Girls’ day and boarding house (Years 9 – 12)
House Parent Profile
Debbie Hosking joined Blundell’s in 1999, initially living at Petergate as a resident tutor, before being appointed Assistant House Mistress in GH in September 2005 and in 2008 as House Mistress. She teaches English to Years 8 and 9 and PSHCE to GH Year 9s. With its team of ten tutors, two residential staff and a matron, GH offers a range of experience, professional caring and encourages strong family values.
Gorton House has a warm, friendly, happy and inclusive atmosphere and the girls mix well across all year groups. This is helped by a myriad of social activities including pizza evenings, a chocolate fountain evening, games evenings and house barbecues. The house has a very homely feel to it, and this is important in helping those new to the house to settle in.
The house is led by a strong team of monitors who assist in the general running of the house as well as organising the GH teams who compete in the various house competitions. These competitions encourage a strong sense of house spirit and a sense of responsibility. The girls are proud of their house and develop confidence and it gives them a sense of identity. GH recognises and appreciates the talents of each individual, promoting the development of self-esteem and perseverance.
Gorton House has a mixture of twin, four and six bed dormitories which are all bright, airy, modern and comfortable. There are three common rooms with TV (including Sky) and DVD players which are great for relaxing and socialising and four kitchens. There is also a wii room, table football, a pool/snooker table, electronic organ and piano. In the summer the GH garden has picnic tables, table tennis, a volleyball net and several garden other games. There is also a Tuck Shop on Monday to Friday evenings.
Head of House: Millie Eaton Jones
Monitors: Flic Charlesworth, Julia Huntingford, George Pitts, Bonnie Price, Annabel Chatwin, Imogen Cotton, Megan Grant, Clara Greenfield, Millie Parr
Dec 16: GH won the Tug of War, winning both pulls. The team was Alice Cadenhead, Rosalie Sanders, Millie Hutchcroft, Louisa Everett, Flic Charlesworth, George Pitts, Kate Stagg, Trixie Nicholson, Matilda Thompson & Millie Attwell.
Sept 2016: The now annual Williams Cup took place at Wimbleball Reservoir on the 25th/26th September. The Year 9 had numerous challenges which included axe throwing, archery, catapult building, kayaking, rafting and how many people can you stand on one paddle board.
GH won after finishing as Runners Up in 2015.
Oct 2016: Three Year 9 girls volunteered to participate in the Public Speaking; Holly Nugent spoke very confident and competently on Gender Equality; Honor Jones took the Chair and Erica Park under took the role of questioner. The GH Team won the overall Junior Public Speaking Competition; Honor was named as Best Chair, which was quite something as she only found out a few hours before rand Erica as Best Questioner. Honor and Erica will now go on to represent the school in the Area Round of the ESU (English Speaking Union) Competition in November.
The Senior Team comprised of Megan Grant who spoke very eloquently about whether Trump would win the forthcoming election, Sparkle Menzies was in the Chair and Flic Charlesworth stood in at the last minute and was named as Best Questioner.
There are a range of social events for all year groups. All birthdays of full and weekly boarders are celebrated with a small party for the relevant year group. There are usually Hallowe’en parties, pizza making evenings (Year 9), a Christmas Party, a Body Shop Party (Year 12) a Chocolate Fountain Evening, a Hog Roast Evening and a Barbeque, as well as Family Event pizza evenings, quiz evenings and picnic evenings. The Year 9s also make bread to decorate the chapel window for the Harvest Festival Service.
Each year the house puts on a play. This year it was ‘The Nine Worst Break-Ups Of All Time’, expertly directed by Sophie Bateman. Twenty girls were involved in the play which had two live performances on Thursday 16th October and Friday 17th October 2014. The retiring collection taken at the end of each performance raised £315 for the charity ‘Help for Heroes’.
The Monitor Team is given the responsibility of arranging a programme for the House Music Competition. Rosalie Sanders and Imi Sanders Dutton are the Musical Directors for 2015. Every girl in the house will be involved in the House Song (when each house showcases their musical talents) and possibly in the GH Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra or various ensembles.
