Advantages of Boarding – Vicky Clayton, Sherborne School

Sherborne School, Dorset

Schools, whether secondary or independent understand that a good education is a powerful tool and that all educators need to encourage a passion for learning. We all undertake to join the dots together to give our pupils the best chance for success but if all schools are ultimately striving for the same outcome, might one suggest that a full boarding school environment might have the edge?

Supporting this claim, boarding schools have the time to prepare a young mind, academically and pastorally. The longer days and weekends provide the opportunity for a whole host of extra experiences and support, leading to a well-rounded individual.

Encouragement and facilitation will begin in the House environment; at Sherborne the first wave of support comes from the House Team led by the Housemaster. Tutors have time with their tutees discussing academic progress and pastoral concern, each week. This regular contact and rounded view of each boy builds a strong relationship to ensure all pupils are motivated and engaged.

Matrons play an integral part within boarding schools; at Sherborne, any misconceptions by the boys that matrons will tidy their rooms are quickly dispelled and self-sufficiency, an important life-skill, is developed! Matrons at Sherborne are held close to the hearts of the boys and it is a very special relationship where these key stalwarts of the School have the medical, emotional and organisational needs of the boys at the forefront of their minds.

Academic progress is important. The nature of full boarding brings a longer School day and departments are open beyond the working day. Boys can access support but there are also opportunities for enrichment with boarding schools offering an unrivalled range of co-curricular clubs supplementing the more traditional activities. One could argue, full boarding offers ‘an educational experience with no limits’.

The most recent at Sherborne is a Calligraphy club run by new Head of Computer Science Dr Wild, is being run alongside some popular long-standing clubs including Fives, Fly Fishing, Sailing and Debating! Boys also enjoy a close relationship with Sherborne Girls with whom joint activities, subjects and social opportunities are well-established.

Boarding schools offer the chance to separate home life in the boarding house from study time; at Sherborne the newly refurbished School Library offers a wonderful setting and with notable alumni including Alan Turing, Hugh Bonneville, Chris Martin and Jeremy Irons there is a distinct sense of purpose at the School. The friendly team of library staff are on hand to help with research and study skills and boys (and staff) are often found having a little bit of quiet time.

Integral values at Sherborne encourage boys to be respectful, confident, passionate, independent and curious; PSHE and School Assemblies promote a culture of kindness and compassion. Mentors, predominately Sixth Form, offer an alternative listening service or extra academic support.  This in turn strengthens the community in House and takes the ‘Sherborne Spirit’ into life beyond the School.

So do boarding schools have the edge over their day counterparts? Well, all schools work incredibly hard to support their pupils academically and pastorally, teachers are passionate about their subjects and institutions aspire to prepare pupils effectively for ‘the world beyond’.

We believe that our full boarding provision at Sherborne works, it provides an outstanding educational experience for our boys and we hope that when boys leave Sherborne, they go into the world with a determination to do something remarkable with their lives… and most of them do just that! It’s not always plain sailing, but our community has time on their side which is the benefit of full boarding.

Vicky Clayton

Head of Learning Development and Teacher of Drama

Sherborne School

School website design: Innermedia