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Boarding at BKH

boarding at Bryanston Knighton House

Our boarding is firmly rooted in a home-from-home, family approach with day children completely integrated with our weekly, flexi and occasional boarders – all of whom thrive. 

A modern-day boarding experience can bring real added value to a child's education. We recognise that boarding means something different to each family, so our team work with you and your child to find the right time to experience all the wonderful opportunities that boarding can bring. The world of boarding allows children to learn how to live together, be independent and develop self-confidence in a caring and family-focused environment.

Boarders come from across England, as well as from destinations outside the country; we welcome expatriate and international students.

All Boarding staff members are fully dedicated and responsible for the well-being of our pupils.  Boarding staff are also responsible for creating fun weekend activities to which the whole boarding community looks forward.  Every weekend has a different theme, dynamic and entertaining, combining a range of activities according to the season: outdoor trips, camping, games, discovering beautiful Dorset and its culture, as well as indoor activities such as art and craft, fashion shoots, photography, origami, cooking and baking, board games, indoor treasure hunts, team competitions and cinema nights.

Full, Flexi or Weekly

Knighton offers an extremely flexible approach to boarding. Children can choose to board from one night a week up to being a full boarder seven nights a week. We want to make boarding work for busy working parents who sometimes need the flexibility we are able to provide. Our boarders come from a range of backgrounds including international, services, local and London based which gives the boarding community a genuine cultural mix which we think is a really positive environment for the children to be part of.

Our aim in the boarding house is to make it as homely as possible for the everyone; it’s important the children feel it is their home while they are at school. Although the older ones in their final year enjoy living in their own wing of the main house to give them more responsibility and independence, the boarding culture at Knighton means all the children bond together as one big boarding family. Older boarders look after the younger ones like older siblings would their younger brother or sister. This is very much part of the Knighton culture.

Flexi boarding works brilliantly well as an introduction to boarding life, particularly for the younger pupils. Children who board regularly for a night or two a week get used to the routines and are able to become comfortable with the boarding environment so if they choose to become full or weekly boarders they easily slip into boarding life. More often than not it is parents who want to keep their children at home for longer but eventually bow to the pressure of their offspring asking to board more. Indeed at Knighton, we have youngsters who board only at the weekends!

At Knighton there are other opportunities to board such as our special Invitation Weekends when specific year groups are invited to board to enjoy a weekend of bonding and fun together. Sometimes there might be a family emergency and/or travel situation which require their child to stay at school overnight. We accommodate every requirement, subject to bed availability of course.

Boarding at Knighton:

Full boarding – Knighton at its best with all the benefits of the weekends.

Weekly boarding – For children who need to be at home on Saturday night each week.

Flexi-boarding – a set number of nights per week arranged in advance each term. Flexi-boarding allows children to experience boarding without committing to it full time. Many children love taking the opportunity to do this; flexi-boarding can also be very helpful to parents and pupils who have busy lives. A number of children flexi-board lower down the school, before becoming full time boarders higher up the school.

Invitation Weekends – Open to specific year groups for a special fun-packed themed weekend.

‘Emergency’ boarding– We are always happy to try and accommodate a last minute boarding request.

Boarding Routines

Our maxim is that every child is different, and no one sort of boarding suits every child, so we offer occasional, flexi and full boarding from Year 3 upwards. Most of our Year 8 pupils board in their final year, building up their boarding nights over time, so by the time they leave Knighton House, every child understands the delicate workings of communal life and will have solid lessons behind them to take into their senior schools.

Boarding routines

Monday to Friday

7.10am Bell goes to wake up
7.30am Pony run when some of the children round up the ponies from the fields to bring them to the stables
7.45am Breakfast

After breakfast the boarders join the Day Pupils

8.00am-5.30pm School day
5.30pm Boarders go upstairs to their dorms where they can relax with friends and unwind after a busy day
6.00pm Supper
6.30-7.15pm Prep for Y6-Y8 – This is supervised by a member of teaching staff

For the younger boarders there are different nightly activities before they go upstairs

7.15-8.00pm Activities which will differ depending on the time of year and the weather
8.15pm

By 8.15pm all boarders are upstairs

Saturdays

7.10am Bell goes to wake up
7.30am Pony run when some of the children round up the ponies from the fields to bring them to the stables
7.45am Breakfast

After breakfast the boarders join the Day Pupils

8.00am-12.30pm School day
1pm Lunch
2.00-4.30pm Matches against other schools and/or sport and activities
4.30-6.00pm Free time
6.00pm Supper
6.30pm onwards After supper the children will spend time upstairs watching TV or a film, playing and generally enjoying some down time.

Sundays

A chance to rest, relax, play and catch up with friends!

The Sunday routine will differ depending on the activities planned for the day. Every Sunday throughout the year various activities are organised – either in-school or outside school – which require different schedules.

Recently we have introduced a late morning brunch for the boarders at 11.00am which has proved very popular with them. Having had a very light cereal/toast breakfast at 9.00am upstairs in their pyjamas the pupils will then be able to have some much needed down time before coming down to the dining room to enjoy a full English breakfast to set them up for the day.

Boarding Weekends

Weekends matter at Knighton
We recognise that weekend boarding is very important to our pupils, particularly to the full boarders so we ensure that every weekend is full of fun, is busy and is just the right balance of activities and some down time. Each term a programme of weekends is published so the children know what’s happening and can look forward to the weekend activity. Some weekend there are ‘in-house’ activities where we make our own entertainment in school; other weekends we organise fun trips away from school.

Saturday school comes to an end after our weekly chapel service in the village church and then it is time for those not in matches to get involved in coaching or skills training, working hard on filling up their log book for our DoE style programme.

Saturday evening, after supper, it might be a film and popcorn for our juniors and an opportunity to access devices and to chat with home for our seniors, and vice-versa; whatever is on offer, it is done in a spirit of family and the sense of coming together after the demands of the week.

Sundays are busy, and many day pupils sign up for the activities we offer, but time for relaxation is made integral to planning.  Some weekends are an in-house affair, others are off site.  In recent months, ‘in’ has meant an introduction to quilling (a wonderful form of paper art), resulting in super new artwork for the boarding house, and ‘out’ has been a trip to a Parkour activity in Bournemouth; so, design, problem solving and movement, in one term, satisfying our artistic and creative appetites at Knighton House.

Sunday also has its traditional feel: of course, every child at Knighton House has their own email account and of course, overseas boarders can Skype/Zoom, but there is always time for proper letter writing, a peaceful moment, often in company with the Head, where the children can reflect on their learning, their successes and their goals, and share these with home.