Together we thrive

Together we thrive

Together we thrive

Boarding

Boarding at Highfield and Brookham is extremely popular but also completely optional. Our boarding provision has always been an integral part of the prep school and perhaps the continued popularity reflects how well we do it. Our flexible contemporary boarding provision means that if you are considering boarding for your child we are sure we can offer something that suits them. We offer everything from two nights per week to the ever-popular full boarding experience.

One of our many strengths is our diverse national and international community. We have always enjoyed a strong association with Armed Forces families and we are honoured to have been welcoming children from overseas for more than decade. Throughout our history we have been able provide outstanding pastoral care and the full boarding experience for children whose families may be abroad. The thriving boarding community means that no child will ever feel alone if their parents are out of the country. They are part of a large extended family who care for and support them every step of the way.

The approach to boarding is excellent - we love the Junior Boarding House to start and there's a great balance of freedom and guidance

Evenings

As the school day draws to a close at 4.40pm the boarding evening is just beginning. The evenings should feel like your child’s own time – this is extremely important to us, and them. Until 5.30pm your child will be able to choose what do. They are able to join other boarders and day children in one of our inspiring clubs or some days they may choose to enjoy the simple luxury of changing into their home clothes and sitting out on Chapel Field and casually chatting with a group of friends.

After activities the bell is rung and prep starts promptly at 5.30pm. This time is supervised by an academic member of staff to support your child and help them to complete work effectively. As children get closer to end-of-term exams, time will be allotted for revision sessions in the evening and staff will be on hand to help your child prepare for upcoming assessments and tests across all subjects.

At the end of prep time the children enjoy supper together in the main Dining Hall. But the evening doesn’t stop there. After their meal, the boarders are provided with a list of evening activities on offer. They can choose to relax with a film, enjoy a friendly game of table football or dance the night away at a disco. All before they curl up in bed with a good book.

Your child will have a period of 15 minutes reading before lights out at the end of a full and profitable day. This may include reading alone, reading to an adult, reading together or listening to a story. We are aware of the need to keep our boarders informed of current affairs which is why we provide age-appropriate newspapers in our three common rooms. Lights out is staggered from 8pm for our youngest boarders until 9pm for our Year 8s.

Throughout the year boarders are thrilled by our ‘showstopper’ evenings. These include highly-anticipated activities such as the Colour Run, Slip ‘N’ Slide and the Inter-Dorm Dance Competition. These events are extremely popular and often see children who might not normally stay that particular evening booking an extra night so they don’t miss out.

If your child chooses to learn a musical instrument time will be allocated in the evening to head over to Music School to practise.

Weekends

Day and boarding prep school children attend Saturday School. Saturday’s schedule consists of a bespoke programme of morning lessons for children to work toward their Keys Diploma followed by sports fixtures in the afternoon.

Weekends are cherished time for our full boarders. There is a more leisurely pace and children get to enjoy more of their favourite part of boarding – being with their friends. Saturday evenings are immense fun. After some down time and supper, Saturdays often involve relaxing with a film and enjoying a cheeky treat of popcorn or milkshakes.

Sundays offer a gentle start to the day with a 'pyjama breakfast' at 9am. Each weekend there is a either an on-site activity such as zorbing, a scavenger hunt or circus skills or off-site activities such as bowling in Guildford, visiting the cinema in Portsmouth or ice-skating in Winchester. Our Secret Santa at the end of the Autumn Term is always extremely popular and often sees our weekly boarders staying for the weekend.

We have exeat weekends throughout the year. We have four in the Autumn Term, two before and two after Half Term. The Spring Term follows the same pattern but there is only one exeat weekend after Half Term in the Summer Term.

Exeat weekends are obligatory. The school closes for the weekend and is open again on Sunday evening for our full boarders to return. Exeats are treasured by children and their families. Our international children head out to their guardians’ houses to enjoy some time away from school. Boarders who have parents overseas are often invited to stay with friends, which is a lovely option in addition to seeing their guardian.

Food

One thing is for sure – your child will not go hungry. The day kicks off with a filling breakfast buffet. Your child has a plethora of choices to suit their mood. There is always a hot option such as beans on toast, potato waffles or porridge, as well as a full counter of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals and pastries.

Morning break is at 10am. To provide your child with a slow release of energy to keep them focused until lunch they will have a carbohydrate-based snack. Lunch break is at 12.45pm until 1.45pm. The time your child will be called for lunch rotates throughout the week, so sometimes they will eat first and then enjoy the fresh air and sometimes the other way around. To maintain your child’s energy levels throughout the day they are offered a snack during afternoon break at 3.15pm.

Supper is served from 6.15pm and offers your child the comfort of a delicious homecooked meal after a busy day. Children and boarding staff all sit down together and often the Nurse joins too. All meal times offer a selection of hot and cold dishes, as well as options for children with a range of dietary requirements. We use locally grown and environmentally sustainable food. We are committed to making as much use as appropriate of organic, natural food products and Fairtrade produce and to eliminate genetically-modified food and potentially harmful food additives in all of your child’s food.

And in case that’s not enough – toast and milk is available to your child in the Dining Hall every evening before bed to ensure they don’t go to sleep with a rumbling tummy.

Pupil Care

We acknowledge that every child will have been brought up with different routines that are unique to them and their family. We have built a community here where differences are not only tolerated but also celebrated and respected. To help your child settle and follow the boarding routine they will be allocated a ‘boarding buddy’ to show them the ropes. They will introduce them to the boarding team, including the nurses, and explain to them the most important aspect of boarding life – that there is always someone to talk to. Your child is encouraged to speak to any member of staff they want to. We will make sure they know that all adults are prepared to listen and want to help in any given situation.

