The ‘Boarding’ Option

Personal circumstances; personal preferences or the specific educational needs of a child, may lead some families to conclude that a boarding school education will best match their child’s needs.

However, Cheshire families have no alternative other than to look outside the county in their search for a suitable senior boarding school, writes Matthew Robinson.

The ‘Boarding’ Option

Boarding schools offer children the opportunity to learn about, and experience life surrounded by like-minded peers and inspirational teaching staff.

Small class sizes, superb facilities and the luxury of time means that ‘boarders’ have a wealth of extracurricular activities available to them to supplement their learning and to help uncover their talents.

It is not just academic excellence that is important; a boarding school education is holistic in nature and seeks to develop the whole person.

The care and wellbeing of each student is a major priority for all boarding schools – as only a happy, supported child can achieve his/her full potential.

The dedication and full-time commitment of that support team is vital to the secure, safe environment that each house provides.

Boarding houses are a vital part of boarding school life; a caring community of students living together. Life-long friendships are made here and a wealth of house activities cements the strong bond between housemates.

Many boarding schools have a rich, diverse mix of students from around the globe meaning that your child will make friends with other children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds encouraging tolerance and mutual understanding.

Life at a boarding school equips students with a high degree of self-reliance and motivation especially when it comes to academic studies.

‘Prep’, or revision, is a daily part of life and, with tutors on hand, problems or areas for academic improvement are quickly identified and acted upon.

Children are encouraged to excel in their academic studies and to embrace all the other opportunities their boarding school provides.

Life skills such as personal organisation, cooking, cleaning and time management ensure that boarding students leave school fully equipped to succeed in the future.

Here, two top independent boarding schools are keen to invite prospective parents and students from this part of Cheshire to visit them to find out what they have to offer.

Rydal Penrhos School, Colwyn Bay


Rydal Penrhos is a thriving co-educational day and boarding school situated in the stunning North Wales coastal town of Colwyn Bay.

It prides itself on the five tenets of Learning, Living, Leading, Listening and Location, and boasts a history of exceptional academic and extra-curricular success.

Open Morning gives each guest the perfect opportunity to see first-hand what goes on at Rydal Penrhos during a typical school day with access to classrooms, in addition to sports and music facilities.

Visitors will also get the chance to talk with teachers and current pupils, who will be on hand to answer any questions you have regarding the school.

Headmaster Simon Smith, said: “At Rydal Penrhos we aspire to be a “world class” school where pupils have the opportunity, courage and support to discover their talents and be the best they can be.

“We fulfil this ambition by focussing on four key tenets: Learning effectively, Living joyfully, Listening respectfully and Leading successfully, all in our unique, stunning, location.

“I hope that your Open Morning visit will enable you to see all of this in action and meet our wonderful pupils who embody these qualities.”


Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall.


Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall offers a rich curriculum and extraordinary resources. Head Ian Murphy explains, “St Mary’s Hall offers everything that education should be.  We are an internationally minded prep school which equips young people for the global village they will ultimately be part of. Children here make friends with others from around the world.”

Resources at Stonyhurst are world-class. Referring to pupils holding a priceless Shakespeare first folio which forms part of the Stonyhurst College Collections, Ian said, ‘The first experience a child here has of Shakespeare is a pair of white gloves!’

Pupils, parents and teachers at St Mary’s Hall have high expectations across the curriculum beyond academic attainment. Children learn to be mutually supportive. Ian said, “We are not an exam factory; our Jesuit heritage and culture allows us to make a difference to the whole formation of a young person.  There is an unashamed effort to add value here: to that special little human being who has joined us. We work hard to help them settle and achieve their very best.”

St Mary’s Hall offers day places or weekly or term-time boarding options.

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