Much of what sets us apart from other schools in this area stems, we believe, from our strong boarding ethos. Boarding is part of our DNA. Our houses are centrally placed (two are in the main school building) and boarding is central to what we are. Our boarders come from far and wide. Many are local. A few live closer to school than some of their day pupil friends. Others come from the south west of England, others from further afield in the UK and some from overseas. This makes for a varied and vibrant community within the houses. Wherever they come from they soon develop a strong sense of loyalty to their houses, which makes for exciting and hotly contested inter-house competition in sport and many other activities.
Boarders enjoy a high standard of house accommodation – homely common rooms and modern kitchens in which to practise burgeoning culinary skills. Their comfortable bedrooms are shared, usually with three others from within the same year group, while sixth formers are in rooms of one or two. All meals are taken communally in the dining hall, where the food is excellent and plentiful. Tea and snacks are provided between meals.
The school’s beautiful grounds and many of its facilities, including the new library, are open to boarders in the evenings and over weekends. The school boasts a state-of-the-art medical centre, manned 24 hours a day by qualified medical staff.
Boarders also enjoy the very close supervision of a team of house staff, led by an experienced housemaster or housemistress, assisted by a deputy, a number of tutors and a matron. There is plenty of support and advice on hand, not least from the senior pupils, who play an important role in helping to run the house, learning useful leadership and management skills along the way.
We believe that boarding is a rich and life-affirming experience for our pupils. We know that they leave us well prepared for the demands and challenges of university life. Their friendships are extraordinarily long-lived. They are independent, resilient, resourceful, cheerful, tolerant, pro-active, kind, capable young men and women who go on to make their mark on the world.
Our boarding principles and practice
King’s College aims to provide a caring and stimulating boarding environment, where boarding contributes to pupils’ overall development. Learning to live and grow up in a boarding community offers opportunities for pupils to develop as individuals in a number of important ways:
- Developing values – from experience and sharing come respect, tolerance, courtesy and a growing responsibility for others (practised particularly as mentors and prefects)
- Developing self-awareness and resilience – becoming aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses and those of others
- Developing increasing physical and emotional independence and independence of thought, particularly valuable in preparing for life post-King’s
There are seven houses at King’s College, three girls’ houses and four boys’ houses, all containing a mix of boarding and day pupils. Evenings and weekends see a range of activities both in school and off-site for pupils to involve themselves in and to develop their talents and interests. Opportunities for leadership, present in many extra-curricular activities, are also promoted through the prefect system, which is an important part of the pastoral structure in our boarding houses.
Our boarding practice aims to:
- Promote the welfare, safety and health of every individual
- Enable every individual to fulfil their potential and to access economic well being
- Encourage physical, spiritual, social and moral development
- Promote and develop a sense of individual identity within a community through common practice and activity
- Work as a partnership with parents/guardians through effective and clear communication
Our driving aim is for our pupils to be fulfilled and happy and this has at its heart the need for them to feel secure and cared for by well-qualified and experienced staff who are well disposed to children and who are supported in their caring tasks by regular and appropriate INSET.
A boarding education provides opportunities to encourage the development of both the individual and the community and is also a means to instil and develop personal values.
There is a half-term holiday each term and, in addition, every boarder is entitled to a number of weekend exeats of his or her choosing to go home in the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer Terms. This is in addition to any weekend expeditions undertaken while at school. Pupils may visit Taunton on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons only, but there are some additional privileges for Sixth Formers. All exeats must be arranged by parental agreement with Housemasters/Housemistresses.