Off-site boarding house provides Year 13 students with independence that cannot be simulated
A move away from the ‘bubble’ of Westonbirt School could seem quite daunting, but for our final-year students it provides them with an independence that cannot be simulated. The 9-acres of
crafted gardens, orchards and paddocks, set on the outskirts of Tetbury, create an environment anyone would be jealous of, and the house has an incredible character of its own. The common room feels more like a society club – with its chesterfield sofas, epic fireplace, and a baby-grand piano, but as soon as the pupils return home you are reminded that it is a home for 32 Upper-Sixth students navigating their final year of school and preparing for university living or professional life. Their final year at Westonbirt acts as that final stepping stone – the addition of the new boarding house firmly cements that.
Year 13 student Paula commented that, “Holford House is designed as a chance to become a good young adult. We have learnt to help around the house and have had a lot of amazing roommates and memories together. We have to manage our own study time and the care of our rooms, helping us to become more independent.”
The exponential growth at Westonbirt continues to inspire our students to take on new challenges while supporting their own individual growth and development along the way. Holford House is no exception to that and has been doing so since September 2022. It has proved to be a sixth form favourite since it opened.
“At Holford, we have trust placed in us and a certain level of responsibility to look after ourselves. It is a great place to board with the future in mind because we need to manage our own time efficiently to ensure we get everything done from our schoolwork to washing and laundry,” states Year 13 student, Caleb.
At Holford the students and staff are one big family. Year 13 student Matt states, “We are also blessed by our house parents; we are very close to them and they are always willing to help and give advice in tough moments. They give a lot of their time and energy to make sure we are happy and comfortable in the boarding house and are always around if needed. We couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”
At Holford House there are two house parents, Deputy Head Pastoral, Steph Barnes, and Mr Slowik, that live and support the students in and out of the boarding house. Mrs Barnes States, “there is something quite remarkable about the responsibility for students in their final year of school – one moment they are learning their life lessons and the next they are teaching you something new. The relationships and bonds formed in this house exist for life. The distance from the main campus provides pupils with the space they need to grow, but also means we are regular visitors and leaders of whole-school and boarding events. There is a tangible link for our pupils and they delight in that duty.”