St John’s has always been a boarding school and retains its original accommodation, albeit now modernised to offer more comfortable and practical accommodation. This provides boys with both privacy and their own individual workspace.
Boarders enjoy a vibrant pastoral system with outstanding medical and personal care. Accommodation is divided into two dormitories with space for 30 pupils each. Southwell dormitory is for senior boarders (Year 8 and selected 7) whereas Morse dormitory is for younger children (Years 3 to 6/7). Whilst boys have separate night-time routines they spend much of their time together and older boarders often act as role models for the younger boarders.
Evening routines are spent engaging in set activities (in which the whole school, including the day pupils, participate) or specific boarding activities (hide ‘n’ seek around the school or cooking outdoors in the woods are particular favourites). Boarders have access to the school’s facilities in the evening; (floodlit tennis courts, multi-purpose sports hall, gymnasium, the art studio and swimming pool).
The full boarders enjoy a very busy weekend. Saturdays invariably involve inter-school sports fixtures, after which they will spend time writing to their families, playing outside in the woods, a walk along the River Thames, occasional shopping trips to Windsor or inter-dormitory competitions, (football, table-tennis and snooker are favourites), board games and only very occasional ventures to the X-box!
Every Sunday the boarders go out on a trip: regular destinations include water skiing/water sports, mountain boarding, theatre trips to London, photography workshop, Thorpe Park, outdoor ice-skating in London.
St John’s offers full, weekly and tailored boarding options. Tailored boarding offers the pupils the opportunity to experience boarding either 2 or 3 nights each week throughout a term and beyond. For many it can serve as a more gentle introduction to weekly boarding as they move up through the school. Weekly boarders can go home after their final school commitment on Friday, or stay overnight if we have early morning fixtures on the Saturday. They return in time for Supper on the Sunday evening between 5.30 and 6.30 or Monday morning.
Personal devices e.g. mobile phones are kept safe by the dorm parents. Boys will be given opportunities throughout the week to phone, using their personal devices. We are always delighted to welcome parents to the school to see their sons take part in musical and dramatic productions as well as sporting matches.
The Headmaster and Head of Boarding have overall responsibility for boarding at St John’s and is assisted by 2 full-time dorm parents, boarding assistants, a team of school nurses and boarding tutors. The staff:pupil ratio is kept deliberately low to provide the boarders with every opportunity to benefit from high quality interaction with their teachers and support staff.
All full boarders contact home at least once a week and have access to Skype and telephones during their free time. Parents of overseas boarders can enjoy following their sons’ boarding activities through our twitter account (@SJBboarding)
During Guestroom (exeat) weekends, there is a tradition at St John’s that full boarding pupils stay with their ‘day boy’ friends and their families. This allows the boys to enjoy a more natural weekend with a friend’s family and engage in a different cultural experience.
The school employs a Registered Nurse and a first aid trained assistant, known as Matrons. They provide a high standard of care to boarders and support the boarders to be as happy and healthy as possible by advising on healthy eating and dental care, ensuring prescribed medication is taken correctly and comforting and helping boarders who are feeling homesick or worried. The nurse is available to boarders 24 hours a day when school is open, including at weekends. Sometimes unwell boarders are looked after in the Infirmary. The School Doctor can be contacted at any time if the nurse deems it necessary. The Healthcare Team members are parents themselves and aim to treat all pupils how they would wish their own children to be treated.
We understand that parents worry about their children when they board, especially if they reside abroad. This is particularly true during the COVID19 pandemic. The nursing team will be following the latest UK Health Security Agency guidance (previously Public Health England) when caring for all pupils and have planned to ensure boarders can be cared for appropriately and comfortably. These plans support the wider school and boarding policies. Parents will always be contacted if their son is unwell.
The Lead Nurse writes to all boarding families prior to the start of the new academic year (see below's link) but if you have any questions or concerns please contact Mrs Lorna Walsh (Lead Nurse) at [email protected]
Our boarding environment provides a 'home from home' where students can feel safe and secure and are treated and valued as individuals. We aim to promote the development of self-confidence, a sense of responsibility, mutual respect and tolerance both within the School and beyond. We value and encourage open and regular dialogue between staff, students and parents as we work towards a common goal.