Cambridge Edition April 2023 - Newsletter


Local schools open up about the magic of boarding – and how a family-led approach has made a significant impact on pupils


W hen it comes to the way boarding schools are perceived, the legacy of Harry Potter and Hogwarts has a lot to answer for. Sorting hats, haunted staircases, owl-delivered post and amazing banquets make the whole idea of staying at school not just appealing – but enviable. Enid Blyton’s enduringly popular Malory Towers and St Clare’s series of books, with their more traditional depictions of midnight feasts and dorm rivalries, really haven’t done a bad job either.

decision that can be almost solely led by the child.” There’s a similar pattern at other schools. “We’re increasingly seeing that the pupils themselves will ask to board because they see the advantages – the fun and the educational benefits – and so say to their parents: ‘I’d like to have a go at that!’” reports George Masters, senior deputy head at Felsted School. There are other changes, too. Gone are large dorms with rows of metal beds and draught-friendly windows. Today, it’s rare to find more than a handful

While many of the familiar aspects of boarding remain – there’s plenty of friendly rivalry between houses, and midnight feasts aren’t unknown either – there have also been some welcome changes for the better. Boarders these days actually get a say, something that would have been unheard of in previous generations – and that starts with the decision to board. As Gresham’s School points out: “The choice of whether your child attends boarding school rarely sits with the parent alone. It is now much more frequently a family


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