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From its earliest days St Swithun's was structured to educate both boarding and day girls and this combination continues to work well, giving today's families the freedom to choose what best suits their own circumstances. All boarding house staff live on site and ensure that full and weekly boarders enjoy a community life to the full, with the right balance of study, relaxation and challenge.
Living at school allows the girls to make the most of each day, cutting out commuting time to create previous extra minutes either to reflect, relax or to focus on a particular activity or homework. Boarders typically throw themselves into the life of the school and are usually to be found at the heart of everything that is going on, often organising events which inspire and motivate others such as rock concerts, open-mic sessions and fundraising actvities. They are free to be enthusiastic about what is on offer and to move seamlessly through each part of the day at the pace it demands.
For families in which both parents work boarding enables each adult's and young person's day to run smoothly, free from tricky logistics and compromised work commitments. Weekly boarding is a perfect solution for many, allowing the girls to take part in a wide range of activities, do most of their homework at school during the week and then have the weekend with their families. Girls 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.
Girls are involved in several "cluster" events each term, where boarders from all year groups meet in small groups for meals which they plan, cook and eat together. Friendships with other year groups are a significant feature of boarding here and the support of older and younger girls can mirror some of the dynamics of family life.We ensure that both boarding and day girls work together to create a happy and inclusive school environment and that they take every opportunity to forge supportive relationships with other girls of all ages throughout the school.
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