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Boarding FAQs

If you're considering a boarding school for your child, you are likely to have some questions about how the arrangements work in practice. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about boarding at Bryanston. If you can't find the answer you're looking for below, feel free to contact our admissions team at admissions@bryanston.co.uk.

What type of boarding do you offer? 

Bryanston is a full boarding school with some day pupils. Full boarders are expected to be at School at all times apart from school exeats and holidays and, with their Housemaster’s/Housemistress’s permission, on Open Weekends.

Can boarders come home at the weekend? 

As a seven-day-a-week boarding school, it is school policy to make weekends full and interesting. The School has three types of weekend, which are clearly identified in the school calendar:
  • Whole School Weekends, when pupils are expected to be in School.
  • Exeat Weekends, when all pupils must be away from the end of School on Friday at 4.20pm and return by 9pm on Sunday.
  • Open Weekends, when pupils can choose to remain at School or choose to go home after lessons, match or other school commitments on Saturday and return by 9pm on Sunday.

Is there any flexibility in the weekend arrangements? 

For those families wanting their child(ren) home regularly, the pattern of weekends is such that a weekend leave is possible every two weeks. While a weekend leave request for a Whole School Weekend will be considered sympathetically, they are not encouraged and may be declined. Permission will be at the discretion of the Housemaster/Housemistress, who will use their experience to consider carefully the needs of the individual, as well as those around them.

How many children stay in at weekends? 

The School is aware of the various needs of its boarders and their families at weekends, so is committed to ensuring a formula is achieved that can suit everybody and that exceeds the expectations of families who choose a full boarding education for their child(ren). The weekend activity programme is carefully managed by the Weekend Coordinator, who organises a range of activities that take place both in School and out of School, and that are often driven by the pupils themselves, for example, the House Drama Festival, Balloon Debate, A3 Festival and A2 Charities Day. As a result, the School enjoys having boarders present every weekend throughout the school year.

How many day pupils are there? 

Approximately 14% of our pupils are day pupils.

Is there a day house? 

Day pupils have their own bed and area in the boarding house; there is no separate day house.

How long is the school day for day pupils? 

Day pupils are expected to be in School from 8.15am to 9pm Monday to Friday and until after their school commitments on a Saturday. In the sixth form, day pupils stay in School for a worknight on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which ends at 10pm.

Is there any flexibility in the arrangements for day pupils? 

From time to time, and with good reason, it may be possible for a day pupil to leave School before 9pm after careful communication and negotiation with the Housemaster/Housemistress. Day pupils are welcome to stay overnight for an additional charge and are encouraged to join in the weekend activity programme on Whole School Weekends.

How many boarding houses are there? 

The School has 12 single-sex boarding houses: five girls’ houses, two junior boys’ houses and five senior boys’ houses.

How big is each house? 

There are approximately 40 boys in each of the two junior boys’ houses and 60-65 pupils in each of the senior houses.

Are parents required to choose a house? 

No. The composition of each house is directed by the Headmaster’s Office, so pupils can enjoy a mix of different talents, cultures and background. Boarding houses at Bryanston do not encourage the cliquiness and intense tribal loyalties that sometimes exist in schools whose social arrangements are based on a strong, inward-looking house tradition. Bryanston is essentially a living community working together rather than a federation of separate houses.

Why are the boarding arrangements different for girls and boys in Year 9? 

Bryanston is one of the most experienced co-educational boarding schools in the country and understands that girls’ and boys’ needs differ when they enter the School in Year 9.
The girls are in the same boarding house throughout their time at Bryanston. The older girls in the house tend to act as ‘big sisters’ to the new arrivals and will help them to settle in. Boys can be less mature at 13 and so, in their first year, they join one of the two junior boys’ houses where they find their feet among their peer group.
At the end of the year, boys will express a preference for the friends they would like to have with them in a senior house, which, along with many other factors, is taken into account when assigning boys to their senior house, where they stay for their remaining four years. The Second Master, Head of Boarding and the junior boys’ Housemasters work hard to ensure that, as with all houses, the senior boys’ houses have a good mix of interests, talents, cultures and backgrounds. The transition phase from a junior to senior house is skilfully and expertly managed by the Housemasters and is a little less daunting for the boys after having had a year to settle in.

Who looks after the pupils in their house? 

Each house is led by a qualified and experienced Housemaster/Housemistress who is a member of the teaching staff and who lives alongside the pupils with their own family. The Housemaster/Housemistress has overall responsibility for the pupils’ welfare, development and academic work. They manage a team of staff that act in loco parentis to ensure every pupil feels safe, happy and properly cared for. The House Team consists of two resident teachers, a Matron and up to seven Common Room staff who each supervise a prep one evening every week. In addition, house prefects have some pastoral responsibility for younger pupils through supervision and offering advice and support.

Do pupils eat in their boarding house? 

While each house has a social area and small kitchens for making hot drinks and snacks, main meals are taken in the central dining hall, enabling pupils to develop relationships outside their house.

What is a ‘hsm’? 

‘Hsm’ is the word we use at Bryanston for Housemaster or Housemistress.