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Boarding Life

Boarding is about learning how to live.

Our boarders grow in confidence, independence and emotional resilience so that when they leave us, they are mature and capable young people, able to get on with others and well-prepared for life beyond school.

From the very beginning of a boarder’s time here, we feel that it is the strength of our community that defines their experience, by providing a welcoming, supportive and upbeat environment. The happiness, welfare and recognition of each child lie at the heart of all that we do.

Our values, the strengths of our boarding staff, our impressive facilities and, of course, the character of the boarders themselves all combine to create an environment in which our pupils excel.

To see a snapshot of what it’s like to be a boarder at OSH, watch our boarding life video.

Boarding accommodation

Why Boarding?

As busy parents, you may find that there are only so many journeys to and from school you are able to make, only so much assistance with GCSE and A level homework you can offer, while pre-breakfast cricket nets and late evening drum practice might not even be an option. That’s where boarding comes in.

Boarding at OSH works because we give all our boarders the physical room, headspace and encouragement to be teenagers, to grow and to discover who they can be.  Our boarders have full access to the school site, including common rooms, music, art, sports and ICT facilities both before lessons and then late into the evening – and not forgetting our wide range of co-curricular activities!

At OSH, your son will most certainly benefit from being able to work off some steam and to find his own voice in a safe environment.  We are a friendly and welcoming community and our boarding experience encourages our boys to develop friendships that will stay with them for life, and help them in whatever career path they choose.

Communication with parents is a central part of the everyday life of each boarding house and we want you to know exactly how things are going. That’s why we provide useful, up-to-date and regular communication to let parents know how their sons are getting on in the classroom and the boarding houses.

Meet Vicky, a mother who has two sons currently boarding at the school, and discover some of the benefits both she and her sons have experienced, by joining the OSH community.

With everything from exeats and parent visits, to social media and our Virtual Learning Environment, keeping in regular contact is not only very easy at OSH; it’s the norm.

Our unwavering focus on all the little details means that when pupils return home for holidays and weekends, their prep, laundry and organisation will be in hand so that you, as parents, can enjoy precious free time with your child.

Benefits of boarding

The all boys’ boarding and curriculum between Years 7 and 11 has clear benefits. One of these is strong academic performance, with exam results at OSH considerably higher than the national average for boys.

The environment we sustain gives our boarders access to single-sex teaching and learning during and after lessons. Furthermore, a little healthy competition between houses in a bid to win the coveted Foley Trophy (our inter-house prize) is no bad thing.

Boarding, however, does much more than raise academic achievement and our pupils have access to sporting, musical, artistic, cultural and intellectual pursuits, which allow them to develop a fuller appreciation of a broader education. For us, it’s not just about chasing exam results, but also about encouraging pupils to develop character by instilling in them values.

Places at top universities and rewarding careers require much more than academic qualifications. By providing pupils with varied and rich experiences, they will grow in maturity, self-confidence and tolerance, developing a greater appreciation of others and ensuring they are well prepared for their first steps into the wider world.

Find out about all the fun there is to be had at OSH, from our resident boarder and budding musician, Fergus, who is enjoying his first year in Prospect House.

Year 7 student playing table-tennis

Forces Families

OSH has a long tradition of boarding children from forces families, so our academic and pastoral staff are well aware of what is needed to support them.

The school quickly gets to know and understand all our children and remains a flexible community that adjusts to their individual needs. We understand that forces children may need time off from lessons at short notice because a family member has received late news of a posting or has a few days unexpected leave. Whenever separation and anxiety occur, our matrons, housemasters, nurses and chaplain are all on hand to provide support and encouragement.

The school’s headmaster Paul Kilbride is a former pupil at British Army Schools, so he is very familiar with the unique circumstances of forces children. For him, the schools were St Patrick’s, Queen’s and then Windsor, all BFPO 40 – JQH Rheindahlen. As someone who can readily remember his friends having to deal with the pressure of change caused by regular postings and the emotional toll of having loved ones sometimes a long way away, he is keen to make OSH a welcoming place to study as well as a ‘home from home’ for boarding pupils.

