Many pupils at Pinewood choose to experience the benefits of boarding life. Living alongside other boys and girls and learning to be part of a community, as well as the opportunity to enjoy the grounds, facilities and friendship of others away from the busyness of a regular school day, all contributes to children growing in independence and confidence.
The Headmaster’s wife and Mr Benbow (Head of Boarding) head up the boarding and seek to create a family atmosphere with the boarders and boarding staff. The Headmaster and his deputy are also closely involved in supervising breakfast and supper, and doing a boarding duty.
Supper, with home cooked food and regular “specials nights”, featuring Tapas evenings and DIY ice-cream sundaes, is followed by an abundance of evening activities, which are encouraged, but there are also opportunities, especially for the older children, to simply have ‘time-out’ with their friends.
Special events are held throughout the year, with a particular highlight being the Christmas Feast, which is followed by carols in the Hall, with the Headmaster including every pupil in the words of one song!
The quality of boarding is excellent and this results in an outstanding provision for the boarders. Boarders are confident, make decisions for themselves and show a high level of respect to each other. This creates an ambience that is harmonious, eventful and industrious. The boarding environment is safe and caring; all boarders speak proudly of the experience of being part of the boarding community and frequently refer to it as “a family” (ISI Inspection Report 2012)
Older boarders are encouraged to take more responsibility for themselves in anticipation of their arrival at senior school. Many of our Year 7 & 8 pupils choose to weekly board, which helps to build established friendships and encourages independence, as well as focus during the school week. The arrival at senior school is much less daunting for our pupils who have been part of the boarding pattern.
Boarding life is busy and fun, but when children do inevitably have a difficult day, the family atmosphere helps to provide care and friendship. Older boarders are encouraged to look out for younger ones and care for them as appropriate.
As well as older pupils, the boarding staff are always available for the children to chat to; we are fortunate to have a high pupil to staff ratio on the boarding team of approximately 7:1, enabling us to provide children with a strong sense of security and a good variety of evening activities. Each child also has a tutor who will track academic progress and be in regular contact with home, and informal and more formal chats will help them to gauge how a child is getting along at school. In addition, the Headmaster and his wife operate an open door policy which means they are available to any child who wishes to talk to them.
Demand for boarding at Pinewood is frequently child-led, greatly anticipated and a really marvellous part of school life.
Older boarders enjoy the responsibility of helping younger and newer boarders, and offer support when it is needed. They regard boarding as great fun and appreciate the support and guidance provided by the staff.
(ISI Inspection Report 2012)
Boarding at Pinewood is popular in Years 5-8 (age 9 – 13) with over half the children in the Prep school choosing to experience the advantages of boarding life as either a weekly or flexi boarder.
Regular boarding gives a child the opportunity to have a taste of boarding and to take advantage of the many activities arranged after school. Regular boarding involves sticking to set nights per week (which may well tie in with an activity that finishes late). Many children increase their nights as they move up the school, graduating to weekly boarding in Years 7 & 8. Please note that priority for boarding nights is on a seniority basis.
Weekly boarding encourages a child to become independent, with pastoral and academic guidance from the boarding staff, in preparation for their future years. It suits families where both parents might work away from home or who live further afield, but is popular throughout the school and especially in Year 8. Treats for weeklies such as “tuck shop” and the summer BBQ evening all cement the feeling that they are a special part of the Pinewood community.
Parents are encouraged to register their interest with Ed Benbow for boarding early, as places are limited. Children can then have a taster evening before the decision is made to take up the place.
The Boarding Timetable
Boarders have free time after prep at 5.30pm. The children can join in a range of activities and enjoy all the facilities in the grounds including: Treetops, Cricket Nets, the swimming pool, the Sports Hall, floodlit hard courts and astro, as well as cooking, croquet, art, craft and board games. Other activities include film nights, year group discos, Pinewood’s legendary “Spot Light” and using the assault course. Evening activities are optional, and the children can decide to relax with friends and members of the boarding staff if they wish. Two nights per week, weekly boarders are allowed Tuck, which always makes for a happy evening!
Supper at 6.30pm is a family affair, and a time to discuss and look back on the day’s highlights or lowlights. Following more free time there is cereal at 8pm, followed by staggered bedtimes according to age.
Children sleep in recently refurbished dorms and are looked after by a team of committed boarding staff and qualified matrons who are on hand throughout the day and night.
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