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The Complete Step by Step Guide to Boarding Schools - Downtime

Boredom, social anxiety, disengagement and the ‘wrong crowd’ are common factors in young lives. Boarding Schools can address all of these in a positive, enjoyable way, as our guide to ‘downtime’ shows.

The best boarding schools in the UK can be likened to glorious greenhouses, tasked with maintaining the physical, mental and emotional health of students. To continue the analogy, this fertile and nurturing environment enables children and young people to grow strong individual personalities, abilities and perspectives.

Not that all our personal development opportunities are ‘undercover’. Rendcomb College has an incredible range of activities and pursuits taking place in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside.

The latest article in our step by step guide to boarding schools looks at this aspect, 'lifting the lid’ on what young people do in their spare time. It’s a very important topic for many parents and their children, alongside gaining a quality independent school education.

In fact, keeping boarding school students happy, engaged and busy helps to stimulate and support the learning process. It also happens to be one of the main reasons children choose to attend Rendcomb College!

Friendship circles and social skills

Let’s start with one of the most abiding and important legacies of an excellent boarding school experience. For all the many activities offered by Rendcomb College, the natural and organic interaction of our students is probably more vital. 

Boarding school downtime can’t be replicated by state-funded education. Around the clock, our students are meeting and mingling with their peers sharing meals, fun, hobbies and studies with them. Supported by our different year group houses, they quickly find close friends, but also have opportunities to be in mixed teams to widen their horizons.

Not that any of this is forced on them! It is the natural effect of being away from the distraction of electronic games and social media and being with like-minded peers for a healthy part of their day.

In a nutshell, boarding school downtime brings social skills and life-long friendships.

Incidentally, there are supported opportunities for solitude and ‘peace and quiet’ for anyone who needs this too! 

Sports and non-sporting activities at boarding school

We can’t begin to sum up the wide range of hobbies, interests and activities that Rendcomb College promotes and provides. This diversity reflects the fact our young people are treated as individuals, so we go the ‘extra mile’ to provide as many options as time allows!

Of course, it includes the sort of sports young people love. 

Boarding school downtime includes abundant competitive team sports for fitness, and to enjoy that unique comradery and sense of achievement. However, team sports are not for everyone! So, there are plenty of chances to develop more personal physical skills, such as horse riding or rock climbing.

For those young people who like to be challenged mentally, the list of clubs and activities in boarding school downtime includes everything from singing and debating to cooking and survival skills! They can garden, act, dance, juggle or learn to be more mindful. Please browse the current list, growing all the time inspired by student requests.

Keeping older students occupied at boarding school

Of course, in exam season and when maturity beckons, the needs of older students residing at our independent school shift and change too.

Older students at Rendcomb College have their own rooms, and Park House for sixth formers is designed to provide privacy and independence. 

There’s also an increased emphasis on using downtime to embark on projects that are an ‘investment’ in their future. This can mean learning new life skills ready for University or having fun and gaining accreditation on the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, for example.

The perfect illustration of how leisure time at boarding school can be enjoyable, fulfilling and all part of the bigger picture of creating resilient and able adults. It’s the ultimate win-win situation! 

Unparalleled learning support – for exams or enjoyment

Our young people are also offered something else that only boarding school downtime can provide – opportunities for high levels of tutoring and peer support in evenings and weekends. This is equally important for learners who need extra help, and those who seek additional support to match their academic ambitions.

To be honest, some students enjoy their studies so much that they are hungry to use boarding school downtime to pursue their passions. Such as joining science and language clubs, music tuition and art classes in their spare time.

The upside of downtime

Clearly, attending Rendcombe College - a leading boarding school in the UK - offers excellence in the classroom. However, equally important is the promised that young people can explore their own interests, abilities and preferences, turning their downtime into some of their best times!