To Board or not to Board? That is the question! It’s such a difficult decision for any parent in Dubai contemplating boarding school for their child – but help to decide what’s right for your family is out there!

The UK Boarding School Exhibition on 3 and 4 November at Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina is a great opportunity for you to find out more about boarding life and the many opportunities. With experts who have first-hand knowledge from visiting over 350 boarding Schools around the UK, they offer FREE help and advice to families wanting to know more. Their job is to help you identify what’s special and unique about each school you’re considering so that you can match the right one for your child’s interests or capabilities.

There will be plenty of education experts on hand, including up to 30 of  the UK’s leading boarding schools so your family can speak to the school heads and delegates directly and ask all those burning questions. There will also be the opportunity to chat if you don’t know much about boarding schools at all – or where to start – or you’re simply curious to learn more.

Boarding is not for everyone; Some parents would never consider being apart from their child, however, if you’re one of the large number of parents who have either experienced boarding school yourself or has a child there already, you’re likely to be advocating the HUGE benefits that boarding school life can bring. They’re not archaic institutions that children can’t stand, but on the contrary, there’s a massive (and growing) amount of Harry Potter inspired children who see their peers heading off and are also keen to experience the fun and excitement that a boarding school offers.

You may be surprised to hear that of the 73,000 children currently boarding at schools all over Britain, the overwhelming majority are there because they actually want to be and most importantly, they were involved with the decision right from the beginning!

Preparation and planning, however, is key to ensuring a successful boarding school placement. Googling information and receiving recommendations all form part of the research process, but this can, of course, be confusing with different information out there! There’s a LOT of choice, and most boarding schools look so wonderful you’ll soon be tempted. So many families often don’t know where to start and so talking to an education specialist for help and advice is a good starting point.

Experts recommend that you should narrow down three or four schools and visit them with your child as this will almost certainly be the deciding factor in selecting the right school. It’s really about the people that you will meet, as they are the ones who are going to play a big part of your child’s life. No doubt this is far more important than the beautiful buildings and excellent facilities that many of these schools will offer so it’s important that this feels absolutely right.

“We decided to take the kids out of school for a week and flew back to the UK to visit the boarding schools we had shortlisted. It was a fascinating experience – and one I didn’t expect to be honest. Never had I seen schools so welcoming and interested in us. We came out of the first school and sat in the car, took a deep breath and went “Wow!” The decision was pretty much made there and then, that we would all be happy to go to this boarding school” says Ian, a father of two new boarders coming from Dubai.

Probably the most daunting thought for any parent is whether your child will adapt to boarding school life and really, truly settle. There might be many a sleepless night for you worrying about this at first, but thankfully the boarding house parents have a wealth of experience in settling new boarders into their care. Normally schools arrange taster days or sleepovers before the new boarder starts and they arrange buddies and mentors for your child by pairing them with current pupils who will be happy to help settle your child quickly. There are always new joiners so your child won’t be the ‘new girl’ or ‘new boy’ for long and in fact, they’ll probably take great pleasure in helping the next new child to settle quickly too. You’ve probably heard it lots; there’s a huge amount of comradery amongst boarders and they often form very deep friendships.

Open lines of communication are also encouraged between children and parents so you are able to see your child on Skype and chat to them as regularly as you want and take assurance that they are well, and most importantly happy. A common train of thought is that boarding is much harder on the parents! Jane, a Housemistress at a leading South of England boarding school says “Boarding life is structured; the children are busy from the time they are woken until they go to bed. After the school day has finished there are activities for them to enjoy, sports training, music lessons, drama rehearsals, prep (homework), supper, and lots of fun and laughter in between.”

Parents of new boarders will often end up commenting on how independent and confident their children have become, and how they are encouraged to think for themselves and take responsibility – these are good life skills that no doubt prepare children for the next step, university and beyond. British mum Sharon admits to still missing her daughter most days, but she says she keeps herself busy, happy in the knowledge that taking the plunge to let her daughter go to boarding school was the right decision. “My daughter recently came home for half-term and we couldn’t believe how much she had changed in just six weeks. There was an air of confidence that had been missing before, a real sense of self-worth. Gone were the days of mumbling answers to the simplest of questions! She’s really engaged now and she’s even managed to negotiate Heathrow and Dubai airports all on her own and brought the correct books to be able to do her holiday homework! We’ve seen a huge difference!” she said.

If you’re curious to know more, the ease and convenience of speaking to one of the expert educational consultants at the UK Boarding School Exhibition is a good first step to take. Their service aims to make finding out information and the search for school a stress-free experience.

The UK Boarding School Exhibition is being held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina on Friday 3rd November from

2pm until 7 pm and Saturday 4th November from 12pm until 5 pm.

Click the image above for more info

You can register to attend the UK Boarding School Exhibition here 

There’s a also a really helpful free copy of the UK Boarding School Directory on Anderson Education’s website so you can have a look at all schools in the UK and chat to a specialist for free help and advice too.

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