St John’s has always been a boarding school and retains its original accommodation, albeit now modernised to offer more comfortable and practical accommodation. This provides the boys with both privacy and their own individual work space.
Boarders enjoy a vibrant pastoral system with outstanding medical and personal care. Accommodation is divided into two dormitories with space for 30 boys each. Southwell dormitory is for senior boarders (Years 7 and 8) whereas Morse dormitory is for younger boys (Years 3 to 6/7). Whilst boys have separate night-time routines they spend much of their time together and older boarders often act as role models for the younger boys.
Evening routines are spent engaging in set activities (in which the whole school, including the day boys participate) or specific boarding activities (hide ‘n’ seek around the school or cooking outdoors in the woods are particular favourites amongst the boys). Boarders have access to the school’s facilities in the evening; (floodlit tennis courts, multi-purpose sports hall, gymnasium, the art studio and swimming pool).
The full boarders enjoy a very busy weekend. Saturdays invariably involve inter-school sports fixtures, after which they will spend time writing to their families, playing outside in the woods, a walk along the River Thames, occasional shopping trips to Windsor or inter-dormitory competitions, (football, table-tennis and snooker are favourites), board games and only very occasional ventures to the X-box!
Every Sunday the boarders go out on a trip: regular destinations include water skiing/water sports, mountain boarding, theatre trips to London, photography workshop, Thorpe Park, outdoor ice-skating in London.
St John’s offers full, weekly and tailored boarding options. Tailored boarding offers the boys the opportunity to experience boarding either 2 or 3 nights each week throughout a term and beyond. For many it can serve as a more gentle introduction to weekly boarding as they move up through the school. Weekly boarders can go home after their final school commitment on Friday, or stay overnight if we have early morning fixtures on the Saturday. They return in time for Supper on the Sunday evening between 5.30 and 6.30 or Monday morning.
Boys can purchase phone cards to call home in the evenings and there are regular opportunities to e-mail or Skype. We are always delighted to welcome parents to the school to see their sons take part in musical and dramatic productions as well as sporting matches.
The Deputy Headmaster has overall responsibility for boarding at St John’s and is assisted by 2 full-time dormitory masters, 6 assistant teachers, a team of school nurses and 4 boarding tutors. The staff:pupil ratio is kept deliberately low to provide the boys with every opportunity to benefit from high quality interaction with their teachers and support staff.
All full boarders contact home at least once a week and have access to Skype and telephones during their free time. Parents of overseas boarders can enjoy following their sons’ boarding activities through our twitter account (@sjbboarding)
During Guestroom (exeat) weekends, there is a tradition at St John’s that full boarding pupils stay with their ‘day boy’ friends and their families. This allows the boys to enjoy a more natural weekend with a friend’s family and engage in a different cultural experience.