GH won the overall House Music this year and also won the House Song for the second year running (see the photos below under 'Photo Albums').
Programme for 2015/16
- Brightest Lights by Mumford and Sons and King Charles arranged by Imi Sanders Dutton (Big Choir)
- Stars and Butterflies/Liz on Top of the World from Pride and Prejudice, arranged by Rosalie Sanders (Orchestra)
- Home Fires Theme Tune, arranged by Rosalie Sanders (Small Choir)
- Landside by Fleetwood Chicks
- House Song: Does Your Mother Know by Abba, accompanied by the GH Band – Beth Baker (drums), Louisa Everett (keyboard), Rosalie Sanders (bass guitar), Imi Sanders Dutton (guitar), Julia Huntingford & Flic Charlesworth (saxophone)
There are numerous inter-house sports events held over the year with girls who have moved into Year 13 and are now in Westlake returning to GH to compete for the teams. Competitions are held in hockey, netball, athletics, swimming, as well as the Inter Campus Relay and Tug of War competitions. The biggest inter-house sport competition is the Russell, where every girl runs to gain points for the house and compete for the coveted Cumulative Points Cup.
Summer Term 2017
Thursday 20th April
Familia Uno Tea 1800-1915
Monday 24th April
# Family Tea 1800-1915
Tuesday 2nd May
GH Photo 1300 King Julien Family Tea 1800-1915
Wednesday 3rd May
Minions Family Tea 1800-1915
Friday 5th May
Hakuna Matata Family Tea 1800-1915
Friday 12th May
Years 11-13 Sports Day
Wednesday 14th June
GH BBQ for all GH girls & parents/guardians 1800-2000 & Year 13 Ex GH girls
Wednesday 28th June
Years 7-10 Sports Day
Public Speaking winners
Year 9 win Williams Cup 2016!
House Barbecue 2016
The Russell 2016
House Song winners 2016
Gorton House was established in 1977 as Blundell’s first girls’ house, with Barry and Anne Wood as Houseparents. Its first location was in Blundell’s Avenue, taking over Thornton House which had been used previously as a boy’s boarding house and as the School Sanatorium. The house was named after the innovative Rev. Neville Gorton, who was Headmaster of Blundell’s from 1934 to 1942, when he was appointed Bishop of Coventry. Gorton House started in 1977 with 16 girls, but by 1981 the number had reached 34, of whom more than half were boarders, and a new location was required.
In 1982 the girls and their Houseparents moved into Milestones, which had been the day boys’ house. History was made in 1984 when one of the girls, Juliet Trick, became the first female ‘Head of School’, and two years later another blow was struck when the Gorton House cricketers beat a team led by Charles Noon, with Caroline Robson carrying her bat through the innings. The number of boarders kept rising; from 19 in 1981 to 31 in 1989, and it was decided to add an extension to the house in 1989.
Barry and Anne Wood retired from Gorton House in 1993 after 16 years of tireless and devoted service. Their last few years had seen Claire Marshall and Nicky Coffin as members of the House: Claire was destined to become a globe-trotting TV presenter and journalist, and Nicky was soon to be the School’s first girl rugby international. The ‘experiment’ of co-education had been so successful at Blundell’s that a second house, North Close, was opened in 1994.
Meanwhile, Andrew and Heather Barlow replaced the Woods as Houseparents of Gorton House. During their first year they had 53 girls and no residential help as there were no flats in the House. Andrew, the School’s Director of Music, soon spotted a young talent in one of the Gorton House girls, Siona Stockel. She was at Blundell’s from 1993 until 1995, from where she went on to study Harp and Voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and is now much in demand as a solo performer.
A further extension was necessary for Gorton House, and when completed was opened by one of its former pupils, Claire Marshall, in September 2003. It contained 10 new bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and was sufficient to absorb the girls who had been occupying Thornton House. Andrew and Heather Barlow left Gorton House in 2008, having provided a nurturing environment for countless girls during their 15 years as Houseparents. Debbie Hosking is now Houseparent of Gorton House and her cheerful and caring attitude is continuing the tradition of her predecessors.