A guide to open days

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Open days at UK boarding schools have changed considerably during the past few months, with the coronavirus outbreak making holding a traditional physical open day very difficult. Having previously relied on face-to-face engagement to demonstrate to parents and pupils what makes them stand out and the right place to come and study, UK boarding schools have needed to adapt quickly and find new ways to attract students.
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The virtual open event has rapidly become one of the most popular and effective ways for boarding schools to demonstrate to prospective boarding students and their parents exactly what they can offer. Having held so many in recent months, schools have quickly perfected how their virtual open events work. They’ve tailored the format of their events specially to ensure they offer all the opportunities for students and parents to get to know schools and staff, that they would have at a face-to-face meeting. Many of the events will combine live presentations and interactive elements where questions can be asked, with pre-recorded segments showcasing school facilities and features.

Even though boarding students and parents won’t have the chance to physically ‘be there’ in a school, they will still have the chance at a virtual open day to ask all of the same questions they would if they were there in person.

As virtual open days are designed to mimic their physical equivalent as closely as possible, boarding students and parents should approach them in exactly the same way they would if they were preparing to visit the school.

It’s important to make sure you’ve thought carefully about all the questions you want to ask beforehand. Some of the typical questions you may have about the academic side of boarding may be around things like entry requirements; league table positions and exam results, and links to further education institutions. Don’t forget also to ask about the pastoral care offered by the school, for example, the activities offered to boarding students at weekends; the support available if their child is having any difficulties with boarding life, and medical arrangements in the event of a health-related emergency.

For more information about open events, questions to ask and things to look out for, the Boarding Schools’ Association and Bulldog Publishing produce the BSA Guide to Boarding Schools. Updated twice-yearly, the guide covers all aspects of life at UK boarding schools and is the ideal place to start when searching for a school. You can find out more by visiting the BSA Guide to Boarding Schools website: www.ukbsa.com

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