Boarders, when interviewed, said that they enjoy being part of the school community and its close family atmosphere.
ISI Inspection Report
Stonyhurst really is like a family, in which everyone is devoted to helping pupils feel safe and happy as they develop from children into responsible young adults. Here, children form friendships for life as they learn and grow together.
Pupils can board full time, weekly or on a flexible basis, however, nearly all boarders stay over at the weekend and enjoy the opportunity to participate in a full programme of enriching activities and regular trips and visits.
Weekly boarding means that a pupil is in school from a Monday morning to the finish of games on a Saturday afternoon. Some pupils choose to board on a flexible basis when it suits them – from one or two nights a week to once a term.
Stonyhurst is very much a 7-day-a-week boarding school with a busy weekend activity programme: this includes visits to the cinema, theatre or sports events, or cultural excursions to places such as York or Liverpool. Everyone attends Mass in St Peter’s Church on Sunday morning. Although there are a great deal of opportunities for activities with the wider school community, and plenty of company at weekends, we believe that having space to play, relax and board within small age-groups allows children to grow in confidence and mature at their own pace.
Beyond the spiritual element of Stonyhurst, the key to our outstanding pastoral support lies in the fantastic relationship between pupils, staff and parents. In our most recent full Inspection Report, pastoral support was rated as one of our outstanding areas of excellence.
As a boarding community, our teaching staff are heavily involved in pastoral care, with many teachers also holding roles in our boarding houses and as personal tutors.
Rather than pupils boarding in vertical houses, like other independent schools, at Stonyhurst we group boarders by a horizontal system, or year group. There are five horizontal boarding houses for boys and three boarding houses for girls. Each house is run by a pastoral head with a deputy and team of teaching staff who support their work. Our Pastoral Heads live in the house and each house has a unique family atmosphere.
Lower line (years 9 - 11) typically share rooms with 3 or 4 others (fewer in their GCSE year). All Higher Line (sixth form) pupils have individual study bedrooms, some of which are en-suite.
In addition, each year group (playroom) has a Head of Playroom, who has oversight of all pastoral, academic and co-curricular elements of each child in their year group. Furthermore, each Head of Playroom will move with their year group throughout the school, from year 9 to year 13.
We give students responsibilities and encourage them to become independent, but they always know that there is someone there for them and our students are incredibly supportive of each other.
Day pupils are integral to everything at Stonyhurst and enjoy the same excellent facilities, activities and pastoral care as our boarders.
We make no distinction between day pupils and boarders during the College day and place great emphasis on the importance of every student contributing fully to College life.
All pupils are looked after by the same Head of Playroom, such that every child, regardless of gender or boarder status, is fully integrated in recreational and social activities at Stonyhurst. Because the Head of Playroom stays with their year group and follows them through their life at the College, they get to know each individual, and their families, exceptionally well.
Many of our day pupils choose to board as they progress in their academic career to continue to enjoy a rich extra-curricular life while increasing their focus on their studies.