Sending a child to a boarding school is a life-changing decision for both parents and children, which many do not want to take lightly. Therefore, anybody considering this type of education should be aware of all its benefits for the development and future careers of boarders.
The environment in most boarding schools is very diverse and international. Students from many countries and faiths come together and have to learn to resolve any conflicts among themselves. Besides, they learn more about other cultures than they ever could at home.
In particular if the school is in a different country or uses a different language than the home environment, the students gain a huge advantage for their later careers as they become fluent in two languages and are not only taught according to a particular country’s curriculum but receive a properly international education. Often, the schools also offer internationally accepted exams, like for example the International Baccalaureate, which are a big asset for international university and trainee applications, alongside the more traditional A-levels.
High Academic Standards
The learning experience at boarding school is very different to the one at day school. Also due to the fact that most of these establishments are private schools, they are relatively free in developing their curriculum and fit it individually to each student’s needs. This also means that it is easier to arrange for additional tuition, should it be necessary. On the other hand, if students have a specific talent in a particular field, they can easily receive extra tuition after lessons when they live at the school. Obviously, a private school also has the luxury of much smaller class sizes compared to state schools, so that every student benefits from the teachers’ closer attention.
Of course, in a boarding setting it is given that students are supported with their homework, which is impossible in many cases at day schools where students have to produce their homework from home without any support. Therefore, this type of schooling is ideal both for students with difficulties in some academic areas and for those with particular talents in fields where they can get additional tuition.
Traditionally, extra-curricular activities are an important feature of boarding and create an even stronger sense of community among students. In addition, they help students build up their CVs with regards to a later university application and career choices.
Additionally, many of these schools have good connections with the best universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, and offer alumni mentoring programmes to support their students in choosing the right career path even after they graduate from the school. In the modern job market, networking is gaining more and more importance, so being part of a good network already due to one’s schooling is a major advantage.
Of course, a private school is not bound to state budgets and cuts, either. This means they are free to employ the best teachers in their subjects and pay them accordingly so that students get the best possible teaching experience and tuition and achieve the best possible results in their exams. This also enables the schools to provide the highest standard facilities, for example for music tuition or for sports, which makes sure the students have a wide choice in activities and can pursue their extra-curricular activities to the highest standard.
Generally, discipline tends to be very high and strictly enforced at boarding schools. This makes it easier for both teachers and students to focus on achieving the optimum in their academic results and is a good preparation for university life where students need to be self-disciplined in order to succeed. Those who have learned to focus on academic matters already at school have a clear advantage in their tertiary education.
Of course, the separation from the parents due to enrolment at a boarding school, maybe far away from home or even in a different country, is not always easy for children from the start. However, generally they adapt to staying away from home very quickly and make new friends at the school because they spent more time with their classmates than they ever would at day school. Besides, they develop more self-reliance and independence from their parents than they could at home. This, again, is a big advantage when starting university because the move into university accommodation does not feel like such a big step from boarding. In addition, during the adaptation phase at the school, children receive close attention and pastoral care from specialist staff which is mostly unavailable at university, so that the transition to boarding and then university is usually much smoother than the one from day school straight to university.
The absence of parents also helps the children in learning to resolve conflicts for themselves. Staff are trained to interfere only if it becomes really necessary so that students gain valuable skills in mediation and also learn to tolerate other opinions and views without asking third parties for support. They learn to share both their good and bad experiences with their peers.
In addition, boarders can fully focus on their education without any distractions. They do not have to spend a great deal of their time on, for example their way to school and back home again, which also saves them the dangers of traffic and accidents, particularly in large cities. This, combined with tight control regarding alcohol, smoking and drugs, makes boarding schools the safest environment for students.
Due to the schools’ set times for meals, the students also learn a certain self-discipline and good time management skills. Those who are late for meals might simply miss out unless there is a good reason, so they learn a valuable lesson on punctuality, which will serve them well in their later lives. Without mother to care for their uniforms before school, they also learn to make sure they are properly dressed and always have a clean school uniform prepared for the next day.