents, it is always important to remember you are asking them about their personal experiences – keep in mind everyone’s expectations and experiences are different.
This is a key issue for all parents – do staff promote positive learning experiences both in and out of the boarding house; do the students feel supported and safe at all times; how does the school handle bullying, what is the level of academic care in the boarding house; are all boarding staff qualified teachers?
Look at the size of the School, Boarding House, configuration of the dormitories and facilities. Do these meet your expectations?
The curriculum should offer a well rounded education. If you are looking for a more specific pathway as well does the school offer what you are looking for, such as International Baccalaureate, Agriculture, an Honours Program, Multiple Language subjects etc.
What is the ratio of day boys to boarders; ratio of regional to metropolitan boarders, ratio of International Students, both day boy and boarders. Many boarding families look for cultural diversity in a boarding school especially if they come from a fairly isolated rural community.
Always do your sums – make sure you have a copy of the most recent fee schedule and ask what is included in the fees and what are considered extras.
Ascertain compulsory activities and ask what extra activities are offered for boarders. How are they ‘entertained’ on the weekend
Last but not least, involve your son both before and after the process. Talk with him about what he thinks he might expect from a boarding school – did he enjoy the Open Day and tour? What did he think of the facilities ? Could he see himself as a boarder at the school?
Written by Mrs Melissa Capel, Manager of Admissions, The Scots College.
Want to find out more information on boarding at Scots? Download our Boarding Prospectus for a detailed look into the life of a boarder.