We have again included a ‘Pupils and parents’ section, which we believe provides some of the most compelling reading in the Guide. For those thinking about boarding, it is a marvellously positive advert for one of the real beacons of British education and a great credit to the whole of the boarding sector. Here is a small cross-section of the many contributions received from those currently boarding in the UK.
The pupils speak…. I am so lucky to board at Port Regis. I started boarding when I was seven. My father is in the Army. I have made the best friends and it’s a real home-from-home in the boarding house. Sometimes when I’m really tired I get a bit homesick but most of the time I’m too busy with my hobbies, friends and prep. In the boarding house we have theme nights, do some cooking and watch movies in our pyjamas. At school my favourite subjects are drama (I’m about to play the part of Ariel in Shakespeare’s The Tempest), art, English, and sport – especially gymnastics. Our food is amazing, especially when we have sausages and bacon for breakfast and salt and pepper squid at lunch. I also love the different things we can choose from the salad bar. I think Port Regis has been fantastic for building my confidence, learning to follow timetables, making friends and learning new skills.
The pupils speak… My father is in the Army. I decided to come to Dauntsey’s and board when my sister, who is three years older than me, started boarding at The Manor, the Lower School boarding house. She told me stories about how wonderful it was and every time I visited it always seemed so homely. I thought at first that I could never think of it as a second home but once I had started I realised how wrong I was. My favourite subject is PE, especially swimming where we do games to help build our confidence in the water. Next favourite is design technology because it is creative but at the same time you have to follow the instructions very carefully, especially when you are using the big machines. There are lots of clubs to get involved in here. I do handicraft club which is great fun and relaxing and you get to take home anything that you make. For sport I do swimming and hockey. I’m not very good at either but I think I am improving! I really enjoy living at The Manor with my friends. I have made lots of good memories already – the best so far is The Manor Bonfire Night which is great fun.
The pupils speak… I have been a boarder at Dean Close, since I was nine years old, and couldn’t imagine anything different. My family move every two or three years so having somewhere else to call ‘home’ is very nice. The achievements I have accomplished and watched others achieve at school are amazing. Dean Close has really made me feel proud of myself and more confident in what I can do. I’ve learnt to shoot an air rifle and a .22 rifle, I’ve been able to participate in over 20 Speech and Drama Cheltenham Festival classes, achieved four LAMDA exam distinctions and honours in a Victoria College exam. I would never have been able to do all of this at an SCE (Service Children’s Education) or state school. From a boarding perspective, my house is not in the centre of school so it feels like I can go ‘home’ at the end of the day. I was lucky to have two of my siblings at school when I started and I made friends quickly. A lot of my friends are military children too, which helps because they understand things that some of my other friends can’t. When I first came to Dean Close my dad was deployed and it was a hard time for me as I was new to being away from home. My mum and younger sister were at home in Germany and my dad was away for some time. My houseparent always made time for me to call and Skype my dad. We also have our own email accounts so we can send e-blueys and the school gets blueys in if you want them. When I joined the Senior School, I was quite nervous about the older girls in the House and whether or not there would be people who understood what it is like. I had nothing to worry about, as the girls were all so kind and everyone wanted to help make my time here the best it can be.
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