It is a common enough question asked by friends and colleagues on Monday mornings. Good weekends have also become something of an anxiety issue for parents of full-time boarders in schools which offer occasional, weekly and flexi-boarding. The common misconception is that in such schools, the boarding houses empty at the weekends leaving the few who cannot go home, mainly overseas students bored, desolate and unoccupied. This simply is not true.
At Pocklington School Foundation all boarders, whether casual or full-time, are highly valued and their welfare is taken very seriously with no exceptions at weekends. Sometimes boarders enjoy age appropriate leisure activities in junior or senior groups and sometimes they participate, just as they would in an extended family, in school wide activities involving all age groups, the older boarders engaging with, and looking out for younger pupils. Good schools will also ensure that children have time to relax, sometimes alone, if that is appropriate, contact their families and friends at home, and chill out with their boarding friends as well as do their homework.
School life during the week can be very intense for day pupils and boarders alike so relaxation and down time at weekends is essential for recharging the batteries. However, a boarder whatever their age, will emphatically not be left to his or her own devices, unless they choose to be alone, it is safe for them, and trained staff judge that they need some personal space.
‘We did a lot of different activities. There were two rounders pitches and each group played different games against each other to score points. It was really good fun. I really enjoyed dizzy dinosaurs and I won it three times! Welly wanging was actually my idea and I really enjoyed that. I got the idea from the RAF base I used to live at, where we did lots of fun and crazy things at family days.’
Edward was describing an exclusive Boarders Sports Day jointly organised by and for Pocklington and Lyndhurst Boarders. Sixth form boarders Luis Covell and Robyn Tarrant were in charge of the organisation but ideas came from everyone including the youngest. Mixed age teams from all houses competed against each other in Welly Wanging, Dizzy Dinosaurs, a hurdle race, an egg and spoon race without either an egg or a spoon, a penalty shootout, and a rounders match. The contest culminated in an epic tug-of-war between the two highest scoring teams to decide the overall winners. Team one was victorious. Everyone had great fun, agreed that it had been a fantastic Sunday and that they should do it again sometime soon. Working and having fun collectively threw older and younger pupils, new and old boarders, staff and pupils together giving them the opportunity to make new friends and strengthen the community spirit.
This is what Zaira Gurung age 10 a new Orchard House Boarder thought of her day:
‘We had great fun making a House Banner together beforehand. It was not like any sports day I have taken part in before, everybody worked together in teams to score the most points. I liked the rounders the best. The sixth formers did a great job organising it for us and I am looking forward to next year.’
We had an excellent weekend and hope you also enjoyed yours!