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The boarding environment - helping international pupils make the most of their time

  • Date: June 13, 2024
  • Time: 12:30 – 13:30
  • Cost: BAISIS member – £50, BSA member – £65, BSA Member additional attendee – £30, BAISIS Member additional attendee – £20, Non-member – £130
  • Audience: Boarding staff, Pastoral staff, Activities Coordinators, all practitioners working in boarding communities with international students
  • Platform: Zoom (online) – webinar

Content overview:

During this one-hour webinar, we will explore the opportunity to help international students make the most of their time in boarding and the challenges that can come with this. The webinar will include real-life examples of successful initiatives and activities that have resulted in high engagement with positive social, cultural and academic benefits for our international boarders. Joining a boarding school in Britain should offer international students so much more than academic progress: we want to encourage and empower our boarders to embrace the opportunities presented to them to create lasting friendships, try new things and explore new cultures, both that of the local area of the school, British culture and the different cultures within their boarding House and boarding community.

Training topics will include:

  • What is the international boarding experience offering?
  • Creating an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages cross-cultural interaction and understanding
  • Addressing language barriers
  • Activities and initiatives that enhance social and cultural integration and build strong friendships
  • Supporting the overall wellbeing and mental health of international boarders.

Learning outcomes:

  • Greater understanding of the challenges faced by international boarders and cultural variances and pressures that may limit interest in different activities and ideas
  • Examples of opportunity for cross-cultural interaction
  • Examples of activities to enhance social and cultural integration and promote strong friendships
  • Strategies for addressing language barriers.



Nikki Donson, Assistant Head Pastoral and Boarding, Head of Upper School and Deputy DSL, Burgess Hill Girls

Nikki is a highly experienced teacher who joined Burgess Hill Girls in 2016. Prior to that, she had relocated from an all-girls boarding school in Oxfordshire. Throughout her career, Nikki has worked in both the maintained and independent sectors, gaining valuable experience in various pastoral roles within schools. While she possesses a broad range of expertise, Nikki’s specialist subject is Music.

Nikki’s passion for mental health and wellbeing is evident in her commitment to improving the wellbeing of both staff and students. She actively seeks out opportunities to enhance the overall welfare of the school community. Recognizing the importance of mental health, she strives to create an environment that promotes emotional well-being and supports the needs of all individuals involved.

In addition to her role as a music teacher, Nikki has taken on the responsibility of leading the PSHE/RSE (Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education/Relationships and Sex Education) program at the school. She facilitates training sessions for staff, aiming to build their confidence and expertise in this area. By doing so, Nikki ensures that the school delivers comprehensive and effective PSHE/RSE education, enabling students to develop vital life skills and navigate important topics in a supportive and knowledgeable environment.

With her wealth of experience and her dedication to mental health and wellbeing, Nikki plays an integral role in creating a positive and enriching educational experience for the students and staff at Burgess Hill Girls.