Millfield Prep's Director of Boarding, Carl Bingham, answers frequently asked questions about the experience of boarding at Millfield Prep School.
The thought of boarding away from home can be daunting, especially when you’ve never done it before and don’t know what the routines are like. Everyone feels nervous when they first start boarding; it’s completely natural. However, the boarding aspect often becomes pupils’ most favourite thing about their school life!
Boarding gives our pupils more time to do the things that they enjoy, as they don’t have a daily journey to and from school and all the facilities and coaches are in one place, right on their doorstep - No more travelling for activities such as swimming sessions, music groups and sporting activities, which they might have had to as a day pupil! With so many full-time boarders, co-curricular activities and in-house fun, there is always something exciting to do with friends, so children will never be bored whilst boarding at Millfield Prep.
Our experienced houseparents are used to welcoming boarders, from within the UK and all over the world, so we know how to make everyone feel settled and happy after just a day or two. Houseparents understand how new boarders will be feeling and make sure that they get to know them and can support them as they get used to new surroundings, new friends and a new routine. After a week or so, they will likely forget that they were even a bit worried about it.
What should I expect on my first day?
When you arrive, your houseparents will give you a tour of the boarding house, introduce you to your housemates and show you where everything is. All of the boarding houses are unique and have excellent facilities. You will have time to unpack, meet your roommates, settle into and personalise your new bedroom, have a snack and a chat before bedtime.
Why not watch our boarding house videos to get a feel for where you will be living?
Boys Boarding Video Girls Boarding Video
Boarding is like home away from home – Year 6 International Boarder
What will I do on the weekends?
Weekends at Millfield Prep are very exciting! Around 130 pupils board full-time, so the school is always a hive of activity seven days a week and never feels empty at the weekends! After you have finished at school on Saturday morning, you may have a sports match, or else an activity to take part in, before settling down in your boarding house in the evening to spend time with your friends, watch a film together or enjoy some late snacks! On Sunday there is a great programme of activities arranged, which could be surfing, a theme park, paintballing or a trip to the cinema. On site, pupils make use of the amazing facilities, visiting the riding stables, playing squash, kayaking or riding bikes.
Find out more about weekend activities at Millfield Prep here.
How much he’s grown since he’s been boarding – it is just phenomenal – Parent of Boarding Pupil
What will I eat at mealtimes?
Mealtimes at Millfield Prep are taken in the Dining Hall. For your breakfast, you can choose between cold food, like pain au chocolat or cereal and hot food, like a full English breakfast! At lunchtimes, there is a choice of a hearty hot meal, such as a roast or tagine, soup and salads, as well as fresh bread, fruit and a yummy dessert bar. In the evenings, you will also have a choice of hot food, such as the popular pasta bar or a tasty stir-fry, a healthy dose of vegetables and salad and a hot dessert. There are always delicious vegetarian options at every meal too and our brilliant chefs can cater for all allergies and dietary requirements. We have a good balance of wholesome, healthy foods, to set you up for a day of learning and activities, and occasional treats.
By being an international boarder, you meet so many other people, there’s people not just from Europe but from all around the world – Year 7 International Boarder
What time will I wake up and go to sleep?
Normal wake-up time is 7am, when you will get ready to go to breakfast with the rest of your boarding house. You may have to get up earlier if you have an early club, such as swimming, music, riding or tennis which may start at 7am. Bedtime varies depending on your Year Group, but after you have showered and snuggled up with a book, lights out will be between 8.15pm-9.15pm. It’s very important to get a good night’s rest before a busy day at school the next day.
Read more about boarding life at Millfield Prep in our Boarding Times.
Sometimes my brother accidentally calls it ‘home’ – Year 6 Boarder
Will someone be able to help me with my homework?
Absolutely. Everyone up to Year 8 does their homework (which we call ‘prep’) in school or the library. When you reach Year 8, you are allowed to do your prep back at your boarding house. There will always be a teacher around to give you a helping hand with your prep, if you need it.
Learn more about Learning Support at Millfield Prep here.
I was prepared to be blown away by the sort of school Millfield Prep is on the academic front, on the learning support front and the sporting opportunities – What I wasn’t prepared for was the absolute wrap-around pastoral care that you get here, which really is exceptional and allows every child to flourish – Parent of Boarding Pupil
When will I be able to speak to my family?
All of the boarding houses have at least 2 landlines and are fully-equipped with Wi-Fi. Pupils can also call their family from their mobile phone, FaceTime or Skype every evening if they wish. We encourage pupils to write letters, and parents are welcome to write and send care packages from home too. There are also lots of times when you can go home for exeat weekends and holidays which are spread throughout the terms, or you can stay in school for the exeat weekend, to do some more activities and excursions with your boarding friends!
My daughter says that the boarding is her favourite part of the school – That even if the school was next door to our house, she would still want to board! – Parent of Boarding Pupil
It is a good idea to have an overnight taster visit, so that you can see what it is like to board before you start school. This means that you will be familiar with the house and boarding routines before you start boarding, which will help to settle any worries you might have.
If you have any other questions or would like to book your taster visit, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. More information on Millfield Prep School’s boarding programme can be found in the boarding section of our website here.
To come and explore Millfield Prep, talk with key staff and tour our campus, book a place at our next Open Day here.