Hogwarts to Hailsham – Alexanders Boarding School
This month the Harry Potter franchise sees its final curtain call, after seven books, eight films and almost fifteen years of entertaining the world with magical hi-jinks and supernatural drama from the fairytale environment of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The stories represent a romantic ideal of the classic English boarding school, a place where learning, social activity and school spirit meet, where students stand to gain an education not just in reading, writing and arithmetic, but in the tools and skills that will prepare them for interaction with the big wide world.
Of course, there are very few dragons to be fought and spells to be cast in the real corridors and assembly halls of Britain’s boarding institutions. The spelling done here is of quite a different kind. But even though students may graduate without even a basic grounding in enchantments and potions, there is still much to gain from the boarding experience.
As mentioned above, education should never be a purely an exercise in tutelage. The value of attending school also lies in the social skills that it imparts, skills that will stay with students for the rest of their lives. As well as offering networking opportunities that may stand you in good stead for the future, school teaches you how to function as part of a collective of individuals, never more so than in the environment of a boarding school. Interacting with a group of likeminded scholars on a regular basis, not just in class but through a range of extracurricular social activity, can bring individuals together through the shared bond of experience.
There are benefits, too, in the approach to learning. The structure offered by a boarding programme can be an effective aid to concentration and effective study, and surrounding oneself constantly with an atmosphere of educational value is an inspiring incentive to gain as much as you can from it.
Alexanders International School Bawdsey is one of many fine schools in the UK that offer students the chance to board with them. On its website, the organisation states that it offers students an opportunity to improve their English, build academic knowledge and study skills, as well as “get an introduction to life here in the UK”. While the first three factors are important features of any institution of learning, it is the final one that is emblematic of what separates the boarding school experience from attending any other school. An ‘introduction to life’ is something that boarding can prepare you for in a way that no ordinary school can.