Richard Mills, Registrar at Bede’s tell us how they build their boarding community

For boarding pupils, building relationships at school is even more vital because their school peers are more than just classmates — they are a close–knit community, a family who rely on each other for support, guidance and friendship. Creating such a community is about forming a home away from home and our activity programme is an essential part of boarding life as it helps create a stronger sense of home and belonging.

Children can board from Year 5 at Bede’s Prep School and from Year 9 at Bede’s Senior School. Our boarding children come from across the country and from 38 countries around the world. Our aim is to quickly establish children into boarding life to help them to settle into their new surroundings and make friends (and memories) for life. Our activity programme and boarding house routines are pivotal to this. 

Each child, whether a full, flexi or weekly boarder, is attached to a boarding house, where they will find a strong sense of community and camaraderie. The moment a child joins a house they are matched with a ‘boarding buddy’ and are encouraged to engage in all the activities on offer to them. Each house will nominate a charity that they will fundraise for over the course of the year, and pupils are encouraged to give back to the local community and support good causes with invaluable experiences such as distributing supplies to the homeless or raising vital funds – all of which teach pupils skills beyond just the classroom.

We aim to give children the opportunity to make the most of their local surroundings and culture. Both the Prep School and the Senior School are idyllic. The Senior School sits in the heart of the English countryside in the pretty village of Upper Dicker, and the Prep School is at the foot of the South Downs National Park, overlooking the stunning coastline in Eastbourne. Children are fully immersed in their environment and are given endless opportunities to explore activities and discover new hobbies or interests. Both schools run a varied activities programme during the week where pupils can try anything from sports to debating, art to creative writing, dance to chess and more – not only enriching their education but also helping to form bonds with each other.

“Mountain biking in the South Downs National Park, visiting the trampoline park, outdoor activity centres, theatre trips, beach days, paintballing, kayaking, paddle boarding, roller disco and cinema and shopping trips, are all activities on offer throughout the year.”

Weekends provide our pupils with both fun and relaxation – there is just the right balance between relaxation, structured activities and schoolwork. Mountain biking in the South Downs National Park, visiting the trampoline park, outdoor activity centres, theatre trips, beach days, paintballing, kayaking, paddle boarding, roller disco and cinema and shopping trips, are all activities on offer throughout the year. The activities are chosen by the boarders in weekly boarding house meetings, with cooked brunches and movie nights being very popular amongst pupils.

During their spare time, when not in lessons or enjoying activities, pupils have time with their tutor and housemaster/mistress to discuss their progress, workload and phone home to stay connected with their loved ones. Every evening there are activities in-house including movie and pizza nights, games, reading, and socials. Our extracurricular timetable includes many wellbeing and health-promoting opportunities too, like yoga or even helping care for the animals at our onsite Zoo!

Our ultimate aim is to create a supportive environment where children can thrive. We are dedicated to the mental and physical wellbeing of our pupils, as well as their academic success.

Join Bede’s for their Open Mornings on 4 March (Prep) or 11 March (Senior) and see their boarding houses for yourself, including the new state-of-the-art boarding house at Bede’s Senior School which opened in Autumn 2022. Sign up at bedes.org/open-morning

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