Sherborne Girl School
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School life

As part of the New Parent Checklist, we have compiled the following useful information for pupils and their parents detailing the boarding and pastoral aspects of school life. The Deputy Head (Pastoral) oversees these areas.

Boarding Life

Day Pupils and Day Boarders

Day pupils arrive in school by 8.00am and stay until their last commitment, to take advantage of the co-curricular programme. Many also stay for evening prep and they are welcome to stay for evening and weekend activities. Day pupils are generally expected to leave the school site by 9.00pm, unless involved in an official school activity.

Day pupils are registered in house. Any day girl arriving late is expected to report to the school office. Parents are requested to contact the house regarding any planned absences and the school office to report an absence on the day.

All day pupils and day boarders will be members of one of the boarding houses. They will have space to store their belongings and to enable them to work during prep times. In addition, day boarders will have accommodation which includes a bed for the occasional overnight stay. An overnight fee of £50 will be charged per night. Day pupils will not be able to stay overnight.

Houses

For boarders and day girls alike, the house is central to life at Sherborne Girls and we are proud of the high standard of pastoral care we provide. Each house is a home away from home, with its own character, identity and traditions.

When pupils join the school, aged 11 or 12, they go into the junior boarding house - Aldhelmsted West. At 13+ they join one of our five mixed-age houses: Aldhelmsted East, Dun Holme, Kenelm, Reader Harris, and Wingfield Digby. In Aldhelmsted West (our junior boarding house), the pupils are mostly accommodated in rooms of four with en-suite bathrooms.

In the mixed-age houses, most girls are accommodated in individual cubicles or in shared dormitories. By the sixth form, they will usually be in single or double rooms.

In the Upper Sixth, they will transfer to Mulliner, which is run more along the lines of university halls of residence. In addition to the communal dining room, Mulliner has a well-equipped kitchen where the girls can prepare their own suppers. We want girls to feel at home and each girl can decorate her space with posters and photographs.  

Dining

Girls eat all their meals in their Houses, which have their own dining rooms, kitchens and catering staff. We see mealtimes as important social occasions. There are plenty of opportunities for girls to meet up with their friends in other Houses and Queenie’s café is a popular location for an after-school smoothie with friends. Girls can also go to the Coffee Pod at the Oxley sports centre and visit town at specified times during the week.  

Pastoral Care

The Deputy Head (Pastoral)

The Deputy Head (Pastoral) is responsible for making sure that the school maintains its excellent standard of pastoral care, as attested to by our most recent Inspection. Working closely with the house staff, the Deputy Head (Pastoral) offers support to staff and girls within the school.

Housemistress/Housemaster

The Housemistress/master has direct responsibility for all the girls in the House and the primary concern is for the girls’ care and welfare. She/he will be your main point of contact and your first port of call if you have any pastoral concerns about your daughter (academic concerns should be directed to the Personal Tutor - see below).

Matron

This is primarily a pastoral role. Matron is responsible for much of the day-to-day running of the House and liaises closely with the Housemistress/master. She will help facilitate most of the practical needs of the girls, have close communication with the Health Centre, answer queries from parents and be on duty in the House during the day.

Other House staff

All Houses also have an Assistant Housemistress/master as well as resident and non-resident tutors who are on duty in the Boarding House during the week as well as on weekends. Many of the House tutors are academic teaching staff. 

Personal Tutors

Each girl has a Personal Tutor who is responsible for her academic development and for ensuring that she has a balanced programme: neither overloaded nor under-occupied. Girls and their tutors will meet at least once a fortnight for tutorials. Tutors are responsible for up to 10 girls. Personal Tutors are normally attached to their tutees’ house. If you have a concern about your daughter’s academic progress, please contact her tutor in the first instance.

School Counsellors

The Senior School Counsellor is Heddy Smith, (Adv Dip) MBACP (Accred) UKRCP and she can be contacted by telephone on 07970843359 or [email protected].

Heddy Smith works Monday to Friday and is supported by a further two counsellors. She also liaises closely with the Deputy Head (Pastoral) and is in regular communication with house staff, the school doctor and nursing staff. She is well known to the girls in the School and has helped to develop the School’s Supporters and Listeners (peer mentoring) system. Heddy is a fully qualified and registered counsellor and works with strict adherence to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy ethical frameworks, including confidentiality. She is also responsible for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of the girls with whom she is in contact. Pupils are usually referred to a counsellor by a member of the boarding staff (usually the Housemistress/master) or the Health Centre, but pupils may also refer themselves. There is a charge of £35 per session. 

