St. Margaret’s Boarding House
St Margaret's House was the first of the two current senior boys’ boarding houses to be established just over 100 years ago.
Inevitably it contains a dynamic community with seniors leaving and juniors arriving every year, but the message of ‘Respect’ is handed on like a baton from generation to generation. This basic principle permeates all we do in the House and is effectively the single house rule, guiding all boys in every aspect of their lives together.
Just as boys come together from all around the world bringing with them a wealth of values and cultural experiences, so the staff come from varied backgrounds and bring their different contributions to the House.
Mr Head began his appointment as Housemaster in September 2014, and also joined the Science department as a teacher of chemistry and physics. Elspeth, his wife, is a teacher in the learning support department, and their two rapidly growing children, Lydia and Ruaridh, complete the family. Mr Head greatly enjoys all of the activities that the school has to offer, but has a special fondness for the sporting side of the school, and is the officer commanding the Army section of the CCF. Throughout the year there will be lots of events to be held in and around the house, and Mr Head does not need much of an excuse to fire up the barbecue.
Mr Soman has lived and worked in St Margaret’s for three years since he was appointed as the School’s Assistant Director of Music. As part of this role, he teaches Music at both the Senior and Prep Schools, is involved in musical theatre productions and conducts the Chapel Choir. Additionally, Mr Soman heads up the Extended Project Qualification programme for the Sixth Form and prepares students for LAMDA Drama exams. He lives in the boarding house with his wife, Susanna, who is an English teacher in Ashford; together, they enjoy box sets, European cities, Sunday lunches and leading the sung worship at their church in Loose.
Mr Holmes has had a long association with boarding provision at Sutton Valence School. Joining the School in 1994 after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music he was appointed Head of Strings in 1999. He started his involvement in the Junior Boarding House as an out-tutor and then went on to spend ten years as Assistant Housemaster in St. Margaret’s. During this time he, and wife Amanda, a music teacher in the School, added daughter Charlotte to the boarding rosta. Reluctant to lose his expertise, the School has persuaded him to stay on as an out-tutor for a little longer.
Mr Ings joined the house as duty tutor at the start of September 2015, and is now moving into the house as resident tutor, and taking on a tutor group of his own. He brings with him some youthful enthusiasm both on and off of the sports field, and with his expertise in Geography will be a valuable addition to the team.
Ms Sutton joined Sutton Valence School in September 2016, having previously taught Art at Cranleigh School for 16 years. She is ‘half-Kiwi’ and trained as an artist and teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand. As well as being an enthusiastic teacher of Art, she is a practising artist herself, with a particular passion for printmaking, etching and screen printing. Having worked in a girls boarding house for many years, she is looking forward to the new challenges of tutoring in St Margaret's House. She is married, with lively seven-year-old twin boys, Isaac and Evan.
At the heart of the House, particularly during the daytime is our Matron, Bev Spencer. With a range of qualifications in Childcare, Health and Social Care and Social Work, Bev also has previous experience as a House Mother. Having spent many years as a Service wife Bev has two grown up and successful children, who went through their own boarding experience. She also does voluntary work for Service charities.
St. Margaret’s has built up a reputation for hospitality and friendship over recent years and is happy to work with or compete against the other boarding houses in a whole range of settings. From wine tasting to welly-wanging, when the work has been done, St. Margaret’s explores the full range of fun.