Life in the Boarding Department
‘Students say they love boarding and feel safe and comfortable. There is a good atmosphere; one of cooperation and camaraderie.’ Ofsted 2015
The Boarding Department is run along family lines with boarders sharing meals together and taking part in a variety of activities in their free time. A signing in and out system is in place and younger students are required to ask permission if they want to leave the premises so that we know at all times where they are. Older students are able to sign themselves in and out. Residential and medical staff are always on duty when students are on site and all students are registered with the local doctor so that they can be seen quickly should the need arise. An Independent Listener is also available to students should they wish to discuss any issues or concerns with a member of staff who is not part of the boarding team.
The day starts with breakfast at 7.30 in the Dining Hall and everyone is ready to make the short walk up the High Street to school by 8.15. Boarders are not allowed back to the boarding house during the day so they must be organised with their sports kit, musical instruments and school books etc before they leave in the morning.
At the end of the day they return at 3.00pm and are provided with a snack before supper. Those staying at school to attend one of the many clubs or sports matches return slightly later.
Supervised homework sessions take place every day except on Saturday. For Years 7-9 this is held for an hour between 4.15pm and 5.15pm. Years 10 and above study between 6.30pm and 8.00pm. During these sessions teaching and non-teaching staff are on hand to help with any difficulties.
Supper is held at 5.30 and students head off for bed at around 9.30pm.
Activities and events
‘Students enjoy a range of activities within the facility, the local community and surrounding areas. They say they have a choice and staff will accommodate their requests.’ Ofsted 2015
Activities take place after homework and include such things as volleyball, swimming, basketball, CCF etc. We encourage students to take part in charity events for local causes and there is always room for game of football, in the yard or across the lane in our orchard, and the opportunity to use the on-site gym facilities
At the weekend students are given small chores to do around the houses. Students who take piano have their lessons on Saturday mornings. There are Dancing and Craft Clubs held within the boarding houses and students are regularly taken on trips to the cinema, ice skating, shows at the New Theatre in Oxford and to sports matches. Further afield we visit such places as Alton Towers Theme Park, Cadbury’s World and the London Dungeons.
Since the opening of ‘The Acre’, our small ‘farm’ up at school for the study of Environmental Land Based Science, boarders are able to take part in feeding and caring for the animals at weekends.
Activity Centre weekends
Two residential weekends to Woodlands Outdoor Education Centre in Wales http://www.woodlandsoec.org/cms/site/woodlands take place during the year. There is one in September for the Sixth Form boarders and one in June for the younger boarders.
The Centre is located in the Wye Valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Black Mountains. The listed, regency building is set in ten acres of grounds surrounded by stunning scenery.
The accommodation at the Centre is of a high standard and students have the opportunity to experience abseiling, gorge walking, caving, kayaking, rock climbing, high and low ropes and zip wire. These are always excellent weekends and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
As we have all dispersed by Christmas, and in order to give our foreign students the cultural experience of an English Christmas, we celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day over a weekend just before the end of the autumn term. In advance of the weekend the students decorate the boarding houses in traditional fashion and on the Saturday they are treated to a full Christmas dinner attended by the Headteacher and the Governors. On Sunday we celebrate ‘Boxing Day’ by playing party games and everyone takes turns at some form of entertainment.
At the end of June we hold a farewell weekend for our leavers. This is two days of fun activities on site. We have a traditional outdoor roast, an ice cream van in attendance and experience the fun of a bucking bronco and a bouncy castle, amongst other activities. Those leaving us to go on to University or College will have been prepared for independent living and a self-catering lifestyle through the cooking courses we run for them during their last term.
A review of the year 2014-15 produced by the students can be found at: http://youtu.be/x5xxBqZpQnE