How a boarding environment helps pupils develop

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by Jo Cameron, Principal of Queenswood
Cheltenham College

Going to a single-sex boarding school means having lots of fun, forming lifelong friendships and building a strong support network. What can be better than living and sharing a room with your best friends? And, what’s more, these friends come from all over the world and open your eyes to the global community. If boarding is the window to global opportunities, then the cosy window seat and the curtains that shield you from the inclement weather is the pastoral care.

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Traditionally in education the three Rs were Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. In boarding they stand for the fundamental values of Respect, Relationships and Resilience.

In a boarding community you are in an environment where trying new things is encouraged. When I was at school there were comparatively few extra-curricular activities but nowadays after-school clubs range from aerobics to zumba alongside drama, music and sport opportunities. If a pupil has an idea to launch a club such as a Manga club, these things can happen in a boarding environment. And there are always other pupils to try new things too.

Developing independence

There may well be challenges, not only in the extra-curricular activities programme but also in the classroom, but with every little challenge that boarding school presents pupils learn a little bit more about themselves and become a little bit more autonomous. There is, of course, plenty of support from school, teachers and peers but pupils still need to look after themselves and take responsibility for their own actions to a much greater degree than if they were living at home. The boarding school day will of course have structure but boarding pupils have to make choices around how they spend their time, what activities and opportunities they take, and how they create a reasonable balance between work and play.

Here at Queenswood, we are often asked about the specific benefits of boarding. More than 75% of our pupils, whether they are registered as day girls or boarders, experience regular boarding at some stage during their school career. Here are some key benefits.

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