Mr Miller and his laundry, Mr Snell and his press ups and some home made pasta from Mrs B! Just a taste of National Boarding Week here at Warminster.

May Half Term is usually a milestone in every junior boarder’s life – this is the period when they leave our junior houses, the Old Vicarage and Ivy House, for the last time and join one of our senior boarding houses. This move is eagerly anticipated by some and secretly dreaded by others… what is clear, however, is that it is a big step for all. As a certain pandemic got in the way of our usual transition programme, the move for our Year 9 boarders this year was a bit different. To give our younger pupils the chance to get to know their houses before physically moving into them in September, we had to re-think plans and went – you guessed it! – fully digital with our transition. Housemasters and mistresses gave virtual tours of their houses; the senior prefect teams and some Year 10 boarding pupils had an online chat with our Year 9s to give them a chance to ask questions and find out about routines and events; and HMs will offer a remote Q&A session for parents in the last week of term. Whilst this digital introduction isn’t quite the same as seeing people and houses in ‘real life’, we hope our Year 9 boarders have got a flavour of what awaits them. The house staff, for one, cannot wait to welcome them into their new homes!

The other major event in boarding this half term is National Boarding Week. Now in its fifth year, NWB is dedicated around the celebration of boarding communities all over the UK. Using the hash tag #iloveboarding, social media is full of events and projects that boarders up and down the country get up to and Warminster is, of course, no exception. Now you might be asking yourselves, National Boarding Week 2020 during a pandemic, whilst the boarding houses are shut, with no boarders around – is that even possible?! The short answer is ‘yes, of course’ as there was no imaginable scenario in which we would simply let our favourite week of the year pass unnoticed and uncelebrated.

You won’t be surprised to hear that we had to come up with celebrations in a slightly different style – it is quite difficult to do a remote water fight, remote cooking competition and remote football tournament after all!

However, with virtual learning having gone so well at Warminster in recent weeks and months, we have made use of our digital platforms to celebrate the week. National Boarding Week 2020’s focus is health and wellbeing – a video clip competition of push ups behind scenic backgrounds (as well as sending in clips of what pupils love most about boarding), house HIIT and yoga sessions, and mindful drawing are just a few activities our boarders participated in during the week. National Boarding Week 2020 has really brought out what we miss most at the moment: seeing the whole boarding community together, the hustle and bustle in the houses and yes, even the occasional drama! We really cannot wait until September when we can welcome all our boarders back properly.

Barbara Berrisford​, Housemistress Stratton House, German Teacher