Pupils are usually referred to a counsellor by a member of the boarding staff (usually the Housemistress/master) or the health centre, but pupils may also refer themselves.

Other adult advisers

Girls can also talk to the Chaplain or visit the Health Centre to see a nurse or the doctor. An Independent Listener is available to the girls. They are a friend of the School but not a current member of staff.

Supporters and Listeners

Senior girls volunteer for this role, providing help and support for fellow pupils. They undertake special training and are overseen by the School Counsellor.

House prefects

In the Lower Sixth form, pupils who show suitable qualities become house prefects. They are involved in various duties, including supervising younger girls. The Aldhelmsted West house has its own prefects too and the pupils in L4 work towards these roles of responsibility.

There is also a school prefect body. School prefects are appointed during their L6 year and carry their duties through to the Lent term of their U6 year. They work closely with the staff and have specific responsibilities within the school.

Shadows and mentors

All senior girls are encouraged to play a sisterly and supportive role with younger girls in their house. New girls are assigned house shadows to look after them, especially at the beginning of the year.

Faith

There are school prayers on Wednesdays, and Fridays as well as an act of Christian worship on Sunday. All pupils are expected to attend these important school events. Focus, the Christian Union, meets informally for discussion and reflection on Thursday evenings. 

Personal Possessions & Money

It is an important part of feeling at home for girls to have some personal possessions with them in school. All your daughter’s possessions must be labelled with her name and house. We are not covered by insurance for loss or damage to personal belongings but do offer an optional personal effects insurance scheme.

Money

We advise girls not to bring large amounts of cash to school, but if this is ever necessary, we suggest they ask their Housemistress/master to look after the money for them. There are lockable drawers or cupboards in the girls’ rooms or cubicles. In addition, your daughter may like a lockable box for money, bank cards and other necessary valuables.

Girls can use cash points in the town, and we recommend they have their own bank accounts as soon as it is practical.

In addition to personal spending, cash is needed for contributions to charity and collections in services.

Luggage

Girls who live overseas will need luggage which is suitable to be stored at school: this can be left in house during the holidays. For other boarders, a suitcase may be more convenient. Your daughter may have to deal with her own luggage on the way to and from school and storage space in house is limited, so we recommend travelling light – one large or two small suitcases.

Please label luggage clearly.

The School Week and Visiting

Timetable

There are currently eight lessons of 45 minutes and an hour of activities each weekday. There are also three lessons on Saturday mornings followed by fixtures and activities in the afternoon/evening. 

Weekends

After lessons on Saturday, there is a full range of matches and activities for those not in teams. After these commitments, girls may go into Sherborne.  

After supper on Saturdays, there are social activities organised for the different year groups often in conjunction with Sherborne School. In House, girls are encouraged to relax with indoor games, sports, television or perhaps a movie. We ask you to encourage your daughter to make the most of the opportunities on offer.  

On Sundays, there is a school service, either in the Abbey or Gransden Hall.  

There are usually two fixed weekend exeats each term, published with our term dates. Although we would never deny a parent access to their daughter, nor deny the girl access to home, we equally recognise that no parent would want their daughter to be the only girl staying in the Boarding House if everybody else has gone home.  

Considering the above, we hope that you will understand why houseparents might sometimes ask you to reconsider requests for weekend leave to ensure that the boarding community remains strong. 

It is school policy that girls may only go to their parents or guardians to stay overnight - in other words, girls may not stay with friends' families. Please contact your daughter’s Housemistress/master to request an exeat, by the Thursday evening of that week. Alternatively, you may want to take your daughter out for lunch, tea or dinner and, at weekends, friends can also join your daughter.  

Visiting

Parents are always welcome, and we hope to see as much of you as your own commitments and distance allow. You are always welcome to come and support your daughter at matches, concerts, plays etc. If there are other people who are likely to visit or take your daughter out, please give their contact details to her House staff. 

School Uniform and Dress Code

Full details of the uniform and kit list, price list and the dress code can be found on our website here: School Uniform and Dress Code.