In recent years, concepts such as well-being, social responsibility and tolerance have become central in education. In addition to academic excellence, schools must actively foster values that result in more thoughtful, fairer, and well-performing students, with a view to a more interested, curious and constructive society. "A Boarding School environment offers precisely the opportunity to develop the students' capacity for gratitude and empathy for those who are different from them in background and character," explains Nicholas Wergan, Global Education Director of leading global premium school group, Inspired Education. International schools with boarding have a life-changing role to play in shaping and building the character of all their students – equipping them to succeed and flourish in a complex global community.
With this confidence, and in response to the growing concern of families in Portugal regarding a high-quality education for their children, the Inspired Education Group has taken a step forward in its bet in Portugal and is opening the first International Boarding Residence in the Greater Lisbon area this September: offering state-of-the-art facilities on St. Peter's International School’s 37,000 sqm campus, the new Boarding Residence welcomes up to 36 students, from 14 to 18 years old. St. Peter’s, regarded as one of the best schools in the country, offers flexible boarding options for families: weekly or full boarding.
Boarding promotes academic excellence even more effectively because students live at the school premises. With fully equipped study spaces, students have individualised daily educational support, tailored to the needs of each age group and curriculum. But boarding also offers several benefits regarding the development of soft skills: the social connections fostered by the environment experienced at Inspired Education Group Boarding Schools are essential to support students in developing their character and success, be it academic, professional, or personal. "Boarding will provide students in Portugal with a unique opportunity to develop this learning character and thrive. Building character ensures that they are able to succeed both academically and in their later lives - I have the privilege of seeing this happen on a daily basis at Inspired Education Group's different boarding residences," observes Wergan.
Another great advantage of Boarding Schools is independence, fostered by the daily routines implemented in these schools. Here, students develop a constructive mindset to believe in themselves and their aspirations. At the same time, boarding life promotes courage and grit for taking responsibility for their own lives and actions: "the curriculum developed by the Group empowers students with essential tools for developing self-confidence, resilience and courage", explains Wergan. This 'courage' also stands out in the classroom or at times of tests and exams, preparing them not to be intimidated by unexpected challenges. At Inspired schools there is freedom for each student to explore their independence in a safe environment, preparing them for university in a way that no other experience can.
On the other hand, the enrichment programmes developed by the dedicated boarding teams promote students' curiosity and zest for life. The activities, trips, clubs, leadership opportunities and competitions that are organised throughout the year develop enthusiasm and ensure that boarding students retain their curiosity and vitality as adults, taking advantage of every opportunity in front of them. Living and studying in state-of-the-art facilities provides students with a unique and unforgettable experience, giving them the tools they need to reach their full potential.
A further positive aspect highlighted by most of the students who attend Boarding Schools is the relationship created with their Boarding Families. Inspired works daily to create an ethos of community and family, in which boarding students learn to be more empathetic and understanding, in addition to promoting the values of tolerance, acceptance and celebration of diversity. In this way, students move from thinking only about 'me' to focusing on ‘us’. “At Inspired schools we believe the values, knowledge, attitude and beliefs instilled in our educational philosophy give our students lifelong confidence, outstanding academic results and the ability to flourish by embracing whatever challenges life throws at them”, states Wergan, adding that "I am deeply optimistic about a future in our students’ hands; their leadership will be powerful and ethical, enabled by the academic successes international schools provide and nurtured by the depth of character they embed”.
Finally, Nicholas Wergan explains that "Inspired students are empowered to play leadership roles; a goal underpinned by the combination of the three characteristics highlighted earlier - independence developed from daily routines, grit for the opportunities made available in the school and extra-curricular programme, and empathy gained through the relationship with Boarding Families. This is certainly a unique passport to their success and happiness.”