DAY SCHOOL OR BOARDING SCHOOL ? – WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR YOUR CHILD
Quintessentially Education explores the advantages and disadvantages of both systems, providing an insight into this commonly debated subject.
Boarding schools have a long-standing reputation for prestigious social and academic excellence. The independent school sector educates over 7% of the total number of school children in England and just fewer than 18% of pupils over the age of 16. Boarding schools have now become more accessible with financial aid often available, and competition is fierce as research has indicated that private boarding school pupils are twice as likely to attend elite universities as state school pupils, according to The Telegraph. The most prestigious boarding schools attract the best teachers in the country due to their reputation and superior budgets, enabling a higher quality of research and teaching in turn. Learning never stops, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Children often feel like they have a second family within their peer groups and make invaluable connections well into adult life.
Life in a boarding house is an integral part of the boarding school experience, teaching children patience, tolerance, independence and good manners that will benefit them throughout their lives.
The structure and discipline offered by boarding schools such as getting up early, morning exercise and looking presentable can provide a welcome rest to parents of teenagers. These habits become second nature, and students are taught to take pride in their appearance and adopt a professional air that is transferable to their career paths in the future.
There are, however, disadvantages to boarding schools. Serious questions have been raised as to whether boarding is developmentally appropriate for young children. Absence from primary caregivers may result in separation anxiety and emotional detachment from parents. Joy Schaverien (2011), a Jungian psychotherapist, has proposed a condition called “Boarding School Syndrome”. She argues that adults, who experienced boarding school as young children, often suffer significant life-long trauma due to the severing of vital social attachments through early separation from family. While boarders often appear as very outgoing and well-adjusted individuals, Schaverien proposes the outward projections are merely a protective personality structure created as a means of adapting to unmet emotional needs.
Parents of boarding school children often report feeling less involved in their child’s upbringing. Some families, moreover find it hard to cope and experience a great sense of loss, which reoccurs every time their children go back to school.
The majority of pupils begin boarding age 13, a crucial year for cognitive and hormonal development. Arguably, beginning boarding aged 13 instead of age 8 allows for the child to be more involved in the process, deciding for themselves where they want to go and also when.
The most widespread system in Britain, on the other hand, allows education to exist alongside uninterrupted family life.
Day schools tend to be significantly cheaper than boarding schools. A further advantage of Day School is that nurturing family bonds are not severed through extended absences from the family home. The vast majority of state schools are day schools, meaning that often a pupil can have the best of both worlds, as many state-run grammar schools are beginning to level and even surpass some private schools. Having a parent play a hands-on role, spending time with the child each day can be emotionally fulfilling for both child and parent, establishing a good foundation for adult life.
Parents of day school children are able to be more involved in their daily education, helping with homework and school activities, in turn contributing to academic success.
Disadvantages of day schools include that there are more children per class than at boarding school, and therefore individual attention for any child becomes difficult. Day schools also place more demands on parents’ time, thanks to school runs, taking children to extracurricular activities etc. This option may not be ideal if parents are unable to devote the necessary hours to their children due to travel or busy careers.
There are advantages and disadvantages of boarding and non-boarding education; the choice depends greatly on the family circumstances and the personalities involved. It may also be a good idea to involve the child in this decision process.