We've put together a list of our most frequently asked questions, but if you need to know anything else please just call us.
1. More time socialising with their friends
2. Fun activities in the evenings
3. More access to sporting and drama facilities
4. Exciting weekend activities and trips
5. A real sense of belonging and being part of the Clifton community
6. The feeling of extra responsibility and independence
7. Support and guidance from the House staff
8. Learning about new cultures from their overseas friends - diversity is a strength of a 21st century school
9. Home cooked food
10. Routine and the convenience of living at school
Being a boarder at Clifton College has many benefits. Firstly, it supports their academic success and establishes independent learning skills. Reading before lights out is encouraged, fuelling the thirst for knowledge and enhancing their vocabularies at an early age. As a boarder, pupils will have a fixed time in which homework will be completed. Supervised prep-time gives those that need an extra helping hand access to support from tutors. Prep time also teaches pupils the self-discipline to focus on their homework, before some well-deserved ‘chill out’ time with friends.
Confidence, independence, organisation and social development are all key benefits that boarding will bring to a child. Having the opportunity to try new activities and embrace new experiences, in a safe environment and amongst friends, is a key element in Clifton’s success.
Housemasters and Housemistresses will organise less formal activities, such as an impromptu football game, a House swim in our on-site swimming pool, or DVD night. Pupils will have daily access to the sporting facilities at Clifton College, as well as the plentiful games facilities in the boarding Houses (pool tables, table tennis and table football). Frequently we find that the children are very good at persuading the their friends to do what they would like to in the evenings, be that dancing around the dorms singing into a hair brush or just hanging out with a good book. At the weekends children will have a choice of activities, some of which will be organised trips off campus such as shopping in the Mall, Alton Towers or perhaps just hanging out at the College using the facilities and relaxing with friends.
An example of a typical day for a boarder on a non-sports day might be:
7.00am Wake up
8.10am House Registration
8.30am School assembly
8.50am - 10.15am Lessons
10.15am - 10.45am Break time
10.45am - 12.05am Lessons
12.05pm - 1.25pm Lunch followed by break time
1.15pm - 2.35pm Lessons
2.35pm - 2.45pm Break time
2.45pm - 4.05pm Lessons
4.05pm - 5.15pm Games/Activities
5.15pm - 6.00pm Registration and Tea
6.00pm - 7.15pm Supervised Prep
7.15pm - 8.00pm Free Time
8.00pm - 8.30pm House tidy
8.30pm - 9.00pm Showers and getting ready for bed
8.45pm Year 4 Bedtime
8.45pm Year 5 & 6 Bedtime
9.15pm Year 7 Bedtime
9.30pm Year 8 Bedtime
In both our boarding Houses we have a number of options for parents and children to communicate with each other. The Houses can set up Skype calls for families; your son or daughter will also have their own email address. Some families also like to write letters –everyone likes receiving post! At set times during the week, the children are allowed access to their mobile phones and so can call/text from those as well. Parents can email the Housemaster or Housemistress with any queries or to arrange to set up a phone / skype call whenever they choose.
On Saturdays the school routine changes slightly. Saturday morning school is followed by sports matches in the afternoon. When your child returns from fixtures and has eaten their supper they get a chance to participate in a number of activities on campus and in the House.
Every Sunday of term, when the boarders are in residence, the House team take it in turns to organise a fun activity for all the boarders to enjoy. The activities are numerous and varied including trips to Go Ape, Alton Towers, Ten Pin Bowling, water parks, the cinema, safari parks, Bristol Zoo, shopping centres, and much more!
Matron becomes almost a second mother to your child: a confidant with whom to share any worries, no matter how small. The Matrons at Clifton have years of experience and always know how to make your child feel better. The tutors and Housemaster or Housemistress are also there for your child children to chat to whenever they like.
The Housemaster or Housemistress both live in private quarters that are attached to the boarding houses and are therefore available for your child 24 hours a day. The children will spend a of lot of time with the house staff, not only during lessons but also in less formal situations such as activities and trips; a strong relationship is built allowing children to feel comfortable talking about their feelings.
However, one of the best things about being a boarder is that you have all your new friends to cheer you up!
At Clifton College, the well-being of our pupils is of utmost importance. We have an excellent support network of highly-trained staff who all work tirelessly to ensure your child is both happy and healthy. Both of our boarding Houses have a number of live-in staff so your son or daughter always know there is a member of staff nearby who they can go and see if they are not feeling well.
We also have our own on-site medical centre with first-class facilities and fully qualified nurses. Our catering team also works with nutritionists to make sure your child has meals which are not only tasty but healthy as well.
We have an induction programme to help new boarders. We all feel anxious when confronted with new situations and your child will probably be no exception. Your child is bound to have moments when they feel down and miss you, and this is only natural. Be reassured: if we are worried about your child’s feelings, we will be the first to contact you.
Your child will be given a buddy on the first day of term. Their buddy will be an experienced boarder and will help your child get used to the routines of school, where classrooms are located and introduce them to friendship groups. We have found it a very effective method for helping children to find their feet in the initial stages of starting a new school or becoming a boarder for the first time.
With today’s fluid lifestyles, parents may need their children to board for a few nights each week, or for one or two weeks during the term. This has become known as ‘flexi boarding’, with the children becoming boarders for a limited amount of time. Flexi boarding is a popular option at Clifton with a number of families choosing this. All boarding Houses have space for such arrangements.