Top Tips for First Time Boarders


For many of you, this week will be a flurry of nerves, excitement and mixed emotions as your children embark on a new adventure as ‘first timers’ or ‘newbies’ at boarding school.

To help navigate the choppy school waters we thought who better to ask for their top tips and advice on how to settle in than some real-life boarders themselves! In their own (unedited!) words…


Top tips to settle in

  • Bring your own mattress topper and pillow – it makes your bed so much comfier!
  • Bring photos of your family, pets and yourself when you were younger
  • Take part in all the different activities so you can make friends with more people – even with Social distancing

Indie, 14, at St Mary’s Calne

  • Bring something comfy to wear for when you’re not in school

Jake, 13, at Cheam

  • If you’re missing home, take your mind off it by getting involved – it can be really fun!
  • Go slowly at your own pace – don’t feel you need to rush in
  • Remember that everybody is going through the same experience so talk about it and don’t be afraid to ask for help

Sam, 18, at Eton

  • Take some photos – to remind you of fun times at home
  • Have a few great books to distract you if you get homesick or are cross or upset

Niamh, 9, at Cheam

  • Have posters of your favourite teams, sports stars or your favourite things
  • Don’t worry about being homesick because Matron is there to help you and comfort you – it doesn’t last long
  • Enjoy the school suppers!
  • ‘This is optional’ – but take at least one teddy!
  • Have fun because the best thing about boarding is being with your friends

Tom, 10 at Elstree  

  • Bring your own duvet – it’s nice to have something from home

Will, 13, at Cheam

  • You never get homesick if you are busy, so do lots of activities, they are always fun
  • A book light is good in case you wake up early or can’t sleep
  • Always remember to tell someone if you feel down as the matrons are so nice and cheer you up

Isla, 11, at Cheam

  • Take plenty of tuck!
  • Be yourself
  • Try everything, there will be new stuff you’ve never done before
  • Make friends with the staff as well as the boys. The staff can be great fun!

It is important to remember that with the COVID restrictions the whole school experience will be ‘new’ not just for beginners but for everyone. It will soon become the new normal as will the boarding experience!



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