To board, or not to board, that is no longer the question
Times are changing. Traditional boarding is moving over to accommodate a fresh, more flexible offering in order to meet the demands of modern family life.
Whilst the benefits of boarding remain unchanged - independence, resilience and deep, long-lasting friendships - this new adaptable approach allows families to customise their boarding experience to better suit their needs.
To that tune, Godolphin’s Cooper House recently re-opened its doors, following an extensive refurbishment project, and now offers fully flexible boarding options; a decision that has already proven to be a huge success.
Named after celebrated novelist and Godolphin alumni, Jilly Cooper; Cooper House is an amalgamation of two smaller houses, combined to create accommodation for 94 full-time, weekly, midweek and flexi-boarders from years 9-11.
The girls were thrilled to see the results of the makeover, which now includes 35 single, double and triple dormitories, the most popular of which have their own en-suite bathrooms.
At the heart of the house is an airy, 42ft common room, fondly referred to as the ‘sit’, where the girls congregate for snacks, house meetings, PSHCEE lessons, and watch their favourite musicals on Friday lunchtimes. There’s also a brand new 5th year ‘sit’, complete with coffee machine, sofas and a sophisticated music system. Not to mention a fully equipped games room for hosting table tennis and Wii Dance battles.
All students are welcome to stay at any time. This is an invitation that has been warmly received and regularly accepted, especially by pupils who engage in evening activities and those in clubs that begin at the crack of dawn.
Others have chosen to stay following school trips rather than adding to their journeys, and many have found this new flexibility invaluable in the run-up to their GCSEs, when every minute counts and after curricular support is provided.
The girls are cared for by a dedicated team of house staff: a Housemistress, a Deputy Housemistress, a Matron and a number of resident tutors, all of whom who live on site with their families. Not forgetting the beloved house dachshund, Beetle.
The team maintain a constant presence in the house and most evenings the office is overflowing with girls simply ‘hanging out’ or raiding the ‘cupboard of love’ for biscuits and popcorn.
“ My favourite teachers are definitely my housemistresses… they’re like our mums away from home! They’re always there to chat to about serious things or to have a joke with… with a bit of convincing they’ll join in with Just Dance on the Wii with us! ”
Aside from the obvious benefits for students, flexi-boarding offers a neat solution for parents who can say farewell to last minute childcare and travel issues and rest assured that if they’re away, the girls are having a great time at ‘home’.
All in all, there’s no doubt that boarding prepares students to succeed in the real world. It enables them to adapt to new situations, and challenges them to develop strong interpersonal skills in a safe environment. Now, thanks to flexi-boarding, there’s an opportunity for more and more girls to take advantage of these valuable life skills.
Grace Jonas, a current Fifth Year at Godolphin, describes the new boarding menu as, “the best of both worlds,” adding, “I like the way you can have the balance of home and family with school and friends.” We couldn’t put it any better ourselves.