Each of our boarding houses has its own dedicated residential team and, as the children grow up through the school, there is a natural progression of increased freedom matched with increased responsibility. Boarding at Frensham, like the whole school, is built on a very firm basis of mutual respect. Students are probably given more freedom than in other schools, but with that comes greater responsibility and ultimately a better understanding of how to live and behave beyond the school and home environments.
A NATURAL BALANCE
Within our beautiful environment, Frensham is able to offer the perfect natural balance of home and structure.
During the day, boarders are indistinguishable from day students, sharing the same classrooms, day houses and lunchroom, but as the day ends they head to one of our three boarding houses. Hamilton House provides a cosy base for the youngest boarders in Years 7 to 9; the elegant Main House, with its sweeping lawn and awe-inspiring views, offers more grownup accommodation for the Year 10 and 11 boarders; and finally, Roberts House, the Sixth Form hub, brings together boarding rooms, day studies and social spaces for all Sixth Form students.
All three boarding houses are coeducational. In each house the boys and girls have separate dormitories with shared social areas. Tech and WIFI are monitored and phones are stored away at night for the younger years. Prep time is set and a huge range of activities are organised from basketball to cooking plus shopping and cinema trips. Weekends, in particular, follow the flow and pattern that is family life with busier Saturdays and lazier Sundays. Throughout all there is a natural progression of what is expected from the youngest through to the oldest – a sliding scale of structure, freedom and responsibility.
Our boarding houses are like big families – full of sisters and brothers, chatter and laughter, chaos and calm. It can’t be home, but it’s as close as you can get without being at home.
In all our boarding houses, great emphasis is placed on the creation of a caring community which shares a philosophy based on mutual respect, enthusiasm and enjoyment of each other’s company and achievements. We aim to develop tolerant, friendly attitudes and good personal relationships. We try to minimise the distinction between boarding and day students and we welcome students from different cultural, national or racial backgrounds.
We have a small boarding family which is totally integrated into our larger day community. With only 20-25% boarders, we get to know all of our residential students really well and they benefit from a very special home-like environment. We welcome international students, but only about 7% of our students come from overseas. This means our international students get to really integrate into the British culture while they’re here. Our less formal environment also lends itself to making life long friends so students will go home knowing that their Frensham experience will continue well into the future.
YEARS 7 TO 9: HAMILTON HOUSE
Hamilton House is home to our youngest boarders with flexi-boarding, full and weekly boarding available for all. Students and residential staff live, study, socialise and relax together in what feels far more like a family home than a boarding house.
Coeducational, in keeping with our ethos and like all our boarding houses, boys and girls sleep on separate floors – both alarmed to make sure there is no confusion over which students should be where and at what time. They share common areas for a wide variety of boarding activities - movie and games nights, cookery, yoga and more - not to mention coming together each evening to get their prep done.
YEARS 10 & 11: MAIN HOUSE
The upper floors of Main House provide our coeducational boarding house for students in Years 10 and 11, with girls on one side, boys on the other and common rooms in between. It is a welcoming house where teenagers can live, study, socialise and relax together. Students are given a bit more freedom and with that, more responsibility. There are clear expectations about behaviour and respect in a shared living environment. All our boarding houses rely on this strong basis of mutual respect.
Boarders can access the house at lunch time and after school, but they are encouraged to be out socialising with day students and taking part in clubs and fixtures. There is allocated quiet time for prep and often house activities or inter-house activities are organised such as football, cooking or a movie night
SIXTH FORM: ROBERTS HOUSE
Roberts House is our Sixth Form hub. It is much more than a boarding house as Sixth Form day students also have studies here. Sixth Form notices, social events, study sessions and some classes also take place here. It is somewhere students can go during free periods to study and find a bit of peace and quiet. Male and female students have single rooms on separate sides with common rooms in between. Central to Roberts House is Sarah, the matron, who offers a friendly ear, a comforting hug or just a cup of tea when the students need a bit of emotional support.
Sixth Form boarders can take all their meals in the dining hall, but there are also two kitchens in Roberts House which they can use. Sixth Formers have more freedom than the other boarders - which comes with more responsibility.
Boarding life begins when the school day ends. It obviously can’t be fun and games all the time, but evenings and weekends are all about striking the right balance between structured activities, homework and relaxation. Working around prep time and quiet time, evenings and weekends can see boarders really taking advantage of the school site and its facilities.
COMMON EVENING ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
• basketball in the sports hall
• running/walking in the woods
• cooking and arts and crafts
• movie and quiz nights
We also sometimes go off site for dinner, bowling or the cinema. We don’t have Saturday school, so there is time for a broad range of activities and trips.
COMMON WEEKEND ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
• shopping trips to London and Guildford
• trips to leisure centres and water parks
• supermarket runs to stock up on tuck
• trips to restaurants and cinemas
• photography and art workshops
• sports workshops
• high ropes and mountain biking
• movie nights and discos
In our aim to have our boarding life mirror family life as much as possible, we tend to have a fairly busy Saturday followed by a quieter Sunday.
At the beginning of every school year, we hold a Boarders Weekend when all boarders, full and weekly, stay for an activity packed weekend designed so that everyone - boarders and staff - can get to know one another. It is always a really wonderful introduction to the school and our boarding community.