Boarding School for Sixth Form: The Transition to Boarder From Day Pupil

Over the past decade or so, demand for Sixth Form boarding and sixth form boarding school has gradually increased (2015 ISC Census). This is unsurprising. Many sixteen to eighteen-year-olds make the decision to transition from day pupil to boarder during these final years of school in preparation for life beyond the school gates. Whether the next step is to include travelling, university or moving straight to a career, making the decision to go to a sixth form boarding school is often a particularly astute one.

Downside School, a Traditional Catholic Boarding School

Sixth Form Boarding School

We are a full boarding school for a reason and firmly believe that for children, boarding and full boarding, in particular, heralds many advantages. Being one of the few remaining traditional Catholic full Boarding Schools, at Downside, 85% of our pupils are full boarders – which as a figure certainly speaks for itself.

Downside School boarding life centres around our six boarding houses. First, Second and Third Form boys join Powell House, prior to moving to one of the senior boy’s houses; Barlow, Roberts or Smythe. Similarly, girls join either Caverel or Isabella House. Each of
Downside’s houses has its own unique character and traditions which are charming characteristics of traditional British boarding schools. However, pupils fully mix and form firm friendships that span across the house’s, year groups and of course with our day pupils who are also members of a house.

Downside School’s boarders enjoy an outstanding level of pastoral support, and a strong sense of community. Weekends are always full and busy with a complete range of activities available to let our pupils have that all important downtime at the weekends.

Sixth Form Boarding School: Downside School

Our strong boarding community here at Downside serves as the perfect stepping stone between childhood and adulthood and between school and beyond.

The last two years of any pupils school life in the sixth form are without a doubt the most important part of your school career. This is because it is during these years that you choose your A Level subjects and start to truly and really hone your studies to ensure that you gain a place at your first choice university.

As such, a Sixth Form boarding school is often a very good idea; this is because what Sixth Form boarding school really offers is focus. By remaining at school throughout the week and weekends affords pupils to study in a completely settled environment, which is often central to success. Remaining in one place to work means that pupils are free to fully concentrate on their work. Not to mention by being at school for all of their studies – over the weekend and prep – means that all necessary academic resources are on hand, whether this is our library, teachers or indeed friends who can often help the most.

Every year, our boarding pupils go on to achieve hugely impressive A-Level results and which lead to the attainment of high profile university places. We know for a fact that this is because of the wonderful boarding community here at Downside School’s Sixth Form and the support and encouragement it offers to our young adults.

Sixth Form Boarding School: A First-Hand Perspective

Of course, boarding isn’t for everyone throughout school. It also is something that needs experiencing to understand and appreciate the values of. One pupil, Elsa, joined Downside at Sixth Form from a London day school. Her’s is an honest and insightful perspective on what transitioning from day pupil to a pupil at a Sixth Form boarding school is really like. We asked Elsa about her experience of Downside School boarding at Sixth Form:

When I was at a day school it didn’t occur to me that I might be missing out on anything, however, I knew that I wanted something new. It wasn’t a conscious decision to move to boarding for Sixth Form, we visited Downside and it just happened to be a boarding school. We have family friends who knew Downside and thought that I might like it…in fact I love it!

“Being at a boarding school is a different experience. In London, you have the independence of travelling to school, using public transport and so on, but here you have to learn to look after yourself on a day-to-day basis; you adapt very quickly. Whilst there is a level of independence we still have our meals cooked and our clothes washed…it’s a good first move ahead of university life!

“Whilst lots of new pupils arrive at Downside for Sixth Form, most of my friends tend to have been here for years…you don’t find too many niche crowds, everyone integrates pretty well.

“If a younger pupil asked me about Downside School, I would recommend it. You don’t realise how much support you’ll get – you have 70 people living with you, coaxing you along the way. I’m studying English, Geography, Religious Studies and German, and I love to get involved in debating. I’m involved with the Abingdon Society and represent the School at MUN [Model United Nations] conferences – I’m definitely more academic than sporty! I’m planning to drum up more interest in debating amongst my peers next year… it’s great!

“In terms of hopes for the future, I’m currently trying to decide between studying Philosophy with German, or Geography. I like everything! It makes it very hard to choose.”

Contact Us

As you can see, Downside really does offer it all!

But to truly see what Downside boarding school can do for you, please visit our website or contact us today. We would love to arrange a trial night, open day visit or a taster day to help you with your decision.