The benefits of a boarding education | SISD
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Mar 07, 2021

The benefits of a boarding education

The skills students get from boarding

Schools offering boarding provide children with more than a place to study and sleep. From a more motivating academic environment to greater exposure to activities, development of social and community skills and leadership, the boarding school environment boasts a greater number of benefits compared to day schools.

SISD offers boarding for students ages 11 to 18, which provides them with life skills that help them prepare for post-secondary life and their professional careers.

Academic and other achievements

Boarding provides students with a day-long, immersive educational environment in which a child’s growth and development can be nurtured. Smaller class sizes are usually the norm, and coupled with the dedicated boarding tutors and additional academic assistance after-school, means that boarding students often receive a more personalised education. In this environment, students are less likely to be marginalised or overlooked, and staff can support and monitor their academic progress more easily.

According to a study conducted by the Arts & Science Group of Baltimore for The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), boarding students succeed at higher rates compared to private and public day school students, even in university and adult life. 78% of boarders reported they were motivated by their peers, and felt more prepared for university life.

Similar to a college or university campus, schools providing boarding tend to invest more into their facilities. In addition to a rich curriculum, it is not uncommon to see swimming pools, gymnasiums, athletic courts and fields, robust libraries, and performance arts centres on campus to encourage activities outside of the classroom. Some schools offer a range of activities outside the norm, such as scuba diving, flight training, jiu-jitsu, rock climbing, and boxing. At SISD, our students have access to a full-sized Olympic pool, indoor sports halls, running tracks (indoor and outdoor), a gymnasium and cardio suite, volleyball and tennis courts, a climbing wall and huge-sized outdoor pitches – all of which are accessible and used by boarding students at the weekends, and in their spare time.

As a result, students are free to explore their interests with fewer distractions and can fully discover their talents, strengths, and skills, from arts and music to science and math, or sports.

A major reason boarding students succeed academically is the availability of teachers on campus who are available to provide additional, individualised attention and support to students even after the school day ends, and on weekends. Teachers act as mentors, coaches, and inspirational leaders to nurture students to fulfill their potential; students are less likely to be exposed to bad influences or engage in negative behaviours.

David McKeown, Head of Boarding at SISD, says:

“SISD holds itself to the highest standards of pastoral care. Our staff responds to every student need, whether it’s counseling or medical aid. Every boarding house has its own carefully selected team who care for your welfare and practical needs. They continuously monitor the well-being of the boarding students in a family atmosphere, in which all are free to express themselves. Our head of houses, deputy heads and tutors are there to not only guide you with your academic studies and interests, but also support you with your emotional needs.”

Social and community skills

Besides developing their interests and hobbies, boarding students gain valuable life skills in a safe community environment. The initial separation from their family can be difficult, but students overcome discomforts and learn to be more adaptable and open to new environments.

In an international boarding school community, students’ social skills improve. While developing deep friendships and strong bonds with peers, students learn to understand and cooperate with each other and socialise outside of the classroom, including on weekends and trips to visit family.

Boarding students also develop soft skills; children grow their curiosity, challenge themselves, and work toward goals they set themselves. They learn to communicate, cooperate, and problem solve relationship challenges with other children, and develop emotional intelligence. With a network of culturally diverse children around them, students learn networking skills early that benefit them later in life.

Boarding students are more free to try new things and experience failure, having the support of faculty members around them. In the absence of a “family” environment, boarding schools aim to keep students comfortable and offer a fun, social atmosphere outside of class.

Boarding also relieves pressure from parents with work or caregiving commitments. Instead of spending nights, weekends, or holidays helping their children with homework, parents can have more quality time with them.

Power of peers

Students who attend boarding school are typically success orientated with aspirations to attend university. Boarding also prepares students well for university. The TABS study found boarding students were more likely to pursue advanced degrees, and advance their professional careers faster, and also often have the confidence to apply to higher, more prestigious academic institutions.

These are communities where academic endeavor is celebrated by teachers and students alike. Unlike at many public schools, students who are clever, committed and curious aren’t alienated, but the norm. In addition to this, boarding school students are also likely to represent a diverse range of backgrounds; informing conversation and breadth of perspective in social spaces. Students are continually learning about other cultures and countries, and this exposure to diversity gifts them with a more open, global mindset. The TABS survey concluded that 31% of boarding school students said the thing they loved most about boarding school was the community atmosphere created within the school dynamic.

Preparation for adult life

Boarding students report their school helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, resilience, and the ability to think critically. Living away from home and learning to balance their academic and social life encourages students to become more responsible. Above all, boarding provides the environment and support systems that promote good mental health and life skills that benefit children well beyond college life.

Boarding students develop confidence, resourcefulness, and moral character beyond life in school. They become more accountable for their actions. Having gained the ability to live independently, they know how to manage their home, budget, and time. They also tend to appreciate their families more, and the time they spend together is focused on enjoying each other’s company and making memories!

To learn more about SISD’s boarding school, visit sisd.ae/boarding-school-in-dubai.