Boarding at Prior’s Field is about helping modern day girls find their place in the wider world. Junior boarders benefit from an extra layer of support from trained and experienced staff who constantly keep up to date with the issues faced by teenagers today.
The team is led by Miss Debbie Pretty, Housemistress and Miss Emma Brailey, Assistant Housemistress. They work with our Boarding Assistant, Boarding Tutors and GAP Assistants to ensure the boarders are well looked after and supported.
Our aim in boarding is to enable to boarders to fulfill their intellectual, academic, sporting and creative potential. Academically and pastorally boarders are supported by close communication between boarding staff, form tutors and subject staff. Prep sessions in the evening are supervised according to age and allow time for boarding staff to assist girls and help them manage their work load. As the boarders move through the years they study in their bedrooms during prep with a strong staff presence in the house. This enables them to build a strong work ethic and good work management skills.
Each pupil is offered the opportunity to develop, learn and experience new opportunities in a safe and happy environment. Encouraging independence, self reliance and co-operation is an important part of what we do, but boarding is also about having fun and making friends for life. Communication with parents, guardians and the boarders themselves is the key to a healthy, supportive framework to ensure boarders feel valued and supported. We run an open door policy in the boarding houses and boarding staff make regular contact with parents.
Boarders are able to take part in all after school clubs and activities, and still have time later to get on with prep before relaxing at bedtime. Evening activates are planned for different year groups and Themed suppers allow the whole boarding community to get together. Both boarding houses also support various charities throughout the year.
Full boarders usually have parents based overseas, and will have an appointed guardian in the UK. The girls spend weekends at school taking part in the varied programme of activities and then go out with guardians or friends for the long May Bank Holiday Exeat, half terms and holidays.
Trips, outings and activities are planned for the weekend. These may include ice-skating, bowling, theme-parks, London museums and galleries, theatre visits, lunches and dinners out, concerts and shopping.
Many families choose weekly boarding as it suits the needs of modern busy families. Weekly boarders enjoy all the benefits of boarding but choose to leave school on Friday night or Saturday morning, and return either Sunday night or Monday morning, although they can stay to join any of the weekend activities, if they choose.
Flexi boarding allows boarders to stay for a maximum of 2 fixed nights every week. Flexi boarders are invited to join all boarding events and often convert to weekly boarding over time.
Debbie Pretty, Housemistress, Junior House
As the Housemistress of the Junior House, I live on the 2nd floor of the house near to the 2nd and 4th Form Boarders with my dog Millie. I joined PF in 2012 having lived and worked in several boarding schools and have witnessed many changes to boarding during that time. In my first school “dorms” of 8 to 12 were the norm and parents tended to have little contact with their children during term time. I am pleased to say that these days, and particularly at Prior’s Field, the attitude is very different. Boarders have “bedrooms” and are encouraged to personalise them, and the boarding house is a home at school. Parents have frequent contact with their boarders and boarding staff are always available for parents and keep in regular contact. My role is to run the Junior Boarding House with fairness, humour, understanding and when necessary discipline. I consider it a privilege to be part of the PF community, where every person is considered an individual and differences are celebrated, where all boarders and staff have something worthwhile to contribute to our “home away from home”.
Emma Brailey – Assistant Housemistress, Junior House.
Assistant Housemistress for the Junior Boarding House. I live just along from the girls in the middle of the boarding house, in my own apartment. I don’t have any pets of my own, but I am always happy to take one of the many PF school dogs for a walk in my free time.
As Assistant Housemistress my role is primarily deputising for the Housemistress and supporting the girls and their needs in the house outside of their lessons. This may be organising their travel arrangements, helping sort out the room arrangements for the flexi boarders, or planning a range of weekend activities for the full boarders. The boarding office is where the girls know they are able to come and chat, relax and watch a film or sit and have a cup of tea; this means it is always a busy, vibrant place to work and to catch up with the girls before or after school.
As well as being the Assistant Housemistress, I am also a Science Teacher here at PF. I love being able to do both roles, and means I see the girls in a different light in the house and also in the classroom. I enjoying having the two roles and feel it is important that boarders feel able to openly discuss their lessons and day as they would to a parent or guardian at home. It does mean that I am also able to provide extra support with Science prep. I feel very privileged to work in such a unique school, and feel that PF boarding truly reflects the school’s ethos of Admiration, Hope and Love – it’s very much a friendly, warm and caring place to be!