How to Choose the Right Boarding School

Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions as a parent. There are around 500 boarding schools across the UK including our Devon boarding school St Peter’s Prep. Some schools range from ages as young as 3 through to the end of secondary education at 18.

With so many potential opportunities, it can be hard to know if you are making the best and right decision for your child, so we have put together a guide to help you along the way.

Educational Environment 

Take into consideration what sort of environment your child will learn best in, there are many different types of boarding schools including ones that:

  • Offer a traditional, modern or liberal arts feel.
  • Provide a co-educational environment.
  • Are for girls only or boys only.
  • Specialise in niche subjects.

Where would your child be happy and comfortable? It is important to consider these things as your child will spend the majority of their childhood there. 

Some boarding schools have taster days, so if you are worried your child may not like the school they can trial it out before starting. 

Students on a forest walk

Weekly Boarding, Flexi Boarding or Full Boarding

Many boarding school children go through homesickness, especially near the start of their boarding experience. Although you are only a phone call away, seeing your family in person means much more than a phone call. Most boarding schools offer the option of weekly, flexi or full boarding. When choosing between these options consider what your child would prefer.

Weekly Boarding

Weekly boarding is from Monday to Friday or sometimes Saturday, allowing students to go home on weekends, giving them a taste of full boarding life. This is great for children who become homesick easily. 

Flexi Boarding

Flexi boarding usually means that the pupil is able to board during weekdays on an ad hoc basis, using the school a little bit like a hotel.

Full Boarding

Full boarding is usually 7 days a week with all meals included. On weekends there will be many activities, events and trips for students including sports fixtures, theatre outings, walks and more depending on the school. 

Students playing games

Finding the Right Location

Choosing the location of your child’s boarding school is completely down to preference and your child. For example, if your child is prone to homesickness, it may be wise to consider boarding schools closer to home that offer weekly or flexi boarding. Also, consider whether  your child would benefit from learning in a city or in the countryside.

Accommodation at Boarding Schools

When you visit a boarding school you will be able to get an understanding of how things work and have a look at all of the incredible facilities and grounds that are on offer. If your child is going to be boarding make sure to ask if you can see the boarding houses, this is where your  child will spend a lot of their time outside of school hours so it is important to see the environment and atmosphere that your child will be living in.

St Peter’s Prep School

Pastoral Care

For every parent, sending your child to boarding school can be daunting. To ensure that your child will be safe and well looked after, check the school’s score on pastoral care. Your child should feel happy at boarding school and feel like they can talk to staff members for help with all personal and academic matters.

Extra-Curricular Activities and Sports

Most boarding schools have a huge variety of extra-curricular activities and sports, so your child should always be occupied. Some schools specialise in certain sports. If your child is talented in a particular sport, choosing a school that offers great facilities for that talent may be a good idea to consider. Some schools may offer scholarships so be sure to ask about that. 

St Peter’s Prep facilities

Boarding at St Peter’s Prep

Here at St Peter’s Prep, we offer weekly and flexi boarding. We believe that boarding is an incredible opportunity for children to learn, grow and become independent. Children can embrace spending more time with their friends and experience new activities  including after dinner activities such as hide and seek and swimming and even activities like climbing taking place off site. 

Our boarding students love the activities we offer, being one of the many reasons why our boarding house is often at full capacity. Our activity plan for the first half of the spring term of 2023 is packed full of exciting activities for everyone’s entertainment. 

If you would like to discover more about our incredible boarding life at St Peter’s Prep, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

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