Pupil's Success Story
My first months at boarding school (after winning a scholarship and bursary)
“When I first arrived at boarding school I felt a bit shy and very homesick. As life progressed and we started having lessons and being around the other pupils in the house, I started to feel like I belonged and started thinking of the house as my second home. The boys in my house are all very friendly and the prefects and tutors take good care of you.
Before I started at boarding school I went to several open days and new pupil events at my school where I met the boys who would be in my house and got to know other people in my year. Therefore on the first day, even though no-one else came from my school, I had made some friends already.
My school day
I do a lot of walking to my lessons because my house is quite far from things, I think this helps to keep me fit. Lessons are a step up from prep school and there are regular tests. This helps me feel prepared for future exams like GCSEs and A-Levels. I like the fact that there are about 20 people in my classes, having been to state school with more than 30 in a class, smaller class size makes a real difference to me.
Boarding school has opened up so many opportunities for me: in sport I’ve tried shooting and squash and in music there are frequent competitions and concerts.
After school I usually have a little bit of time to relax and then I have periods before and after supper to work on my homework. My school day doesn’t finish until about 9 o’clock. This is because of music lessons and homework times, drama practices, sport commitments and inter-house matches. There is never time to be bored or homesick.
In my boarding house there is a games room where you can play ping pong and pool. There are also two TV rooms where you can watch a rugby match or anything else that you fancy such as a movie. With your free time you can do most things such as going out with friends to the local town. You can also meet up with people from other houses and schools. I think it is awesome how you can arrange to use the school facilities such as the tennis courts, swim in the pool with friends or form a band and practice with them.
In the holidays I enjoy going home, but if you are from abroad and it is a shorter holiday then you may choose to stay at school or visit a relative or guardian. I look forward to seeing my family and being free to do whatever I like including having a lie in every day which is something which is severely lacking at school! Our holidays are really long so overall I still have plenty of time at home.
Exeats, a weekend where all pupils go home, happen in my school once or twice a term. We go home after lunch on Fridays and return to school late on Sunday. Approximately, it works out that you visit home every 3 weeks for either an exeat, half term or the holidays. I travel by train and this is quite fun as there are lots of other pupils on the train, although many get off before I do, as I live quite far from school. Exeats are a nice break from the busy routine of school. It is lovely being pampered by my family.
At school we do sports training twice a week and some pupils have matches on Saturday afternoons, depending on what sports they do. Other people have recreational activities at the weekend, such as squash or swimming. You can also use the gym. There are many different sports available so I was able to choose different sports each term which we are able to try out when we first join. Sports like fives or sailing were new to me.
Do not despair if you are not very sporty, you can also do things like art and music at the weekend instead of team sports.
Life in the dorm
I really enjoy sharing a room with all my friends. You become so close and there is always the occasional dorm raid to liven life up! This is where one dorm invades another and is hilariously good fun. Some days you are required to make your bed with clean sheets, also you are expected to keep your area clean and tidy. I have a bed, a desk and cupboards and there are six other people in my dorm. Every term we move to a different dorm with different people. The best thing about being part of a dorm is always having your friends around you and the banter.
There is a school canteen where there is good food and a large variety of options. Breakfasts are my favourite. They include a cooked breakfast, cereal, croissants, yoghurt and fresh fruit with lots of different drinks to choose from like hot chocolate and a variety of juices.
You don’t go hungry between meals because there is fruit and toast in the house readily available every day and also treats at break time, like chocolate and crisps and something savoury for tea at 4pm , such as cheese on toast or sausage roll. Some people have tuck boxes which are used to store snacks. You can also buy tuck from the local shops.
Getting freedom from my parents was one of the major perks of boarding school. There is no-one to nag me or tell me what to do most of the time, which is very welcome. Being at boarding school has helped me understand how to travel long distances by train. That said, it is lovely that I get lots of attention when I get home from my parents and grandparents.
At boarding school you have to organise your time well. I have a very busy timetable and at first it was very hard to get to things on time. However, as I relaxed into the routine, I found things got easier. I received lots of help from various people like my tutor, housemaster and other boys in the house. I have come up with strategies which help me organise myself such as writing reminders and using alarms on my phone.
My conclusions about boarding school so far
Boarding school life is full on, especially lessons and homework but as the year is progressing I am finding things easier and easier. It is good to be at boarding school. I am glad I did not go to a day school because boarding school helps me forge stronger friendships with my peers.
At boarding school you get so many more opportunities to do exciting activities, like I will have the chance to go on a band tour abroad next year. Secondly, you can try things you have never had the opportunity to try before, for example, I have joined a swing band, I love the music and would love to be the lead singer one day. It’s fantastic that there is always someone to do something with, for example, in my house there is a big garden where you can play football and cricket with your friends.”