&
4
D R A G O N S T O D A Y . A U T U M N 2 0 1 1
Boarding Dragons
Tom, right
Being new at school can bring excitement and a
degree of apprehension. Being a new boarder adds a
further dimension to settling in; at the Dragon, the
whole community works together to ensure each
child is welcomed, included and given personalised
care by friendly adults. Living at school is a new
experience for many each year and the transition
to boarding is carefully managed.
Dragons Today
spoke to three new boarders, who started in
September 2011, after their first few weeks.
Tom
Year 5, Wilson’s
“When I first visited the school, I
loved all the space, the fantastic
library and the indoor pool,” says
Tom. Since he joined the Dragon
from Singapore, though, it has
been the friendliness of the boys
and the homeliness of Wilson’s
that have made the biggest
impression and helped him
adjust to boarding life and settle
into his new school.
Before coming to Oxford,
the occasional sleep-over with
friends and a school day trip had
been the longest time Tom had
spent away from his parents, so
boarding overseas was a big
change.
Today Tom is thoroughly
at ease as he explains how
the Wilson’s young children
and family dog have made the
whole boarding experience extra
special: “It is more like being at
home than living in a Boarding
House and I like being able to
play with Alfie.” As he talks,
toddler Alfie tries to grab some
mints from Mr Wilson’s desk
and Tom intervenes. “They’re
too strong for you – I think you
should take them to Daddy,” he
instructs kindly, and laughs as
the little boy runs off. He clearly
feels very much at home here
and part of the extended family
of 11 boys at Wilson’s.
“It is more like being at
home than being in a
Boarding House”
Scarlett, left
Scarlett sits comfortably in Ma
Brown’s office as if she has lived
in the House for years rather
than weeks. Coming from Hong
Kong where, as she says, ‘it has
never snowed and lots of the
classes were in Mandarin’, the
Dragon is quite a contrast.
Before she became a Dragon
herself, Scarlett had visited her
brother and seeing him with his
school friends really struck her:
“I realised that the boarders get
to spend so much time doing
fun things with their friends,
and I didn’t want to miss out,”
she says. Settling in was easy,
thanks to her ‘buddy’, Millie,
who showed her around, intro-
duced her to other children
and explained that Ma Brown
and matron are available any
time day or night. At weekends,
House events help everyone join
in and make friends. “We are
kept so busy that there just isn’t
much time to miss my family,”
Scarlett says. “I love the activi-
ties like cooking, table tennis
and art. Mostly, I like Saturday
nights when we all get tuck and
watch a movie together and chat
in bed. I also love early morn-
ings when we mess around and
there is lots of laughing in my
dorm, but what I love the most
is having my friends with me all
the time.”
“What I love the most is
having my friends with me
all the time”
Scarlett
Year 6, Stringer’s
ettling In
S
S
tarting
Boarding
1,2,3 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12