In the mornings, students are woken by boarding staff, take their showers and put their school uniform on before enjoying breakfast in the boarders’ dining room. The boys’ and girls’ matrons assist the Primary students with dressing and make sure they eat a healthy meal. The boarding staff are always on hand to check uniform, sign forms, find missing PE kit, everything that their parents would be doing at home for them. Then it’s time for school, without having had to endure the long journey that their day student friends must make.
During the day, our boarding students are just like any other student at St Constantine’s; they attend their lessons, play their sports, eat lunch with their friends. After everyone goes home, however, we have the whole 35 acre campus to ourselves. Primary students have a snack straight after school, and then have an hour’s prep / reading time, supervised by a teacher and three teaching assistants. One day a week Secondary students also come to help them read as part of their service commitment.
Meanwhile, the Secondary students might be found starting up an impromptu game of football (even if they have just finished playing it for electives), working out in the gym, or swimming. Those whose exam commitments are starting to press upon them can be found engaged in independent study in the library. We also open up the ICT lab after school every afternoon, so that those who do not have their own laptop can complete research or contact home.
Dinner is taken in the main dining room, after which prep for Secondary students takes place; between one and two hours depending on age. The A Level students usually work beyond this, and we turn the Secondary library over to them entirely. While the Secondary students are working, Primary students are enjoying the last bits of daylight in supervised play out on the field, before coming in to shower, polish their shoes, and pack their bags for the following day. After cleaning their teeth, there is always time for a bedtime story, and then it’s lights out.
Secondary students have free time after prep, when they have access to the common room to watch movies or play pool, and enjoy the snacks (or ‘shares’, as we call them) and tea provided by the kitchen. Curfew times are staggered to allow each age group time to wind down for bed and prepare for the next day.