29 April 2016
So often I hear from our girls how much boarding life helps them grow both socially and intellectually as well as developing their confidence. Sadly though, some people have a strong fear of boarding because of their own negative experiences. Also, boarding school has occasionally been used as a threat to make a child behave. The days of draconian boarding have long gone and we emphasise nurture, care and each girl being All She Can Be.
Occasionally, there has been some previously felt distance and friction between a child and a parent that has been repaired through the boarding experience. It is good for children to know that their mother and/or father are not simply ‘picking on’ them by sending them to boarding school. As a second home, boarding is still a place where a daily routine and structure go hand in hand with expectations and standards. Strangely enough, the expectations of boarding staff may appear quite similar to those of the girl’s parents and this is why clear communication between parents and boarding staff is critical in making the boarding experience one of growth, maturity and participation.
Some years ago I took a father and daughter on a tour of the boarding school where I was working and the poor man was obviously struggling. This was a co-ed boarding school and he eventually told me about his awful experiences. Similarly, a dear friend of mine would stay with us and could not even walk over the road to look at where I worked because he had been so unhappy there as a child. That school had completely changed, but his memories were the stuff of ongoing nightmares.
We strive to create only happy boarding memories at Glennie and currently we have two past boarders working happily and making a positive difference to the Glennie boarding experience.
When boarders leave at the end of Year 12, their excitement is tinged with sadness because of the closeness of friendships and the loss of a familiar environment and the second family. May girls are quite disappointed by the reality of University residences which are often inferior to Simmons House!
Mrs Val Lovell
Head of Boarding