Boarding schools for expat children
Boarding schools have open days at various points throughout the year. If you’re considering a boarding school for your child, especially if you are an expat who will be living in a different country from the school, you need to be supremely sure the school is the right one for your child – and you.
Plan a long way ahead. Sue Anderson Consultants recommend starting your search at least 18 months in advance.
Go to a range of open days to help make up your mind. Keep the following points in mind when looking around.
Tips for getting the most out of boarding school open days
- In boarding schools the house and the housemistress are most important. The house is the family unit in a large school: some schools even emphasise this aspect by going to the expense of house feeding. Ensure that there are house competitions in a range of sporting and cultural activities so that the bonds created between pupils within the house are strong.
- The housemistress should be someone you can trust and get on with, someone you would not hesitate to ring up if you were worried but someone who is prepared to be tough. She should also understand adolescents, the attraction they feel towards risk-taking and their disposition towards occasional recklessness.
- Try to get a general feel for the school. Would you like to spend much of the next five years in these surroundings? Are your daughter’s strengths catered for? For instance, if she is interested in rowing, is there a river?
- Many schools ask pupils to take tours of the school. They will tell you directly or indirectly much about the school that you cannot learn from checking the exam results: about whether the teaching is interesting; about whether their teachers are available out of hours in person or online; and about the number and variety of extra-curricular activities on offer after school, on half holidays and at weekends.
- Extra-curricular activities are particularly important in a boarding school where there is so much time to develop them. There should be a sense of busy-ness and energy of the sort conveyed when you see sports gear propped up against the wall of the hall where the orchestra is rehearsing.
- Finally, use the open day to establish a shortlist of schools for visiting at other times, when they are operating normally.
Tips from education expert Tommy Cookson via Boarding school: how does it work? – Telegraph.