Questions to ask at a boarding school

A scene where parents engage in a meaningful discussion with teachers, addressing educational questions for their child.

When selecting a boarding school, one must ensure that there’s a checklist of questions you can use to evaluate the school, its facilities, and its services. After all, it must be the best place your child can spend their time; not just learning but also making friends for a lifetime and developing memories. Use our quick guideline to analyze which boarding school is a good fit for you: 

10 questions to evaluate a boarding school: 

  • Accreditation or affiliation. Identify which affiliation the school has. Does it follow the CBSE syllabus, state, or another affiliation? Each board has its own educational requirements. Often transitioning from one board to another requires time and adjustments for the student. Therefore, trying to find the same affiliation helps with the move to a new school. 
  • What are the key values the school focuses on instilling? Each school and educational institution follows a specific philosophy towards education that they want to instill in their students as part of their overall approach to education. 
  • Student-to-teacher ratio: Ensuring there are enough students to foster competition without overcrowding is important. Therefore, ensuring the pupil-to-teacher ratio is healthy is an important criterion to consider 
  • Standards for pastoral care: Knowing whom the kids can reach out to when they’re unwell, feeling homesick, or need a bit of support is also a key consideration as a parent. Most private schools provide robust administrative support to ensure kids feel looked after and well cared for.
  • The proportion of day scholars to boarding school students: Some schools only serve boarding students while others support both education modalities. Knowing the ratio of day-school to boarding school students should be considered if the school you’re choosing offers both. Knowing how many kids to expect who will stay back so the child doesn’t feel lonely, and has plenty of friends after school and on weekends is a significant aspect. 
  • Alumnus and their career options: What kind of universities do alumni go to? In case you are looking to send them to engineering universities, it’s important to be aware of the kind of prep the school can support when it comes to IIT, NEET entrance exams, and other coaching required. Schools whose alumni go onto universities such as IIT Chennai, IIT, NIT Warangal, and other premier institutes have clear learning goals for aspirants 
  • How does pastoral care work: Since kids are away from their homes, what kind of facilities and care are available to them to help them feel comfortable and cared for? If they’re unwell or need some emotional support, is there a system robust enough to take care of them? 
  • How is discipline enforced: With boarding school, once school is over for the day, it’s the hostel students that act like an extended family. How does the school ensure the kids are disciplined and follow the rules of living? How does the school ensure kids are supervised adequately; do kids get access to the internet at all times –these are some of the questions one must raise to allay concerns about the management of privacy and safety.
  • How is homework supervised: In the absence of a vigilant parent, does the school provide a system for supervision of homework, and after-school work to ensure the child does complete their assignments? Is therea set timetable for this activity and therefore, a clear set of timings for studying and relaxation?
  • Extra-curricular activities: One must assess what type of extra-curricular activities are offered to children during the school week and on holidays/weekends. This is to ensure that they experience time for leisure, travel, and camaraderie with their hostel mates. Request a timetable of these activities or a schedule of activities that are slotted based on seasonality.

Choosing the right boarding school for your child is a crucial decision. By asking these ten key questions related to accreditation, values, student-to-teacher ratio, pastoral care, alumni success, discipline, homework supervision, and extracurricular activities, you can make an informed choice. Remember, a well-rounded education goes beyond academics, shaping a memorable and enriching experience for your child.