Schooling of course is about more than just preparing students to be successful in examinations or preparing them for a particular range of career paths. Perhaps more than anything else, UK boarding schools are characterised by the traditions and ethos that they seek to instil in their students. The specifics of these traditions will vary among schools, but there are a number of common themes at their heart. First, UK boarding schools always look to develop the whole person and not just a single aspect of them. However good a boarding school’s academic results are, it will also be striving to create a rounded learning experience by encouraging self-expression, creativity and individuality in its students. Success in sport, the arts and in other areas, such as debate, may be less tangible than examination results, but it is one of the ways in which a student’s independence, confidence and faith in himself or herself is built up.
Another key to instilling self-belief and self-confidence is an emphasis on allowing students to form their own judgment. UK students are encouraged to think about issues on their own and to read widely and then to discuss and defend their points of view.
This concentration on developing the whole person is part of the reason why students who have been to a UK boarding school are so prized by employers.
By instilling self-confidence in their students, UK boarding schools teach them to be adaptable, to show leadership and to trust their instincts. In a globalised world in which success is significantly dependent on dealing with large amounts of information and multiple points of view, the ability to trust one’s own instinct and to be confident in decision-making is a very valuable skill.
Finally, at UK boarding schools there is always an emphasis placed on developing social skills. Living together in a multi-age, multicultural community requires that students be helped to develop qualities like kindness, tolerance and responsibility. It is no wonder that the students of UK boarding schools are so recognisable in the outside world.