When a 2-in-1 works!
The rare occasion
Regan Schreiber, Head of Boarding at Hazlegrove Prep School and a houseparent for nearly 20 years, reflects on the benefits of a boarding environment for all of the children in a school
I remember my gran asking me, in response to my telling her of my newly acquired VHS / TV 2-in-1, what happens if one breaks? And following this up by saying that they are never as good as stand-alone items – there must be a compromise. I have carried these wise words with me, especially when I have been tempted to buy the all-in-one camping gadget or kitchen appliance.
But with all due respect to granny, I think I have finally found the only 2-in-1 product that is genuinely better than the stand-alone ones. The product? A day-boarding school. One might think that they would be better on their own, but they complement each other perfectly.
What are the benefits of choosing a school with boarding if what you really want is a day school? Surely life, and indeed school, is complicated enough for our children, without them having to wonder why some children board and others don’t? And what about those dreaded cliques?
Boarders are day children who just happen to live at the school during term time. During the school day, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart and you certainly wouldn’t find day and boarding children co-existing separately. That is just not how children work. They are in the same classes, play in the same teams and enjoy the same school meals. But there is something that changes in schools where boarding is present – there is a soul and a heartbeat in the school that is very different to that of day schools. This exists because the staff and the children view the school as a home from home, investing time and care in the fabric of the school which permeates into the day-to-day running of the school.
One only must walk around an empty school to realise that without children it is an eerie experience. Add children and caring adults into the place, 24 hours a day, and what you get is a real family and community feel which benefits everyone – day and boarding children alike.
In terms of facilities, boarding schools often have all the bells and whistles at their disposal, as they need to occupy and provide for children after hours. In terms of pastoral care, the school is attuned to the holistic approach towards looking after children, with a focus on both well-being and schoolwork.
The school never switches off and nor do the staff, who maintain a culture of all-round parenting which is not restricted by normal working hours. This positively affects all who work in a day-boarding school and has an enormous benefit for all who attend the school.
What I would say though, is that the boarding needs to be exceptional. If boarding is done well, everyone benefits. So, forgive yourself for that 4-in-1 jacket that you bought and the pair of shoes that were meant to be both smart and casual, and give a day-boarding school a try. I would be very surprised to hear that you didn’t feel the pulse of a loving and caring community the instant you walk through the door.
Hazlegrove is an Independent Day and Boarding Preparatory School for boys and girls. Established in 1947, the school enjoys a beautiful setting within 200 acres of parkland in Somerset, benefitting from outstanding facilities. Find their School House listing here.
Please contact Ali Rogers, Head of Admissions and Marketing for further information: [email protected] (01963 442 606)
Hazlegrove’s next open mornings are 1 & 7 February 2020. Book your place here.