Having just seen an advert for a well-known boarding school in the North of England, a competitor of ours, we are feeling rather bemused by a claim they have made that their boarding is the ‘best’. Specifically, “Best Boarding in UK, no one else comes close”.
The best? No one comes close! Certainly not in the last 2 years has anyone from their school been to check out our facilities and done some kind of qualitative survey and I’m guessing they haven’t been to a boarding school near you. What does this mean? How can this wild claim ever be substantiated?
Here’s a stab at what they could mean… the biggest rooms, the most TV screens, the greatest volume of rooms, the most up to date facilities. Is this what boarders want? Is this what parents want?
Isn’t choosing boarding an emotional decision as well as a logical one, possibly more so?
We don’t say that our boarding is the best, but what we do state as fact is that from student feedback, we know that our students are happy, because they tell us that they are. We know that our boarders’ parents are happy, because they tell us that they are.
We have some shared rooms, some single rooms, plenty of decent clean bathrooms, plenty of entertainment laid on, a multitude of activities, friendly small houses, a beautiful, safe location to offer and 2 sets of residential houseparents in each house who genuinely care.
If there’s an issue to resolve, we listen carefully and sympathetically and attempt to resolve it as soon as possible. We have houses that are small enough so that everyone can feel like they are at home, living in a big family. Laundry gets done more often than not within one day, houses are extremely clean and meal times offer plenty of healthy alternatives. Safety is paramount. We like to think we cover the basics as a matter of course.
Our ethos is to treat the boarders with the respect they deserve as they live away from home for the first time and integrate with each other, finding friendships, pursuits, relaxation time, develop their talents and evolve into their own characters.
The ‘best’ is nonsense. Happiness is key and students will thrive best when they feel appreciated.
So what do you think makes one boarding school better than another? We’d love to hear from boarders and parents, no matter what school you attend.