FAQs and boarding school lingo for parents

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FAQs and boarding school lingo for parents

Boarding school is not only new for many of the Academic Families students, but also for their parents. We understand many of the parents we support never went to boarding school and English might be a foreign language. Hopefully this quick guide to some of the boarding school lingo that you hear from your children and their teachers would help.

Boarding House

This is where your children are sleeping. This can be a separate building from the school and houses your child’s bedroom, bathrooms, lounge area and sometimes dining area. The House Parent will also live in the boarding house.

Exeat or Leave Weekend

This one is common in boarding school lingo. This is when there is a holiday at the weekend, which means there is no school on Saturday. These weekends sometimes extend over to the Monday. Some schools make it compulsory for students to leave the school premises over an exeat weekend, so it is important you have a guardian in place to make sure your child goes to stay with a host family for this time.


A short holiday halfway through the school term when students normally return home. There are three throughout the year usually in the months of October, February and May. The October half-term is the longest half-term and can be up to two weeks long.  During these holidays Academic Families organise fun-filled trips.  Please click here for more information.

House Parent or House Master

This is the adult or married couple who are in charge of your child’s boarding house. They live in the house or in a section at the side of the boarding house with their own family. Many House Parents have a pet, such as a friendly dog, which your child will most likely fall in love with!

Kitty or House Bank

This is money kept by the House Parent on behalf of your child and can be given to them to buy ‘tuck’ or when they want to go to the shops.


This person is responsible for the health and well-being of your child.  They ensure the smooth running of the domestic side of the boarding school house, such as making sure the students actually get their clothes to the laundry.

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care refers to the wellbeing of your child and ensuring they feel happy, safe involved and able to perform to their potential. Your child should be integrating well with other pupils and any problems should be noticed and dealt with.


This is the time in the day that is set aside for your child to do their homework. It usually takes place after dinner. You should never call your child during Prep.


This is where a lot of your child’s pocket money will be spent! Tuck is our special term which refers to food treats such as sweets which students can bring from home. They can also buy tuck once a week at school, usually from the ‘tuck shop’ run by the housemaster, so it is controlled.


Your child will be allocated with a ‘Tutor’. This person will support your child with their academic studies and provide pastoral care. They will discuss any problems they have with academics and also report all to you. If you have any concerns about your child’s academics you should get in touch with their Tutor. When you are older, this is the person that will help and guide your child with their university choices and applications.

This article appears in the following categories  Boarding School Life, FAQs & Resources

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