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Boarding schools: what is flexible boarding and what are the benefits?

PUBLISHED: 15:15 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 03 December 2018

Royal Hospital School (photo: Chris Reeve)

Royal Hospital School (photo: Chris Reeve)


Thinking of boarding school for your child but have concerns? There might be a flexible boarding option to suit you at Royal Hospital School, Ipswich

For busy working parents, boarding school might be a consideration, but for some there could be the concern that this comes at the expense of family time.

However, flexible boarding can bring your family all the bonuses of boarding school and still allow for that precious time together.

Sophie Braybrooke, Communications Director at the Royal Hospital School in Ipswich, told us how flexible boarding might be the perfect fit.

What is flexible boarding?

There are now a number of options available to suit a diverse range of family needs. These include weekly boarding, with pupils going home for weekends and three-night boarding, which allows pupils to participate in extracurricular activities, avoids hefty daily commutes and allows even more time at home.

At Royal Hospital School, pupils can opt for full boarding, weekly boarding, which includes Saturday mornings for sports, three-night boarding or ad hoc boarding. Sophie explains: “For busy working families, fitting in the school run, after-school clubs and Saturday sporting events can be quite a challenge, so we’ve introduced these flexible options. Those commuting from London, Colchester, Chelmsford and South Essex can even make the most of weekly boarding with train travel included.”

Royal Hospital SchoolRoyal Hospital School

What is life like for a boarding school student?

Boarding school offers so much more in a day; from three hearty meals enjoyed together with friends, clubs and activities to choose from, after-school homework sessions and the home-from-home that is your House pupils learn to live, work and play as a team. Rather than spending time in front of a screen, children are engrossed in outdoor pursuits and academic projects.

“Trampolining, maths club, film making, show choir, computer coding, there are nearly 50 different after-school activities pupils can sign up for at Royal Hospital School,” says Sophie. “Two afternoons a week are spent having games sessions, which can range from learning to sail on nearby Alton Water to hockey, rugby, netball, climbing, golf, cricket and athletics. And it’s all in one place!"

Why choose an independent school over a state school?

Private schooling comes with more one-to-one support, smaller class sizes and an individually tailored approach to learning.

Sophie says: “Every child at Royal Hospital School has a Housemaster or Housemistress to take care of issues personally and pastorally, but they also have a personal tutor to guide them through their academic progress. These tutors are only responsible for a group of around 10 pupils, meaning lots of one-to-one time.”

Royal Hospital SchoolRoyal Hospital School

And keeping in touch with home is important. Parents have access to an online portal so at the click of a button they can access the news blog, email communication and their child’s timetable as well as receive notifications of sanctions, rewards and progress reports. Parents are also encouraged to follow what their their child’s Houses and academic departments are doing on a daily basis, most of which have their own Twitter pages.

How much does boarding school cost?

Boarding can be costly, but with all the benefits of individualised academic support coupled with a multitude of activities available and outstanding pastoral care, the benefits outweigh the cost.

Weekly boarding at Royal Hospital School is from £8,030 per term, with three-night boarding from £7,070.

“We are good at recognising young people’s strengths and weaknesses and we help them to follow the right path for them. No matter what level he or she is at, we just want the best out of every individual,” says Sophie.

The Royal Hospital School is a top independent boarding school that offers flexi boarding options, outstanding education and excellent facilities – including sailing, climbing and golfing – all nestled in the Suffolk countryside on a 200-acre estate overlooking the River Stour.

Royal Hospital SchoolRoyal Hospital School

The Royal Hospital School has been certified excellent in all nine criteria for independent schools by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

Register your interest at Royal Hospital School online now.

Discover more about the Royal Hospital School


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