… of a boarder at Millfield Prep – named Independent Schools of the Year Awards’ Prep School of the Year, for proactively teaching about pupils’ mental health

Pastoral care and wellbeing is at the heart of Millfield Prep School. Boarding pupils benefit from extremely high standards of pastoral care, with all boarding staff, assistants and matrons working together to ensure that individual needs are met, and information is shared harmoniously between boarding houses and school leaders. A Pastoral Committee meeting each week allows key staff to discuss the diverse needs of the children.

After an induction day with parents, each new pupil is given a buddy within the boarding house, someone who has been at the school for at least a year. Their buddy helps them familiarise themselves with campus and be a listening ear. Houseparents and assistant houseparents and their families live within the boarding houses which provides the necessary supervision and support for boarders, whilst establishing a genuine family atmosphere. The staff to pupil ratio is excellent.

Life is busy at Millfield Prep. Pupils wake up at 7am ready for a full day of lessons and activities. The school day starts at 8.25am and ends at 3.45pm. Games and activities take place from 4pm, supper is at 5pm and homework at 5.30pm. From 6.30pm, houseparents put on activities for pupils to enjoy such as movie nights, football and arts and crafts. The evening routine starts from 8.15pm for the younger years through to lights out for all at 9.15pm. Some pupils will take part in sports sessions before breakfast, at lunchtime and after school, depending on their interests.

The weekend is an exciting time for houses to enjoy activities offsite such as Go Ape, Dorset Adventure Park and the seaside. Every so often, pupils enjoy a well-earned lazy Sunday morning before an afternoon of fun.

The innovative Wellbeing Curriculum was launched in September 2021 with the aim of teaching children skills to cope with modern life. The curriculum teaches pupils to identify poor wellbeing and empower them with the skills to recognise and improve it through activities such as yoga. The concepts explored link to the school values Be Kind, Be You, Be Curious, Be Challengers and Be Brilliant.


Cranbrook School give us the lowdown on the benefits of state boarding

We all want to give our children the best start in life; providing them with every opportunity to explore and develop their talents. The prospect of sending a child to boarding school is often seen as a daunting experience for students and parents but it can also be one of the most rewarding. Boarding provides children with unparalleled opportunities to grow in confidence and independence, refine emotional intelligence, and develop social, academic and co-curricular skills.

Nurturing Environment with Supportive Staff
Boarding has been shown to add value to a student’s academic progress and to develop students who are happy and successful in their work. This is almost certainly because boarders learn and embed effective study habits and have the opportunity to receive additional academic support. Each evening dedicated prep times are supervised by senior teachers who offer pastoral and academic guidance.

Outstanding Facilities and Learning Opportunities
By taking advantage of the entire range of resources available both inside and outside the classroom, boarding enables students to discover and nurture their natural talents. At Cranbrook, we are fortunate to have outstanding facilities on our 75-acre campus and our boarders have an array of options to enjoy including rock band practice in the Performing Arts Centre, football in the Sports Hall, exploring the heavens at our Sellers Observatory, cooking with friends in the house kitchens or spending extra time studying in the library.

Develop Independence and be Prepared for University
When it comes to teaching students about independence, sound decision-making, and forming lifelong friendships, nothing beats boarding school. Our boarders learn how to manage their own time, juggling academic work, co-curricular activities, and relaxation under the watchful eye of our caring team. Students are well positioned to succeed as undergraduates at university.

Spare Time Well-spent
Cranbrook makes sure that spare time is fun with numerous activities available. Boarders regularly enjoy house BBQs, trips to theme parks, the cinema, London theatre shows and professional sports fixtures. These activities help students acquire important social skills, manners, etiquette, and communication skills through interactions with classmates and adults. As a result, pupils develop soft skills but also form lifelong friendships which far outlast their time at school. 

If you are looking for affordable boarding and a cracking all-around education for your children, you need look no further than state boarding schools like Cranbrook. Put simply, parents of children at state boarding schools pay only for the boarding fee – broadly £11,000 to £18,000 per year – receiving in return a top-flight education and boarding experience.


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