A boarding school is a learning institution in which students live on the premises, for the part of the year when they are in school, attending lessons. To board implies dining and lodging. Therefore, a boarding school has facilities in which students can lodge through the learning period. Meals for students are also prepared, served and eaten ‘on campus.’ A student who is learning at a boarding school is called a ‘boarder.’ Boarders are allowed to go home during holidays, and some may permit friends and family visiting privileges during school days. Some boarding schools allow day students who return to their homes at the end of each day. The majority of boarding schools are privately funded and managed.
Depending on the location of the institution a boarding school may offer full-time boarding where students return home after some months for a holiday. The school may also offer to board during weekdays where the students are allowed to go home for the weekend. There may also be boarding for special occasions only for example during exam times or the revision period before examinations. In most scenarios, pupils require permission from the school administration to be away from school when they should be on campus.
Boarding schools have houses or dormitories to accommodate boarding students. Gender usually divides the houses in mixed schools. In purely boys’ schools or girls’ schools, dorms may use other criteria for their division such as a year academic rank. Houses are often divided into cubicles where students live in smaller units. There may be a single kitchen and dining hall area for all the students, or each dorm may have its own, depending on the resources of the school. The dorms typically have a study area where students can do their homework before bedtime. A matron or housekeeper is usually assigned to each house to supervise the pupils. Dormitories are often the divisions used for social, extra-curricular activities in boarding school. More often than not, there is a standard time when the lights are shut off in all the houses in the school.
Boarding schools are often independent schools. The independence means that they do not run according to the standard curriculum in public schools or any other school for that matter. A substantial amount of staff is required for security, cooking and janitorial tasks all around the school. Parents who take their children to boarding school expect them to be safeguarded as well as they would be at home. Due to the nature of boarding schools, they often cost a lot more than public schools.