On Thursday 1st February, the red carpet was rolled out and photographers were briefed in preparation for the official premiere of BoardingNI’s mini film “Our Brilliant Journey” at The Strand Cinema in Belfast that evening. “Our Brilliant Journey” charts the journey of two young pupils starting Boarding School in Northern Ireland. The film takes them through their journey as they transform from tentative individuals into a confident team.
The RSD Headmaster, Dr David Burnett, commented that, “the BoardingNI initiative promotes Northern Ireland as a great destination for families looking for a boarding option. People from all over the world as well as closer to home are discovering that the five boarding schools, including RSD, offer a brilliant educational environment. They are a bit of a hidden gem. BoardingNI is showcasing the individual journeys of some of the pupils in the five schools and you can see there is a lot of fun and friendship to be had as well as a great education.”
Over 380 boarding school pupils, hailing from all corners of the globe, came together for the first time today (Thursday 1st Feb) to launch their new film ‘Our Brilliant Journey’ which will promote Northern Ireland Boarding Schools all over the world. Starring five pupils from five different schools, and supported by Invest Northern Ireland, this short film is one part of a collaborative campaign that aims to put Northern Ireland on the map as a leading destination for parents considering UK or Irish Boarding Schools for their children.
Five schools in Northern Ireland offer boarding at secondary level in both co-educational and single sex environments; Campbell College Belfast (156 boarders), Rockport School (40 boarders), Royal School Armagh (88 boarders), Royal School Dungannon (54 boarders) and Victoria College Belfast (45) boarders. These Schools have collaborated to form Boarding Northern Ireland in order to raise awareness of Northern Ireland as a top boarding destination and maintain the high quality of boarding provision.
Pupils from all five schools auditioned to be part of the three-minute film which showcases the journey individuals make as boarders – often arriving alone but quickly making friends and becoming part of a boarding family. As Luna (Spain) from Royal School Armagh stated, ‘Boarding becomes a home from home, your friends and the staff become your second family.” One pupil from each school was chosen and they enjoyed the experience of working together to tell their shared story. Orlagh (Rathlin Island) from Victoria College Belfast, “It was brilliant to meet other boarding pupils and share all our stories and experiences.” The film will be supported by a social media campaign featuring numerous NI boarders from all over the world as they each share tales of their own individual journey.
Northern Ireland as a region is seen as a ‘hidden gem’ in the competitive world of boarding schools, with a strong academic record at GCSE and A-Level, traditional family values and boarding fees that are often half the price of UK equivalents. Recent tourism accolades for the region have also helped to boost the popularity and encouraged recent growth in boarding pupils coming to Northern Ireland from all over the world.
Currently home to 383 boarders in total, the breakdown of nationalities represented across all schools shows a diversity of cultures that creates a true sense of internationalism; 146 hail from the Far East, 148 from Europe, 51 from UK and Ireland and 38 from other countries such as Nigeria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kenya and beyond. Over 30 different countries are represented in the 383 cohort and the number is growing year on year as more parents look beyond the obvious choices in other regions.
Chair of Boarding NI, Mr Robert Robinson, MBE stated.” What we offer is superb. We know this because our current pupils and parents tell us. In addition, our international agents, the UK Boarding Schools Association and organisations such as the reputable Good Schools Guide have all reported on the high quality experience we deliver. Visitors are often surprised to see the quality of boarding provision in Northern Ireland, not just our academic and extracurricular structure but our standard of accommodation, our facilities and most importantly the warmth and commitment of the people. Our unique Northern Irish personality sets us apart. This collaboration is about raising our collective voice and being proud of what we offer our pupils.”
Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme. For more information visit www.boardingni.com.
You can view the film here.