“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
14th century proverb

  • How do British boarding school communities work? | Dickinson School Consulting
  • How do British boarding school communities work? | Dickinson School Consulting

How do British boarding school communities work?

The private school system can come under fire for being too elitist or for sheltering its students from the real world outside. In fact, in many ways, British boarding school communities reflect our global community more accurately than state schools can, having a spread of nationalities throughout their student cohort, and by dedicating time and effort for those students to contribute to the world around them.

Boarding life

Most of the schools we work with have a percentage of international pupils of 15-30%, so their students are living and learning with people from all over the world, heightening their sense of community in a truly global manner. While the school week will have them immersed in everything the campus has to offer, weekends provide the opportunity to explore outside the gates, whether locally, on trips to the nearest town/city or further afield for major sporting and cultural events.

IB Diploma’s CAS

IB schools have creativity, activity and service (CAS) as one of the essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Programme (DP). ‘Service’ is defined as an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student, so the idea and habit of contributing to their community is even built into the academic curriculum.

Extra-curricular contributions

Almost all our partner schools offer students the opportunity to complete The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards (DofE), all of which include a volunteering element they must commit to for at least three months. Again, this will likely take them off campus and into their British boarding school communities to, for example, help a charity, help others – whether in a local care home, youth group or sports club – or to practise environmental conservation. Many schools conduct their own charity work too, locally and/or internationally, such as projects to build schools in deprived parts of the world.

Local activities

As well as encouraging their own students to venture beyond their four walls, British boarding school communities often open up to those from local state schools to benefit from their exceptional academic, sporting and cultural facilities. 

The truth is these schools each have their own, unique community that sits very happily within its local one and our global one. Please contact us to find out more.