Flexi-boarding has become a modern solution to striking the perfect school/home balance for many pupils over recent years. In providing a behind-the-scenes look at all boarding options across Oakham School, Form 5 (Year 11) pupil Eric has shared his story of becoming a flexi-boarder in the latest Boarding Bios interview.
Joining the School in Lower 1 (Year 6), Eric, who is from Loughborough, has been at the Oakham School from the very beginning and has always tried boarding in some form. Flexi-boarding means he can stay at the School in the week and is able to go home on weekends to spend time with his family.
Eric enjoys the flexibility of the boarding provision made available to him.
“Being a flexi-boarder means that I can choose which nights I want to board and which nights I go home. It’s really convenient because my parents are fairly close by, but it gives me the freedom to do make the choice based on my schedule at the time.”
“I currently board Monday to Friday and go home at the weekend, which is a really nice balance. Flexi-boarding is really good because you have the comfort of knowing you can go home whenever you want but it’s nice to be at School with your friends for the majority of the time.”
The convenience of flexi-boarding appealed to both Eric and his family.
“At the start, my parents and I decided it would be best for me to board as they live 45 minutes away and the commute every day can be quite long. But now, I think I’d rather board than be a day pupil so even if I lived closer to the School, I’d still be a flexi-boarder.”
“Sometimes it’s just nicer being with friends during the week than it is being at home because you’re all going through the same things and you can all help each other with prep work and things.”
“You’re not always with your friends and you’re not always with your family, so you’ve got a really good mix and it means you appreciate them both so much more.”
“I like going home at the weekends because sometimes you do just want to go home and do your own thing for a bit, but I always look forward to coming back to School at the end of it.”
Boarding means that Eric always feels like there’s a helping hand nearby when doing his prep work in the evenings.
“You know that with the structure of your days at Oakham that you’re going to get all of your prep work done on time and that people are around to help you, but it doesn’t feel like you’re in a pressured environment. I’m not 100% sure how productive I would be if I went home every night as opposed to being at School in the evenings – I definitely think I manage to get more done here!”
“Prep time is really good because you have your Tutor there to help you and you can always ask someone for help if you need it. I like that when you’re at the School the teachers are around so if you have any questions you can just arrange to meet them if you need any help.”
Originally starting out as a flexi-boarder in the Lower School, Eric has become well accustomed to boarding and to life at Oakham.
“I feel like moving from the Lower School to the Middle School has been a really interesting transition because you get a lot more independence now and there’s a lot more that you can go out and do.”
“Boarding has always been quite a normal thing for me, and I have a lot of friends who board. I think that as I’ve grown up around this lifestyle, I’ve never really thought that it would be unusual to other people as I’m so used to it.”
“One thing I would add is that you learn to get on with everyone when you’re a boarder and whilst it helps you to deal with conflicts among friends, it also allows you to form better friendships with people.”
Whilst boarding is a normal thing to do for Eric, it doesn’t stop other people asking him questions about his time at School.
“When people hear that you’re at a boarding school and you speak to people who don’t know much about it, they always assume that you’re only a boarder if your parents don’t like you, which is absolutely not true!”
“I’ve had it a few times when people think that you’d only board if your parents want to send you away and it’s quite funny explaining to people that it’s nothing like that at all; I think there’s just a lot of misconceptions about the world of boarding. I have to tell people that I was the one that wanted to come here and I was the one who chose to board!”
Eric’s highlights at Oakham School so far have all been thanks to the offering and facilities from the Sports Department.
“I wanted to come to Oakham School, because it was different to any School I’d been to before and the sports that are available are really good. I like the way that Sport is done at Oakham as it’s integrated into our curriculum throughout the School day, whereas a lot of other schools would make you do this on top of a full day of lessons.”
Whilst the people and the in-House support is what makes his home so special at School, Eric thinks his House in particular has the best location on campus.
“I absolutely love the location of the House I’m in at School because we’re in the prime spot for all of the essentials. We’re next to all of the sports pitches, close to the Barraclough Dining Hall and the Medical and Pastoral Centre is opposite us.”
“Whilst you can easily walk around the campus and there’s no bad place to be, my House will always be a bit more special.”
Eric’s made friends for life in his House.
“Because you’re around your friends a lot more than you would be if you were a day pupil, you do get to know everyone on a deeper level. I think even if you have an argument with someone, you learn to deal with conflict and a difference of opinions so much better as a boarder and you mature into these social situations.”
“We’re all flexi-boarders in our House so we know that everyone lives roughly an hour away from the School, which makes it really easy for us to meet up and see each other in the holidays.”
Find out more about Boarding at Oakham School.