Sending Children To Boarding Schools

A boarding college is a college where students go to classes to learn and live together with some or other students during the school season¹. This practice has been on in Europe for more than one thousand years as noted in classical literature. In britain (UK) most boarding universities are independent colleges. These boarding universities are managed by certain recommendations arranged by the Team of Children, Colleges and Families alongside the Team of Health known as the Country wide Boarding Standards².

Majority of university children in the UK are day students who enroll in state classes. Only very few families chose to send their children to boarding institutions, most of that happen to be private. In 1998 there were 772 self-employed boarding academic institutions in England and about 100, 000 children all over the UK participating in boarding colleges¹. However this practice is still very common in certain British colonies such as Nigeria, Ghana and India. Parents often provide a number of known reasons for mailing their children to boarding schools. The decision is reported to be a way where the parents try to perpetuate their interpersonal beliefs³. This review sets out to seek why some parents in the UK send their children to boarding colleges. Specifically, this research is focussed on certain immigrant families from the previous English colony in Western Africa (Nigeria) who are citizen in the united kingdom or live in another country and have their children in boarding colleges in the united kingdom.

In the colonial era of the English Empire, boarding colleges became popular amonst the administrators who were abroad and sent their children back to Britain for schooling so that they imbibed the British culture¹. Overtime, the culture of mailing children to boarding academic institutions became from the upper class. In addition, military boarding academic institutions came into existence to cater for the children of those in the armed forces whose occupations frequently take them in foreign countries in order to give the children a well balanced education whereby they aren't uprooted each and every time their parents are transferred to are in another country⁴. Also, in some societies it has become a traditions to send children to boarding university. Some of these reasons given include the notion to imbibe the same culture that was imparted on these parents in their youngsters to their own children. However the reasons given may actually hide various other reasons for considered such decisionsâ. Some of the real reasons might be the parents' conception that the kids are disobedient, carrying out improperly academically or in family members where the parents are divorced or separated. Other reasons often mentioned by parents for mailing their children to boarding universities also include self-discipline, as therapeutic solution⁸ and religious beliefs⁹.


This researcher undertook the analysis given her positionality as an immigrant from Nigeria moving into the UK to find out why and exactly how decisions were created by parents to send their children to private boarding institutions in the united kingdom, a country where most school children are day students. I also searched for to see if this is from the upper social course. Although there are extremely few studies on this subject matter but available sources have associated these with parents' notion of prestige among the reasons given for sending their children to boarding university¹. The assumption is the fact the reason why these parents who are immigrants from Nigeria send their children to private boarding school is due to their record and experience off their homeland. I'd put the theory behind this to be always a form of social constructionism. As feelings vary across cultures meanings and means of dealing with situations are influenced by our interpersonal and cultural assumptions¹¹. Some parents also send their children to boarding university to make their lives better by giving them the chance to mix with children of the upper classes.


Design and Setting

The researcher conducted focussed semi-structured wide open interviews on four parents whose children attend private boarding institutions in the united kingdom. This allowed the researcher to check out a set of questions in a particular order for each interviewee to be able to provide data that can be compared among each one of them¹². Being focussed it allowed the researcher to adopt in-depth answers to questions thus making provision for reflective examination¹³. Being semi-structured, it also provided some overall flexibility in the way the questions were asked¹².

The members were selected based on the close romantic relationship with the researcher and knowledge that they have children who sign up for boarding schools in the UK. The purpose of the research analysis was told each participant weeks before the interview was conducted and a written consent was searched for from each of them after guaranteeing them of the confidentiality of any information and data that could be generated from the analysis. All the participants are from the same cultural group and country of origins as the researcher. Only one of the parents was interviewed.

The interviews were conducted in the individuals' homes after seeking authorization and consultations given for specific times.

Data Collection

The tool used for the interview was developed based on ideas received from an assessment of the literature related to this issue as this is expected before setting out to execute a qualitative analysis¹â´. The interviews were saved face-to-face¹â utilizing a digital recorder which was later transferred to your personal computer for simple transcription. All the individuals were asked the same questions in the same purchases lay out on the topic suggestions, but were also allowed to speak on other aspects of this issue they wanted to. The age selection of participants was between 47-53 years. All except one is resident in the united kingdom. The interviews lasted between 29 to 44 minutes.

