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Changing the World One Room at a Time

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

One thing that we do differently at Buckswood Overseas Summer School (BOSS) is what we call “room inspections”. When I mention room inspections, the people that I am talking to, particularly potential students, grimace at the thought of it and imagine it to be a strict, military style operation. No kid that I have ever met can legitimately admit to enjoying tidying their bedroom. Until they have been to BOSS.

Whereas telling a youngster to go and tidy their room is often issued as a punishment, here at BOSS, students are rewarded for keeping their rooms tidy and in fact, really enjoy it. We have six houses at BOSS but only one can be the best. We reward students with house points for achievements such as winning competitions, being helpful, being polite, being creative and thinking outside the box and room inspections are a way for students to earn one house point if their room is the best and ten house points if their house is the best overall. Students start to collect house points at 19:00 on a Friday and the house point competition will run until 18:59 the following Friday. The winning house will win pizza and the right to eat first during lunch and dinner in the dining room for the whole of the following week. If a house finishes second, they eat second and so on. Click here to find out more about our house system.

Room inspections start with all students standing outside of their house (unless it is raining) in the fresh air of the East Sussex countryside and awaiting my arrival. When I arrive, I will greet students with an energetic, “Good morning ***enter name of house here***!” to which students will reply with an equally, if not more, energetic, “Good morning Neil! Welcome to ***enter name of house here***!” Students will then perform their house song, which they have worked on together as a team before running into their houses to open their bedroom doors in order to proudly present their bedrooms. Room inspections are high energy, positive fun and we do them for five reasons:

  • To get the day off to a good start, with high energy and positivity.

  • It is an opportunity for me to check that all students are well. If they are not feeling well, are home sick or anything else, help can be arranged sooner rather than later.

  • Although the interaction between myself and students during room inspections only lasts a few seconds (there are up to 220 beds to inspect and up to 220 students to greet, plus there are many other opportunities in the day to socialise), it is a good opportunity to for me to learn names and get to know the students and vice versa. This way, if we receive a call from a students’ parent, I can provide a truthful insight into the well-being of the student.

  • To encourage students to work together as a team. To work hard together to create something that they can be proud of, i.e. their house and the atmosphere that they create and the things that they achieve as a unit.

  • To teach students to take pride in their room and their belongings as well as to respect the space that they could be sharing with their roommate.

An integral part of room inspections is for students to complete the simple task of making their bed. In 2014, Admiral William McRaven spoke at the University of Texas in Austin about how you can change the world by making your bed which sums up the importance of what may seem like an unimportant, unnecessary duty. “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to do another task. And another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

Starting the day right and setting the tone for the new day is extremely important at BOSS and the best way to do this is to form good habits with a morning routine. We want our students to achieve, to be positive, to be proud, to appreciate the small things in life and to be comfortable. We want them to change the world. That’s why we do our room inspections.


Have you been a student at BOSS? If so please leave a comment below with your favourite memories of room inspections.

This blog post was written by Neil McLoughin, Director of Buckswood Overseas Summer School (BOSS). BOSS is a British Council accredited language school for students aged 8 to 17 from across the globe. To find out more, please visit or contact us here.

To watch Admiral William McRaven speech at the University of Texas in Austin, please click here.

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