We have very thorough lines of communication to ensure we know about any matters that might be affecting your child. Our staff meet weekly to discuss every child in the boarding houses, which ensures your child is acknowledged, known and valued by all staff members. The Director of Boarding is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead and sits on the School Pastoral Care Committee which meets weekly with our Head, Mrs Cryer, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Heads of Year.

We pride ourselves on keeping as many lines of communication open as possible, so please speak to us whenever you feel you need.

Boarding options

Boarding can start for children from Year 3. We have options from just two nights per week to the traditional full boarding option, available from Year 4. Our boarding provision aims to be flexible to suit modern family life. Our current contemporary boarding provision has been adapted to reflect current demand from families.

Our boarding numbers grow throughout the year, with Summer Term always the most popular. Typically, we start September with about 100 boarders and this grows to nearly 150 by the end of the academic year.

We offer trial nights for children who want to give boarding a go before they commit to regular boarding. Your child is entitled to book up to three trial nights a year to join their peers for an exciting sleepover at school!

Full boarding is the complete package offered to children in Year 4 to Year 8. It allows your child to experience the whole week, including weekends. Roughly a quarter of our boarders board full time, including international children, Forces children and local children who want to experience full boarding before senior school. Weekends are treasured by our boarders as they enjoy more of their favourite part of boarding – being with their friends.

Sundays offer a relaxed start with a ‘pyjama breakfast’ at 9am. Each weekend there is a either an on-site or off-site activity such as bowling in Guildford, going to the cinema in Portsmouth or fairground rides at Hollycombe. Our weekly boarders always have the option to book additional nights to join our full boarders for the most popular weekend activities – ice skating in Winchester being one of them.

Weekly boarding is available from Year 3 to Year 8. Approximately half of our boarders choose this option. As a weekly boarder your child will arrive at school on Monday morning and return home on Saturday, allowing them to experience the joys of being part of our thriving boarding family.

If your child doesn’t have school on a Saturday they are collected at 9am, if they do have Saturday School they will be collected at the end of the school day. We also value seeing our families at Sunday Chapel, which has been an important part of boarding for many years. We would love to invite your child to stay after Sunday Chapel and there will be no extra charge.

This is our unique take on part-time, flexi boarding and is available for children in Year 3 to Year 7. Around a quarter of our boarders choose our Steps to Boarding programme. Steps offers your child a gentle start to boarding. It is a great opportunity for them to test the water before being a full boarder either at prep or senior school. It also offers families a more flexible option to fit around after-school clubs and commitments, the school run and work life.

What makes it special is your child will board the same nights each week and have their own bed, in their dorm with their friends, with their belongings. No chopping and changing. It is their home even if they are only with us two nights a week. Children in Year 3 to Year 6 have the options of staying two, three or four nights a week and children in Year 7 have the choice between three or four nights a week.

Additional boarding gives children who aren’t full boarders the option to book extra nights in our Boarding House on a more flexible basis. As we do not ‘hot bed’, your child’s bed is always available to them on other nights when they need it, or simply when they want to stay for that extra special weekend activity. We all know how popular the Winchester Christmas Market is!

Boarding Houses

Junior Boarding

We offer a bespoke boarding option for children in Year 3 to Year 5. Our Junior Boarding House is home to 18 children who live together between four dorms on the first floor of the house. There are three dorms with four beds and one dorm with six, as well as two bathrooms. The house is separate from the main school buildings but still at the heart of the school site. The ground floor of the house is home to our Junior Houseparents, who are on hand whenever your child may need them. Our Junior Houseparents are tremendously experienced with helping our youngest children settle into the Junior Boarding House, which feels like a friendly family home.


The juniors have a great balance of spending time with the seniors at breakfast, supper and for the major boarding events as well as having valued time as a smaller group of junior boarders. They have their own Common Room and garden complete with climbing frame, tepee and fire pit to enjoy away from the older children.

Senior Boarding

Our Senior Boarding House is home to up to 130 children in Year 6 to Year 8 as well as our Head of Boys boarding, Head of Girls boarding and team of enthusiastic graduate assistants. Our Director of Boarding lives just a stone’s throw away from the Junior and Senior Boarding Houses.

There are 22 dorms in the Senior Boarding House spread out over two floors. Dorm sizes vary from four beds to ten beds. The House is also divided into a girls’ end (with 12 dorms) and a boys’ end (with 10 dorms), each with their own Common Room and multiple bathrooms.

In the centre of the Senior Boarding House is the Matron’s workroom – the epicentre of boarding. Our exceptional Matrons are integral to the smooth running of the Boarding Houses, ensuring children are well looked after and, crucially, that they have the correct item of uniform at the correct time. The Matron’s workroom is also home to a large table which is just perfect for a game of table tennis after a long day of lessons.

Dorm Structure

One of the many benefits of boarding is learning to become part of a tight-knit community and forming new relationships with ease. Your child will experience living, working and socialising with a diverse group of children. Understanding how to interact with and relate to people with different characteristics and interests is one of the many benefits boarding has to offer.

Our dorms help facilitate this learning process. Dorms are shuffled every term to help your child build new relationships and improve existing ones. Your child's feelings are always listened to and valued and dorms are structured carefully so your child will always be sharing with a least one chosen friend.

Our dorms are purposefully decorated in neutral but warm colours allowing your child to bring their personality to them. Your child will be actively encouraged to decorate their beds and pinboards with photos, posters and blankets. Every year there is a fiercely competitive dorm decorating competition showing that room appearance is taken very seriously. Another reason, in addition to the competitive edge, is that decorating their bed and pinboard will give your child a place that is solely theirs, a secure area they can retreat to after a busy day. Your child will feel a sense of pride in their area while learning to respect their dormmates’ space.

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