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Is Saturday school beneficial to children and parents?


More and more parents are spending an increasing amount of their weekend ferrying their children from one activity to another. Whether it is a lesson at the local tennis club, a masterclass cricket session or a dance workshop, many journeys are made each weekend to satisfy a growing demand for extra-curricular activities. But could it be made easier by our children attending Saturday school? Pinewood School weighs in on the benefits this boarding school tradition could bring to modern parents.


Prep Schools like Pinewood can (and should) host many of these activities on site. Offering this on a Saturday is the perfect way of enjoying sporting competition and promoting new skills, without disrupting the other demands, academic and otherwise, that children face during the working week.

One approach, like ours, is to present a sports provision on alternate Saturday mornings, meaning that parents can have their children well-exercised and back at home for a family lunch, enabling them to either go and watch an older child at senior school in the afternoon, or make meaningful plans for the rest of the weekend. This, I believe, strikes the right balance for many families.

Crucially this model also helps to protect a weekly boarding identity. Friday night boarding can become ‘Treat-Night’ and provide the chance for children to enjoy the company of peers in an informal way, knowing that the following day they will not face strenuous academic challenges, but instead they will enjoy a hearty breakfast before representing their school on the games field.

Boarding is no longer about waving your children off in the school yard at the start of each term and not hearing from them for weeks. The link between home and school has become far more tangible and entwined. Tailored, flexible options to best fit parents’ needs should now be offered and parents may then be surprised to realise that choosing boarding could even improve family relationships.

So, should we now accept that parents are after balance and choice? Should we not be recalibrating our thinking and offering modern, flexible community living for the young people we are developing? Of course we should. Saturday morning sports fixtures not only satisfies the competitive instincts and those seeking nothing more than enjoyment out of team sport, but also can remove hurdles for parents who would otherwise be fighting to squeeze their child into an oversubscribed swimming lesson, for example. This model, therefore, could be one that benefits all.



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