Boarding is about learning how to live. Boarders grow in confidence, independence and emotional resilience so that when they leave boarding school, they are mature and capable young people, able to get on with others and well-prepared for life beyond school.

Boarding schools are keen to offer their students a wide range of experiences, knowing that these not only look good on applications for university or work, but are also fun. Living and studying in one place provides much more time for you to get on with whatever you enjoy in the company of your friends. Sports and hobbies, dance and drama, music and art, public speaking, aerobics, philosophy, pottery, gymnastics and much more are all on offer at most boarding schools and are included in the school fees.

To help you get the most out of your leisure activities, you’ll be helped and encouraged by appropriately qualified members of staff or accredited coaches, some of whom have won international acclaim in their sport or skill. Not only will they offer expert training, but they will also ensure the safety of those leisure activities which require it.

At a boarding school, you live with other pupils in a boarding house – there might be several boarding houses in each school. Girls and boys stay in separate accommodation. In each boarding house, there will be at least one house parent who lives on the premises. Their job is to look after you and care for your needs. They may also teach at the school too.

Young boarders will probably share a bedroom or dormitory with other children. Each pupil has their own area which can be personalised with photos, a lockable cupboard and wardrobe for possessions. Sharing in this way can be great fun – you might be tempted to stay up all night playing games and talking with your roommates.

Older boarders usually have their own private bedroom, or share a room with just one other pupil. You might also have your own private bathroom or washing facilities.

Most boarding houses have comfortable communal areas where you can relax, socialise and watch television with your fellow pupils, or play indoor activities like table tennis, table football, pool or snooker. Many have a small kitchen area too, so you can make snacks.

Living at boarding school may make a great difference to how you spend your free time. It will certainly offer you the opportunity to do things which you’ve never done before. The amount of freedom you get depends on how old you are, the school’s policy and the location of the school – you may be allowed slightly more freedom in rural areas than in schools based in towns or cities, for example. Younger students are escorted in supervised groups when they are on school trips and weekend activities, going shopping or to the cinema. As you get older, you will have more freedom, most pupils are happy to stay on campus as there is so much activity and fun things to do.

Among your new friends it’s still very easy to stay in touch with your old ones. You will be given your own e-mail address and have broadband internet access, at least in the IT centre. Many boarding houses also have Wi-Fi for those pupils with laptops. Mobile phones are allowed, although schools tend to restrict when you can use them (no texting in lessons!).

Good food is very important – for happiness as well as health. UK boarding schools tend to put a lot of effort into making their meals healthy and tasty. For breakfast you might have a cooked meal, toast, cereal, porridge or fruit. For lunch, there is likely to be a very wide choice of excellent food, including hot meals, salads and vegetarian dishes, interesting desserts and fresh fruit. In the evenings, the food is likely to be just as good and plentiful, with similar choices. Most schools cater well for vegetarian diets.

Students who board enjoy the close friendships and the strong sense of community that exists in boarding schools while being able to develop their independence. Boarders lead fulfilling lives, with access to a rich variety of activities at evenings and weekends.

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