MC Boarding

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Being a boarder opens up a wider world T

he teenage years are critical ones in preparing for young adulthood, and the education, environment and support systems that surround young people at this time clearly make a huge difference to their outcomes. British boarding schools have long played a role in this process and are among the most well-respected and prestigious in the world. The modern boarding school experience is about personal growth and development, about learning to learn and enjoy learning, as well as about fulfilling one’s potential, academic and otherwise. There are 503 UK schools in the Boarding Schools Association, and over 75,000 boarders in BSA schools. Former boarders, surveyed by The Association of British Boarding Schools, affirmed their belief that the boarding experience helped them develop in areas such as self-discipline, maturity, and independence, as well as building valuable personal skills, such as the ability to work collaboratively, and resilience.

It is increasingly recognised that young people need to be flexible to meet the demands of adult life and work, in a world that is fast-paced and constantly changing, globally connected, digitally literate and information-saturated. As well as promoting academic aspiration, and offering a platform for outstanding academic outcomes, boarding helps to build critical ‘soft skills’ which young people need to thrive in the modern world. Boarding promotes ‘real world’ interaction, cooperation, communication, problem solving and creativity. It builds a sense of belonging, alongside individual responsibility to the community as a whole and the expectation of meaningful contribution, underpinned by respect for a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and views.

boarding helps to build critical soft skills

Full boarding is at the heart of the Marlborough College ethos and has always been a hugely important part of the Marlburian experience. Marlborough College was founded in 1843 by a group of Church of England clergymen, commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to educate young men to fill the significant need for clergy to support the rapidly growing industrial towns. This required a first class academic and spiritual education, but it was also fundamentally about developing empathy, leadership and social skills, and a commitment to a social purpose, aspects which were fostered by the College’s full boarding community.

Full boarding, now fully co-educational, remains central to the education that we offer today. It makes us more than just a school; we are a 24/7, immersive, busy and vibrant community offering amazing breadth across the academic and co-curriculums. Boarding at Marlborough is about promoting a love of learning and enabling personal development and growth in a safe and supportive environment: an extension of family and home. Modern full boarding at Marlborough College is very different from its Victorian origins! The 16 boarding houses provide the security of a family atmosphere and build ‘house spirit’ through shared experiences. Pastoral care is delivered by dedicated teams of adults who work tirelessly to uphold the health, wellbeing and happiness of the young people in their care. Communication with parents is frequent, visits are encouraged and exeat weekends mean that pupils return home every third weekend for quality family time. Sharing the highs and lows of bringing up teenagers between parents and trained pastoral boarding staff provides a joined-up network of support and helps ensure the right advice, encouragement and expertise is always there when needed. Our pupils also benefit from the very close ties they make with their peers across year groups and boarding houses as friends, confidantes and mentors. It is our experience that our full boarding environment can bring the best out in young people both academically and in their co-curricular activities. Facilities are extensive and excellent. Staff to pupil ratios are high which means that choices can be highly individualised. Academic staff are integrated into the pupils’ pastoral life creating a close-knit community which can be transformative in terms of attainment.

to thrive in what path lies ahead

Pupils note that living with their peers boosts aspiration, encourages hard work and offers role models for success. Longer days and extra time allow for alternative activities and further learning opportunities which extend far beyond the classroom. Being exposed to such a diverse range of options encourages pupils to try new things, helping them to develop their range of interests and grow into more well-rounded individuals. In a full boarding environment, pupils don’t just have to manage their own affairs, they learn how to live and deal with other people. They learn independence and interdependence. Full boarding also enables a diversity of backgrounds and nationalities to come together within the pupil body and build a community that is respectful and inclusive. We work towards equipping pupils with a truly global outlook on the world, and a determination to contribute to the good of the communities in which they will live and work. The opinion of our pupils is critically important: we frequently ask them to share their views on why they enjoy full boarding at Marlborough. Overall, the top responses are that they live in a diverse, happy and close-knit community; they enjoy small, challenging classes taught by teachers who know them and

care about them. Additionally, they relish the opportunity for life-long friendships with young people from around the world whom they may never have met, had it not been for the full boarding experience. Our pupils also appreciate the loss of daily travel time in favour of sports, music, drama, hobbies and wider interests, or simply relaxing with friends. Weekends see Saturday morning lessons, collegiate occasions including Chapel, programmes of sport and excursions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and free time with friends in the beautiful market town of Marlborough and its pretty surroundings. In the Sixth Form, our pupils appreciate the extra time for study and university applications. Specialised support is provided throughout the university application process, helping to ensure pupils have the best possible chance of securing their first choice of higher education places in the UK and abroad. Throughout a pupil’s time at Marlborough College personal and emotional wellbeing is prioritised, and skills are built that help young people to navigate the challenges, successes and setbacks that they will inevitably face. Our Upper Sixth have a lot of personal responsibility for their own studies, as well as a key leadership role within their boarding house and the College. Altogether this means they are well prepared for an active and successful university life, as well as life beyond. We are very proud to be a contemporary full boarding school and of the breadth of educational experience that this enables us to deliver for our pupils. Our aim is to equip young people with the skills for happy, healthy adulthood; to thrive in what path lies ahead. We believe Marlburians are particularly well rounded and confident, understanding of others, able to build strong relationships, socially aware and outward looking.

The pupils who are successful here are the ones who want to embrace the opportunity full boarding offers; to live in a community where learning, personal growth and exploration are the top priorities; where academic programmes and co-curricular activities are abundant; where making friends and taking part is paramount; where support is all around them and where every success is shared and celebrated. At Marlborough College, we truly believe in a modern full boarding education and we would be delighted to welcome you to come and see for yourselves.

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