Boarding - a sign of the times ... - 11 December 2014

Boarding - a sign of the times ... - 11 December 2014

Clifton Coll Boarding1Flexi boarding and sleepovers at Clifton College Preparatory School are a sign of the times …

It’s official. Numbers of parents and children opting to attend one of the UK’s 485 boarding schools is on the rise, according to the Independent Schools Council.

For some children, it’s the lure of dorm life, the friendships you make, the facilities you have access to in the evenings: sports clubs, libraries, computers, peers and staff to help with any homework queries …

For others, more practical requirements have come to the fore. In families where both parents occupy demanding jobs, for example, juggling a professional life with a traffic-ridden school run, sports practice, after school clubs and homework is a stretch. Makes you wonder if there’s a better …

Hence the increasing popularity of boarding.

Boarding is not what it used to be. No longer reminiscent of Dicken’s Dotheboys Hall, gone are the thin blankets, large dormitories, icy baths and only going home once a term.

Clifton Coll Boarding 3Boarding now is about opportunities, building confidence, independence, a sense of community and mutual respect. And with a number of different boarding options, families can choose to organise their domestic lives around what suits the needs of everyone. At Clifton College, for example, you can stay overnight on one-off boarding nights, be a flexi boarder for three nights a week, or be a weekly or full termly boarder.

Clifton College Preparatory School offers Sleepover Club – the perfect chance for your child and you to experience a taste of boarding life for the odd, fun-packed night throughout the year. They’re open to current girls and boys in Years 4-8 and are far more exciting than having a baby sitter!

Sleepover Club is designed to be fun (fancy coming to a pyjama party, or a Harry Potter Night in the Hogwarts-esque Percival Library?), whilst giving parents the flexibility to make plans around other arrangements (or a mid-week dinner party or cinema trip). Other Sleepover Night activities include a magician evening, feast with friends, a quiz night, rock climbing and more.

And if your child likes the experience, and it works for you too, the next step might be to look at flexi boarding – current parents and pupils have taken to this enthusiastically. The three-nights-a-week option enables parents to plan the late work meeting or business trip without guilt, safe in the knowledge that their child will be having fun with friends, whilst also knowing that all homework will be up to date, they will be fed and will be getting enough sleep.

Day pupil or boarder, each child becomes part of a single sex House at Clifton College Preparatory. All the Houses occupy one of the beautiful, spacious Victorian buildings near Bristol Zoo Gardens, on the opposite side of the road to the main College campus. There are eight Houses in total, all run by a Housemaster or Housemistress and their family, really generating a home-from-home feel. Your child really becomes part of a huge family with a caring and supportive atmosphere, in which they are all encouraged to seize each opportunity and fulfil their potential. The House system delivers outstanding individual care.

Two of the Houses, Hartnell’s for boys and Poole’s for girls, are for boarders. These Houses also benefit from having matrons and live-in tutors who are all there to help and offer guidance to the children. Strong pastoral care within the House system is a great asset in securing your child’s happiness. A sense of community and belonging quickly develops and the girls and boys gain an enormous amount from this.

Boarders sleep in dorms of between three and six other children, many of whom become friends for life. The House is a very special place – ask any of our boarders, and they’ll enthuse spontaneously.

The Preparatory School recognises that every child is unique and has their own talents; we aim to provide each child with the environment in which to excel; the right mix of opportunity, academic challenge and support that allows each child to flourish.

To find out more about Clifton College Preparatory why not come along and see it for yourself at our Open Morning on Saturday 31st January.