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Boarding opportunities at independent sixth-form colleges


 – Rachel Borland, Principal of DLD College, London

Boarding has featured strongly throughout my educational career over the past 35 years. Having been involved in further education, higher education, sixth-form colleges, and secondary school boarding both within the UK and various overseas postings has given me a unique insight into what boarding can add to a student’s success, both personally and academically.

As a parent myself, when faced with making school choices for my children, I looked at the obvious factors when narrowing down my search: examination results, welfare systems, extra curriculum activities and inspection reports are all important, but to me, the sign of a successful school is in the happiness of the pupil. 

Supportive and nurturing

For many, the choice of boarding during the sixth form is a challenging one: by this stage a young person knows his or her mind and feels the need for independence. Independent boarding schools have a long history of creating well-rounded pupils with excellent results. However, independent sixth-form boarding colleges are sometimes overlooked as direct competitors in the field. This is partly due to the fact that quite often the actual accommodation is not on site, and as a consequence the pupils have to travel, sometimes fairly extensively, from one site to another. 

International diversity

The very essence of boarding brings about lifelong friendships, friendships which have been cemented through tolerance, co-operation and empathy. These are the building blocks of relationships throughout life, and to acquire and develop these skills pre-university is indeed a huge advantage to young people. Any sixth-form boarding provision throughout the UK today contains a strong element of international diversity. Students from around the globe are found in every corner of independent schools in the UK, and within sixth-form boarding schools this mix tends to increase even further.

Those of us fortunate enough to be able to invest in the future will be making informed decisions in terms of placing boarding at the cornerstone of the educational experience. For DLD College London, which I am privileged to lead, this has meant a move in 2015 to purpose-built premises in the heart of London’s Westminster. The premises are unique in being the first college in London to house teaching and learning, student accommodation and extra curricular facilities within a single building. The 32,000m2 steel and glass structure standing adjacent to Waterloo Station and directly overlooking Westminster across the River Thames, has stunning views of The Shard, The Gherkin and St. Paul’s Cathedral on the skyline to the East. The new college features purpose-built educational facilities in the basement and on the ground, mezzanine, first and second floors, standing below 15 floors of secure student accommodation. Positive outcomes in time management and overall student efficiency will surely be celebrated. 

Independent and responsible learners

Greater efficiency can only lead to better academic results and thereafter better university destinations. However, by the very nature of boarding in a highly supportive environment, young people are encouraged to push themselves out of their comfort zone more and more; that is when real learning takes place. Sixth-form boarding colleges allow young people to make mistakes and move on in life well equipped to deal with the demands of higher education. UK university drop-out statistics are a fairly frightening read. Who would not want their son or their daughter not to struggle through university in the first year but to have that peace of mind that their offspring has the maturity to meet the various challenges they will be faced with.

Within my current role as Principal of DLD College London, I spend a lot of time advising students of the need for attendance, punctuality and in meeting deadlines. I would hope that a percentage of this advice sinks in, to make the desired impact in becoming an independent, responsible learner.

Walk into any common room of an independent sixth-form boarding college and see the multitude of international students alongside home students clearly displaying confidence, strong friendships, happiness and contentment. This boarding experience stands them in excellent stead for future successes. For one, I am part of privileged few that can boast of the merits of boarding education as a child, mother and leader. To be part of the destiny of young people, while facilitating  co-operation, understanding and respect, is not only a privilege but also a joy

Rachel Borland read Education at Leicester University and then gained a Diploma in Applied Linguistics and later an MA in Language and Communication Skills from Cardiff University. Rachel joined DLD as Principal in May 2013 bringing with her a portfolio of international teaching and educational leadership experience. She has also worked extensively within the university sector in the UK. Most recently, Rachel completed five years in Nigeria as Principal of Capital Science Academy in Abuja, one of the leading international boarding schools in West Africa. Rachel writes EAL, EFL and other advisory publications, to support the international English language community. 
Boarding at an independant school
School Address Phone Type PR Weblink
Dean Close SchoolShelburne Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL51 6HE01242 258044Bo(7-18), D, M, 13-18 
Wycliffe CollegeStonehouse, Gloucestershire. GL10 2JQ01453 822432Bo, D, M, 2-18 
Rookwood SchoolWeyhill Road, Andover, Hampshire. SP10 3AL01264 325900Bo(8-16), D, M, 3-16 
St Lawrence CollegeCollege Road, Ramsgate, Kent. CT11 7AE01843 572931Bo(3-18), D(3-18), M(3-18), 3-18 
Kingham Hill SchoolKingham, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. OX7 6TH01608 658999Bo, D, M, 11-18 
Erskine Stewart\'s Melville SchoolsQueensferry Road, Edinburgh, Scotland. EH4 3EZ0131 311 1000Bo(10-18), D(3-18), B(3-18), G(3-18), M(3-12), 3-18 
Wellington SchoolWellington, Somerset. TA21 8NT01823 668803Bo, D, M, 11-18 
Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk. IP9 2RX01473 326136 Bo, D, M, 11-18
St Davids CollegeLlandudno, Conwy. LL30 1RD01492 875974Bo, D, M, 9-19 
Windermere SchoolWindermere, Cumbria. LA23 1NW01539 446164Bo, D, M, 3-18 
King's College TauntonSouth Road, Taunton, Somerset. TA1 3LA01823 328204Bo, D, M, 13-18 
Queen\'s CollegeTrull Road, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4QS01823 340830Bo(7-18), D, M, 0-18 
Denstone, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. ST14 5HN01889 590484Bo, D, M, 11-18
Stonar SchoolCottles Park, Atworth, Wiltshire. SN12 8NT01225 701741Bo(9-18), D(2-18), M(2-18), 2-18 
Iwerne Minster, Blandford Forum, Dorset. DT11 8LL01747 812122Bo, D, M, 2½-18
Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0BG01547 530303Bo(9-18), D(4-18), M(4-18), 4-18
Warminster SchoolChurch Street, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 8PG01985 210100Bo, D, M, 3-18 
Moyles Court SchoolMoyles Court, Ringwood, Hampshire. BH24 3NF01425 472856Bo, D, M, 2-16 
Pangbourne Reading RG8 8LA+44 (0)118 9767 416Bo, D, M, 11-18
Hailey Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire. SG13 7NU+44 (0) 1992 706353Bo, D, M, 11-18
Green Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG2 9JP +44(0)1423 566358Bo(8-18), D, M, 3-18
Rossall SchoolBroadway, Fleetwood. FY7 8JW01253 774201Bo(7-18), D, M, 2-18 
Penn Road, Wolverhampton. WV3 0EG01902 341230Bo(11-18), D(4-18), M(4-18), 4-18
Blundell's SchoolBlundell's Road, Tiverton EX16 4DN01884 252543Bo(11-18), D(2-18), M(2-18), 2-18 
Shiplake CollegeHenley-on-Thames, RG9 4BW0118 940 2455Bo(11-18), D, B(11-18), G(16-18), 11-18 
Taunton SchoolStaplegrove Road, Taunton, Somerset TA2 6AD01823 703703Bo(7-18), D(0-18), M(0-18), 0-18 
Cheltenham Road, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4PL 01993 823303Bo, D, M, 11-18
High Street, Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire WS15 3BW01283 840232Bo 8-18, D, B, 3-18
The Settlement, Ockbrook, Derby, DE72 3RJ01332 673532Bo(11-18), D(2-18), M(2-18), 2-18
The Old Palace, Palace Green, Ely, Cambridgeshire. CB7 4EW01353 660707Bo(8-18), 1-18
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