Boarding Dragons
Samantha Pearson
has three boarding boys, the eldest of whom has
just achieved an academic scholarship to Eton. Living overseas when
their first son was young, she and her husband knew they would soon
be on the move again.
Marina Brounger
had loved boarding herself
and wanted the same for her son and daughter although her husband
was unsure. Wanting the Dragon for their children but living too far
away they chose boarding.
Alexandra Lloyd
and her family were liv-
ing in central London when their eldest son was six. She found the
local schools over-subscribed and lacking some facilities she wanted;
all her four children became Dragon boarders.
Fiona Carrington
and her husband had no boarding experience themselves, but opted
for boarding for their daughter and two sons when the family moved
to Canada.
Jacqueline Ings-Chambers’
son was growing up in
Singapore but she and her husband wanted the traditional childhood
for him which they had enjoyed in a stable school community; Tom
has just finished his first boarding year.
Why did you choose boarding?
Samantha:
We looked at various UK schools and saw that it would
be a disservice to our son not to choose one. I will never forget him
holding forth to his grandparents about the opportunities at the
Dragon and his enthusiasm to come.
Fiona:
We always intended that our children would board at senior
school as we live very rurally and wanted broader horizons for them.
When we moved to Toronto our elder daughter and son asked to
return to board. The decision was child-led but ultimately was ours:
the paramount reason was the pastoral care and we also chose the
Dragon because we wanted them to be together at a school
where there were others from overseas.
Jacqueline:
We were comforted by the intimate nature of the
Boarding Houses – we especially liked that he would live in a
proper house, with kids and dogs and all the chaos and fun of
family life.
What are your observations of boarding life?
Samantha:
The boys get a tremendous amount out of it and
have increased self-reliance, greater efficiency (without nagging!)
and close friendships. I have been able to go back to work and
travel without having to juggle childcare which has been a big
advantage.
Alexandra:
My children are confident, adventurous and have ben-
efitted from very close relationships with their peers and from the
wisdom and wit of the staff who have looked after them. Though I
missed meeting other parents at the school gate for a while.
Fiona:
Your influence as a parent remains very strong, even
though you are not seeing your child every day. In some ways, I
think my children listen to me more! Boarding is a tremendous
experience and when we returned to the UK it did not seriously
cross my mind to revert to day school. As a result of boarding I
also probably have a healthier balance in my own life.
Jacqueline:
Tom has grown up tremendously, is more apprecia-
tive of his family and life back at home. He has had so much fun
that my younger son now wants to start earlier than planned and
While there are many reasons why boarding might be a good option for
a child – no long journeys, fun with friends while parents are working
– it can be a complex decision for parents. For mothers especially there
are particular concerns at the heart of choosing boarding at an early age.
Your child might be ready for boarding, but you might not be.
Dragons
Today
spoke to some seasoned boarding mums to understand what they
had feared and what they have experienced.
Becoming a
Boarding Mum
6
D R A G O N S T O D A Y . S U M M E R 2 0 1 2
Picnic in the garden
at Stradlings

Whitty’s high-
light their talent
during House
enterntainment
Nicholson’s
have fun and
games in the
garden
Gunga Din have
fun at their
Best of British
evening
Charlbury and Stradlings
boys celebrate the
Jubilee with a games
evening

Stuart-Clark’s
on a sunny
Sunday after-
noon in Port
Meadow
1,2,3,4,5 7,8,9,10,11,12