boarding school

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boarding school

Postby Joss1991 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:03 pm

i dont really know if i put this in the right section
but here goes
im off to boarding school in two weeks and as i convince myself i had failed my GCSE and wouldnt be going its kind of come to shock to me that im actually going and anyway im really nervous as i have come from a school with 90 students to in the thousands
and i was basically wondering if anyone had any tips for boarding school.
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Postby Steph » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:04 pm

I have a few tips but I'm actually off to a boarding school reunion now-I enjoyed it that much :D . I've got a busy weekend but I'll give you a long list of tips and advice on Sunday :D
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:32 pm

*hugs* Good luck. :)
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Postby parnassus » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:40 pm

I was a boarder for five years. I started off as a very shy and anxious misfit and ended as the Boarding House Captain. (Pinkparrot will tell you that the shyness and panic were all part of a cunning disguise to help me on my way to world domination.)

Our boarding house was small. It had a maximum of eighty people in it at any one time, but it was attached to a much larger day school. Large boarding schools tend to be subdivided into smaller houses where you eat, sleep, and socialise, so you shouldn't be too overwhelmed by the numbers. It's not as if everybody is crowded into one building.

Boarding schools are big on structure and routine. This made things difficult for me at first, as I kept forgetting things. On my first morning I didn't know whether I would have a chance to return to the boarding house during the day, so I looked at my timetable and packed all the things that I thought I would need for various lessons. My books just about fit into my new satchel, but I had to store my stationery in a plastic carrier bag to make room for them all. I had no sports bag, so I took down my laundry bag from its peg and filled it with my gym shorts, my tracksuit bottoms, my aertex top, my running shoes, my Astroturf boots, and my hockey stick. I had no idea which sport we would be doing, so I thought it best to be prepared for all eventualities. My hockey stick poking out from the top of my laundry bag, I staggered downstairs and across the quad looking like a cross between the peddlar and his pack mule. People reacted to me with giggles. I didn't understand why. I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything. A very kind teacher took me aside, calmed me down, and explained that I didn't need to carry everything about with me. Once I had got settled into the school routine, I no longer felt the need to do things like that. I felt protected.

You will probably be given a mentor to help you settle in. It's the custom at most boarding schools. My mentor wasn't very helpful, but this is because she thought I was weird and was embarassed by me. My senior mentor (a girl in the sixth form) was lovely. If you need help with anything, ask your mentor or go to a member of staff. Do this even if you think that your question is silly. Lots of boarders will have been in the same position as you, so don't worry about seeming odd. Ironically enough, most of my 'weirdness' actually stemmed from my bumbling efforts to conceal my anxieties and difficulties. If I had explained them clearly my peers would have been a lot more helpful. As it was, they didn't understand me.

Pin your timetable by your bed. Also have a list that tells you when your laundry day is and when you should change your sheets. It will help you to keep organised. Also make a record of any after-school clubs that you join. Even with other people to remind you, it's easy to forget.
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Postby Steph » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:00 pm

OK I am back from the reunion now so can devote time to this :D Vicky is right-boarding schools are big on structure and routine (this is why my psychiatrist recommended one for me over a bustling and chaotic comprehensive). My school was 80% boarding and, when I was there, there were 550 pupils aged 7 to 18 (there's now 750) so it was a small school and one thing you'll tend to find with boarding school is, because you live together every day, you get to know people a lot better than in day school in my experience-you get to know their unique habits and peculiarities. My school had 10 boarding houses-one for junior girls, one for junior boys, 3 for senior girls, 4 for senior boys and one mixed house for the sixth formers-my school didn't actually have a sixth form but those aged 16 to 18 lived in the sixth form house and got bussed down to the local college to do A Levels. They are thinking of building their own sixth form centre in the future though.

Each boarding house, apart from the sixth form one, had between 40 and 50 boarders in bedrooms (dormitories) of either 2, 3 or 4 people-some bedrooms only accomodated one person but these were unusual (there was usually one per house) and, when I first started, they had 2 bedrooms which accomodated 8 people each but these were knocked down and separated into 4 smaller bedrooms when I was in Year 10. There is a lot of structure related to waking up, bedtimes and homework times but otherwise you get quite a bit of spare time. I'm going from my particular school but I'd imagine many boarding schools are the same across the country.

One thing boarding school does is introduce youto diversity. My school had children from all over the world-several examples of countries represented in the student body are St Lucia, Nigeria, Kenya, Jamaica, Antigua, Hong Kong, Germany, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Spain, France and Portugal. Boarding school taught me such a lot about different cultures and languages. I loved the diversity there so much!

As I have mentioned, the best thing about boarding school is how much you get to know everybody. It was a big culture shock when I went to college and I didn't know everybody walking down the same corridor as me, as, in school, every time I walked anywhere, I would know at least 10 people! This goes for the staff as well as the people-we were all one big family-I miss it so much :(

The chief dyspraxic problem in a boarding school environment is short term memory problems. Since I left my school, they have introduced a card system to gain access to the boarding houses so, if your school has this system, always keep your card on your person. As Vicky said, keep copies of your timetable and laundry day in a prominent place in your room.

