Close this search box.

【The Standard】A foretaste of things to come

Boarding 101


“My daughter has been invited to have a trial night at a boarding school. Should we take her to the UK?”

Yes, I would encourage families to visit schools and enable their children to immerse themselves into the boarding environment to get a feel of whether a school may be right for them or not.

Most leading boarding schools organize taster days which may incorporate overnight stays. Considering you will have to travel a long way, it may be worth organizing visits to other schools during your stay in the UK.
At most schools, taster days can be organized at any time during the school year. You may have to give schools seven to 10 days’ notice.
The reason taster days are so worthwhile is because children take part in a normal school day. At Bruton School for Girls, for instance, girls on taster days attend lessons and have the chance to take part in extracurricular activities.
Another school that meticulously organizes taster days according to the needs of families is Sedbergh.
Tasters are diligently tailored to individual pupils who immerse themselves deeply in the school’s culture and atmosphere through the engagement of house activities and competitions.
If possible, I would advise asking the school whether it is possible to stay for two days.
Sedbergh, for instance, organizes two-night tasters. The difference between one day and two days could be significant and staying for two days can only help your child to form a clearer picture about the nature and atmosphere of the school.
After all, choosing a school is not a decision to be taken lightly. Determining where your daughter will spend her formative years requires the time, space and personal contact with those she may live, eat, sleep and study with.
Taster days and nights are a means for families to ensure that a school’s culture – as opposed to its sports facilities and technology – will suit the needs of children.
Shorter open days are often very contrived and only offer selective viewing led by a tour guide.
Taster days enable children to see things which they may not be able to during open days and enable them to break social barriers between themselves and other students.
Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink. lucyqna