All the interviews were transcribed verbatim but pseudonym initials were found in the transcripts. The transcripts were then hand-coded to consider topics and meanings. This is an on-going process through-out the analysis. The potential themes were recognized but through the process of examination emergent designs were added. Steps were taken up to ensure reliability by sending the transcribed interviews to all the members except one who lives abroad and could not be come to.


A lot of this was conquer as the members were friends of the researcher who are parents and gave a free and educated consent. Confidentiality of the participants was managed in the transcripts by using pseudonym initials for participants. Also, during the interviews the researcher tried as much as possible to remain natural even although participants are good friends to her.



Findings are result of the research of data based on the grounded theory, an activity of identifying styles as they emerge from the data¹â·. These focussed on the replies given by the parents on known reasons for decision, methods of searching for institutions, reasons for selection of institutions, things that the parents were of interest to parents about the colleges, who made the final decision on the decision of schools, parent's conception of children's life in the boarding universities, the children's educational and academic progress, the children's public life and parents' notion of dangers and great things about boarding schools. A thematic chart was produced (Fig1).

Reasons why parents selected boarding schools

There are so many reasons why parents send their children to boarding university. It surfaced that parents think that because they went to secondary boarding universities their children also needs to follow the same custom. All the parents interviewed except one got attended boarding schools as children. The parents acquired a firm opinion that having attended boarding classes helped them to develop individually. This further supports the theory that a lot of the reasons distributed by the parents are socially produced and social experience are thus created and given meanings by individuals. They also mentioned that the boarding universities make children to be unbiased. Apart from rendering it a traditions another parent mentioned that the reason why he made a decision to send his children to boarding school was that it offered him the best education.

"Well I went to boarding institution and I thought it helped me to develop independently you understand, in addition to the idea that it offered me one of the best education" (K)- Transcript 1-paragraph 20.

Similarly Y also brought up that your choice was made to send their children to boarding institution because her hubby also went to boarding university and he became independent and responsible because of this.

". . . It was an early decision when the kids were growing up because my husband visited boarding college, and emm. . . he was. . . he became independent and responsible you know being put in boarding school early on in life" (Y)- Transcript 3- paragraph 2.

Another parent experienced this to say

". . . We, both I and their father visited boarding universities as small children. For me in particular, I visited, the burkha boarding university and extra boarding school, but for dad he went to a second boarding institution but we'd always known they might go to boarding institutions because for all of us in Nigeria, boarding schools make the difference. It's in boarding university that you understand how to reside with other folks that you understand how to act in life"( O)- Transcript 2- paragraph 14.

Some parents also think that attendance at boarding college helps the kids with maturity and mannerism. They stated that boarding school helps the kid to form figure and figure out how to live with other folks. This is similar to the results by Shane et al in their qualitative enquiry looking at military boarding school perspectives of parental choice¹â¸. They believe if a child would go to boarding school he has a chance of having better outcome in life. This is expressed in the interview with the next participant

"You will find many reasons but the most crucial one is. . . that people think that it is in the boarding school that you mature therefore you learn a lot of things that you need. . . . . . how to live on with other folks, mannerism, it's in the boarding house you form your character, and the best comes out of you when you're abroad" (O) - Transcript 2- Paragraph 20 & 22.

One of the members regarded as the 'deviant case' because she was the only person who said she didn't enroll in a boarding college but was however impressed as an adolescent when she met peers who acquired attended boarding college even though she never went to boarding university. She noticed that being in boarding university acquired afforded her peers a whole lot of opportunities and thought they had enjoyed themselves. She made up her brain as a teenager that she'd send her children to boarding college when she eventually got them.

". . . this is something I had known all along that my children would go to boarding institution. . . this is something I had developed known because I went to sixth form college in this country. . . and speaking with people there who had result from boarding college in the first five years before coming to 6th form college I had fashioned shaped the impression that that they had really liked themselves and they were within an environment whereby they had a great deal of opportunities so it was something that experienced always stayed with me from a age group" (M)- Transcript 4-paragraph 2.

Contrary to some of the reason why given in literature are that the kids who are believed disobedient or underachieving are delivered to boarding school. This was not mentioned by the parents interviewed among the reasons for mailing their children to boarding school.

Reasons for the decision of schools

Several reasons have been given for choosing certain colleges. Similarity to previous schools attended by his children abroad was presented with by one of the members as a reason for sending his children to a particular college. Also high academics rating was another reason given by some parents for the decision of particular boarding classes.

