The national rise in popularity of “flexi-boarding” is being reflected at Pocklington School, as more pupils take advantage of the benefits of staying at School one or more nights every week.
The Independent Schools Council annual census found the proportion of weekly and flexi-boarders has increased over recent years, rising to 18% of all boarders. Pocklington School has also seen a steady increase in flexi-boarding, which families say is a fantastic experience for pupils and a great support to busy working families.
Martin Davies, Pastoral Director of Pocklington School, said he wasn’t surprised by the ISC census findings: “Our experience is that pupils might try boarding for two to four nights a week as a ‘one-off’ for a particular reason but then it works so well for both parents and pupils that it continues,” he said.
Pupils enjoy co-curricular activities, the discipline of regular, supervised homework, and extra time to relax with their friends. The School’s reputation for outstanding pastoral care also reassures parents that their children will be well supervised in a caring environment, so staying here becomes a home from home, rather than a disruption to their week.
Feedback from parents already taking advantage of the School’s flexi-boarding says they particularly value the fact they can avoid the stress of making pick-ups or supervising homework when they themselves have work commitments, younger siblings to care for, and are stretched in many directions.
Our recent School parental survey showed there is a lot of interest in flexi boarding for younger students, reflecting the national trend. Our Junior boarding houses (aged 9-14) are wonderfully cosy and friendly, and parents and pupils are always welcome to come and visit.
Children can thrive under flexi-boarding at this age as it coincides with their growing social and academic independence, said Mr Davies. He added: “One or more regular nights away can gradually develop independence and, at the same time, they get met a whole new set of friends from wider social groups. It also means pupils whose family home is a little further away can cut down on commuting over the week.”
Many parents appreciate the study discipline that boarding brings. With a variety of teachers and support staff around during the evenings, there can also be academic support in prep sessions. As one parent commented: “having that access, particularly in the run up to exams, is invaluable.”
Parent Annie Harrison said her son and daughter had both benefitted from flexi-boarding for two to three nights a week in the Senior School, for very different reasons.
“My son found it very difficult to motivate himself, particularly in the run-up to exams, and I wanted to avoid our home becoming a battleground. I knew the School could give him the structure and discipline I was struggling to provide,” she said.
“As soon as he started boarding, he realised he wasn’t the only one having to buckle down: everyone had set prep time – and after that they could relax together. One of his favourite school memories is the night he gathered with friends in one of the bedrooms for an impromptu singalong with their guitars!”
Mrs Harrison added: “My daughter was in danger of getting overwhelmed by all her extra curricular commitments before she asked to stay at school a couple of nights a week. In the end, it was her excellent house mistress who encouraged her to take her foot off the pedal a bit and find more structure and balance. I feel she got through to her more effectively than I could.”
Some feedback from some of our flexi-boarders:
“Boarding is a fantastic way to get you really into studies and into your work. Not only do teachers go out of their way to help you, they also take pride in it. Boarding has also helped me become more independent. Mr Loten and Mr Dare are saints!” (Max)
“Love the support on offer. Brilliant facilities e.g. library & gym. Love spending time with my friends.” (Sam)
“It’s lots of fun and everyone is so friendly. It has helped me revise for my exams and has made me feel more comfortable with them.” (Verity)
“There is good support and good to have some time off with friends. I would massively recommend.” (Josh)
“I am boarding to help me concentrate and get more revision done. It’s very helpful and lots of fun. I have met new people and it has made me a lot more confident.” (Hattie)
If you are interested in boarding options for your son or daughter and would like to find out more -and perhaps arrange a visit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and our boarding team will get in touch.
Also, follow the boarding community on Twitter @pockboarding to see the great things that go on each week in our boarding community.