Abstract The investigation concerns the impact of the new school environment on a group of 50 male and female children aged 11–16 years, who leave home to reside temporarily at boarding school, in terms of the characteristics of problems and worries reported and the incidence of spontaneous reports of homesickness. More problems relating to the school than to the home environment were reported but proportionally more worry units were reported associated with home problems for both males and females. There was no sex differences in this respect. The reported level of spontaneously reported homesickness was 16% and there were no sex differences. Factors such as age, geographical distance of move and decision to go away to school were not influential in determining the level of reported problems or incidence of spontaneous reports of homesickness. A relationship was found with level of problems reported and recent life history but the result proved difficult to interpret.