Boarding is about learning how to live within a community. At any one time a large number of us are living together and learning together. The hugely positive effect of this communal life on the individual boarder is threefold. Firstly, it develops, over time, great resilience and genuine independence. Secondly, it grows humility alongside aspiration, and thirdly, it generates deep friendships that last for lifetimes.
Tailored Boarding gives families the best of both worlds; school and home. All Tailored Boarders have their own bed, study and storage space either in dorms, double or single rooms in one of our boarding houses. They will share with boarders in their own year group, and the number they share with will depend on their age and the house in which they live.
Tailored Boarding gives families all the advantages of boarding at our outstanding school with the flexibility to choose when and how often boarding and co-curricular activities and facilities are accessed. This could be full-time, Monday to Friday, or the occasional night and can vary each week depending on your child's activities in and out of school. It gives you the freedom to decide whether to stay over or to come and go, before and after the school day, to fit in with the demands of home life.
Boarding at OSH has been developed with busy families in mind, giving them the flexibility to fit around their working lives, allowing an integrated family life alongside and offering all of the benefits of boarding life for your child.
OSH is also home to an integral community of boarders who live at school full time during the academic term, many of whom are from much further afield, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. This makes for an eclectic mix of students who are learning and maturing alongside one another.
Flexi-Boarders have full access to our boarding houses and boarding life, although they do not routinely sleep over. Most Flexi-Boarders arrive shortly before breakfast at 7am and depart after supper at around 7pm. Many Flexi-Boarders remain at OSH until much later so they can access our sports and musical facilities until late into the evening, complete their homework at school, and they enjoy socialising with their friends from their own as well as from other boarding houses. Flexi-Boarders are also entitled to have up to four meals a day in school: breakfast, lunch, tea and cake, and supper, all home-made by the School chefs.
These types of boarding places are only allocated at Year 7 and Year 12 entry.
For Year 7 Flexi-Boarding places, an aptitude test (academic, sport and/or music) and a boarding interview are required. For Year 12 Flexi-Boarding, an interview takes place and students must also obtain the appropriate GCSE grades for Sixth Form matriculation and study.
Here at OSH we have a long history of boarding success, starting back in 1670 with 60 boys living and learning in Founders Building. Today, we have five vibrant boarding houses which are full of life and house both Tailored and Flexi-Boarders. Foley, Foster and Potter Houses are our senior boys' houses, home to students in Years 8-13. Girls live in Dudley House, and our female Sixth Form boarders live in their own wing of Foster House. Finally, Prospect House is our dedicated Year 7 boys' house. There's more on the way too.
The OSH boarding ethos carries across the entire boarding community. Our houses have the same facilities and features, but each is physically different. Each house has its own distinct personality, created by the boarders and staff who reside there, and perhaps a hint of friendly competition.
Welcome to Prospect House. Home to both Tailored and Flexi-Boarders, this is where Year 7 boys start their journey into boarding. Most, if not all, have never boarded or been away from home before and all are welcomed into a supportive and nurturing environment.
With just Year 7 boys living in the House, Prospect is well-structured to help them transition into boarding life, and set them up with behaviours and expectations of wider School. Matron, Mrs. Russell and Housemaster, Mr. Morton are with them every step of the way, providing support and guidance to develop their independence and self-reliance. They help the boys in their care find their way around School, make sure they have everything they need for the day, help them manage their belongings and time, support as they form friendships, encourage them to participate in the wide range of co-curricular activities open to them of an evening and weekend, and anything else they need.
Most importantly, Mrs. Russell and Mr. Morton are in regular communication with parents and are your first point of contact. Mr. Morton is also Head of Year 7 so is well-placed to be a bridge between the House and School.
Dudley House is our first girls' house. Home to Tailored and Flexi-Boarders in Years 7-9, these are the first girls to board at OSH in the School's 357 year history.
As with the boys, girl boarders joining in Year 7 are welcomed into the House together, with the vast majority never having boarded or been away from home in this way before. Through Boarding Introductions, Year 7 Induction Days and with the continual support of our dedicated boarding team, the girls are guided through their transition into boarding list in a supportive and enthusiastic environment.
For the older girls, they have made the House their home and are fully supportive of the younger years while having their own space to socialise in. Together they see Dudley as their second home, often referring to the House as "home from home". They enjoy sleeping over with friends, relaxing together on the very comfy sofas and forming strong friendships.
All of which is supported by Matron, Mrs. Lowe and Housemaster, Miss Westlake. Together they have built the OSH girls' boarding community and you can feel their personalities and the care they show the girls in their charge throughout the House. They are also the first point of contact for any concerns or news amongst the boarders, and of course with parents at home too.
Home to Tailored and Flexi-Boarders in Years 8-13, Foley House is one of three senior boys' boarding houses.
Frequently described as the most homely house as its walls and corridors are adorned with photographs of boys past and present, Foley has a particular family feel. While they are current champions of the Inter-House Competition and Sports Day, Foley actually describe themselves as all-rounders with no specific speciality but rather an ability to draw out the talent within their community, regardless of what it is.
Led by Housemaster, Mr. Dean and Matron, Mrs. Baldi-Turner, Foley has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with an open-door policy which encourages the boys in their care to talk through any worries they may have, and be open and honest in their approach to communication. It's from here that Mrs. Baldi-Turner is proud to have coined the phrase "the boarders come into the House as boys and leave as young men".
Foster House is our oldest boarding house, having been originally built as the School's sanatoroim in the Victorian era, it has been refurbished and reconfigured many times since. Foster is another senior boys' boarding house and is home to Tailored and Flexi-Boarders in Years 8-13. Plus, our first cohort of Sixth Form girl boarders live in their own dedicated wing of the House.
Foster may be perceived as a sporty house with several avid sportspeople and competitors, but in fact it's also home to several budding musicians and sees many boarders involved in all sorts of co-curricular activities. They revel in their communal areas and you'll often find boarders across all years excitedly participating in their own table tennis or foosball tournaments in the rec room.
Led by Matron, Ms. McGoldrick and Housemaster, Mr. Taylor, they describe Foster as a dynamic House where all boarders are encouraged to consider themselves as one, communal unit who actively support and motivate each other.
Potter is OSH's newest and largest boarding house, home to Tailored and Flexi-Boarding boys aged Year 8-13. Built in 2012, Potter is specifically designed as a 21st century boarding house.
That said, Potter carries the long-standing traditions of the OSH boarding ethos and the boys have a strong sense of camaraderie amongst them. It's spacious, open-plan layout enables great mixing across year groups over a game of pool or on the sofas, while still allowing the older years their own space on the upper floors to retreat to and study. The foyer is the House's main meeting point where you'll usually find Matron or the Tutors.
Matron, Mrs. Brockway works tirelessly to ensure she understands where each boarder is coming from and says "the character of the House comes from the people within it".
"OSH as a school is really inclusive for everyone. No matter who you are, you always have a place at OSH." – Maisie-Grace, Year 7
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Each house has a dedicated team looking after the welfare and safety of students in their care. Housemasters live in the houses with their families and get to know the boarders very well. Matrons run the day-to-day of boarding life, ensuring boarders have everything they need, tackling the washing, providing un-matched pastoral support and are, if you will, the surrogate aunts of the houses. Then there's the team of Boarding Tutors, some of whom also live in the houses, who are on duty every evening and weekend supporting prep, supervising in the houses, monitoring behaviour and on-hand for anything the boarders need. Each are here to support every single boarder as the individual they are and help them discover who they can be.