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National Boarding Week

 

This year the Boarding Schools’ Association celebrates their Golden Jubilee. Kent College are proud members of the BSA and so were keen to join with national and international boarding schools to celebrate the golden jubilee. 

We began our celebrations with a special assembly to the Prep School from Jane More, who is one of our Old Girls.  Jane described her memories of boarding 65 years ago at Kent College. Jane joined the school in 1951 at age 11. Amongst the plethora of stories which demonstrated how precious her school years are, Jane told us a story from her friends, who were boarding at the end of World War II. They throw their gas masks out of the window to celebrate. The misguided pug dog belonging to the Headmistress, ran along and ate all the rubber from them, which it later regretted.  

Following on from this special assembly, we were delighted to invite more ‘friends’ for a special boarders’ tea. Our special guests included Old Girls who were boarders and ex-staff of Kent College. It was such a privilege to host these special guests and to hear about how the school has changed and also how it has stayed true to its roots. The Wesley spirit was very much the ethos of the school then as it is now. The overriding message from our Old Girls to the current boarders was to enjoy their time here. The Old Girls remember their boarding years with such fondness and the friendships they formed have been life-long and one of their most treasured gifts from boarding. 

Of course there were the obligatory stories which demonstrate how much boarding has changed over the decades. Stories such as the routinely removal of frogs from the outdoor swimming pool before each lesson, were very amusing and a world away from the current luxuries the girls enjoy today. Our boarders were shocked to hear about large dormitories and metal beds, and our guests were amazed by how homely the boarding house is now. The girls were proud to show-off their warm, colourful dorms and all the comfort and technology in the common rooms. 

After celebrating the history of boarding at Kent College, we then looked to the future of boarding. Girls can board at Kent College from the age of 8, when they are in Year 4. Our boarders in Hawkwell and Hargreaves were invited to the Senior Boarding House, James and Osborn. This is part of their induction programme. So with an empty Boarding House, we filled it with Year 4s. The entire year group joined us for a sleep-over with a difference. The Year 4s have been studying Brazil, so after a fantastic assembly about Brazil in the morning, the Year 4 teachers treated them to some special Brazilian inspired activities to bridge the gap between the school day and the residential element. The girls were adorable though and such a credit to the school. They clearly enjoyed the night and some left feeling very proud to have slept away from home for the first time. What a fantastic celebration of boarding at Kent College. The response from the girls was over-whelmingly positive and the night was such a great success. It was lovely to invite the girls to experience the buzz of the boarding house and we hope that the girls will enjoy flexi-boarding with us in the future. It was lovely to welcome the parents into the boarding house later on. The parents were invited to visit the dorm where their daughters slept and we waved them off with a ‘party bags’ containing our much prized boarding bear. 

Some of the feedback from the Year 4 girls, sums up what boarding is all about:

"The Year 4 Sleepover was the best sleepover I have ever been on because I was in a dorm with my best friends.” Harriet Lamont. "After school we were bursting with excitement! It was the best night of my life!” Constance

Returning full circle, our celebrations of boarding at Kent College concluded with an assembly by Jane More to the Senior School. The Senior School girls were equally spellbound to hear how much Kent College has changed, and also how life has changed. 65 years ago, while still living on rations, the girls were darning their socks every Sunday and only washing their hair once a fortnight. However, what remains an enduring message whenever you listen to Jane or any of our Old Girls is how they treasure their time at Kent College.

Kent College is such a special place. Most visitors comment on the warm atmosphere which the school exudes. Harry, our chaplain, spoke yesterday when addressing the parents of next year’s intake, that this warmth comes from a culture of praise. When individuals are praised and rewarded for doing good, it generates a desire to continue ‘doing all the good that we can; in every way we can,’ in the words of the Methodist leader, John Wesley. Equally the value of the friendships formed in boarding are unique, almost akin to family the girls are like sisters to each other and it is therefore not surprising that our Old Girls still remains good friends.  

The Boarding Team at Kent College have enjoyed celebrating the Golden Jubilee and we are committed to the work of the BSA. All of our boarding staff attending their training courses. Our boarding team have completed their Induction to Boarding Certificate and Mrs Cable (Housemistress of James and Osborn) and I (Housemistress of Hawkwell and Hargreaves) are currently completing a two year course in boarding schools’ management with the BSA and Roehampton University. Earlier this year we planted a tree to join the boarding school orchard and look forward to supporting the BSA in future academic years. 

Twitter @KC_boardinglife 

Posted: 05.07.2016
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