There are three boarding houses at St George’s which are structured according to age and all have slightly different personalities!
First to Fourth Years board in Markham, which is part of the original house. The First and Second Years share one floor whilst the Third and Fourth Years have their own separate areas, all with their own common rooms, kitchens and bathrooms.
Perhaps what is distinctive about Markham are the colourful noticeboards and bright, spacious, airy rooms with lots of extra touches added such as artistic wallpaper, mirrors and shelves – all beautifully designed. Girls are welcome to bring pictures from home, their cuddly toys, and personal items to make their areas feel really personal, homely and comfortable.
The First and Second Years, aged 11-13 have dorms of varying sizes between two and eight to a room so there are plenty of friends to play games and take part in activities with. The larger dorms are the most popular and are very cheerful and lively! Third Years share either three or four to a room and Fourth Years, who are starting their first year of GCSEs, have double rooms equipped with desks and internet ports. The girls are allocated a new room every term to get to know new friends, although they are welcome to request particular room mates.
There is a very strong community at Markham. The girls come together for weekly house meetings, join together for the wide variety of activities available after school, go on weekend adventures to visit theme parks, go ice skating, sightsee and shop, plan parties and often can be seen making arts and crafts for special occasions.
Run by the boarding staff, the emphasis is on integration, enjoyment, being part of one big family, making every girl in the house feel as relaxed as possible, home from home.
Girls going into their GCSE year and first year of A Levels move to Knatchbull House. All the Fifth Years have large, recently decorated triple bedrooms with desks and the Sixth Form girls have double bedrooms. There are also eight single rooms and so the Lower Sixth girls move every term to share these fairly. The House has two common rooms with kitchens and comfortable sofas, a laundry and ample bathrooms and snack items such as fruit, toast, hot chocolate and coffee are always available.
The atmosphere in Katchbull is distinctly different to Markham, more adult in style with the girls allowed extra privileges such as going out to Ascot during the day, cooking meals at the weekends and travelling in groups of two or more to go shopping at some of the local towns. Fifth Form girls have formal prep in classrooms with the day girls until 6.45pm. Towards the end of the year, some girls are allowed the privilege of unsupervised study. The Lower Sixth have supper at 6pm followed by a prep time in their own study bedrooms from 7-8.30pm. All girls are allowed to study beyond these times until bedtime if they wish.
The girls recently took part in a ‘beautiful bedroom’ competition and decorated their rooms with fairy lights, posters, pictures and artwork. With the Housemistress, Laura Myers, the girls plan what they would like to do at weekends and although group activities are on offer such as sport, film nights, games evenings and external outings, many at this stage prefer to organise events together such as going to the cinema, shopping or theatre trips. Social activities are also organised with Eton, Harrow and Winchester such as Band Nights and Barn Dances.
We are also helping the girls prepare for life after school from this point onwards. The girls are encouraged to do their own washing, tidy up and have a common room rota which includes loading the dishwasher and wiping down surfaces and get themselves up in the morning.
The Housemistress operates an open door policy for the girls and they are encouraged to come and chat to her, or the rest of the boarding team, whenever they would like to.
Loveday houses the Upper Sixth girls where every student is given her own bedroom. Being in a separate house enables the girls to prepare for university life, ensuring they organise their everyday chores, doing their own laundry, cooking occasional meals and booking travel arrangements.
Jessica Condliffe, the Housemistress, encourages independence by allowing the girls to make their own appointments: academic, medical and dental. She, along with the Assistant Head: Sixth Form, whose office is in the heart of the boarding house, is there to support during what can be a stressful time whilst the girls study for external exams, take on positions of responsibility and lead the school.
The common room is the social hub of the house and is complete with TV, DVD players and comfortable sofas. There is a large kitchen stocked with hot drinks, bread, chocolate spread and other preserves, cereals, cheese, bacon and eggs. The girls can use the library, music practise rooms, art room and gym at any time.
The girls are welcome to join in the weekend boarders’ trips at any time and most weeks there are pizza evenings and film nights in Loveday as well as special occasion activities including international food celebrations, events with local boys’ schools and House events. However, most students at this stage in their lives will organise their own outings such as going into London at weekends, shopping and visiting friends.
Loveday aims to provide a relaxing home from home environment so that the girls can enjoy their last year at St George’s with a listening ear and clear guidance before they move to live completely independently at university.