"Because. . . we spend a lot of money bringing these to boarding schools so we didn't want just any university. We wanted highly rated academic academic institutions" (O) - Transcript 2- paragraph 54.

Other reasons include religious determinism, Self-discipline, pastoral care and attention, good sporting and music facilities.

R: So what motivated your choice of school?

Y: First and foremost this is a Christian university. . . . they actually run the school with Christian doctrines and the top of the school is a reverend. In order that for me personally. I thought the institution will be a lttle bit strict that they are, and that's okay beside me. . . . they are strict their rules, they do not bend the guidelines so. . . that's one thing I like about the school. Transcript 3-paragraph 30.

None of the members mentioned the love-making of the university student society i. e. whether solo or mixed love-making population as n important factor in the decision of classes. Although one of the participants described that she made a decision to take her children to merged intimacy because all her children are young girls and she sensed that heading to a mixed sex school would afford them the chance of being in a position to socialise better and be exposed to kids who provide 'sibling figure' for the coffee lover.

Parents' belief of advantages of boarding schools

The parents explained that the benefits associated with boarding school include structured learner development, self-actualisation, self-reliance, maturity, academic success, well adjusted progress, ability to reside in with people of different backgrounds, drive, and capability to plan and become better organised.

A participant also stated that they are in a position to get their desired final results on their children by mailing those to boarding school.

"The benefits. . . they develop, they mature, academically they appear tops in college, plus they learn a great deal in boarding college. Their lives are prepared, tailored. . . intended for what they want to do. . . they see and read about role models and all that and at the end of everything you're happy with them. . . they've ended up being what you would like those to be". (0) - Transcript 2- paragraph 172.

Parents' conception of risks of boarding schools

Among the risks stated by members associated with mailing children to boarding institution include bullying. Even though the parents who pointed out this categorically said they had never experienced this in their children's classes but it was one of the risks considered. Other dangers pointed out included issues of Gangs in college and children slipping into bad company. All of the members except one described they risk burning off the closeness with their children by mailing these to boarding school. The one exception which is considered as the 'deviant case' in this instance stated that she doesn't think there are any dangers associated with sending children to boarding school.

The parents explained specific known reasons for mailing their children to boarding institutions. Several themes emerged from research of the data. These include central designs on tradition, self-reliance, academics, socialisation, discipline, maturity and development of character. They are similar to styles in prior studies and studies in books¹â¸. However in prior studies prestige and elitism have been pointed out as themes or templates associated with reasons why parents send their children to boarding academic institutions¹. However these themes or templates have not emerged in this study, as there's not been any assertion or response to suggest this in every the interviews.


A quite typical theme which occurred in this review is centred on traditions. The parents, almost all of who went to private boarding university in their house country still have the belief that this is actually the ideal situation even within an environment where this is not a practice. This is like the 'subculture norming' brought up by Shane et al. ¹â¸ It has additionally been said that in a few societies, families send generations with their children to the same boarding university¹. The parents' intent of keeping the social textile of their own upbringing thus influences this decision.


As mentioned earlier, independence was a significant theme discovered as reason parents send their children to boarding college. They believe children who stay aware of their parents are pampered and corresponding to one of the parents become 'attached to their parents' apron' for a long period, cannot take decisions independently, are unable to plan. The members elicited particular end result desires for their children. They discussed children who go to boarding college have the ability to plan ahead, are encouraged and mature faster due to self-reliance which is instilled about them early on in life.

Good Education

The parents also mentioned that a person of the reasons for choosing private boarding colleges for his or her children was to provide them the best education. They believe that to get the best education the kids are better off at private boarding institutions. This was described by Neal who advised that can be attributed to parents' perceived failure in the condition of the contemporary society¹â¹. It could be explained from a communal constructionist perspective that is just a conclusion predicated on the perception of these parents. It could be argued that children who are day students also get good education depending on type and publicity given in the colleges they show up at. The members' opinion that the entrance into some of the private boarding university being so competitive offers a kind of desire because of their children and a sense of accomplishment. They mentioned proudly the success of their children in a few of the nationwide exams and feel justified for mailing them to boarding academic institutions.


The participants explained that the power for children who are sent to boarding school to live with folks from different backgrounds is one of the reasons for opting out for boarding institution because of their children. They pointed out that the multicultural and multiracial settings of some of the boarding universities provided the interest for these people. They believe the children figure out how to live with others from different ethnic adjustments which therefore make them for the outside world. A participant talked about that it's in the boarding school that character is made and good comes from the children.


