Boarding School’s ethos
When considering a boarding school for your son or daughter it is important to understand the ethos of the schools on offer. Like people, boarding schools vary in character and you are looking for a fit between your child and the school. Christian boarding schools are an obvious category, but even within this classification there are differences.
Christian boarding school ideals
There are different approaches to Christian teaching. Some boarding schools will base most of their curriculum on the Bible and their aim will be to raise children based upon teaching Christian principles. There will be a religious act of worship each day and a chapel or church on site. There may be admission restrictions which are based on faith and you would be well advised to get a reference from your own pastor or minister to include in your application. Some Christian boarding schools may have quite a narrow view of faith which might be at odds with your own, so it is important to check this thoroughly.
Multi-denominational boarding schools
Other boarding schools may have a more general definition of Christian and accept students of many faiths but will base their pastoral approach on Christian ideals. Here you may feel that your son or daughter will benefit from schooling with teenagers from a variety of faiths and backgrounds. Daily acts of worship may be encouraged but not compulsory but biblical teaching will form part of the curriculum.
Moral principles and values
The ethos of a school is more than its faith. A good boarding school will have a very clear mission statement and a declared set of values. It is important that you feel comfortable with the aim of the boarding school for your teenager as it will form a significant part of their life. Do not be afraid to challenge a school’s stated aims, and ask them to explain their moral stance towards teenagers who may misbehave. You need to agree with their discipline structure and sanctions as they are responsible for your teenagers’ wellbeing in your absence.
Visit and take part
If you select a Christian boarding school, then when you visit, ask to take part in their scheduled acts of worship. You can tell a lot about a boarding school by participating in some of its regular daily activities. Ultimately you should visit a school you are considering for your teenager as you will get a proper feel for the ethos by being there! By looking at the students behavior around the teachers, and in their daily routines you will get a sense of the atmosphere which is worth more than a dozen brochures extolling the school’ virtues! The ethos of a school may be hard to understand at first, but it is important that your teenager is raised in the way you would want to raise them at home. Christian boarding schools vary enormously so ask many questions and visit before making your decision.