The advantages of starting boarding in a preparatory school

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by Simon Barber, Headmaster of Ludgrove School
Ludgrove School

Boarding in a prep school brings a wonderfully diverse range of advantages, most importantly the amount of fun the children have. You only have to see the smiles on their faces and the excitement of planning what to do with their free time, to realise just how much boarding can enrich a child’s life.

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Long gone are the days when parents would drop their children at the school gate and wave goodbye until half term. Many schools offer a variety of boarding options – weekly, flexi or full – giving something for everyone. At Ludgrove, we offer a full boarding model enabling parents to relax with the confidence that their children are safe and secure, getting a huge amount out of the school day, surrounded by all their friends, knowing that at weekends everyone is either fully occupied in school or at home for an exeat with family.  

Warm and caring

The continuity of care and education that a boarding school can offer is invaluable in providing a stable platform for a child’s development. All schools should be educating children well, but a boarding school must be a particularly warm and caring environment where children’s confidence is developed, and they are valued as individuals and learn to live in a community. At Ludgrove, we are lucky to have outstanding staff members who get to know the boys very well and understand what makes each individual ‘tick’. Across the school the resident matrons, school nurse and boarding houseparents, as well as the teaching and domestic staff are all committed to ensuring that the ‘spotlight’ is on every child so that their confidence and character are nurtured at every opportunity. Unless children are healthy, happy and eating well they simply cannot fully flourish either inside or outside the classroom.

With ever-increasing competition for places in our senior public schools, boys and girls must shine earlier and earlier. It is for school staff to find that little something in everyone that makes them feel good and a boarding prep school is wonderfully well prepared to achieve this. Having everyone together on site in free time through the day and in the evenings means there is time for extra-curricular activities, including music, drama, the creative arts and many sports. This therefore leaves more time for quality family time on exeat weekends. Events such as poetry recitations, speeches competitions, choral days and inspirational lectures will also enrich their learning. If a child can speak freely and with genuine interest about something they enjoy doing, they will shine in interview and be a pleasure to be with.  

Communication is key and boarding pupils have regular contact with their parents via email, telephone calls, Skype, FaceTime, and handwritten letters. At a full boarding school, parents can relax knowing every other boy is enjoying the same reassuring routine. To be surrounded by others who enjoy doing similar things and to always be able to find someone with similar interests is very comforting and of course great fun. At Ludgrove, friendships are made for life, boys can be boys and our unique spirit allows them to thrive in an atmosphere of happiness, high achievement, good manners and kindness.

 

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