One of the key considerations when choosing a school for your child is between day school and boarding school. Would you like your child to be a day student, a full boarder or a weekly-boarder? To attend a day school, you would need to live nearby whereas boarding widens the geographical area for you to choose from. If you like the idea of full boarding you need to consider the proportion of students that board full-time to ensure the weekend provision is strong.
When it comes to choosing between a day school or a boarding school, the choice can be overwhelming. Each child is different and whilst some children thrive at boarding school, others struggle being away from home. Either outcome could have a lasting impact so choosing between a day school or boarding school is something to consider carefully. Listed below are five reasons why parents frequently choose day school over boarding school and to help you make this decision we have also included some reasons why boarding school might be right for your child.
5 reasons to choose day school over boarding schools
Boarding schools now come at a vast expense. An analysis by the Good Schools Guide shows that the average annual cost is around £50,000 before allowing for any extras. In comparison the average day schools cost between £12,000-35,000 per year. The Killik Private Education Index shows that fees have increased by more than 300% since 1990 (at roughly four times the rate of inflation). The financial cost of boarding school is undeniably something to consider carefully before committing. The costs are now so high – and rising – that boarding schools are often beyond the reach of all but a tiny minority of families.
2. Keeping your children at home
There is really no rush to send your child away from home, particularly from a very young age. Upon leaving school, your children will become increasingly independent and may not ever live at home again. With this in mind, it seems sad to only get a decade or so under the same roof!
Some children miss out on home life and can become homesick. Although most boarding pupils sustain great relationships with their families, homesickness can easily lead to children becoming frustrated and socially isolated, and should not be underestimated.
3. Extracurricular activities
If your child is particularly fiendish at ice skating or some similarly niche pursuit which is not usually offered at boarding school, you may be stunting a great talent which your child, if at day school, could be working on in the evenings. Extracurricular activities beyond those that the school offers are often marginalised at a boarding school. This is particularly relevant for children who have a special talent in a sport or activity not often offered by schools.
In general, day schools dominate the league tables because they are more selective than boarding schools. The pace is a lot quicker and everything is crammed between 8.30am and 4.30pm. Pressure to succeed, look good, do well is as constant at boarding as at day schools. But whereas day pupils are released each day from the echo chamber of academic school life, boarding pupils are not so fortunate.
5. Education at home
Remember that education doesn’t only happen at school, where teachers are often under strain to stick to the curriculum and focus on exams. You, as a parent, can keep your child’s other intellectual interests alive (be it literature, politics, art or drama), by spending evenings and weekends at galleries, museums and with friends from outside of school.
Finding the right school for your child: 5 reasons to choose boarding school over day school
Boarding schools often create stronger friendships and alumni networks which last for a lifetime.
2. Less distractions
Children are kept at arm’s length from the parties, drinking, social media and technological distractions that are sometimes more easily available to pupils at day schools.
3. More time with teachers
Children benefit from additional non-classroom contact with teachers in the evening, as well as supervised homework, music practice time and other extra-curricular activities.
4. A wealth of extracurricular evening activities
Students are kept occupied in the evening. There is less use of technology and students are often more social.
5. Greater independence and confidence
Students tend to be more independent and confident.
If you do decide that boarding school is right for your child, here are some tips to make sure your child gets off to a good start at boarding school:
- For children who get homesick, choose a school which offers great pastoral care, try not to speak to your child too much on the phone, and don’t let your child know that their homesickness is upsetting you.
- If your child is coming from overseas, arrive a few days early in the UK and at the school so that they have time to get used to the unfamiliar environment before everyone else arrives.
- Find out if anyone else from your child’s current school or group of friends will also be going on to the new school. Make contact with their parents and invite their child over a few times during the summer. Even if they are not in the same house or class, it will be a familiar face to bump into during break and sit with at lunchtimes, until new friendships have been formed.