Food

This isn’t really an option.  You are sending your child to a British boarding school for everything that entails including the food.  Eating in the boarding house is a sociable fun experience and there are always different options every day to choose from.

Your child would usually be able to buy extra food as a supplement to the school meals, either from a local food shop or online.

No.  UK tap water is safe to drink and shouldn’t be a concern for you or your child.  All schools will supply water during mealtimes and throughout the school day.

Tuition

Your school will be preparing your child for any exams, but if you think your child needs further support, you could ask your designated guardian for advice and options.

Banking

You can set up an HSBC account for your child in your home country that they can use in the UK.  You can also go into a bank when in the UK and set up an account for your child.   You can find more information on-line through banking websites such as Barclays and Santander.

Yes.   Every school would be fine for your child to have a personal account.  Their guardian would usually have an expense/deposit account that could be used instead for ad hoc costs and pocket money.

Safety

Every school will have strict guidelines regarding theft of other people’s property.  In a shared schoolhouse, it might be the case that a child borrows something small like a pen or a sweet.  They might not have meant to cause offence but in different cultures, this might seem disrespectful.

All valuable items would be kept in a school safe.

Your child can speak to their House parent if they are uncomfortable with any behaviour.

The person who picks up your child from the airport should ensure your child has his passport when they leave the airport and guarantee the passport and any other valuables, such as cash and other documentation, is handed to House Staff for safe keeping.

Before your child is allowed out of school, the school would need to know where your child is going to be and how they were getting there.  After they leave the school grounds, they are then the responsibility of your Guardian.   Your Guardian has to know where your child is at all times.  They would produce a travel plan to ensure you, your child and any other related parties, know where your child is at any time.

Every school with have a stringent drug policy.  Any child found with an illegal drug will be expelled.  Your child will be protected from being exposed to any danger while at school and will be advised on what to do when out of school.

Your guardianship company and school should have an emergency contact number which is available 24/7. Please make sure you and your child make a note of these phone numbers in case they are ever needed.

If they need assistance from emergency services (Police, Fire department, Ambulance etc) they should also call the UK emergency services number to get support – 999.

Medical

Yes.  All prescription medicines and pills, whatever the age of the child, must be given to their House Matron who will ensure the child takes the prescription safely.

Medicine bought without a prescription, such as bite cream or even vitamins, should also be shown to the Matron.  A decision can then be made as to where the cream or vitamins are stored.

For example, students over the age of 16 might be allowed to keep non-prescription supplements and cream in their room but at that age, it will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

If your child is younger, then all medicines will be stored by the school staff as part of the school safety policy.

Yes, if clearly labelled.  Food supplements (vitamins and minerals) can be brought into the UK and the school matron will decide if the supplement should be kept by the house staff or if your child is old enough to manage taking it themselves.

Your child will be registered with his or her School’s local National Health Service Doctor who will attend to your child should they fall ill. This is provided free of charge even if they are admitted to hospital. In the event of serious illness or injuries, we will be in contact with you and keep you informed of your child’s progress at all times. All schools also have an in-house nurse and medical centre to care for your child’s needs on a day to day basis.

Yes.  It is very important that you tell the school and your Guardian of anything that could make your child ill so that everything is done to ensure they are kept safe.

Depending on the injury, your child would either be looked after at the School Medical Centre (knocks, slight cuts, sprains etc) or taken to hospital (broken finger, dislocated shoulder etc).  You and your guardian would be contacted immediately if parental approval was needed for any treatment.

Your child will be signed up to an NHS dentist when in the UK through the school.  You can also choose a private dentist if you’d prefer.  Your guardian can advise you and would also be responsible for the travel to and from the dentist.

Uniform

It depends on the child’s school.  Some schools have a uniform shop based at or near the school.  You can book a time to try on uniform and buy it directly from the shop.   Talk to your designated guardian who can tell you if this is an option at your school.

If this isn’t an option for you, you can order all uniform online.  Your school will have an approved on-line shop – you can ask your designated guardian for the details or look on the School website.  Once you register with the online shop, input your child’s measurements to ensure you are choosing the right sizes for school uniform and sport kit.

You can then ask for the uniform and kit to be delivered directly to your child’s Boarding House.   Make sure you clearly put your child’s chosen English name on the delivery details and the house name, number and school address.

Yes.  Every school will require every piece of school uniform, sports kit and home clothes to be labelled.

You can add a labelling service if you are ordering uniform and kit online.  If an item doesn’t fit and your child needs to return it and get a replacement, you can ask for labelling to be redone.  If this can’t be done, spare labels would have been included in the original parcel.  Your child could ask the HSM for help in sewing one in, but this could incur a charge by the school.

For home clothes, all items would need to be labelled before entering the school.

Not at school unless they want to wash something individually at their boarding house.

