Hungry for Hogwarts?

Following on slightly from yesterday’s blog on the theme of boarding schools, it’s amazing to me that applications to boarding schools are up as the effect, apparently, of Harry Potter and because of the cosy spell of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Now I actually went to boarding school, and as the result of my experience, I can advise any child considering a spell ‘inside’, that it’s not all broomstick flights, fun magic tricks and chasing around corridors on the trail of exciting creatures!

There are plenty of things to recommend boarding school, at least the one I went to, Marlborough College. Outdoor activities such as rock-climbing, canoeing, windsurfing, orienteering. Creative out-of-hours pursuits like woodwork, metalwork, arts and crafts and loads more that I don’t even begin to remember.

There are also plenty of good reasons to avoid boarding schools too. They are a breeding ground for bullying, viscious cliques and artificial pecking-orders to break the sternest character, but much of that goes on in day schools too.

No, the single biggest reason not to go to boarding school is because you won’t be with your parents. Now you may not see any problem with this. Afterall, overbearing, stuffy parents can be a real pain, especially during teenage years. But at least they care! Trust me, after five or ten years at boarding school, where absolutely no-one cares about you or how you feel, it’ll be a miracle if you make it out the other side with no scars . Sometimes it’s important just to be with people who care about you, even if they can have an odd way of showing it.

Do not be fooled into believing you (or your child) will get the kind of one-to-one attention that Harry gets from Dumbledore! The truth is more likely to be a brisk reprimand for disturbing morning assembly with tears of rage and frustration caused by the fact that your bed, and the contents of your bedside cabinet have been thrown out of the dormitory window into the flowerbeds below for the fifth time in a week. All fine and dandy if you’ve got a glossy wand and a “reparo” spell to put things right, but a real heartbreaker otherwise, and this is fun and games that your parents are unlikely to indulge in on a regular basis.

Look before you leap!

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