What does horizontal & vertical boarding mean?

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What does horizontal & vertical boarding mean?

There is no doubt about it - trying to choose the perfect boarding school for your child is hard.

  • Should we choose a co-ed school or an all boys school?
  • How about IB or A Level?
  • What about a school in the country or one in the city?

Decisions, decisions!

When you come across terminology that sounds like it belongs in a Maths exam, the choice can be even harder.

Horizontal Boarding vs. Vertical Boarding

Horizontal Boarding is a term used by schools to describe how their boarding houses are organised.

Horizontal Boarding

This is when a boarding house caters for students who are all in the same year group.

Advantages of Horizontal Boarding

  • Students bond as a year group and develop lifelong friends.
  • House staff can focus and cater to the specific needs of an age group.
  • Boarding house can have facilities appropriate for that year group.

Disadvantages of Horizontal Boarding

  • Students need to move boarding house each year and therefore have to form new relationships with the new boarding staff and get used to new house routines.
  • There is a risk of constant comparison of performance between students of the same age group.
  • Shy students may find it hard to speak up in fear of being embarrassed by their peers.

Vertical Boarding

Vertical Boarding is when a boarding house caters for students from different year groups.

Advantages of Vertical Boarding

  • Older students support younger students and can become friends and mentors.
  • Younger students can learn from older students.
  • Boarding staff can closely monitor how a student develops academically and personally throughout their years in the house.

Disadvantages of Vertical Boarding

  • It can restrict the number of friends a student can have of their own year group.
  • The boarding house needs facilities to cater for a variety of ages.

Many schools do a mix of both Horizontal and Vertical Boarding, offering horizontal for younger boarders (for example, in the Prep years - ages 8 to 13) and again for Sixth Form (ages 16-18). And then they switch to Vertical Boarding from ages 13-16.

For more advice on which boarding style & school will best suit your child talk to our Placement team who will discuss all the pro's & cons.

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

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