Generally, in most boarding schools, there will be a weekly rotor of what happens when. So, for example, it might be that sports kit all gets washed on a Wednesday after sports fixtures on Wednesday afternoon. Bedding will be washed once a week.  This will all be done by a school washing service.

During short holidays and exeats, you can ask the designated guardian how they would like your child to wash their clothes and bedding.  It might be that they offer to do it for them or they do it themselves.  The guardian would show your child how to do it.

Any time your child isn’t in school, at academic, sport or music lessons, they can wear non-uniform/home clothes.   Wearing clothes that feel comfortable and they can relax in is important.   Jeans, track suit bottoms, T shirts, hoodies and jumpers are worn by many, but your child can wear whatever they prefer.

You child will need a warm waterproof coat for the winter terms in the UK and a lighter coat for Spring and Summer.

Remember that every item of clothing needs to be named.

Holidays and Travel

We would recommend arriving at least five days before school starts to help with getting over jet lag and giving your child time to acclimatize and organise uniform, if needed.

If your child is travelling alone, we recommend a shorter time period before the start of school to help minimise home sickness and allow them to immerse themselves into school life quickly.

Your school or your designated guardian would be able to organise for this to happen.

During term time, there are strict rules concerning pupils leaving the security of their school.  All pupils must stay within the school unless they have been given permission by their House parent and parents.

If it’s during a holiday when they’re with their designated guardian, they need to liaise with them and their parents.  Younger children – 12-16 – should not be permitted to leave by themselves.

Ideally, they would want to communicate with you as parents and get your view on what you would like your child to do.

That’s the ideal scenario. Sometimes for short stays such as exeats (long weekends away from school) your child might be invited to spend the weekend with a friend.  That should be fine if parents agree.

This is your decision.

In our experience, the Michaelmas term is long and for a new student, going home for two weeks at this time can be a time to relax and be with their family.  But your designated guardian would be there if you and your child decide they should stay in this country until December.

Your school would have all term dates and holidays listed on their website and you would have been given all the dates in your Induction Pack.  Whoever is looking after your child as a Guardian would discuss with you what your plans are for exeat weekends, half terms and longer holidays.   You would be responsible for booking flights home but your Guardian would work with you to book smaller trips and organise all UK travel plans.

Your Guardian should have a specific policy that ensures that a qualified driver or chaperone meets them when they come through security and they would then be taken safely to their school.

School Information

Every school does things slightly differently.   Your school induction programme will be designed to suit your child and their needs.  It is totally fine if their friends school does things differently.

Every school will have their own technological requirements.  Your child can bring their own laptop for personal use if that is agreed with the school but for schoolwork, they would be given specific school computers and laptops.

Check with your school to confirm school requirements but most will ask you to bring personal bedding for your child – duvet and pillow cases.  Sheets are usually provided but check with the school to confirm.   All bedding will be washed regularly by the school.  Remember to name each item of bedding.

Your child will have the best support to make the right decisions.  Your child will have a Tutor who will be close to your child and know the subjects that your child enjoys and is doing well at.  The tutor would have an overview of the subjects your child is studying and can give advice and guidance.

Yes.   If requested your child’s matron or the School kitchen staff would normally make a cake or provide a house birthday meal.  They could also request to have a meal out of school with friends at the weekend but this would depend on their age.

Social Concerns

Your child’s school and Guardian will be there to help them at every point in their journey.   Any questions or queries can be answered straight away by everyone supporting your child.   Please let your child know that communication is key and they should feel very confident that they can ask any question.  Everyone will want to make sure they are as happy and content as they can be.

Your child will find some words difficult to understand when they start school as there will be informal language and words they haven’t been taught at school.  But they will learn these very quickly and teachers and new friends will help them.

It could take some time for your child to feel comfortable and relaxed with new people.  Every school will be very experienced in helping new pupils find new friends and they will have every opportunity to discover their friendship group.

Every school has a very strict anti-bullying code and conduct policy and the school would have to ensure any bullying was stopped and your child was protected.  Your guardian could speak to the school directly on your behalf to raise any concerns if you would prefer that.

Yes, when they have settled into school life.  The first few weeks will be busy for them, meeting new friends and learning about heir new life at school.   They will then be able to communicate with you regularly.

Your child’s school will be very experienced in dealing with homesickness and how to help your child manage it.  Most children will go through a short spell of feeling homesick but they are usually kept very busy making new friends and learning about school life and get through it very quickly.

Mobile Phone

Yes.  You can pick up a SIM card in most UK newsagents and supermarkets or you can ask your Guardian.

At school, your child will only be allowed limited access to their phone.  Schools are very keen for pupils to socialise face to face and not be looking at their phones during the day.   If your child is older, they would have greater access.

Depending on their contract, they can usually replace the phone for an additional cost.   The school would help but your Guardian could also help in this situation.