Lockdown is upon us once more

 

The UK has been plunged into full lockdown again this month, but we are pleased to be able to share how the boarding sector is facing up to the challenges.

 

“At Bromsgrove School, over the Christmas holidays we looked after 45 boarders. They honestly really enjoyed themselves, with Christmas visits, Christmas stockings, presents and special meals”

 

Many International students chose not to go home for the festive period, to ensure they could be back at school  for the new term. From 2nd January schools started to welcome all those boarders needing travel quarantine and early arrivals, plus the boarder children of key workers.  At many schools boarders were tested on arrival and if anyone in the boarding community tested positive, staff were able to care for them in school.  Most schools now have their own testing facility, using lateral flow to test their staff and students on a weekly basis. But just as term for the boarders was about to begin, the UK was ordered into lockdown including all schools.  Boarders who were already at their schools or in transit were allowed to join their boarding houses.

 

 

Bromsgrove currently has 180 boarders on site all participating in online lessons and an extra-curricular programme. They are enjoying having access to their pastoral staff, the School facilities and being able to enjoy the 100 acres of grounds to themselves. The nursing team and mental wellbeing nurse are also part of the pastoral team caring for the boarders. Lessons are taking place online for boarders, as they are for their classmates at home. The day starts with breakfast as normal and be followed by assembly or tutor time. Pupils will access their academic lessons in a supervised classroom, using a laptop and headphones.

 

We met Deepika, her brother Arshad and their parents in Saudi Arabia in November 2019 as part of our Middle East Tour; both children joined a boarding school in September 2020.   We are really impressed with how they have adapted to boarding life and Deepika’s parents are proud to receive this feedback from her house parents:

 

“Just a note to say how impressed we are with Deepika here in her new home. She continues to light up the boarding house with her smile and interacts really well socially with both staff and the other boarders. She really enjoyed Mrs Jackson's silk painting activity last week and has taken part in many other house events. She has also looked out for Arshad when he needs support. Deepika is a fabulous example of the kind of person we really appreciate in boarding”

 

The weekend provides an opportunity for rest and relaxation as well as activities. With schools offering activities sessions and Saturday evening will often see the boarding house community get together to socialise. Pupils will be able to engage with their usual non-sporting activities virtually and continue to develop skills, work towards qualifications and, above all, engage with friends and staff who have shared interests.

 

As the days become lighter and warmer, the vaccine brings us hope that life will be able to return to normal, but in the meantime UK boarding schools are making sure our children are educated everyday.

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