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【The Standard:Boarding Insider】How can I be sure that my child will be safe

School Guide

Boarding Schools have all kinds of measures in place and a multitude of staff to safeguard children. In the context of pastoral care at boarding school, the very word “safety” can mean all sorts of things.

The most obvious meaning would be the notion that children are free to roam around campuses without the danger of them coming across suspicious intruders.

Such a possibility can never be ruled out but the most encouraging aspect of rural boarding schools, which do not usually have fences or gates, is that are often located in low crime areas where there is a true community spirit.

For added security, residential assistants who live on site often patrol school campuses to keep an eye on pupils and to report anything unusual.

Being safe means so much more than avoiding the threat of local criminals. Parents need to grasp that it is just as important for their child to mentally adjust to life at boarding school as it is for them to completely avoid wandering around a vast green campus on their own.

Therefore, I try to assure parents that if their children respect the excellent support and advice offered to them from members of staff, as well as older pupils who have been through the settling in process before, then they should have the common sense to not get into any danger.

Support is provided to minors in all manner of ways. Special counsellors, dedicated “homesickness” policies, often younger house tutors, cuddly house matrons, trained sixth form mentors and buddy schemes which pair children with older fellow students for someone to talk to, all work together to put children at ease from the word go.

The term “home away from home” may be a cliche for many people but life is genuinely geared toward looking out for one another, safety and comfort at boarding school.

Safety should also mean freedom from bullying – but by fostering a spirit of cooperation where pupils feel encouraged to share their feelings with house staff and tutors, and in an environment where pupils even dine together in houses,schools instill values where children learn to respect one another rather than pick faults and feel the urge to tease.

Picture: Cheltenham Ladies’ College

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