Boarding continues to offer unique opportunities. Excellent ‘free’ after school academic support, an expanding activities programme, improved menus and proactive pastoral care are some of the initiatives worth mentioning. Next session, we add a further 60 new boarders to overall numbers that will strengthen and benefit our community. This is a clear sign that boarding at Aitchison is happy and productive -and on the way up. Boarders play lots of sport and their academic results are regularly among the best in the College. In 2016-17, we welcome 330 boarders. In 2017-18, we expect 400.
Also joining boarding in the next session will be three teachers (currently on staff) who will add a further dimension to our support, supervision and encouragement approach. It is crucial that boys have good men with whom they can talk and benefit from their advice and wisdom. Indeed, parents should feel pleased that staff take a keen interest in the progress of their sons on a daily basis. We are aiming to establish better and more frequent contact with parents and guardians in future. I always think it is good to receive a call just to say that your son is fine and doing well. Of course, it is also important to tell you when we think he may need a bit of a push. This is a team effort.
The value of a boarding education lies chiefly in the fact that boarders quickly become independent, capable young men; the qualities most likely to help one successfully navigate life. In this regard, it is crucial for boarders to work and play in a community that is stable and which does things together. During term time, this is why we ask parents not to withdraw boys from boarding or deny them the duties they are assigned. Visits are welcome on a monthly basis or on occasions when there might be a family emergency or very special occasion. Younger boys' parents will receive regular phone calls from staff as they will also from their sons. As a past father of three boarders, I know how important it is to keep in touch but also to allow children to get fully engaged with everything from study, to sport and, of course, the important task of making sound friendships. By keeping our community together it helps everyone succeed and feel part of a great team.
There will be a function for boarding parents on the first travel day, Sunday August 28th at 11.30am. This will be held in the 'Old Building.' Please do join us. I look forward to meeting you. We intend to hold one each term.