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Family Friendly Boarding at St Swithun's

St Swithun’s boarding is designed with the modern family in mind. Our range of senior boarding options allows parents to balance the demands of a busy lifestyle, reassured that their daughter has access to a huge breadth of opportunities, first class academic and pastoral support, further education expertise and the secure, homely atmosphere of a contemporary British boarding house.  

We offer full boarding for UK-based and international students; weekly boarding for London-based, regional and local families; and flexi boarding, if there are beds available, to day students in years 7, 8 and 13. Whichever option they choose, boarders at St Swithun’s escape the pressure of a daily commute, complete their study and extra-curricular commitments at school and still have time to enjoy relaxed but purposeful evenings with the historic ancient capital of England tantalisingly accessible on foot or via a short drive. Winchester is within easy distance of London and international airports with four fast trains an hour and the school’s own weekend London coach service. 

Boarders will never again have access to the number and range of opportunities all in one place that they have at St Swithun’s. There are 140 co-curricular activities, clubs and societies to choose from each weekday before school, at lunchtime or after school, including cryptography, bell-ringing and astronomy club as well as music, drama, sports and academic drop-in sessions. Each weekend there are over 20 activities including for example pottery workshops, golf and watersports as well as the opportunity to represent the school in sports matches, debating competitions and Greenpower racing. In house there are regular evening activities like sushi-making, craft sessions and competitions. Boarding trips include theatre visits, meals out, shopping expeditions, country walks, ice-skating and bowling.  

There are a number of sports fixtures every weekend and we are dedicated to providing meaningful opportunities so that all girls can find at least one sport or activity to equip her with a lifelong enjoyment of physical exercise. Lacrosse, netball, athletics, cricket, tennis and swimming are our major competitive sports followed by football and cross-country. We run several teams per year group and we have regular fixtures with other schools.

From age 12, the boarding experience combines the privacy of single rooms with hotel-grade bathrooms and communal spaces to share, cook, socialise and make friendships that last a lifetime. In 45 acre grounds boarders can access specialist art, drama, music, science, technology, computer science, sport, cookery and textiles facilities, the library, a 550 seat auditorium, two swimming pools, 12 tennis courts, and a grass athletics track with all-weather field areas. Higher education resources, our student guidance team, presentations from university admissions departments, regular networking and professional guidance events with our engaged alumnae, and our busy outside speaker programme are all available to boarders on-site. The full boarding programme allows increasing levels of independence both on and off-site. Boarders learn to balance their academic work, co-curricular activities and more prosaic tasks such doing their own laundry or clearing up after they’ve been baking. In their spare time they have regular access to Winchester, England’s historic and ancient capital, voted the UK’s best place to live (2020).  

Pastoral support is built into boarding life at St Swithun’s through programmes like Thrive, Positive Education and Girls on Board. There are strong staff and peer-led support networks and our house-staff have decades of experience and specialist training. Boarders can also access on-site healthcare, our full-time clinical psychologist and the school chaplain who is a key part of the pastoral team. 

Food is important. Boarders enjoy a delicious and extensive range of meals cooked from scratch on site three times every day featuring cuisine from around the world. Tasting sessions and a food forum give boarders the opportunity to influence the menu. They have the chance to learn about the world, taking part in and leading cultural celebrations, which often have food at their heart.  

The boarding community at St Swithun’s is cohesive, supportive, happy and thriving. It builds confidence and is characterised by kindness and compassion. Boarders have the opportunity to try any number of new things and to speak out about the issues that are important to them safe in the knowledge that they will be supported and respected. They learn on every level to be ‘who they are’. 

Boarders forge strong connections with day students and other boarders from the UK and over 20 countries as well as across year groups. There is complete integration across forms, teaching classes and informal groups like ‘families’ which are made up of one or two girls from each year including both boarders and day girls. Boarders are welcome to bring any of their friends back to the boarding house at break, lunchtime and after school and are encouraged to visit friends in other houses in the evenings and weekends. Sleepovers across the houses are one of the favourite things to do! This integration ensures that non UK-based boarders experience a modern British boarding school experience, learn about the world, make local friends and also have friends to travel home with and for our UK boarders, they are enriched with the knowledge, culture, celebrations and food from a wide range of countries.  

Health and Wellbeing 

Students have access to a team of qualified nurses based permanently in our on-site health centre during term time. They can also attend our school doctors who operate from local practices or Winchester hospital which provides a wide range of services including a full accident and emergency department. Boarding students are escorted to medical and dental appointments by a member of house staff. 

Boarders at St Swithun’s are supported by house staff, heads of year, form tutors, academic staff, the health centre, our full-time on-site school psychologist, the school chaplain and designated welfare staff. You can read more about our wellbeing programme here.

Boarding Ethos
Full boarding
Weekly boarding
Flexi-boarding in years 7, 8 and 13
11+ Entry
13+ Entry
16+ Entry

Contact us for further details about boarding at St Swithun's

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