I went to an all-girl boarding school from 11-16. I spent 2 years as a weekly boarder and 3 years as a full boarder. I loved it most of the time and made some really strong friendships. I am very close to my family and although we don’t live in the same country as I am abroad, I speak to both my parents and my sister at least weekly but usually more (3 times). I learned to be independent but have never felt abandoned or left behind. It was due to my father working abroad that I went to boarding school and my sister joined me there after 2 years and she then became a day girl there when my parents returned to the UK. Both sets of grandparents, great aunt and and uncle (like a third set of grandparents) and our godparents were very close by and we stayed with them for exeats. I am very glad that I went to boarding school and have many happy memories from my school days - probably why I became a teacher. I can’t imagine being able to afford to send my daughter when she is older but that is part of the reason why I am teaching in independent International schools as she gets to attend the school as part of my package.
Hope that helps…
My husband was a full boarder and loved it. When he talks about it DDs face is filled with horror at the idea of it, despite loving books about it! could never send her to one, but make no judgement on what others do. DH had a great relationship with his mum…
My dh went to several different boarding schools and he hated it. His sister on the other hand, loved it. I think it depends on the child. He really needed to be closer to his mum/parents. But his family life was unstable so not sure which would have been the best with regards to his experience. Boarding or stay at home. This was before he was 10 and at 10, he moved to Derbyshire and went to a small village primary school and absolutely loved it. It was apparent that he was ahead of all the other kids though when he started but that was more to do with that how they taught in the boarding schools. Hence why he would never ever send his kids to a boarding school, he can’t see the point of send your kids away. Me, being Scandinavian where boarding school is not really an option I can’t see the point either, unless your family moves around a lot and changing schools would be the alternative. But like I said, his sister went and she liked it. then again, they are very different people.
I have no experience of English boarding schools, but I attended an international boarding school for 2 years from the age of 16 to 18, and I loved it so deeply it’s almost hard for me to talk about it. And my experience was practically universal, too—those 2 years were magical for almost all of us, and we still—even those of us who are happy and fulfilled in our current lives—yearn for that time, that place. Still dream about it at night sometimes! I think it was the particular age we were, though—not too young, not too old, ready to spread our wings and still in that intense phase where you just fall so hard for each other whether platonically or romantically. You have so much more time and energy and mental space to devote to friendship at that age, I think, and I believe it can be a good thing at that age to be separated from your family for a while to learn to form other strong, lasting relationships….
What truly lovely and positive accounts of boarding school .
I’ve never been but I think I would have hated it! and I wouldn’t want to send my kids away (even though I yearn for peace and quiet sometimes!!).
I think it very much depends on the child and the school. Some people seems to thrive at boarding schools and love them while for others, their years at them are pure hell. I can’t imagine sending my DD away to school, but different things work for different families
I think it very much depends on the child and where/why they are boarding. I went to a boarding wschool (as a day pupil) where there was a high percentage of boarders, mostly cantonese. They had little english (initially) and there were many stories of how they spent nights sobbing themselves to sleep; they had no family here and only saw their parents once a year. They however formed strong bonds with each other so that is a plus. I would have liked to have experienced it for a night, but not any longer than that. I wouldn’t consider it for mine tbh.
My dad went from the age of 8 to boarding school. It was a pretty horrific experience & not one I can possibly give details of. He had a very close relationship with his parents however, wouldnt say it affected that. He did grow up away from his sister though, and subsequently theyve never been close.
My DH went for a year at the age of 10. He says it made a man of him as he was pretty introverted before. He missed home terribly, but he has fond memories too. He always talks about it in a wistful way actually!
I always wanted to experience it myself, as I read Malory Towers etc and loved those kind of books. I guess the reality is different, but I think it would have been one of those experiences you never forget, one way or the other.
Would I send my two? I really dont think so…....but then I have a friend whos sending her DD and I wouldnt have thought she would atall, but when you hear the circumstances it makes total sense & the DD wants to go, so why not?!
I really wanted to go to boarding school. Mostly because I read a lot of Enid Blyton. Not sure how well I would have really coped with it.
I can’t imagine sending our kids away but they are aren’t even at school yet! My friend got a scholarship to Marlborough College at 13. It was the making of her. She loved boarding, worked really hard and spent loads of time with her family in the long holidays. She also shared a room with Kate Middleton!
We’ll do boarding school if a) we can afford it, b) they really want to c) they aren’t too fair away. And probably a whole load of other factors.
Thank you for all getting back to me, your responses were as always very helpful. The reason I asked the question was because my 8-year-old son suddenly said to me “I’d like to go to boarding school”... It kinda caught me by surprise… I didn’t ask him why he wanted to go or why he’d chose to bring it up then… I’m hoping it’s because we’re reading Harry Potter and it sounds like fun or it may because other children in his class are going on to boarding school when they start senior school. I’m sure I don’t want him to go to a boarding school but it just made me think, if it was something he was adamant on doing should I try to make it happen? I then related it to other areas of his life where he may choose to do things I may not want him to do and ended up getting all worked up over something that was hopefully a throw away comment! So thank you ladies for such balanced and well presented views x much appreciated x