At the age of two, The Queen’s Great Granddaughter Mia Tindall, who is also a cousin to Princess Charlotte and Princes George and Louis, caused a great debate – to go, or not to go, to a boarding school? Mia’s father Mike Tindall, a former day pupil, was not at all keen on the idea of her living away from home. However, Mia’s Mum Zara, a former boarder, argued that boarding school is a very English tradition, like drinking milky tea.
Academic advantages are not the only reason why parents choose private education for their children, frequently opting for boarding schools.
According to statistics, private sector students have a three times greater chance to get to the top UK universities in comparison to the state school graduates. This is not the only attraction of private education – the Independent School Council’s research results show that many parents motivate their choice by higher education standards, better discipline, smaller size classes and wider variety of extra-curricular activities, such as sports, music, dancing, drama etc.
Boarding schools are gaining their popularity with a growing number of applications for school places every year. Here, great attention is being paid not only to academic training, but also to personal development. Leadership, ability to think outside the box, teamwork and resilience are as important as Mathematics and History.
There is a downside of course – boarding school students are likely to miss home and family, but in the modern era of the Internet, Skype and various social networks, children can be in constant contact with their parents. If you think carefully, even living at home children spend more time with childminders than their parents if they are working full time or have to travel for business.
In addition to academic and personal development, boarding schools of today also provide necessary emotional support. Often, children are so busy being involved in school life that they simply forget to be bored. Students not only acquire knowledge and skills, but also learn to successfully socialise making friends for life.
When it comes to school holidays, the quality of time spent with family is significantly better – there is no need to argue over homework!
In terms of cultural enrichment, boarding schools are simply invaluable – this point of view is being supported in literature, for instance in Harry Potter. I have never studied at a boarding school myself, but we always hear a positive feedback from our students and their parents.