Boarding schools have always had a way of not just being a place to learn but also where children make lifelong friendships.
Take Box Hill School located in Surrey, England for instance. One of its main goals is to create a diverse, homely environment while developing a proactive and empowered generation of young adults that are ready to go out into the world and chase their dreams.
And it delivers just that, offering a full-time learning experience under the supervision of dedicated House Parents, set in an idyllic, stunning countryside, complete with experiences that one will always remember.
Student Katya said from the day she enrolled, Box Hill has felt like the epitome of warmth and friendliness. “To me, Box Hill has always been a combination of a truly warm and friendly community,” she says. “The diversity and open-mindedness of every student and staff member create a very special and positive atmosphere.”
It wasn’t long until the school became a home away from home. “As I see it, ’school’ doesn’t only mean the learning process, but also the boarding life in which everybody can feel accepted, comfortable and free, just like at home,” Katya adds.
Boarding at Box Hill is like living with a large, happy family. It means being welcomed into a supportive, nurturing community where students can gain independence, discover different cultures, and make friends for life.
The school has six houses: Atwood House, Burmester House, Constantine House, Dalewood House, Old Cottage and Ralph House. Each has its own unique personality.
A typical day begins with waking up at 7 a.m., heading down to breakfast for a choice of a hot or cold meal, and starting lessons. Lunch and more lessons follow, before school ends at 4:30 p.m. Students turn in as early as 9:30 p.m for bedtime, quiet time or reading.
Weekends are more relaxing. On Friday nights, students are either cooking, dancing in drama studio, karaoke-ing, or watching films. Sometimes, the school organises dinner outside in restaurants or pubs, or hold garden barbeques too.
On Saturdays and Sundays, breakfast starts at 9 a.m. followed by prep and quiet time until noon. Students receive academic support from the house parents and teachers on duty during prep.
After lunch, boarders are free to socialise and catch up with each other, whether it be on one of the weekly boarding trips or visiting friends in other houses. Students get to explore the local area and its attractions too – with no extra charges. Sunday are trips included in fees (2022/23 fees from 10,650 pounds per term or 31,950 pounds per year). Whether in or out of campus, boarders are in safe hands, free from physical dangers and hazards, despite being close to London and major airports.
There are a variety of activities and adventures that students can partake in daily, like sports or community service projects that give students the chance to travel while visiting some of the sister schools across the globe. Expeditions are notably a huge part of the learning experience, especially for the first three years at school.
Nurturing creativity is highly encouraged, with opportunities to cultivate interests in art, drama and music. The purpose-built Music School has a large offering of instruments for tuition, including the violin, trumpet, piano, guitar and drums. Art all the way up to IB and A Levels are offered, preparing students to join the likes of St Martin’s, Chelsea’s and Surrey University of the Creative Arts. Those more inclined for the stage join the Speech and Drama lessons. These are available for all interested pupils and are taught on a one-to-one basis.
While the days are fulfilling, Box Hill understands the importance of pastoral care. The well-being of each student is a top priority here – with members of the boarding staff speaking multiple languages, even up to six.
Once enrolled, a boarder is assigned a tutor and a house parent. The tutor plays the role of supporting academic and pastoral development. Tutor groups consist of different ages, allowing students to have more friends, share responsibilities and support one another.
Parents don’t have to worry as the school has a medical centre, staffed by registered nurses and a matron for anyone who feels unwell, alongside staff members that are qualified first aiders should students require any assistance.
Box Hill School has a long heritage of delivering first-class education in a warm, supportive, holistic and nurturing atmosphere. The experience that your child will receive is something money cannot buy – so much so that boarders feel sad to leave school.
As student Selina says, saying goodbye to the school even for a quick visit home was tough because it was a second home to everyone.
“Last July, I thought I would be very excited to go back to China for a summer holiday, but I felt a bit sad that I won’t be waking up seeing this beautiful building, the school, and my friends,” she says.
“The last entire year I woke up seeing our signature Dalewood building, worked the hardest on my dream at lessons and got support from all my teachers who I cannot appreciate enough. I was brought up on the other side of the earth but I’ve learnt just as much, enjoyed just as much here in Box Hill School as back in China. So, I always knew that this is a second home to me, where even when I am miles away from where I was born but I can always rely on and believe in.”
For more information, click here. To experience Box Hill School, join the two-week Summer School where pupils can come and gain invaluable experience as a boarder, as well as improve their English Language EFL level prior and go on trips and excursions.