Another thing you should bear in mind is that it will probably be quite a culture shock when you first go to boarding school. As I've said before, everybody knows everybody else's business and sharing a room with other people every day can seem a little overwhelming at first as you have to learn to deal with their bad habits and vice versa but it does get easier. Boarding school is a lot of fun-I will always remember the pillow fights, water fights, midnight feasts and the house Christmas dinner. I will remember the discos, filmnights and takeaway nights too.

Good luck, Joss-I am so jealous of you-I am in a rather nostalgic mood currently following the reunuion and would give anything to be there again, listening to the house staff shooing boys aways when the time came for our showers and getting tuck from the house kitchen! I miss it so much! :( I reckon you will love boarding school-it was the best experience of my life!
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Postby C » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:06 pm

Congratulations on getting in, Joss and good luck.

I've never been to a boarding school (although I went through a phrase of longing to go to one after reading Enid Blyton's 'Mallory Towers' stories about a girl at a boarding school) although I think many tips are suitable for someone moving to any kind of school regardless of what type. Keep your timetable nearby, make sure you know what lessons to go to.

Vicky and Steph sound like they had really positive experiences at boarding school. It may be hard at first, you may feel homesick but I think that's to be expected. Don't be afraid to ask questions of teachers and fellow students. Find out if you can join any clubs or societies to make friends.
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Re: boarding school

Postby Steph » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:46 am

Superjake,
It's worth remembering that, whilst most boarding schools are private, not all are-mine wasn't. The accommodation had to be paid for but the education was free. Also, it's not quite true that private schools have the best teachers. Yes, teachers in private school tend to have more subject knowledge but a teacher can also get a job in a private school without being qualified to teach the age range they are going to be teaching. My friend is a qualified Post 16 Science teacher which means she is only qualified to teach A Level Science. State schools and sixth form colleges would only hire her to teach A Level classes but, in a private school, she would be expected to teach from 11 to 18 and, although she can do this, her specific teaching qualification only deals with the A Level curriculum which is completely different to what is taught at GCSE and below. My brother is a teacher and has also commented on how many teachers in private schools don't have Qualified Teacher Status. Also, while classes are smaller in private schools and thus teachers can afford to spend more one on one time with students, most of the high academic standard is due to the fact that most private schools (not all but a high number) select on academic ability before students even come in to the school. I have read reviews of a couple of schools who boast that they are so academically selective that no streaming or setting is necessary. Now obviously students going to these schools will pass their GCSEs and A Levels with superb grades but is that necessarily because of top standard teaching or would they have passed so highly anyway regardless of where they were educated? I'm not dismissing private schools but I'm just pointing out that there are more complex layers to private education than most people think.
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Re: boarding school

Postby _robyn_ » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:06 am

Steph wrote:Superjake,
It's worth remembering that, whilst most boarding schools are private, not all are-mine wasn't. The accommodation had to be paid for but the education was free. Also, it's not quite true that private schools have the best teachers. Yes, teachers in private school tend to have more subject knowledge but a teacher can also get a job in a private school without being qualified to teach the age range they are going to be teaching. My friend is a qualified Post 16 Science teacher which means she is only qualified to teach A Level Science. State schools and sixth form colleges would only hire her to teach A Level classes but, in a private school, she would be expected to teach from 11 to 18 and, although she can do this, her specific teaching qualification only deals with the A Level curriculum which is completely different to what is taught at GCSE and below. My brother is a teacher and has also commented on how many teachers in private schools don't have Qualified Teacher Status. Also, while classes are smaller in private schools and thus teachers can afford to spend more one on one time with students, most of the high academic standard is due to the fact that most private schools (not all but a high number) select on academic ability before students even come in to the school. I have read reviews of a couple of schools who boast that they are so academically selective that no streaming or setting is necessary. Now obviously students going to these schools will pass their GCSEs and A Levels with superb grades but is that necessarily because of top standard teaching or would they have passed so highly anyway regardless of where they were educated? I'm not dismissing private schools but I'm just pointing out that there are more complex layers to private education than most people think.


I agree with that, I go to a private school and there are some good teachers, but there are also really bad ones...

And right now at school I'm in set 2 for science, but I'm moving schools and going to a state school next year and just from being nosy with friends I had from primary school who go to a state school apparently she said I would top of the class in set 1 science...
I got a A in chemistry even though I didn't finish the exam.

So I agree that private schools start off with higher academic pupils. And from what I know, most the people in bottom sets are in like 1st team rugby or netball. Or there art work will be up all over school. I know a girl who gets mostly D's but in art she could have got a A* in GCSE art in yr 7...

And the only people who get low grades in everything will have a sibling in a higher year who is really clever. At school I do not know 1 person in my year who is not either clever, good at art, good at sport, has a sibling who is clever.
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Re: boarding school

Postby robertpiazza » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:17 am

It is going to a wonderful experience for you, You can enjoy it, and will get more friends and will not give wasting time... :)
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Re: boarding school

Postby lalacurf121 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:47 am

So I agree that private schools start off with higher academic pupils.
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