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In our boarding community, staff and boarders respect and value
each other. We encourage our boarders to be happy, healthy and
successful individuals with a mature and responsible attitude
towards their studies, and with the life-skills necessary for their
futures. Our philosophy is that consideration for others is of
paramount importance. We achieve this with dedication, compassion
and sensitivity to the needs of our young people.
For a place in boarding the first step is to complete a school initial application form. It is then important to make an appointment to meet the Headmaster and boarding staff and to look round the school and boarding houses. Subject to availability, a place is offered dependent on satisfying school entrance requirements.
Our aim is for boarders to feel at home as soon as possible. Initially this involves a look around the boarding accommodation with parents, followed by a welcome letter and joining pack of written information. On arrival a member of the boarding staff and a member of the Sixth Form support new boarders on a one-to-one and in small groups. A new boarder is linked with an experienced boarder of a similar age for the first few days. Each boarder is given a boarder's handbook that includes useful information on all aspects of boarding life. In a caring community such as ours, there are many people to whom boarders can turn for help or advice. Boarders are encouraged to speak to someone they feel comfortable with about any worries or concerns.
The Head of Boarding is responsible for the overall organisation of all boarding houses and leads a team of resident and non-resident staff. Our boarding staff are fully involved in all aspects of boarders' welfare. We ensure that there is regular communication between boarding staff, parents and the boarders themselves to make sure that the boarders are getting the best out of their boarding experience. House meetings are held regularly to pass on information and share ideas. There is always a member of staff on duty in each House supervising prep times or mixing freely during leisure time to assist in creating a pleasant atmosphere.
College House is situated within the grounds of Plymouth College. The boarding accommodation consists of a row of villas dating from the mid-nineteenth century. The Head of Boarding and his family live in the central house of the terrace. Boys are accommodated in three houses on one side of the Head of Boarding's home and girls are accommodated in the three houses on the other side. All the houses are interconnected. The co-educational structure of College House allows us to create a family atmosphere with boys and girls encouraged to socialise together in the common rooms.
Boarding swimming scholars are accommodated together in the specialist residential facility, which is beneficial for those who are committed to the swimming programme and the lifestyle that goes with it. Swimming scholars are enabled to develop their personal responsibility, performance, motivation and consideration for others. The accommodation is situated 2 miles away on the site of the Plymouth College Preparatory School. A regular minibus service transports swimming scholars door-to-door between the boarding house, the pool and school as necessary. Boys are accommodated on the ground floor and the girls on the first floor. The boarding staff are experienced in the training and needs of elite athletes. Regular communication between boarding staff, teaching staff, parents, coaches, the school nurses and the boarding athletes themselves is essential. Athletes with national times remain in the house to continue with the swimming programme after the end of the summer term until the National Championships each summer. However, swimming scholars are encouraged to return home or to a guardian at weekends where possible for their own well-being and to maintain a link with their original home programme. This is at each athlete's / family's discretion as home may be too far away or athletes may need to stay on for competitions. All athletes must return home or stay with guardians when the house is closed during half term holidays and end of term holidays.
There are a variety of common rooms within the houses where boys and girls are encouraged to socialise together, including, TV and video rooms, music practice rooms, computer rooms, and games rooms. There is a sports hall session each evening during the week for College House boarders with a variety of activities on offer. Boarders also have access to the school field and hard areas during evening and weekend free times. All meals are provided in the school-dining hall although each house has a kitchen where drinks and snacks can be prepared. We have an in-house laundry system, which operates on weekdays.
After homework has been done, there are a range of evening activities for boarders such as badminton in the sports hall, swimming in the pool, playing on the Wii in the common room, chatting over coffee and biscuits in the kitchen or practising music. At the weekends, activities include ten-pin bowling, ice-skating, cinema trips, paintballing, boat trips, pitch and putt golf, moorland walking, surfing and dry-slope skiing. This level of contact in adventurous environments has beneficial effects in other areas. For instance, the staff might seek to build on the growing self-confidence that often comes from these activities and direct it towards classroom performance or to developing a greater sense of individual responsibility. Occasionally there are quieter weekends to allow for a complete rest and change of pace. Boarding at Plymouth College provides a unique residential experience for a location so close to the city centre as well as the beautiful moors and beaches of the southwest.
All boarders must register with the school Medical Officer (doctor). The school Medical Officer and the School Nurses have overall responsibility for the medical care of all boarders. Although the School Nurses are not resident they hold a boarders' surgery in College House each week day morning before school. During school hours a School Nurse is available in the on-site medical centre. After school hours the Housemasters, Housemistresses and Matrons are responsible for boarders' immediate medical care.
In addition to the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays there is a week's holiday from school in the middle of each term, known as Half Term, when boarders cannot be accommodated by the school. If a boarder is unable to return home during school holidays he or she will need to be looked after by a guardian based in the UK. The appointed guardian must be over 25 years of age and may be a relative, family friend or guardianship agency.