The Head of Admissions at Dauntsey’s School on the benefits of boarding in the UK

Why board in Britain?

Sending children to boarding school is a big decision for any family, but overseas parents are increasingly recognising the significant benefits and opportunities that come from a British education.

At its best, a modern British boarding school offers an all-round education that develops the whole person.  It provides outstanding pastoral care and support as staff set clear boundaries and high expectations while nurturing self-esteem and self-reliance which enables pupils to go out into the wider world with confidence.

A recent UK Boarding School Association (BSA) report showed that confidence and independence were the two most frequently mentioned attributes to result from boarding – both vital qualities in the competitive world of university and work.

Boarding at Dauntsey’s

Dauntsey’s has more than 300 full boarders who are joined each day by some 500 day pupils.  We have approximately 70 international pupils from a wide range of countries including; Hong Kong, Spain, India, Nigeria, Dubai and the Gulf States, Italy, Germany, China, Austria, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.

At the heart of our community is the House system which creates a feeling of belonging and collective responsibility.  International pupils are welcomed into one of our Houses which are each staffed with a housemaster or mistress who lives on site with their families.  The House is designed to mirror family life and rapidly becomes a home from home for the pupils.

Dauntsey’s has its own International Society to which all international pupils  automatically become members. It is run by the School’s full-time chaplain, the Reverend Johnson, who organises events throughout the year enabling international pupils to get together socially.  There are trips held during the autumn and spring exeat weekends which pupils can choose to join rather than go to a guardian.

Smoothing the transition to boarding

The first few weeks of boarding are a significant milestone for international pupils and we do everything possible to make this transition as smooth as possible.  The School has a dedicated transport manager who organises transport to and from Heathrow, as well as local railway stations. There is a structured welcome programme for all new pupils to provide support and guidance from the outset.  Everyone will be linked with a “buddy” who will make contact before the new pupil arrives and will be a constant point of contact during those first few weeks.

Each pupil is appointed a Tutor who lives in their House, meaning they are able to get to know each other quickly through both formal and informal meetings.  The Tutor is responsible for ensuring a pupil fulfils their potential academically as well as for their pastoral care. The Tutors report to the House Master or Mistress who acts as an additional constant presence for pupils.

To help build friendships and break down barriers, there is a structured introduction programme which, for younger pupils, involves activities such as a treasure hunt around the School;

For older pupils, there are several team-building events during the first weekend of the academic year and a structured programme of social activities.

Lifelong friendships

Living alongside your peers through adolescence creates very close bonds and builds a strong sense of mutual respect and tolerance.  As pupils leave us at the end of Sixth Form they take with them friendships which can last a lifetime. In an increasingly globalised world, there is something very special about having a connection from boarding school with friends from all over the world.