10 Things I Don’t Miss About Boarding School

Simon Jenner at Boarding School

From the tender age of 8 until the bolshy age of 17, I boarded at a school in North Yorkshire, England. I’m not sure it made me who I am today but it sure was one hell of an experience.

These are the 10 things I’m glad to have left behind!



Lights out, no talking

And they meant it! But we were kids so what did they expect? After the third stroke of the hard-heeled slipper on your bare behind you wished you’d kept quiet.



When your letters are screened before being sent to your parents and you can’t mention what you hate about school or all the rules you’ve broken, there really isn’t much to say.


Cleaning the outdoor pool every summer

Who knew that skin turned that shade of blue or that leeches really are hard to get off?



Not the stuff you get at home but the stuff that you can stand your spoon in. Can something be lumpy if it’s all one lump?


Settling disputes in the ring

Three one-minute rounds in the junior boy’s changing room teaches you not to fall out with people bigger than you. It also teaches you that blood is really slippy and you shouldn’t swing punches when you’re standing in a pool of your own.


Rugby in winter

Diving tackles on a frozen pitch take all the skin from your knees and the wind from your lungs.


Cricket practice

If you don’t catch a cricket ball when it’s been hit really hard, it can break your nose.


Exam results

If you come first all the time it makes you very unpopular. How many people at boarding school get lower marks just to avoid being picked on?


Soggy biscuit game

If you come first all the time it makes you very unpopular. In this case who cares? (For the rules of the game, click here! Adult content – beware.)



The art of pinching a fellow pupil’s cheek flesh between thumb and forefinger, nipping as hard as possible and turning the flesh clockwise as far as you can. Great fun to give, extremely painful to receive.

What school traumas are you glad to have left behind?

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