Boarding communities should be a close-knit environment where young people are cared for and cared about. It is unquestionably an extended family where the children have a reciprocal respect for one another and develop close friendships and bonds, providing many moments to cherish and many from which to learn. A boarding environment forms the basis outside of academia, sporting and creative areas where the pupils are able to form important relationships with adults and peer groups alike and these are critical to supporting and guiding them as they become young adults.
Having worked in small, large and International boarding schools it is clear that every child must feel that there is somewhere to turn to deal with daily pressures. It is increasingly the case that young people feel the pressure of exams, social acceptance and image, parental pressure and expectations. So how do we help these students?
Communication is vital and the conversations we have in the boarding house are the red thread that brings people living under the same roof together. We encourage the students to talk about their concerns, problems and share with us their moments of joy and fulfilment such as getting your offer to the desired University. There are a few words that can describe the joy on a student’s face when he or she open the heavy envelope and read out loud the welcoming invitation to join the University. Just being part of their journey and supporting them in the key moments of their teenage year is priceless in terms of moral reward. Communication with the parents is also a very important aspect, to make sure we are supporting the young teenager under our care having a full awareness of their cultural background.
Some students feel worried about the roommate they are going to be living with, and hope that will find shared interests and would all get along well. I won’t deny that there aren’t occasional arguments, as that would be near to impossible with 70 teenagers living under one roof, however I can witness that the friendships they will make are genuine and well-built and that every single student will create wonderful memories and sometimes friendships that will last a lifetime.
Boarding house Director