Exciting improvements to our ‘home from home’ boarding facilities.

As a school constantly seeking to incorporate creative new ways to enhance our pastoral delivery, reviewing our boarding structure has naturally been a key focus for our senior team over recent months.  Making the very best use of our resources from a staffing and buildings perspective is of course a priority but at the forefront of change, is how we reflect the increasing importance of positive relationships between girls and boys across different age groups as they progress through the School and on into life beyond the school gates.

Following a careful and detailed consultation period, including discussions with experts from the Boarding Schools Association and other professional bodies, we are excited to announce that from September 2021 we have decided to move to a ‘diamond’ model of boarding.

How will this look?

Our ‘Junior’ girls and boys will form a co-ed house, incorporating pupils from Year 3 – Year 8 in the spacious boarding house, St Monica. The House provides excellent accommodation and a large garden in which younger boarders can play. There will be separate boys’ and girls’ wings of the House, but they will come together in large and light filled communal spaces which will include computer facilities, comfortable common rooms and an eating/kitchen space. Housemaster, Jonathan Mercer has many years’ experience as Housemaster of Old Vic and understands the needs of junior boarders superbly. Jonathan will be joined by Ellen Santana as resident matron whose accommodation will be on the girls’ side of the House.  Arthur Page, who will be known to all the prep boarders or those with musical tendencies, will be the final resident member of staff. For the girls in particular, we are planning on keeping strong links to Ivy through a ‘big sister’ scheme and regular visits across both Houses. We will also look carefully at the rota of visiting tutors to provide both consistency and familiarity.

‘Intermediate’ girls, from Year 9 – Year 11, will be housed in Ivy. The House is a true ‘home from home’ and is beautifully decorated and appointed to provide excellent sleeping and communal spaces. Lisa Crinion will continue as Housemistress, with Gemma Gough as Assistant Housemistress. Sophie Saunders will also continue as Matron and this experienced team will deliver excellent pastoral care and support for our girls during a key stage in their development.

St Boniface becomes the home for our ‘Intermediate’ boys, from Year 9 – Year 11. This beautiful neo-gothic building at the heart of our school provides a wonderful boarding experience with cosy common rooms as well as use of the impressive panelled Boniface Hall. Led by Jeremy Evans, our hugely enthusiastic Head of Hockey and teacher of Design Technology. Jeremy has many years’ experience as Assistant Housemaster of St Boniface. Jeremy will be joined by his partner Julia Farley and her two sons, to provide a truly family orientated boarding experience. Adam Richardson from the Sports department will join the House as Assistant Housemaster and Debbie Evans will continue to provide excellent pastoral care in her role as Matron.

Possibly the biggest change to our model and the correct choice for our Sixth Form as they prepare for life beyond school, is a co-ed Sixth Form home based in Stratton House. With carefully divided accommodation, providing completely separate sleeping wings for girls and boys, communal areas however will be shared, and opportunities will exist, similar to a hall of residence at University, where pupils can cook, eat and relax together with carefully agreed boundaries and supervision. This model of a co-educational Sixth Form boarding experience has proven to be a highly successful one across numerous boarding establishments and combined with the opening of Townroe Lodge in September 2020, will provide our young people with valuable opportunities to develop healthy and positive relationships in a natural environment. Watch what our pupils think of the change HERE 

Heading up this exciting new change will be Siana Pendlebury, who joins us from Woldingham School where she is currently a Housemistress, a teacher of Religious Studies and a keen outdoor enthusiast. Prior to her move to Surrey, Siana worked at Repton School in Derbyshire and was herself a pupil at Eastbourne College.  

The final piece of the jigsaw will be the opening of a new Health and Wellbeing Hub in what is currently Old Vic. The space will combine a large Health Centre, rooms for the School Counsellor and listening service, sensory rooms, meditation spaces and quiet areas for pupils to use at certain times of the week. With mental health, anxiety, and stress issues at an all-time high for young people, we believe this is a significant step to provide a dedicated facility where we will continue to put our pupils first and provide specific help and support, as and when they require it.

Matt Williams, Headmaster commented, “We are enormously appreciative of the personal investment of all our boarding staff, indeed, Warminster’s reputation as a genuine community is built first and foremost on the experiences of our pupils and staff who make our glorious campus their home. We very much look forward to embracing these exciting new changes into daily life here at Warminster – it is clearly another busy summer ahead!”