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Westminster House

Westminster House is one of Sutton Valence’s senior boys’ boarding houses.

The fifty or so residents of Westminster form a major part of the school’s thriving boarding community. There is a real sense of house spirit in Westminster and the boys pride themselves on working hard and playing hard. The House provides a safe and positive environment in which the boys can flourish and benefit from the boarding experience.

The house leadership team is made up of a Head of House, his deputy and all the Sixth Formers. These young men, lead by example, and under the careful guidance of the Housemaster and staff, see to the day to day routines that are so important to the functioning of a large house. We look to develop the leadership potential of all our boarders, and through both formal and informal processes, we foster confidence, compassion and a strong commitment to serve each other, the School and the wider and global communities. 

Westminster is blessed with a first class experienced House staff, all of them placing great store on the importance of a sense of humour and a realistic outlook to life. The tutors’ role is both pastoral and academic one and the boys will meet with their respective tutor each morning as well as during the evenings when they are on duty in the house.

Mr Gary Wellings became Housemaster of Westminster in September 2021. He has been a member of staff at SVS since 2017 and, as well as running a senior boarding house of over 40 boys, he continues in his role as Head of Mathematics, coaches Hockey and Cricket and somehow finds time to run the chess club!  Sarah, his wife, is a Year 5 teacher at a local primary school and they live onsite with their two daughters, Charlotte and Madeleine. Gary’s passion is sport, and all of the family play competitively for Holcombe Hockey Club. If he went on ‘Desert Island Discs’, he says his five luxury items would be: Radio 5 Live, a Bill Bryson book, Spitfire ale, Sarah’s cheesecake and his golf clubs!

Mrs Debbie Aitken, our Matron, joined Westminster in 2012, after nine years at St Johns School, where she had extensive training in many aspects of special needs. Debbie lives locally in Leeds village with Glenn, her husband of 37 years and son Max, who has recently returned from 6 months playing cricket in Australia. Her daughter Alex is in the London team of display Stylist for NEXT and is called upon to work on many shows including London fashion Week. Debbie trained in Exhibition Design and Display, and later Floristry, she worked in the industry on many award dinners at top London venues. To accommodate family life, she has since worked in other fields involving children, including nine years at a local primary school mostly dealing with special needs.  Debbie has introduced the training of two essential skills to Westminster, namely; how to iron a shirt, and tie a bow tie!!

Westminster is blessed with our housekeepers who ensure that the House is always in good order. While we expect the boys to become independent, and to that end we develop organisation and self-care skills, our housekeepers are exceptional. They genuinely have the boys’ best interests at heart, but they should not be taken for granted.

The House is renowned for its social occasions, most notably our regular Saturday pizza evenings and house ‘kitchen cook-ups’ as well as summer Barbecues and Christmas parties. The extent of activities, sporting occasions and other events such as these is really up to the house leaders and they are encouraged to be creative as possible. The house will usually have a charity which it supports, this too is driven by the house members and we hope this encourages a more selfless view of the world and an appreciation of just how fortunate those of us in Westminster and at Sutton Valence really are.

Westminster is a welcoming house where we strive to create an environment in which the boarders are safe and happy. Then the focus is on assisting each boarder, to firstly reach their academic potential and then to enhance their leadership, community, and co-curricular journeys. Westminster has strong traditions of camaraderie, support and house spirit and these qualities, along with our fantastic staff will hopefully make each boy’s Westminster and Sutton Valence experience a memorable and productive one.

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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