The benefits of boarding are immense. Students who live in the boarding houses make friendships which will last them a lifetime. They live as part of a community (which means learning to be tolerant and understanding of others). They develop a sense of independence, an ability to look after themselves. And, of course, they have great fun.
But for the parents of younger students aged 7 to 11, one of the most compelling advantages is that their children receive extra support with their homework and extra opportunities to practice their English. This is how it works:
- Every evening during the week there are specially designated homework times from 4.30pm to 5.45pm. During that time, the students are supervised and supported by four fully-qualified teachers
- The level of support is outstanding. Currently, each teacher works with a maximum of just four children. In some cases, there is one-to-one support.
- English beginners receive extra practice in what is known as ‘phonics’. This is vitally important, because phonics helps children to develop the ability to hear, identify and use the basic units of English language.
- English beginners also receive extra reading comprehension practice.
- Because the programme is designed to complement learning in the classroom, English beginners are introduced to the vocabulary and key words they need before the lessons take place.
- The children in boarding also enjoy playing educational board games with the teachers – so learning English becomes fun!
The Assistant Head of Primary, Sara Berenguer, a specialist in EAL (English as an Additional Language) has been responsible for crafting the school’s homework programme for younger boarders. In her view, the evening support is proving invaluable to English beginners. “This extra daily support is making an enormous difference to the speed at which boarders are learning English. They simply could not receive that quality of level of support outside of school.”