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Boarders at St Swithun’s very often say that boarding is their favourite thing about school. They like being with their friends, having time to take part in lots of activities, being part of a community and being able to roll out of bed into school via breakfast. Situated only 50 minutes away from London by train enables London based families the flexibility of a country based school for their daughters within easy reach of home.
There are six boarding houses: Le Roy for L4 and U4 boarders, Finlay for upper-sixth boarders and four senior houses for L5 to the lower sixth. Each is purpose-built and boarders from L5 upwards have individual rooms. All the houses are close to the main school so that day girls and boarders mix easily.
We offer both weekly and full boarding. Weekly boarders return to school on a Sunday evening and typically go home on a Friday evening, but a number choose to stay in school on Friday night if they have an activity on a Saturday morning such as a lacrosse match or Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Weekly boarding is perfect for many busy families, allowing the girls to take part in a wide range of activities and do most of their homework at school during the week, and have the weekend with their families.
Full boarders make up just under a third of our boarders. We offer a diverse range of activities on and off site at weekends and full boarders are also allowed to stay with friends or relatives if they wish.
We believe that boarding has many advantages, not least of which are learning about the tolerance, compromise, kindness and responsibility so necessary when living in a community. We expect all boarders to play a full part in the school’s boarding community and to seek to improve it for the good of everyone. The girls learn to care for all members of the community, not just their friends.
Both boarders and their parents speak persuasively of how they enjoy a better relationship with each other because the vast majority of the nagging so necessary in bringing up children can take place in school. Housemistresses and teaching staff are the ones who ensure that homework is done, that uniform is worn correctly and that boarders leave for school on time. Parents can therefore enjoy more relaxed weekends and holidays with their children.
Caring for young people can be challenging, but it is also great fun. Our boarding staff naturally set standards and enforce rules for the good of all, but they seek to do so with a lightness of touch. They are dedicated to providing support, care and a framework in which the girls can develop as individuals. We recognise that good communications with parents are essential and we work hard at keeping in contact.
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