Boarding FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from new boarders... if you have any that are not answered here, please email our Head of Boarding David Newberry -

May I call home?

Boarders may contact family and friends every day, and there are times available during evening for calling home. Boarders may use their mobile phones when they are free and there is a land line in the house to use at any time. There are PCs for use in the house and WIFI. House staff ensure that mobile devices are used in a sensible, secure and sensitive manner. There are some restrictions as to when calls can be made, to ensure privacy, well-being and safety. All phones are collected before bedtime to make sure that boarders all get a good night’s sleep.

What if I am unwell?

All the boarding staff are trained in first aid and the administration of medicines. If you are unwell out of school hours, the first port of call is the matron, and she may refer you to the school nurse. If you are taken ill in the night the house parents, Madame Allirot or Mr Turner can be called at any time. Sick bay is where those who are ill normally stay until they get better. When the illness is contagious, parents/guardians will be asked to collect their child, if this is beneficial to the boarder and the rest of the pupils in the house.

Matron will arrange emergency appointments to the dentist, optician or physiotherapist. We ask that you attend your routine appointments during the holidays. Any medication must be handed in to the matron or the school nurse for secure storage and administration by them. Medicines must not be kept in bedrooms. We cannot administer medicines from abroad so if a boarder needs regular medication, parents should talk to the house parents.

What is the food like? Can I bring tuck?

There is lots of choice on the menu every day and if a boarder has a special dietary need then the catering staff will make sure there is always something delicious for them to eat and the house parents will help all the boarders to make appropriate choices. It is possible to make snacks in the Meads End kitchen, outside formal meals times with fruit, bread/toast and cereals available. We also have a ‘bake off’ with matron once a week where we bake cakes and fresh bread with anyone who fancies it. The catering staff make additional snacks for the boarding house, such as cheese and biscuits, sausage rolls and cakes. We never go hungry! Drinking water, milk and squash are available to keep boarders hydrated.

The tuck shop opens on movie nights and at the weekend with the proceeds going to our house charity. This year our house charity is The Retired Greyhound Trust and in recent years we have supported and the Royal Marsden Hospital Children’s Ward.

Do I need pocket money?

Boarders need a small amount of pocket money. Some children have a bank card that they use to manage their own pocket money, whilst some others prefer to keep cash in the house safe and have a small amount given to them each week. Most termly boarders average around £10 a week and weekly boarders just a few pounds for tuck. Each child has a personal safe where they can keep their money. Boarders must not bring valuables to the house. Boarders must bring everything they need for school including stationery and toiletries; boarding staff will arrange a trip to the shops to buy extra things as necessary, and pocket money for these extras is useful.

What clothes do I need to bring?

In addition to school uniform, boarders need comfortable clothes to relax in at the weekends and after school. There is limited storage and washing is done every day by the house staff, so boarders should not bring a large amount of home clothes to school. Clothing must be clearly labelled so that it can be identified easily and returned to each child to put away. This includes underwear and socks. We encourage children to take increasing responsibility for their laundry as they get used to the house and the routines. Please only pack clothes that can be washed and tumble dried.

Can my parents/family friends come and visit?

Yes of course! Family members and friends are welcome to come and visit any time and can take a boarder out for supper or for the weekend provided parents give their permission.

What about sleepovers?

We want our boarders to have a social life outside of school, as they would if they were day pupils. With parental permission, boarders may stay with friends and go to parties and many of our boarders spend weekends with their day pupil friends.

What happens if it's my birthday?

We always make a fuss of our boarders on their special day with birthday cake and the birthday banner. Parents are always welcome to come and join us or take their child out for the evening if they are able to do so.

Do you have exeat/extended weekends?

We do not have exeat/extended weekends in the academic year, but we encourage boarders to have some time away from the boarding house during the Early May Bank Holiday weekend. This gives boarders a chance to spend the long weekend with family, who often use this opportunity to visit.

Who can I talk to?

There is ALWAYS someone to talk to when you are a boarder. If you need personal guidance, there are a number of people at school who you can turn to for help: friends, prefects, house parents, matron, your form tutor, another teacher, your year head, the school nurse and the Chaplain. There is a school welfare officer, and a school counsellor, so there is always someone you can talk to if you need some extra support.