The participants believe willpower can be inculcated easily on their children if they are in boarding school compare to if indeed they stay aware of them. They described about the organised student life among the reasons for mailing their children to boarding school. They believe that the tight life in boarding school prepares the children for the larger world. Some explained that the house environment provided an atmosphere that is too calm over a disciplinary/sociable level and this could provide a negative effect on their children.

Deviant cases

All the individuals interviewed except one mentioned that that they had attended boarding colleges and they experienced become better for this; this is why they are determined to send their children to boarding institutions. The only the one which did not sign up for boarding school however was affected as a teenager by peers who acquired attended boarding college and had become the impression that heading to boarding school opens the individual to a whole lot of opportunities.

Also when asked if they acquired any regrets sending their children to boarding college, all the members except one talked about that they have possessed no regrets. However one of the individuals mentioned that she has regrets for mailing her children to boarding school. She mentioned that she feels lonely because she continues to be alone inside your home and this if she got her way she'd do things in another way.

Also in the info from this analysis, there is no theme associated with upper social course status or elitism which contradicts much of the results in books¹. However it was gathered from two of the participants that the fees for these classes are exorbitant when asked if indeed they had any constraints after deciding to send their children to boarding college. She explained that they understood that the fees would be high and they were ready for it. Furthermore, one of the individuals also talked about that her choice of a particular boarding university was based on the fact that they provided scholarship or grant on her behalf children as the fees were high. This is also reinforced by Powell who described that boarding colleges have become solely preserved for top of the course².

It is also important to mention that the researcher did not see any theme or concepts in the study to claim that your choice to send their children to boarding classes by the parents as a way of punishing them or any ideas that the children are disobedient or underachieving. This contradicts a few of the studies in the literatureâ'⁶. All but one mentioned that the ultimate decision of going to the boarding academic institutions involved the children. Actually one of the individuals talked about that it was her princess who chose the school.

This study started out with so much naivety on the part of the researcher in regards to qualitative study. As qualitative study is such a fresh ground because of this researcher it needed some time to access grips with the research work. First it should be noted that is regarded as a pilot review by researcher for future qualitative work.

Strengths and Limitations

I would say the durability first is based on the fact that I had few ethical issues to cope with. In a normal setting it might be expected that the study proposal be placed through formal moral clearance as explained for example by the Team of Health that any research to be performed should think about the hobbies of participants as well as use appropriate design to answer the study questions¹. Also another important factor is the words used in performing the interview. This is in English and all the participants could actually converse their thoughts and feelings to the researcher in English. The importance of it has been pressured by many writers². The ethnical setting of the researcher is also the same as the participants all of whom are Afro-Caribbean just like the researcher; three of who are also immigrants resident in the united kingdom. A whole lot has been written in books about the value and features of carrying out research studies in familiar surfaces³. Also this also helped to make access to the participants a lot easier and the issues and problems usually came across with gate keepers in qualitative research studies substantially minimised.

There was no problem whatsoever getting members to consent to be interviewed.

It is also essential to note that we now have certain limitations came across during the study as a result of the positionality of the researcher. First being truly a newbie in this field there was a great deal of problems in growing the topic recommendations. Financial firms known to take the time and is undoubtedly part of the learning process⁴. Looking again at the stage of research I realised that there were some answers given by a few of the participants that should have been probed deeper. For instance in the first interview, the participant K was much in a rush and also given my association with the family I came across which i couldn't probe further once i asked him this question

R:. . . . . Just what exactly motivated your choice of school?

K: Emm particular experience with the kind of college my children were already heading to in Nigeria. . . . .

Transcript 1, paragraph 46

Looking back now I will have probed further to ask which kind of school his children were going to in Nigeria. This further buttresses the actual fact that sometimes when the researcher and members are close, a great deal of assumptions are made which may limit the data acquired and interfere with the results and benefits of the research.

Method of Assortment of Data

The data was gathered using focussed semi-structure available interviews where all the participants were asked almost the same questions in the same order while allowing them to express themselves widely and give as much information as they could through the interview. The interviews were performed in the participants' houses; for three of the members in the living spaces and in the kitchen for just one of the individuals. The interviews were noted using a digital recorder and later transcribed verbatim.

