When does the journey start?
SpringBoard invites its partners to put forward prospective SpringBoard pupils eighteen months before the start of the school year in which the successful pupils will start at SpringBoard schools. So, for example, if your child is looking to start at boarding school in September 2017, your child’s SpringBoard journey will begin in spring 2016.
It’s a long process, and can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to have plenty of time to:
ensure your child is fully prepared for the transition to boarding school life; and
enable us to match your child to the SpringBoard school which is most suitable for him or her.
Does every child who applies end up going to a SpringBoard school?
Unfortunately, not every child who starts the journey will end up finishing it and going to a SpringBoard school: some children are not successful at different stages of the journey and, occasionally, a child decides that boarding school is not right for them. To make it fair for everyone:
we will tell the partner which has put your child forward at the earliest opportunity if your child is not able to continue on the journey to a SpringBoard school; and
please will you tell the partner as soon as possible if your child changes his or her mind about going to boarding school.
Stages of the SpringBoard journey
1. SpringBoard forms to fill in
Pupil Profile form
Means Testing form
The partner discusses the idea of boarding school with you and your child. If you’d like to apply, the partner will give you a Pupil Profile form to fill in. The partner then sends to SpringBoard:
the completed Pupil Profile form
your child’s most recent school report; and
a reference from his or her current school.
We then send you a Means Testing form. As only a limited number of bursaries are available for SpringBoard pupils, we have to be rigorous about applying SpringBoard’s financial criteria to ensure fairness and consistency. Please ask the partner or SpringBoard if you need help to complete the form. You then send to SpringBoard:
the completed Means Testing form
copies of supporting financial evidence, as requested in the form.
We review all of the information you have provided and assess your child’s eligibility for a SpringBoard bursary. We tell the partner our decision and the partner then confirms that decision to you:
If your child is eligible for a SpringBoard bursary, you can proceed to the next stage.
If your child is not eligible, unfortunately you cannot proceed beyond this stage.
You have now reached the end of stage 1.
2. Taster visit to boarding school
This usually happens in early autumn of the year before entry to boarding school. We arrange for the partner to take your child to visit a SpringBoard school (not necessarily the school which your child may ultimately go to). If the partner has other SpringBoard bursary candidates, they will also go on the taster visit with your child.
During the taster visit, your child will tour the boarding school, meet pupils and staff and have a chance to find out what boarding school life is like. We deliberately don’t invite parents to join in the taster visit, as it is important for your child to have a chance to make up his or her own mind about whether they would like to go to boarding school.
If your child still likes the idea of going to boarding school, you can proceed to the next stage.
You have now reached the end of stage 2.
3. SpringBoard assessment
The partner arranges for your child to be assessed by SpringBoard. The assessment comprises a test and usually an interview as well. See How does SpringBoard assess your child? for more details of each.
Once the assessment has been completed, we consider all of the information we have gathered about your child and review, with input from the partner, whether or not your child is suitable for a SpringBoard bursary. This usually happens in November/December of the year before entry to boarding school. We tell the partner our decision and the partner then confirms that decision to you:
if your child is suitable for a SpringBoard bursary, you can proceed to the next stage.
if your child is not suitable, unfortunately you cannot proceed beyond this stage.
You have now reached the end of stage 3.
4. SpringBoard matches your child with a SpringBoard school
In November/December of the year before entry to boarding school, we consider all of the applications we have received from children across the UK who have reached this stage 4, as well as the places which are available at our schools. Balancing everything we have learned about your child with our in-depth knowledge of our schools, we match your child with a boarding school.
Once we have matched your child with a SpringBoard school, we tell the partner who will then tell you.
You have now reached the end of stage 4.
5. Visit the SpringBoard school with which your child has been matched
SpringBoard and the partner arrange for your child to visit the boarding school with which he or she has been matched. The visit usually takes place between January and April of the year of entry to boarding and you are encouraged to accompany your child on the visit. You should let the partner know if you need help organising the travel to and from the boarding school.
What happens during the visit depends on the individual boarding school, but generally you will have a tour of the school and the relevant boarding house, you will meet some pupils and staff and probably the headteacher. Your child may have to sit further tests and/or have an interview, but you will be told in advance what to expect.
You have now reached the end of stage 5.
6. The SpringBoard school offers your child a place
Following the visit at stage 5, the SpringBoard school decides whether or not to offer your child a place. The school’s decision is final.
If making an offer, the school will write to you at home and will also tell SpringBoard and the partner. The offer letter will be accompanied by an acceptance form for you to sign and return to the school.
If making a conditional offer, the school will explain the conditions to be fulfilled. The conditions could be based on your child’s GCSE results, for example, if your child is entering into the sixth form.
If considered appropriate, the school may invite your child to return to the school for an overnight stay to check that your child is happy in the boarding environment and to ensure that he or she and the school are the right fit for each other.
If your child is offered a place at the SpringBoard school, you can proceed to the next stage.
If a place is not offered, you should discuss with the partner what to do next.
You have now reached the end of stage 6.
7. Boarding school forms to fill in
The SpringBoard school will send you a joining or induction pack, usually in May/June of the year of entry to boarding school. There will be lots of forms and documents for you to read, some of which you will need to complete, sign and return to the SpringBoard school. Examples of the paperwork include:
pupil behavioural contract
extra-curricular activities form (for example if your child wants to play a musical instrument)
You may also receive a direct debit form and private medical and dental insurance paperwork: please ignore these.
You are encouraged to ask the partner if you need any help completing the forms or if you have questions about any of the paperwork. Make sure that you complete all the forms in full and that you send back to the SpringBoard school everything you have been asked to send.
You have now completed stage 7.
8. SpringBoard Fellowship Event
In August every year SpringBoard hosts its Fellowship Event: current SpringBoard pupils plus those who are about to start at boarding school are invited, along with their parents/carers and representatives from SpringBoard’s partners from across the UK. It’s a great opportunity for your child to meet other SpringBoard pupils from other SpringBoard schools and also for parents/carers to meet up and share experiences.
You have now completed stage 8.
In September, finally, your child starts at boarding school!