What is a Boarding School?

An unusual school name and a new dive for a child.

It just so happened that the United Kingdom has never experienced major internal shocks in its multi-century history. The British Kingdom was always distinguished by a special ability to react quickly to any changes (political, economic, international, social), and make better decisions in a timely manner. Of course, these common characteristics also apply to the field of education, which "flexibility" allowed British private schools still successfully and harmoniously combining the experience and traditions accumulated for centuries, being ready to adequately respond to any requests of our time. A "crocked" definition of British education as a "standard" is quite justified. A proof of this are the ratings (which are always high), and the list of successful graduates (which is infinite). Millions of ambitious parents dream that their child will finally get the "gentlemen’s factory", this is how English private schools are often called. The Kingdom responds to a stable demand with as a stable supply and successfully "bargains" such a demanded commodity, as classical British education, exporting its diplomas and certificates to all countries and continents.

The words "boarding school", synonymous with the words "boarding house" in the countries of the former Soviet Union, Europe and even the United States, is associated with something marginal. (It is clear that there are exceptions for every rule, which, however, only confirm the rule). The majority of educational institutions, organized on the principle of boarding houses, where a child/young person will have to not only acquire knowledge but also live away from the family, are intended either for orphans or for children with physical or mental development problems.

Only at Albion, the boarding schools system has taken roots strongly and reached incredible proportions. Moreover, this system has been chosen by Britain for children of wealthy and privileged families.  

British "closed school" tend to concentrate in the hands of the educational institution, not only the whole process of education, but also the formation of a personality. The purpose is to educate a citizen, whose beliefs and ideals will conform to the principles of the modern British society.

Such approach is rooted in the far Middle Ages, when public (private) schools had one goal - to provide high-quality classical education for a future public career, i.e. for a career of a government official or a clergyman.

Since the XIX century the educational "doctrine" was adjusted: if a medieval public school sought to strengthen the spirit of students through religion, now the ultimate goal is a formation of a character of a "true Englishman", a Puritan with solid moral foundations, extraordinary mental abilities and gentlemanly manners.  Dr. Thomas Arnold performed as a reformer, who opened Rugby School in 1827. It is thanks to his abilities, today, sports disciplines and "valours" are an integral part of the classical British education, Dr. Arnold was the first to define sport as one of the main methods of education of youth.

A boarding school is a school of permanent residence, where students live and study during an academic year. Joint study of "boarders" (permanently residing in school) and "coming students" (living with their families and going back home at the end of a school day) creates a favorable atmosphere for communication.

Most boarding schools are mixed, boys and the girls study here (mixed classes, but living is separated). There are also many schools just for girls or just for boys.

The boarding schools accept both British and international students for whom English private schools are considered to be a perfect place. Over the years, wealthy heirs of the numerous colonies of the British Kingdom studied and lived together with the English children of noble families in boarding schools. The techniques for integration of foreign children in a new environment, that have been "polished" for centuries, are successfully applied by contemporary British private schools as well.

Today, a private boarding school is an infrastructural complex consisting of educational buildings, all kinds of art houses, sports halls, playgrounds and facilities, special buildings for living. An English boarding school often provides a separate building for practicing the art of theater. There is also an indoor swimming pool, a school-wide dining room and a cafe, shops with first necessity goods. Some schools have their stables. 

The modern British system of boarding school education is represented not only by "privates", but also by public boarding type schools. For obvious reasons, "state employees" can not compete even with relatively modest private boarding schools. And it is associated not only (and not so much) with the difference of funding and material equipment of wealthy private boarding schools.

In addition to financial independence, private schools are independent in their educational strategies as well. Unlike public schools, which receive training programs "from above", independent schools (that’s how they are called officially) develop their educational programs onsite.

The reputable private schools tend to teach more subjects than public schools. For example, at famous Eton, mathematics and Latin, ancient history and computer science are taught at the level of the University of Cambridge. One of the planks of the famous Radley School is to provide all graduates with the knowledge of information technology at the level of Cambridge requirements. The famous richest British library of classic literature is also located on the territory of Radley. Students are also thought to hunting (the British national sport) - the school has a stable with a private kennel. The facilities of other top boards, such as Harrow, Scottish Gordonstoun, Winchester, are no less "luxurious".

