Previewing State Boarding Schools using Estate Agent Technology

You might think there are no similarities between boarding schools and estate agents.  That could have been the case before the global pandemic. But things are different now.

The autumn is a time when parents are looking round schools in preparation for their children to start in the following September.  This is ‘open day’ season when parents tour round schools to find the one that will best suit their child.  This is especially important for parents looking for a boarding place. 

Restrictions due to the Covid19 pandemic mean that school visits are not possible, so staff at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, a state boarding school in Surrey, had to find another way for parents to see the boarding house where their child would be living. 

With a bit of lateral thinking it occurred to them that estate agents do virtual tours of houses, so why couldn’t a boarding school do a virtual tour of a boarding house?  After an internet search, the School linked up with a photographer who produces virtual reality tours of houses and he happily undertook the project to create a virtual reality boarding house.  The result is an interactive tour of the School’s Junior boarding house that is like physically visiting the house.  And parents can even make use of the feature to measure the size of rooms, beds, or anything else in the house!

Headmaster Mark Dixon said “I have always believed it is important for parents to visit the School to see where their child will be living as a boarder.  It is a great shame we can’t offer visits at the moment, but this virtual reality tour is the next best thing. 

“The Covid19 pandemic has called on everyone to approach things in a different way and I am pleased we have found a solution to allow parents to see the boarding house in such a life-like way. 

“I’m not aware of any other boarding schools using this technology but I expect other schools will follow this approach, as it is so effective.”

Mrs Piti applied for a boarding place for her 10 year old daughter in October, and had not been able to visit the School before her daughter started.  Having seen the VR video of the house, Mrs Piti said “It was a very realistic tour and it felt like I am physically there. It is an excellent system in such a time as this of Covid -19. It really shows everything”

The tour is for Rank Weston House, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School’s Junior boarding house for boys and girls aged 7-12.  Following the success of the first VR tour, the School will be producing VR tours for Senior and Sixth Form boarding houses in coming weeks.

The tour can be viewed here:

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