Could sending your child to boarding school at a younger age, actually be kinder?

Could sending your child to boarding school at a younger age, actually be kinder?
Highfield Prep School International

There are those who think that sending their child to a senior boarding school in the UK at 13+ without having any boarding experience, or experience of UK independent education, makes perfect sense. But is there a better, even kinder, alternative?

Deciding to send your child to boarding school is a big decision, even more so if the school is in a different country. Naturally, you want to make the move as easy as possible for your child, but sometimes it is just assumed it will be easier when they are older, without considering other factors.

Speaking to our former boarding pupils who have gone on to boarding senior schools, they are often struck by how much easier it was for them to adapt due to their previous experience of boarding. Having already adjusted to being away from home in a smaller, younger environment, they are less daunted by large senior school boarding houses and ready to start focusing on learning, sooner.

As an introduction to boarding, Highfield offers as gentle a start as is possible, and our experience has been as positive as we all hoped.

The same applies to sending your child to a senior school that starts at age 11. Prep schools (typically for children aged 7-13 years) are usually much smaller schools and can offer a more homely environment. Staff at prep schools have dedicated their careers to understanding the needs of younger children, and are acutely aware of the importance of communication with concerned parents back home. The benefits of this closer communication and the ‘family feel’ of a prep school cannot be emphasized enough. It is much less intimidating to join a prep school, especially towards the ‘top’ as one of the oldest children, than to join at the ‘bottom’ of a senior school as one of the youngest children with no previous experience of boarding school life.

We loved the warm, nurturing atmosphere, and the family feeling we got when we came to visit the school.

Prep schools prepare UK children for entry to the top senior schools in the country, and they do the same for overseas children as well. Academically, children are swiftly and effectively familiarised with the British independent school curriculum, and brilliantly prepared for Common Entrance, Pre-Assessments and the many different Scholarship exams set by leading UK boarding schools. Highfield for example, has a 100% success rate for securing a child’s place in the first choice school and an excellent scholarship success rate. Guided and supported by the expert advice of the prep school Headteacher, parents have the opportunity to consider a whole range of options for senior schooling at 13+ and find just the right school for their child, where they will be happy and flourish academically.

 Boarding at Highfield prepares pupils very well for the transition to senior school. They become settled and successful quickly.


In essence, a good prep school prepares your child for the next stage, while providing a first-rate, rounded education, coupled with inspiration, excitement and a great deal of fun. If you are considering boarding for your child, it's a good idea to start to consider it at a reasonably early age (even at eight or nine), so that you have time to explore the opportunities and to make an informed decision together. It's often easier to make a big change in small steps, rather than one giant leap. A gentler transition makes things easier for all the family, whenever the right time comes.


About Highfield School

Highfield enjoys outstanding academic success and has been preparing children for the most eminent Senior Schools in England for more than a century. Highfield is a co-educational school for children aged 8-13, located in beautiful 175 acre grounds in Liphook, Hampshire, less than an hour from Heathrow Airport. To find out more visit our homepage.

Would you prefer a short stay in a boarding school first?

Then why not try our Summer School? Owned and run by us, you can feel confident about the academic quality and pastoral care, as well as being a more authentic experience of UK boarding school life. Visit our Summer School.


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