Boarding school: advantages and disadvantages

In short, a boarding school is a school where your child can also live. Most boarding schools offer a special program for the individual support of their students. Find out here how high the costs for a boarding school are and the advantages and disadvantages of this type of school.

What is boarding school?

A boarding school is an educational facility where children and young people learn, live and are cared for. There are around 250 boarding schools in Germany that are either state-owned or privately run. A boarding school aims to provide its students with intensive pedagogical and academic support and thus help them to obtain a good school certificate.

The children spend most of their time at boarding school and only go home to their families on certain weekends and school holidays. Community life is in the foreground: the children share a room, eat together, learn together and also do something with their classmates in their free time. A boarding school usually has a specific objective, according to which the lessons, leisure activities and other support are based:

  • Promotion of the gifted
  • Promotion of high-performance athletes at the sports boarding school
  • Promotion of musical talents at the music boarding school
  • Preparation for a rare profession
  • religious orientation
  • Promotion of children with learning deficits, learning disorders or behavioral disorders
  • Pedagogical orientation, for example at the Waldorf boarding school

A boarding school can also be a sensible childcare option for children of parents who have busy jobs, who travel often or who have to commute back and forth between two places of residence. Even in very rural regions, children are often forced to attend a boarding school because the family lives so isolated that it is too long to drive to school every day.

Who is boarding school suitable for?

There are many reasons why parents send their children to boarding school. They often expect better school support and individual care for their child by going to the boarding school. But not every child is suitable for boarding school. Most boarding schools are designed for children from the fifth grade. An exception are sports boarding schools, which usually look after children from the eighth grade. The best way to find out about the exact selection criteria is to contact the facility your child will attend. In addition to a trial lesson or an entrance test, a certain average grade or special skills in certain areas are usually required. You must also provide a medical certificate to prove that your child does not have a contagious disease.

Above all, however, you should check whether your child is ready to attend boarding school and whether it is emotionally stable enough to be separated from its family for a long period of time. Life in a boarding school, which is designed for community, can be difficult for loners and children who find it difficult to connect. Even children with emotional and psychological problems, such as an eating disorder, are not normally recommended to stay at the boarding school without reservation. In many boarding schools, the main focus is on academic progress and not so much on personal development and psychological care.

Benefits of boarding school

  • small classes
  • Individual support
  • Structured daily routine, clear rules
  • Close contact with peers
  • Supervision by educational specialists
  • Independence is encouraged
  • Discipline is practiced
  • Wide range of leisure activities

Disadvantages of boarding school

  • Reputation of the conservative elite school
  • Often outdated pedagogical concepts
  • Homesickness and longing for family due to long separation
  • Very expensive
  • Education is left to strangers
  • In many cases, emotional development is neglected
  • Hardly any retreat

How high are the costs?

Since you decide voluntarily to attend a boarding school with your child, you have to bear the costs yourself. Depending on the type and orientation of the institution, you have to expect different fees. On average, however, you will have to pay around 300 to 800 euros per month in school fees , plus between 600 and 1800 euros per month for board and lodging . Any additional costs, for example for room cleaning, books, excursions, travel expenses or sports equipmentare not included in this amount. There are no upper limits, so you should inquire in advance at the boarding school of your choice exactly what costs you can expect and what services are included in the price. For example, a single room for your child is more expensive than a shared room. Which leisure activities can your child take part in free of charge and what is the catering like?

A somewhat cheaper alternative are boarding schools run by church organizations. There you pay about 400 to 1200 euros per month . You can also ask the boarding school of your choice whether your child can apply for a scholarship that many boarding schools award to selected students. In exceptional cases, the youth welfare office also grants subsidies and thus supports children from financially weaker families who, for example, have dyslexiaor have another learning disorder and can receive special support in the boarding school. For siblings, the boarding school costs are usually reduced and you can also deduct part of the money from your taxes. Despite everything, most children are denied a visit to boarding school, if only from a financial point of view.

Important questions when registering at the boarding school

If you want to register your child at a boarding school, you should clarify whether the school meets your expectations. Many facilities offer taster days where your child can get to know life at the boarding school. You should also make sure that you send the application for your child’s boarding school place in good time, because popular schools often have long waiting lists. When registering, you should clarify the following important questions:

  • Does the boarding school meet your child’s needs?
  • Is the boarding school state-approved?
  • Do the educational principles of the boarding school correspond to your own?
  • How much does it cost to attend the boarding school and are there any subsidies or scholarships?
  • What are the admission requirements?
  • How qualified are the teachers?
  • What degrees are possible?
  • How is the boarding school structured, for example in relation to the educational concept or choice of subjects?

boarding school abroad

Also abroad, for example in England and Switzerland, there are many boarding schools that have a good reputation. Parents who want to enable their children to make international contacts let them go to school abroad. The students there also learn to speak a foreign language fluently, which is a great advantage for their future life. However, a boarding school abroad is often more expensive than in Germany. For a good boarding school in England you have to pay around 2700 euros a month for school fees, food, accommodation and leisure activities. There are also additional additional costs such as travel, pocket money or the school uniform. You should also pay attention to whether the degree your child can obtain from the school abroad is internationally recognized, otherwise problems could arise.

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