Last night I watched Britain’s Youngest Boarders, with some trepidation it has to be said. I expected to be utterly horrified at boys aged 7 and up were packed off to boarding school in Sunningdale, just down the road from here.
The documentary followed their first term at Sunningdale, dealing with leaving behind families whilst they came to learn in an English Boarding Prep School. The school has around 100 pupils and class sizes are as small as 8 or 9. Now I can see the clear benefits here. Small class sizes are shown to help children in their learning and many of these young boys go on to Eton, Oxford and Cambridge so surely something is going well when it comes to this idea of sending young children away to school.
But surely its damaging for a boy as young as seven to be away from home for weeks at a time. To not have Mum and Dad there in the evenings to sit and do homework. To not enjoy family meals. To not share what they have all done that day. To not read with Mummy or Daddy in the evening.
Personally as a parent that is my idea of hell. Not being able to see my son on a daily basis and keep up to date with the goings on in his life! To not be able to listen to him practice his reading, or run around in the garden. To not watch him eat home cooked meals and to listen to him snoring.
There were “Matrons” at the boys school who saw themselves as big sisters rather than mothers, and they clearly didn’t have children of their own so how they could consider themselves mothers I do not know, but anyway, I think the documentary tried to show that having these Matrons somehow emotionally made up for not having a mother around. But at no point did it show anything to me that proved that.
Currently I have to consider choosing which school to send Simba too. A decision that I’m really hating. But that’s another blog post. But its safe to say that even if I did have the money to fund a private education let there be no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t. Seeing one of those poor lads sitting at breakfast with tears streaming down his face, stifling his sobs, being ignored. I couldn’t do that to Simba. No way. I know as parents we are all individuals and we all have different view points and I respect those that have the strength to let go of their children like that and watch them go away for a week at a time. But for me thats not happening.