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7 Compelling Reasons to Send Your Child to Boarding School

POSTED ON 08/17/2023 BY The Red Pen

Learn how Indian and international boarding schools offer students holistic and immersive educational experiences.

Recently, there has been a distinct trend of Indian families opting to enrol their children in domestic and international boarding schools. This shift is particularly evident in British boarding institutions, where Indian students account for roughly 16 percent of the total population. Similarly, in Swiss boarding schools, Indian students constitute approximately two to five percent of the student body. This surge in enrollment underscores the benefits of a comprehensive and culturally immersive educational experience that Indian and international boarding schools offer. The following points outline the advantages of choosing a boarding school for your child:

1) Boarding schools adopt a holistic approach to education

Boarding schools play a crucial role in fostering a student’s holistic development by embracing a comprehensive approach to their social, psychological, academic, emotional, and physical well-being. This foundational approach is deeply embedded within these institutions across academics, extracurricular activities and healthcare to develop creativity and skills like problem-solving and decision-making.

Unlike day schools that operate within limited hours, the round-the-clock presence of students within the boarding school environment ensures a thorough and well-rounded development, equipping them for success in diverse spheres. For example, a recent study involving 140 students at an international boarding school in Eastern Europe highlighted the efficacy of this comprehensive educational approach and demonstrated substantial student growth and academic improvement.

2) Boarding schools offer an immersive learning environment

Boarding schools offer a focused educational environment with smaller, seminar-style classes that promote profound engagement in learning by minimising distractions. For instance, Charterhouse in the UK maintains class sizes of 12 to 20 students, while Harrow International has an average of 14 students per class. These reduced class sizes contribute to heightened academic support and better monitoring of students’ progress.

Furthermore, the Brillantmont International School Lausanne in Switzerland, renowned as one of the best boarding schools in the world, provides enriching and varied experiences, like sailing on Lake Geneva, urban excursions, culinary workshops, and global expeditions designed to expand students’ perspectives and horizons. Woodstock School in India has an “Art in the Himalayas” programme, enabling students to engage with the natural environment while acquiring valuable creative skills. 

3) Boarding schools provide unwavering faculty mentorship and care

The ‘dorm parent’ role in boarding schools transforms into that of a surrogate parent for students, closely supervising their rest, nutrition, and overall well-being. This deep connection also involves consistent communication with the student advisor, ensuring swift recognition and resolution of any shifts in mood, social dynamics, or academic progress.

For instance, dorm parents at Good Shepherd International Boarding School in India, actively celebrate the boarders’ birthdays, accomplishments, and everyday victories. Moreover, they adeptly navigate and mentor them through life’s challenges, all within a secure and hospitable home-away-from-home environment.

Unlike day schools, where advisors are often responsible for multiple students, leading to fewer interactions, boarding schools take a different approach. Student advisors in boarding schools are specifically assigned to smaller groups, typically comprising five to ten students. This personalised method enables frequent, even daily or weekly, meetings and fosters comprehensive support across academic, social, and emotional development. These student advisors cultivate an intimate understanding of each child, serving as the primary point of contact for parents. 

An example of this approach is Charterhouse’s well-established pastoral care system. The school assigns students to Houses which offer a strong sense of identity and community. Dedicated pastoral teams support these Houses. Within the House, each student is assigned a tutor who takes a keen interest in their academic progress and co-curricular commitments. Tutors hold formal one-on-one meetings with their assigned students thrice weekly and informal interactions every evening. As part of this comprehensive pastoral system, the school provides a well-being centre staffed with medical professionals and counsellors. 

4) Boarding schools foster independence and accountability

Living in a well-structured environment away from home instils a sense of responsibility in children, fostering their ability to manage daily routines and independently take ownership of their decisions. In boarding schools, students assume various responsibilities, such as maintaining their living spaces, organising school materials, preparing for classes and managing study time while engaging in extracurricular activities. This contrasts the home environment, where parental guidance typically holds a greater influence.

5) Boarding schools cultivate inclusivity

International boarding schools and those in India provide a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere that draws students from around the globe. A prime illustration of this is EF Academy, with campuses in the US and UK, where an impressive 90 percent of students hail from over 60 countries. In India, Doon School currently has students from several parts of the world, including the US, Britain, Canada, Thailand, Korea, the Middle East, and Nepal. 

This vibrant blend of cultures, traditions, and practices nurtures empathy and acceptance. Students actively participate in intercultural activities and gatherings, honing their communication abilities and equipping them for forthcoming academic and professional triumphs.

While Swiss boarding schools exemplify this ethos through cultural expos and multicultural clubs, the UK’s Westminster School hosts Diversity Days with all-day programmes where students and faculty introspect on identity, community and history. 

6) Boarding schools build strong networks

The diverse and global community in boarding schools actively nurtures friendships and meaningful connections, which foster a solid and interconnected alumni network. For instance, Eton College holds an annual event called “The Eton Wall Game,” where former students participate in a rugby-like match, showcasing their alumni camaraderie.

Similarly, eminent Indian boarding schools such as Doon School, Welham Boys School, and The Lawrence School Lovedale, commemorate Founders Day as a rendezvous for current students and alumni. 

7) Boarding schools pave the way to prestigious universities

Boarding schools are often a pathway to elite colleges globally. These schools excel in college and career preparation, offering rigorous academic programmes and expert college counsellors to guide students through applications and career planning. According to the Army & Navy Academy in the US, TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) reported that 50 percent of boarding school alumni attain advanced degrees, compared to 36 percent of graduates from private day schools.

Harrow School’s class of 2022 achieved remarkable success in university admissions, with 20 percent of students securing spots at prestigious institutions such as the University of Oxford, University Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London. Additionally, 12 percent of its students gained admission to Ivy League US universities, including Stanford University, Columbia University, and Princeton University. 

In 2021, Wellington School showcases an 80 percent success rate for students gaining direct entry to their first choice of university, with 60 percent advancing to Oxbridge, Russell Group universities and other such prestigious institutions.

Sending your child to boarding school is a complex decision that demands careful consideration and open conversations. You can also read our blogs on what life is like at a boarding school and how to choose the best-fit boarding school for your child. If you want to learn more about boarding schools in India and abroad, please get in touch. Our boarding school experts look forward to hearing from you.