The main advantage of a private school over a public one is a selection of students, i.e., enrollment the most brilliant, capable and talented students in its ranks. For example, to get (or rather, get a chance to get) into Radley prestigious boarding school, you have to be enrolled 10 years earlier, i.e., at the age of three (but it’s better to be enrolled from birth). The waiting list is huge, therefore the "waiting list" guarantees nothing. Radley school administration does not conduct any interviews or entrance examinations, and determines the level of a candidate, by "tracking" him preliminary, requesting data from the schools where he studied earlier. If a candidate is weak, he will be denied.

Neither title of nobility, nor connections, nor money will help to get into the top-end boarding school, if the applicant’s IQ does not meet the standards of his chosen school. Perhaps, a modern elite boarding school is one of the few places where money does not talk, but many things depends on them as well. Here is an excerpt from a conversation of a Russian journalist with a Radley School head teacher, Andrew Ricks:

-Assuming that a Russian citizen came to you, who was not able to - for obvious reasons! - enroll his child in Radley 10 years ago. He is, therefore, too late. However, he is willing to pay "extra", for example, to become a College sponsor. Will you accept him, bypassing the queue?

- No, we will not. Our college does not practice such things. It is excluded.

Other famous private schools in Britain also do not practice such things.

Famous Eaton also carries out enrollment of students by previous appointment. They get enrolled on the following day after birth, or until the child is ten and a half years old. Upon reaching the age of 11 the boy (Eaton is a male college) will be invited to the college for an interview, and the so-called test for identifying addictions. To successfully "pass" the interview it won’t be enough for the child to "cram" school books from cover to cover. The people who will never set the Thames on fire often have phenomenal memory. Eton is also interested in unconventional and creative thinkers, with a high IQ. If a young applicant is such, he will have to pass the final test in two years, the success in which plus positive characteristics of the former school director will open the gates of Eton dreams before him. According to the statistics, 250 of 250 Eton graduates enter universities.

However, the British educational system offers more modest boarding schools as well, and it does not mean that the level of teaching or the comfort of living in these schools is worth nothing. For example, in order enter the oldest King Edward`s School, founded in London in 1553, it is necessary to pass only two exams - English and mathematics.  Students from the UK should further take an IQ test, foreigners don’t’ have to. 25% of King Edward`s School pupils (about 95 people) study at the expense of charitable funds, and money allocated from the London budget. They are talented kids who get the school because of difficult family circumstances. Many foreign (and not only) students use this kind of "average" schools as an intermediate step on the way to enter more prestigious secondary schools. And some of them  succeed.

A British boarding school is a great starting point for those wishing to enter the world's leading universities. A few classes and individual training programs have advantageous effect on the quality and effectiveness of education. In addition, new acquaintances, smoothly "developing" into friendship may initiate a long and productive business partnership in the future.

The restriction and narrow-mindedness of consciousness of some parents (especially in the CIS countries), preferring to keep their beloved child nearby as long as possible, do not allow them to understand the obvious: studying and accommodation in a boarding school, first of all, teaches to independence, discipline, responsibility for their actions , the ability to make decisions based solely on own principles, independence of thinking. All these qualities will naturally "lead" the child to achievement of one hundred percent success in all spheres of activity. British boarding schools have been shaping the political and economic elites in many countries for centuries. And if you really want to be calm for the future of your child, and potentially see him purposeful and successful, intelligent and intellectually "savvy" - you direct road is to the "gentlemen's factory."

Drastic changes in a habitual way of life are often painful. To a greater extent this applies to a fragile psyche of a child. 13-14 years old is the optimal age for changing school and moving to another country. At this age, a teenager is not so attached to his native home, and easier perceives new things, and therefore adaptation in a foreign cultural environment goes faster and without any possible psychological traumas.

To date, boarding schools have 800 thousand people of students, and there are 2400 private schools in the UK. 2400 is 7% of the total number of British students. A drop in the ocean! However, this "insignificant" number generates half of all UK students who are deservedly called an intellectual elite of their generation.