Boarding plays an integral part in the life of Sutton Valence School. The opportunity for students to live and work at school affords enormous academic and personal benefits.
The boarding houses are warm, friendly and secure environments led by a team of dedicated and experienced senior house staff, tutors and matrons.
Our boarders come from a variety of backgrounds, with many from Kent and the South East of England. Others are from overseas, adding an international dimension to the school. Those parents who work abroad identify the friendly, studious yet holistic atmosphere at the school as the natural place for their children.
We welcome and recognise the richness that diversity in our boarding community brings to the school as a whole.
Boarding at Sutton Valence is a special, rewarding and life changing experience. It can be seen as a hugely important stepping stone between home and the outside world, and our flexibility means that individual needs can easily be catered for. It is a genuine joy to see how the children blossom and flourish during their time in our care, and to observe how they form friendships which will indeed last a lifetime.
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Board, never bored!
James has boarded since he joined in the First Form five years ago, firstly in Beresford and now in Westminster.
I asked him why he had chosen to become a boarder:
“Although we live only half an hour away near West Malling I really wanted to board. I don’t have any brothers or sisters and thought it would be a good way for me to meet lots of different people and make friends. Now I know that there are lots of other benefits too. I am a weekly boarder so go home after matches on Saturday and come back early on Monday morning for breakfast. On Sundays I can catch up with my family, my old friends from out of school, play golf or cricket; it’s the best of both worlds.”
Did you ever have second thoughts?
Not really, Beresford was a great beginning to boarding life. You are introduced gently to being away from home and because you are not lumped in with the older boys you have time to get used to it before moving on to the senior houses. I was Head of House in my second year there so used to help Matron or the Houseparents with cooking supper and making drinks in the evenings. When you move up to the senior house the first day is a bit daunting but the Sixth Formers soon make you feel part of the family; it’s a great atmosphere and I have made friends I hope I will keep for life.
We all have to take turns at doing duties around the House, like on Fridays I do Kitchen Duty, which means tidying up after supper. There’s usually not much to do as most people are very good at cleaning up after themselves.
Boarding life is a great preparation for going to university where you suddenly have to look after yourself all the time. When you board you have to be responsible for being punctual, managing your time, making sure your laundry is handed in so you have clean uniform and games kit to wear, but all the time Matron, a Tutor or the Housemaster is there to give you a reminder if you forget.
You mentioned making friends. Has it been easy?
The first weekend of the autumn term is the outing to Thorpe Park which is excellent for bonding and making friends. So for the most part, yes. I am friendlier with some than others, but if I hadn’t boarded I wouldn’t have made friends with people older and younger than me from Germany, China and Antigua, because I wouldn’t necessarily have met them as a day pupil. It’s great because there is a sharing of cultures and the atmosphere in the house means that we keep an eye out for each other, particularly those who may be feeling homesick.
What about your academic work?
We have set Prep time: from 5.15 to 6.15, then we have tea, followed by more Prep time from 7 till 8. Now that I am in Fifth Form I have a room to myself which is great; having your own space helps with studying, but even in the Third and Fourth Form when you share you still have your own desk in your Show and access to your work through the computers in the Maths and ICT Centre, or your laptop. And we have the help of the Tutor or Housemaster on duty, who comes round checking Prep is being done. After 8 o’clock we are free till bedtime.
So what would you say to those thinking of boarding?
I’d thoroughly recommend it! It has boosted my confidence, made me at ease living with and talking to all kinds of people, and it is great fun."
James was in conversation with Helen Knott, Development Manager. This article appeared first in Sutton Views, the school termly magazine.
For more information regarding the types of boarding arrangements we offer, the costs and guidelines, please contact Mrs Kathy Webster, Admissions Officer.
|Housemaster||Nick Gorman||01622 845277|
||Jacques van Vuuren||01622 845224|
|St Margaret's House|
|Housemaster||Roy Webster||01622 845266|
|Matron||Beverley Spencer||01622 845266||07732 738324|
|Matron||Emma Agu Benson
||01622 845239||07816 512349|
|Houseparents||Sally and Kit Rose
|Matron||Joy Baybrook||01622 843459|