At the school, values are important and OSH prides itself on its focus of academic achievement for all and the development of the whole child through a diverse and exciting co-curricular programme: sport and outward bounds, music and drama all thrive here. Our aim is to put all of our pupils in a position where when they leave us they are confident and capable young people, ready to make an impact for the common good.

Boarding is, of course, a big step for all children. We encourage forces families to pay us a visit and see, for themselves, what makes OSH so distinctive and how we are able to play such a big and positive role in the lives of our children.

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Orchestra practice

Boarding Houses

All Year 7 boys join the same house for their first year, Prospect House. This is a small, modern, yet homely house which is popular with parents, because shared rooms and rotations enable pupils to get to know one another and make friends.

A live-in housemaster, boarding tutor and matron are on-hand at all times to provide an attentive and supportive environment, with further support provided by our Chaplain, residential nurse, Medical Centre, Sixth Form mentors and senior pupils. With a mixture of weekly and full boarders and an excellent 24 hour pastoral care team, there are always people around to guide our boarders as they settle in.

On leaving Prospect House, boarders join one of six houses: Maybury, Baxter, Potter, Foley, Dudley and Witley – each with its own identity. Every boarding house provides a warm, safe and friendly community in which pupils, can grow physically, emotionally and academically. All of our boys are provided with work stations, lockable wardrobes or trunks and they may (within reason) personalise their living spaces, allowing them to create a real home-from-home.

Whilst the school dining hall provides boarders with three nutritious meals a day, all houses also have their own kitchens equipped with fridges, toasters, microwaves and kettles where boarders can prepare snacks under staff supervision. Pizza nights are a popular event and boarders often cook for one another, having first honed their skills in our Food Technology building. They will impress you with their culinary prowess when they come home!

Students playing pool

Boarding Options & Fees

Entry points at OSH include Year 7 (11 years old), Year 9 (13 years old) and Year 12 (16 years old) and we sometimes have places in other year groups too, so it’s well worth giving us a call to check.

We have flexi, termly and weekly boarding options available, with weekly boarders returning home on a Friday evening or Saturday morning and full boarders utilising the array of exciting co-curricular activities available on and off-site over the weekend.

We are an English boarding school able to offer an educational experience which competes very favourably with the independent sector, but at a fraction of the cost.

 Per TermPer Annum
Boarders (Years 7 – 13)£3,800£11,400
Overseas Boarders £3,850£11,550
Flexi-Boarders (Years 7 – 13)£1,900£5,700

To request a copy of our application form, please contact admissions on 01384 817325 or fill in the enquiry form at the bottom of the page and we’ll be in touch.

Students in common room

Open Days, Evenings and Taster Weekends

As one of the UK’s leading state boarding schools and with teachers who are parents themselves, we understand just how big a decision it is to entrust your child’s education, welfare and development to the care of others, however knowledgeable and experienced they may be.

For this reason, familiarisation visits and taster weekends can play a very important part in the process of deciding on whether boarding is for you. Our programme of Open Days and a ‘Come on Board’ evening offered each autumn provides a wonderful opportunity for your son to discover what makes OSH such an exciting and vibrant boarding school. We can also arrange sleepovers on request, so give us a call and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.

To help new pupils settle in, we also run an induction programme for boys and their families in the summer before they start. With a schedule of fun-filled activities, they will be able to get to know the other pupils, so when they join us the following September, they will be guaranteed to see a few familiar faces. This event is also a really good opportunity for new parents to get to meet one another and to be introduced to our very dynamic Parents’ Association.

Open Events

Saturday 16 September 2017 – 09:00-11:00 (all year groups)

Thursday 5 October 2017 – 17:30-19:00
Come on Board – Experience what it’s like to be a boarder

Saturday 14 October 2017 – 09:00-11:00 (sixth form)

Saturday 12 May 2018 – 09:00-11:00 (all year groups)



If you need any further help or advice, please leave us your details and a member of the OSH admissions team will be in touch. Alternatively give us a call on 01384 817325 and we'll be happy to help.