The Boarding Life in Scotland
Boarding houses provide a home from home, a place of safety and security, fun and friendship. House Parents make great efforts to create a community where young people can settle easily, make firm friendships and thrive.
Boarding houses are usually modern, homely and of a high standard. Many of Scotland’s boarding schools have invested heavily in their boarding accommodation in recent years to meet and exceed parents’ and students’ expectations.
Typically, younger students (aged 8-13 years) enjoy sharing a room with 3 or 4 friends while older students are usually housed in twin or single study bedrooms as they need space and quietness to study. All boarding houses have shared social areas, kitchen and laundry rooms. Typically, students are very loyal to their House and popular features of House life include inter-house competitions (music, sport, drama, debating etc) outings and social events.
Preparing for Boarding
Some boarding schools encourage new students to have a ‘taste’ of boarding life if distance allows it and it is practical to do so (by having a sleepover at the school) although schools will make every effort to explain, describe and illustrate what the boarding life will be like.
Parents are advised to ask individual schools about boarding accommodation, daily routines, what activities are organised at evenings and weekends, meals, health care in the event of illness and other practicalities. It’s also important to ask individual schools how they communicate with parents about the wellbeing, academic and all-round development of their children. Email, skype, phone calls, text alerts and, most recently, iPhone applications are used to keep in touch.
Life as a boarder
Students who board enjoy the close friendships and the strong sense of community that exists in Scotland’s boarding schools while being able to develop their independence. Boarders lead fulfilling lives, with access to a rich variety of activities at evenings and weekends.
Full, weekly or flexi boarding
To accommodate different family circumstances, some boarding schools in Scotland offer full, weekly and flexi-boarding while others are full boarding only to preserve a strong sense of community at weekends. Parents and overseas agents are advised to ask individual schools about the proportion of boarders who board on a full, weekly or flexi basis.
Pastoral Care for boarders
House Parents provide care 24/7. They get to know each student as an individual and are responsible for their wellbeing. Be assured, meeting the personal, social and emotional needs of each individual student is a priority, so that they can participate fully in school life and flourish. Students are encouraged to give of their best, to support one another and to grow in confidence. Specifically, Scotland’s boarding schools seek to:
- provide an environment in which students feel comfortable, safe and secure in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect
- encourage positive interaction between students
- provide the conditions where students can develop abilities, skills and talents
- provide activities appropriate to age and stage that encourage each individual student to develop spiritually, culturally, morally and socially
- develop students’ responsibility for themselves and others
All boarding schools in Scotland seek to help students develop morally and spiritually within the wider context of the Christian tradition although students of all faiths and none are warmly welcomed. Most of Scotland’s boarding schools have a chapel, located centrally within the school grounds, and services provide an opportunity and a focus for the whole school community to gather together.
Friends for life
New students and their parents are reassured to know that deep friendship bonds are forged amongst boarders that last a lifetime – no doubt due to the amount of time that students spend together, their many shared experiences, and the strong sense of the community that exists in Scotland’s boarding schools. Alumni networks of all the boarding schools in Scotland are active which means that, once they leave school, it’s easy for students to maintain important friendships.