The benefits of boarding
We spoke to Clare Donovan, Head of Boarding at British International School, Phuket, about the benefits of boarding
Why could boarding be the best option for your family?
Here at British International School, Phuket 14% of our school population live in boarding full time. Over the years, I have had plenty of opportunity to observe the benefits they enjoy by virtue of living on the school campus, and the benefits are vast, including structure and routine, safety and security, lifestyle, academic and sporting opportunities and the development of essential life skills.
What can boarders expect in terms of structure and routine?
Boarding allows students to create a positive, healthy work life balance. The structured routines of boarding life allow them to juggle academic commitments alongside extra-curricular activities whilst also enjoying down time with friends. The commuting time is an average of three minutes to every four corners of the school, so this leaves our students more time to study, enjoy sport, performing arts and hobbies as well as developing lifelong friendships.
How do you ensure the safety and security of boarding students?
Through 24/7 supervision. Your child’s safety is our number one priority. BISP’s site is expansive, yet safe and secure with 24/7 security guard coverage. Regular fire safety training takes place across students of all ages and the school infirmary is adjacent to the boarding houses. The minute the school day ends, our experienced, committed team of House Parents come on duty to take care of the boarders.
We take our duty of care very seriously; if that means getting up at 4:30am to take a student to the infirmary, that’s what we do. We celebrate birthdays, daily successes and listen to your child’s concerns or worries. In the capacity of “loco parentis” we do whatever you as parents do to ensure your child’s wellbeing. As parents, if you work extremely long hours or have to travel extensively for business, then boarding could be the answer for your family.
You mentioned lifestyle as being one of the benefits of boarding. What is life like for a boarding student?
Our boarders do not need to sit in the back of the car in traffic or on the school bus at either end of the school day. Rather, just two minutes to saunter in the sunshine back to the boarding house, where the House Parent is there to welcome them home. BISP’s 43-acre leafy, green site is expansive and beautiful, so the short walking commute is not exactly a hardship!
Also, at the weekends we run fully supervised boarding trips to get our boarders out and about across the beautiful Island of Phuket. We take snorkelling trips, we visit the beach and water parks, we go ice skating, wakeboarding, rock climbing as well as shopping and eating out.
Can you tell us about some of the opportunities that boarding may bring?
Boarding allows students to access academic or sporting opportunities that they might never be able to access if they stayed in their home country. To name but a few, we have footballers from Brazil, swimmers from Lithuania, triathletes from the UK, tennis players from India, golfers from Northern Thailand and academic scholars from Vietnam. Some of these students go on to top universities and to receive sporting scholarships all over the world.
Which essential life skills may a student develop through boarding?
Living in the boarding community from the age of 8 years upwards teaches our boarding students life skills they would never perhaps learn at home, or perhaps not so early on. Personal and community responsibility, kindness and compassion for others and sharing responsibility for their living environment are all life skills that emerge as our boarders grow and flourish. They are guided by House Parents to take appropriate decisions and to accept the consequences of their actions. These developing life skills help boarders become confident, independent young people ready to face the challenges of life beyond school.
Do boarding students have easy access to school facilities and services
Absolutely! As mentioned earlier, the walk to the centre of school is 2 minutes. This allows easy access to thirteen football fields, a 50m and 25m swimming pool, a gymnasium, an expansive sports hall, tennis centre, golf course and driving range. Then of course there is access to the Library, teaching staff, to additional tutoring and classes as well as Wellbeing, Counselling, Medical and Support Services.
Passing responsibility for your child to a school is not easy. So, if you think boarding could be the right answer for your family, come and visit our boarding facility and talk to our boarding staff. We look forward to meeting you.
Head of Boarding
British International School, Phuket
+66 (0) 7633 5555 ext. 1116