Post-pandemic, more and more parents are opting for weekly boarding. Elaine Purves, head of Queen Anne's School in Berkshire, explains why

With working parents across the country under more pressure than ever to re-establish their work-life balance post-Covid, people are actively exploring ways to help their family move from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’.

Boarding schools are responding with gusto, providing expert care, outstanding academics and a home-away-from-home. At Queen Anne’s School, 50 per cent of pupils attend as day pupils, while the other 50 per cent board in top-notch facilities on the border of the south Oxfordshire countryside.

‘We are seeing a trend for families looking to maintain a countryside or coastal home, but wanting to give their children access to the bustling culture and industry networks of London and Oxford — Queen Anne's is perfectly located for both!’ says the head of Queen Anne's, Ms Elaine Purves.

Queen Anne's parent Sarah Constable shares her experience of life in Wedmore, Somerset, and sending her daughter Lola to board in Berkshire.

‘Lola gets the best of both worlds. She has great friends and feels settled in her boarding house. With Queen Anne's so close to the city, Lola is often invited to stay in London with friends at the weekend, and likewise her friends enjoy their visits to see her in the countryside.’

‘On a Friday evening, | usually jump on the M4 to collect her, or she takes the train from Reading which takes just over an hour. Her dad will often drop her back at school on a Sunday evening on his way to work in London.’

And it’s not just about convenience. Elaine Purves is a big advocate for the benefits of boarding, and shares here why it ticks so many boxes for parents looking to give their children the best start.

‘The school day can be long for young people, especially when extracurricular activities — everything from sport fixtures and music rehearsals to sushi-making or jewellery-making club — are factored in. Of course, having social time to relax and develop friendships with peers is all-important, too. It makes sense for many to reclaim their travel time and stay overnight with their boarding house family for the working week,’ Elaine continues.

Fun is a recurring theme when talking with pupils about their experiences of boarding — the school’s houseparents go above and beyond to balance downtime with a programme of activities which ranges from fire pits and stargazing to cricket matches and pizza nights.

Caitlin in Year 9 says: ‘One of our favourite activities is the Mocktail Night. We all get together, make a variety of drinks, chat, and just have a great time. What we absolutely love about boarding is that there is a great sense of community. Everyone is so inclusive and there is always someone to talk to. The way the house is run really makes it feel like a second home with all your friends around you.’

Find out more about boarding options at Queen Anne's Open Morning on Saturday September 17.