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Keeping older students occupied and happy

What have horses, the Ukulele and foraging for food in a forest got in common? They are all examples of the busy programme of activities at this leading independent school!

The list of things that our students do in their free time keeps expanding, particularly for senior boarders. Why is it so important to keep our older pupils fully occupied?

Mental and physical challenges

Some of the activities our senior boarding pupils get up to are focused on developing their mental agility and physical prowess, of course.

We want to expand their minds and level of fitness, with fresh learning and development opportunities during the day and beyond the curriculum. Many young people have a greater ability to assimilate information in a practical situation. So, projects outside the classroom linked to numeracy, literacy and science, for example, boost their store of useful information.

However, giving older students a lot of things to do is just common sense too. As it keeps them happy and staves off boredom!

Avoiding cries of ‘I’m bored!”

It won’t be news to you that young adults - and those in their early teens - tend to get bored more easily than children. They also tend to find this more frustrating!

Studies have shown that boredom is one of the biggest factors in negative behaviour at school and home, giving credibility to the expression ‘the devil makes work for idle hands”.

Clearly then, one of the reasons that Rendcomb College is an independent school with lots of activity options, is that we see this as a perfect antidote. We offer every student something to challenge, interest and excite them.

Competition – against others or themselves

Some of the activities our senior boarding pupils are offered are similar to those provided for younger students. Such as traditional competitive sports like football, cricket, rugby, swimming, fencing and athletics.

There are two important things to note though.

At Rendcomb College these are available to both genders. Also, our older students compete at the right level to ‘stretch’ them in an enjoyable way.

This gives them the chance to develop sportsmanship, resilience and a sense of self-worth, from being part of an age-appropriate team or by challenging their Personal Best achievements.

It’s not all sports though. Older students also engage in drama, dance and other arts at an appropriately advanced level.

Other boarding school activities for senior boarders at Rendcomb College are geared towards preparing them for University and careers of course.

This top independent school in the Cotswolds has an excellent track record for supporting senior boarders to gain Duke of Edinburgh awards or developing advanced language and science abilities for example.

Recognising individual choice in young people

Rendcomb College is fortunate to have the staff, facilities, location and community partnerships needed to offer a diverse programme of activities. This includes being close to a Forest School, riding stables and places of geological or historical significance.

Corralling this age group into the same group activity – even with the best intentions – is not a good idea! Their enjoyment and participation increase when they choose their own sport or hobby.

One senior student who likes to ‘negotiate’ may find our debate team the perfect outlet. Another may crave the mindfulness and calm of Art Time Meditation. Others may want to cook, garden, sew, print, juggle…..the list of options for senior boarders is long!

Being content at boarding school

If you are looking for the best independent school for older students, then ‘happiness’ will be on your list of aims too. At Rendcomb College, many of the activities for senior boarding pupils are about having fun!

They make our older students glad to be here, enjoying time with their friends, coaches and mentors.

What would they be doing if they weren’t at boarding school?

There is much debate about the long term effects of electronic entertainment, and the way young adults become slaves to their gadgets. Having alternative activities ‘on tap’ in the evenings and weekends can make a big difference. It’s sometimes surprising to parents how easily senior boarders relinquish their electronics when they’re offered an alternative form of interest, competition or just plain enjoyment!

Clearly, much of this hinges on giving young people a vital degree of independence and control.

Senior boarders at Rendcomb College exercise their free will and make decisions for themselves, in a safe and nurturing way. Including selecting from our growing list of activities that suit and stretch them!