Strengths and Limitations

The options of the interviews for the participants I consider a great durability of the study. Being in their 'natural' environment, the individuals were found to be very 'tranquil' aside from the first participant K who appeared to be somewhat in a hurry because regarding to him he was not feeling too fine. The setting up of your interview is normally said to impact on the kind of data madeâ. It can help to create a sense of trust for the interviewer on the part of the interviewee as they're relaxed in a location he or she considers as 'his' or 'hers'.

Also the fact that the interviews were conducted face-to-face, documented and later transcribed verbatim ensured that data weren't skipped. This helped to ensure dependability as some of the answers which the interviewer was not very certain of while executing the interview became clearer after listening many times to the noted interviews. Corresponding to Patton (2001), this is one of the tools any qualitative researcher should get worried about⁶. The transcribed interviews were also sent to the members for feedback and feedbacks on the researcher's interpretation of the interviews. All but one of the participants were contacted and all were content with the transcribed interviews. The sole one that could not be come to lives abroad. The use of verbatim transcripts in the examination and the checking with participants also helped to ensure validity and standing of the research⁷'⁸.

However one of the limits of this review is the fact given my history and theoretical method of the research question in which I perceive the reason why behind why the parents send their children to boarding classes as socially produced, an observatory method could have been appropriate or if at all interviews should be conducted some type of triangulation would have been a much better option as a study method. This in addition would lead to a more valid, reliable and diverse realities⁹.

Also another restriction to this study is the closeness of the researcher to the participants. In some of the data and statements provided by the individuals I discovered some inconsistency. When the second participant (o) was asked if her children experienced any issues in the institution she brought up that they didn't have any. However during the interview she later said she acquired to improve her little princess from the first school she attended. It really is generally said that in interviews people are more likely to provide the interviewer what they perceive to be 'socially satisfactory' rather than exactly the real situation.

I would also say that the inexperience of the researcher rather than really knowing promptly some important aspects of the study process is another limitation of the study. It required the researcher some time to learn that she needed to have field notes while undertaking the analysis. A lot has been written in books from other people's experiences of the importance of experiencing field records. Field notes in addition provide aesthetic data which may not be accessible if one depends on recorded interviews by themselves⁹.

Analysis Process

It had taken this researcher sometime to access learn how to go about starting the research work as pointed out earlier this is a relatively new ground on her behalf. An interview guide had to be developed after briefly researching in to the topic and based on my own background and positionality, I could put down some questions under different headings that i considered important to ask the participants. The data analysis ideally should begin right away of the study work during data collection¹.

Strengths and Limitations

I would say the strengths of the research process for this study is based on the resources and advice received at the Qualitative Research Methods' contact periods for the Master of General public Health Programme. Also doing four interviews enabled me to have a great deal of data for analysis. Although evaluation of the data has been time-consuming however the 'rigour' involved I believe would contribute to the dependability and validity of the study work. The topics that emerged during the analysis have contributed in allowing the researcher to go back and further analyse the data better and had sharpen the collection of further data in subsequent interviews ⁷'¹¹. Also the grounded theory way that was used to analyse the info has the good thing about allowing the researcher to return and go after in-depth enquiry of the topics that have emerged.

One limitation of the examination process is the fact that it was very time-consuming as it was done by hand-coding, "cutting and pasting". This however experienced the advantage of supporting this researcher to learn the data. Although several software applications can be found nowadays, this researcher is not really acquainted with the use of these and therefore this was not used whatsoever. Where this can be acquired and can be used by the researcher it creates the task easier and also offers many potential benefits¹. The usage of computer software also has the actual to increase the 'rigour' of qualitative analysis¹².

The power of the interpretation directed at the findings I'd say lie mainly on the researcher's record. Given my positionality, qualifications and familiarity with the individuals I am in a position to identify with some of their aspirations, their language including slangs and ethnic values. Also the capability to have the ability to compare and discover similarities in conclusions with some research studies that tried out to answer similar or related questions. For example in the analysis by Shane et al (2008)¹³, similar themes or templates like Independence, Self-discipline and Organized life were saved.

However I'd say the limitation in the interpretation of studies lies in the fact that the data analysed focussed only on those participants that are recognized to the researcher and may well not be applicable to the generality of parents who send their children to boarding classes including parents from the same cultural track record as the participants. Therefore caution must be exercised in making deductions from this type of review. It is therefore important to think through the impact of the study studies on other populations considering its generalizability and transferability⁴.

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