Aims and Guidelines
Saint Michael’s School is committed to ensuring that students who come to board receive the domestic, spiritual and tutorial support necessary to promote their development as moral individuals, as valued members of the School and as responsible members of the community.
As a School that values and is deeply committed to its Catholic ethos, the teachings and practice of the Catholic faith informs and develops every aspect of boarding life. Respect, kindness and compassion are the chief virtues around which every pupil must base their lives here. As a Staff body, we will endeavour to facilitate and encourage the development of these virtues which we consider central to the formation and education of our pupils.
Our aims for our Boarders are the same for all our pupils, namely:
- To provide a happy, caring and disciplined environment in which pupils from around the world, and from a diversity of social backgrounds, can grow and mature.
- To encourage pupils to view the school as an extended family, in which they can learn the value of living in a community and develop the skills for doing so.
- To challenge pupils to fulfil their academic potential.
- To foster a love of learning and to give pupils a sense of joy in their own achievements and in those of others.
- To encourage the development of each pupil's character, talents, independence and sense of responsibility by offering a range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for leadership.
- To offer pupils high standards of pastoral care, spiritual support and Catholic guidance
Boarders are admitted following an entrance examination and, wherever it is possible, an interview with parents and pupil. Pupils joining the school in the Lower Sixth need to meet specified GCSE grades or will be tested to establish abilities in nominated AS subjects. The purpose of the interview is to give us the opportunity to assess not only a pupil's academic ability, but also the pupil's potential to gain from, and to contribute to, the broader life of the school.
There are two Boarding Houses at St. Michael’s School; Lancaster House in which younger Boarders are housed and Walsingham House in which A-Level pupils are housed.
Boarding facilities are primarily the responsibility of the Housemaster and assistants. The Form Teacher has first responsibility for a pupil’s pastoral care and communication between the Form Teacher and the Boarding provision is constant, thus giving them a unique comprehensive view of a pupils strengths and progression.
In Lancaster House, there are two dormitories, a lower dorm comprised of pupils in years 7 to 9 and an upper dorm comprised of pupils in years 10 to 11. Each pupil has a cubicle consisting of a bed, storage facilities and a corkboard to pin personal items. Each cubicle also has a lockable cupboard to keep personal items in. Each dormitory has a common area with seating, games and books to give Boarders a place where they can relax.
In Walsingham House, Boarders are allocated a shared bedroom. Each bedroom contains a bed, storage facilities and a desk for private study. The Housemaster can, if so requested, store valuables in a locked cupboard in his office. A record of this is maintained.
A common room for all pupils is provided in Walsingham House. Seating areas, books, musical instruments and games are available for pupils to use for recreation. Sports facilities are also available. Football, tennis, frisbee and hockey are played on site. Pupils take walks in the local countryside which is supervised by staff or assigned prefects, with permission. Alongside recreation, Saint Michael’s School firmly believes in providing pupils with opportunities for leadership, responsibility and self discipline. As a result, the School delegates chores to pupils in which all are encouraged to work collectively for the communal good.
There are no academic lessons at weekends. In addition to sports provision, leisure and cultural activities are arranged for boarders throughout the year. Weekends also afford Boarders with extra free time and the opportunity to relax. In the Senior School, visits to town can be arranged on request but are always subject to the Housemaster’s approval. A set number of exeat weekends are placed throughout the School year in which pupils may visit the homes of friends and classmates, or choose to return home.
Boarding pupils are required to present themselves in Chapel at the designated times for prayer, like lessons, absence from devotions is only granted to pupils who are unwell. Resident Staff also supervise Boarders in formal study sessions, otherwise known as “Prep”. Up to two hours of formal study are conducted each school day, with one and a half hours conducted on Saturday.
Regarding Medical Services, the School has a formal relationship with the local surgery. Boarding pupils are registered with the local surgery unless parents prefer to keep them registered at home. Household medicines available from the Housemaster are approved by the doctor and visits to the doctor are organised when necessary or when requested.
The school has a fully equipped Laundry. Boarders' clothes are washed and dried weekly.
The school recognises the importance of regular communication between boarders and their parents. There is a pupil telephone in Walsingham House. Pupils also have supervised access to a WhatsApp phone and to other forms of electronic communication. Older pupils are allowed to have mobile phones (not smartphones) and have supervised access to the internet. Posting facilities are provided in the School Office.
Provision for Pupils with particular religious, dietary, language or cultural needs
See Curriculum Policy “Student Support” and EAL (English as an Additional Language)
In a spirit of Christian charity and openess, and with regard to St. Michael’s will make all reasonable provision for pupils with particular religious, dietary, language or cultural needs. The need for such provision should be identified prior to joining the school in discussion with the Headmaster and Housemaster.
Necessary information will then be communicated to the other residential staff and the kitchen, as required. The Housemaster will ensure that appropriate staff are informed. Parents should inform the school if their child has changed requirements. Where appropriate, information about such needs will be recorded in the medical register.
EAL pupils are most welcome at St. Michaels. They are given a class “buddy” who either speaks their native language or is able to communicate sufficiently so that the EAL pupil can understand his environment, join in with his peers and be aware of what is expected of him as a pupil of St. Michael’s.
Foreign feast days and national holidays are celebrated by all.
EAL students are actively encouraged to stay in close contact with their parents abroad, through the use of telephone and internet (on request).
St. Michael also encourages and facilitates the learning of one’s own native language through the use of online courses and tuition.