For all pupils at Hatherop, the academic side of school life is of course important. As Head of Boarding, I believe that boarders, away from home, should get the very best academic and pastoral support possible.
Each weekday evening, all boarders from Prep 6 to Year 8 study together between 7.30pm – 8.15pm under the guidance and support of academic staff. As a result, attending Hatherop as a boarder can give our boarders a strong academic advantage.
From my own personal experience, transitioning from Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford as a day pupil to Abingdon School as a boarder, was a move that I initially found challenging.
From the day to day routine of a smaller prep school, like Hatherop, I suddenly had the excitement of the added extra curriculum activities on offer. This was known as the ‘Other Half’; CCF, politics club, rowing, cross-country, ballroom dancing, film club, the list was and still is endless. However, there was an underlying expectation that academic work had to be completed on time and no matter what your commitments were, day pupil or boarder, the academic rigour was ever present. Unless you were reasonably good at music and destined to be a member of Radiohead of course!
Each evening, children work in small groups, assisted by the boarding house staff. Being in the company of your friends, creates a relaxed but purposeful affair, with pupils and teaching staff helping each other work on the same tasks, forming a sense of ‘all in it together’. Certainly, for me, as a young boarder, preps were not the drag they had been under the eager eye of my ‘battle worn’ parents during my day pupil years. There was a real desire to keep up with my friends and peers, ideas were discussed and resources shared. It was a healthy form of peer pressure.
Without the daily grind of travelling to and from school each day, we give the boarders the best prep provision possible, and in turn prepare them for the next step in their educational career.