5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Boarding School

Posted November 22, 2020 in Choosing a School By Rodney Steer

For many families located in rural areas or international locations, the conversation of whether to send your child to boarding school will inevitably be an ongoing topic of discussion. While there is plenty information on the benefits for sending your children to board, it is often a difficult to decide which school will deliver the best opportunities for your child.

The first step towards making the right choice is having a solid foundation of requirements. Think, what does my child will need in a school?

It’s a big question! However, there are several steps that you should consider before making a choice. Often parents will overlook these items, as it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the amount of options. This can result in sending your child to a school that may not be right for them.

Here are Five Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Choosing a Boarding School for Your Child.

  1. Choosing a school based on family tradition

Boarding has changed in recent years. What was once suitable for family members, may not be the best for the current generation.

No doubt, there is something special about having different generations of a family go through the same school. The bond, memories, and shared experiences of parents and children who went to the same school is unique.

However, it’s important to be wary of whether or not this loyalty is blinding you to what is the best fit for your child. When making your decision, make sure that alongside family tradition you are weighing up who your child is. For example, you may have loved the focus your boarding school placed on sport, but your child may have a passion for an entirely different subject area. Does your old school cater adequately for that passion too?

Most importantly, you need to be confident that the values of the school still reflect your own. Values of any institution can evolve over time. It’s vital to be assured that your relationship with the school and its boarding program will align with your personal perspectives of ‘how it should be done’.

  1. Only visiting one school

While you may already have an idea of where you would like your child to go, it’s important not to make a decision after seeing only one school.

Comparing several boarding schools will not only allow you to make your decision with confidence, it may open your eyes to opportunities that you may not have known existed within other school programs.

While you may have heard amazing things about a specific school and boarding house from other child’s parents, what they needed for their children and valued in a school may be quite different to what your kid(s) need. Where you send your child to school needs to be based in the individual wants/needs of your child. That may mean sending them to a school that wasn’t initially on your radar.

  1. Choosing based only on test scores

Of course, academics are a key deciding factor in where you send your child to board. However, choosing to send your child to a school purely based on the test scores that they deliver does not guarantee that your child will be set up for academic success.

More important than test scores, is that your child feels supported in their learning and that they receive the type of care they need to feel confident in their schooling. An environment that is built on nurturing children’s talents rather than pushing them to produce high test scores, will give allow kids to grow with confidence and be better students all round.

  1. Not visiting the school and the boarding house when students are around

This is a must. When you walk through a school during the holiday period, it is quite difficult to get a feel of the day-to-day student life. However, visiting a campus and boarding house facilities when students, teachers and staff are there will immediately give you a sense of the community and the feel of the school.

While touring the boarding house, you will be able to get a sense of how it operates. For example, are students interacting with only those their age group, or is there interaction between all year levels? Do the shared spaces seem clean and organised, or have the students dumped their bags and books wherever they feel like? Observe the details and you’ll get a sense of how happy and organised life seems.

It is also recommended that you watch staff intently to see how present and engaged they are with students in their care. Hopefully, during your observations, you will notice that the

is a bustling and inclusive hive of activity. After all, you want your child engaged and active during their time there.

  1. Not listening to what your child wants

While you may know what you want for your child, it is still important to make sure that they are a part of choosing the boarding school that they will be going to. Have them do research alongside you, have them come along to school tours, and listen to what their thoughts and feelings are.

Obviously, you will have the final say, but taking your child’s thoughts and opinions into account will make them feel valued and a part of the process, which will make them feel more comfortable with whatever decision you make.

By heading the above advice, your family will be well equipped to make a decision on which boarding school will be the best fit for your child. For more information, head to the Wesley College Blog where our award-winning boarding school team has put together articles with tips and advice on boarding school life.

Alternatively, feel free to call us with any questions you have about boarding in Perth. We’re always happy to answer anything we can. Contact our staff today at enrol@wesley.wa.edu.au or call +61 8 9368 8032

  • This article has been updated from a previous post.

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