Boarding and Flexi-boarding
Our boarders regard boarding as an opportunity to spend more time with their friends, to live a little more independently and to use more profitably the hours they might otherwise spend in travelling between home and school. In a family atmosphere the Housemistress or Housemaster, together with their own family, ensures that life for the boarder retains all the benefits of living on a modern, fully-equipped site, without losing too many of those home comforts on which we all rely.
All students belong to one of six senior houses or the two junior houses and can be either day pupils or boarders. There are four boarding Houses; Beevor's, Kennedy's and McGill's for boys and Paull's House for girls. As well as taking full part in the sporting, cultural and academic life of the School the boys and girls within each House will also help run and support events within their own House.
Boarding is available from Year 7 and around 25% of the students are boarders, either full-time or for part of the week. Flexi-boarding is an attractive option for those whose parents want to see their children develop increasing amounts of independence, but who do not want to lose touch with their home lives. Therefore a flexi boarder could easily spend four nights a week at school whilst returning home on a night to take part in an outside activity. It is often possible for a pupil who begins as a day pupil to transfer to become a boarder as he or she progresses through the school.
I think boarding life is great which is why I flexi-board from Sunday to Friday. It’s fun and it allows me to get involved in more of the extra-curricular activities without worrying about the logistics of parental pick-ups and lost travelling time. It also has a culture of its own which will stay with me forever."
As either a full boarder or a flexi boarder, a pupil has the following benefits:
- The benefit of their own room in which to leave belongings (with a lockable space) and in which to get changed. They can relax in their room during break and lunch times too – day pupils have no access to the bedrooms. Simply having a bedroom makes the whole school experience more pleasant as it brings a sense of home to their daily school experience.
- The benefit of supervised prep where the staff on duty and senior students will be able to offer their assistance. Pupils have access to the School’s filtered and protected computer network and printing facilities either in the House IT room or wirelessly through their own laptops. As all students in the school are doing prep at this time there is no reason to be doing anything else, so students find this routine helps them get their work done.
- They are able to enjoy a degree of independence whilst also enjoying immediate access to the company of their peers in a safe environment, with a range of recreational options such as table-tennis, snooker and pool or just enjoying the magnificent site with its spacious fields. This ability to socialise with real people removes some of the reliance on virtual networking sites on the Internet and is much healthier.
- There are several activities that are put on exclusively for boarders during the week – they are able to use the sports hall, the fitness suite and the school grounds in the evening, the Sixth Form bar is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there are other events put on from time to time such as dinners and quiz evenings. Pupils can watch films or play the Xbox on the big screen with their friends, in cinematic surround sound. Of course, they are also able to attend the plethora of shows that are put on in the theatre regularly throughout the school year. Such activities bring a richness to the school experience and sense of community unparalleled in ordinary day schools.
- Boarders start the day well rested and get a good night’s sleep with the bedtimes carefully monitored. Of course, living in community is fun, so the pupils do enjoy some late night chats, but they learn to be disciplined in this and grow in maturity as a consequence. This is all good preparation for living away from home at university and in student halls.
- Each House has a matron who is an important link in the pastoral support team for each pupil. Matron also takes care of the laundry. Pupils are taught to put their own clothes and bedding into the wash when necessary and collect them once washed and ironed before putting them away neatly! They also learn to make their beds! All good skills, we are sure you agree. Having washing done at school also literally lightens the load at home.
- We all know the importance of having a good breakfast. All boarders have a good and substantial breakfast, with their peers, and this sets them up for the busy day of learning ahead. As breakfast finishes at 8.15, boarders are less likely to be hungry in the morning session than those who had breakfast some hours earlier before travelling in to school.
- Furthermore, from a practical stance, pupils are also able to avoid the often long and arduous commute which can take up a large part of the day meaning that more of their time can be used for more beneficial activities. Pupils who travel to and from school each day with an hour’s journey each way have spent the equivalent of an additional school day on the bus by the end of the week, whilst their boarding friends are relaxing or getting ahead with important school work.
- With flexible boarding options, it is possible for pupils to benefit from what boarding offers (and for parents to benefit from some time alone!) but to maintain more regular contact. Many pupils break up the week of commuting by boarding two or three nights a week and increasing as they get older and the demands of work increase.