- Why should I consider a boarding education at Gresham’s?
There are many reasons why a family would choose to send their child as a boarder to Gresham’s Prep. Boarding at Gresham’s Prep offers a safe and healthy boarding environment where each pupil is able and encouraged to discover and reach the full potential of their talents.
The boarding houses are communities, where every pupil matters and in which all can develop confidence and self-awareness, learning to live, communicate and support their fellow boarders in an ambitious and dynamic environment. We want pupils to enjoy the boarding experience, learn to be self-reliant and resilient whilst living within a community. They take on responsibility, mature as individuals and learn self-discipline within the clear boundaries set down for them. The promotion of physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing and happiness of all of our boarders is key and we hope that all boarders are positive in everything that they do.
The school is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to the breathtaking North Norfolk coast. This provides wonderful opportunities for pupils who board to take advantage of trips and activities to the beach after school in the warmer terms and on the weekends.
Boarders become part of the Gresham’s Boarding ‘family’ and many children who board have said they miss their friends when they go home, highlighting the strong friendships which are made with both peers and staff.
The busy school day often lends itself well to boarding life where pupils involved in sporting fixtures away at other schools or music/drama productions have the benefit to board at school reducing more time spent in the car journey home. Our Year 8 pupils have a short Prep time in the evening which also helps prepare them as they move on to Year 9.
- How will boarding affect my child?
When boarding children grow in confidence and resilience, as they learn to take responsibility for themselves. They become more independent as they progress up the school and more organised. They learn to get to the right place at the right time with the right equipment and kit. Living in a boarding community also encourages understanding, respect and consideration of others.
Children love spending time with their friends and enjoy a good social life as boarders, building wonderful friendships. Without the daily travel they have more free time. This means time to spend with friends, better access to a wide range of activities and an ability to use the fantastic facilities available at the Prep School.
- What do boarders do at weekends?
Weekends are an important time in boarding at Gresham’s and we get to enjoy a range of wonderful trips out such as, surfing, indoor trampolining, mountain biking, exploring National Trust properties, beach trips and walks and picnics along the coast. As a House, having an active lifestyle is important and we enjoy as much time outside together as possible. We also listen to the individual needs of the boarders and enjoy some down time too whether it is playing games together in house or reading or doing some baking.
Some pupils may choose to go out with family or friends on the weekends but for those who stay they get to enjoy the wide range of activities and a film and tuck night on the Saturday. Twice a term there are Home Weekends which provide a break from school and a chance to relax at home or at a Guardian’s house.
- What do you do for those children who are home sick?
The boarding staff is very experienced and are used to dealing with children who may be away from home for the first time. Our warm and caring house ethos ensures that children are well looked after and given the care and attention they need to settle smoothly and quickly. Staff get to know the boarders quickly and are also proactive in noticing when a child is becoming home sick, often playing games or doing an activity to distract them from thinking about home. The school day is a busy and buzzing one and children will enviably find themselves immersed in school life very quickly as well as enjoying all that is on offer within the boarding community.
- What boarding options are available?
We operate a completely flexible approach to boarding. Parents may choose to board their children from 1 night a week to 7 nights a week (full boarding). We try to be as accommodating as possible to individual family needs but do appreciate as much notice as possible to any changes in the normal established routine for any individual child. Any day Pupil is welcome to flexi-board if space permits and this is a very popular option for families as they get the ‘best of both worlds’ and enjoy all that is on offer to the boarders at Gresham’s.
- Are boarding pupils required to have a guardian?
The UK Boarding Schools’ Association states: “For many from abroad, their guardian is their parent’s representative in this country, essential in time of crisis or need for support and advice, and available not only to the pupil but also to the School as a proxy for the parents who cannot be contacted. For others, their guardian is the person with whom they stay during school holidays, when it is not practicable to return to their parental home.”
We ask parents of overseas pupils to appoint such guardians and register them with us as part of the entry process to the School. A list of agencies offering guardianship can be provided, on request.
- How much contact will I have with my child who is boarding?
Boarders can contact their families every evening by a phone call or message either on their own mobile or the school phone. Pupils may bring their mobile phone or tablet to school, however this is strictly for contacting home and we do not have ‘screen time’ in the evenings. It is not necessary to bring a mobile to school if children do not have one. Contact with home is very important for boarders while away from home. We are always delighted to welcome parents to the school to see their children take part in sports fixtures, musical and dramatic productions, or to watch one of the house events which take place throughout the school year.
- How much contact do parents have with staff?
The Prep School sees boarding as a partnership between parents and the school and we are always happy to speak to parents at any reasonable time about progress or any issues or concerns they may have. A parents first point of contact is with the boarders’ houseparents/housemaster via telephone or email. In addition, each pupil will also have a tutor allocated to them when they start the new school year who will have responsibility for them across the school year. Each tutor will introduce themselves to parents at the start of the academic term in September.
- If my child needs to speak to someone, who should they talk to?
If a boarder has a problem/worry or wants to talk to someone there are a wide range of staff they can talk to at any time. Such as their tutor, houseparents/housemaster, matron or any other member of school staff they choose. Children see the House staff and tutors daily, therefore there are lots of opportunities to raise any concerns or just have a chat.
- If we are considering boarding when is the best time to visit and talk to staff?
Formal visits can be arranged through one of our Open Days which take place in the Spring and Autumn terms. Alternatively, you can always arrange an informal visit where we can arrange for you to have a tour, visit the boarding houses and get a feel for the school. If you decide your child would like to join Gresham’s Prep they may also have a taster day and taster boarding night where they can immerse themselves in school life for a day and a night. We look forward to welcoming you.