House barbecue and events

Boarding at Blundell's

At Blundell's, the boarding ethos and the strength of the house system underpins all aspects of school life. Almost all staff are involved in the lives of the boarding houses in one way or another. 360 of our pupils are boarders, of whom 200 are either full or weekly. We have a long tradition of drawing pupils from the West Country and further afield including a wide range of other countries and we value the diversity that this brings. The warmth and supportive nature of the school is immediately evident to visitors; the friendly and open nature of the pupils is one of the significant strengths of the school.

Boarding House Gender House Parent Ages Year Groups
School House Co-educational Mrs K.L. Corbin 11-13 Years 7-8
Gorton House Girls Mrs S. Holman 13-17 Years 9-12
North Close Girls Mrs R.J. Crease 13-17 Years 9-12
Francis House Boys Mr C.M. Hamilton 13-17 Years 9-12
Old House Boys Mr C. Olive 13-17 Years 9-12
Petergate Boys Mr D.J. Smart 13-17 Years 9-12
Westlake Co-educational Mr P.G. Klinkenberg 17-18 Year 13

A pupil will start their Blundell’s career in School House, a specialist house for 11-13 year olds, then progress to one of the five middle year houses where new boarders will join in Years 9 and 12. A final year will be spent in Westlake, a pre-university house for 18 year olds. This structure allows the houses to focus on a particular age range, providing the support that is necessary at the different stages of a boy or girl’s development.

The houses are under the watchful eyes of the houseparents – experienced senior teachers who have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the children in their care. They are supported by a team of tutors as well as the school Chaplain, the excellent sanatorium staff and an independent school counsellor. Pastoral care infuses every area of Blundell’s life.

We are immensely proud of the support and care which Blundell’s provides as it allows Blundellians to develop and achieve within a secure environment. The seven houses lie at the heart of the school, comprising both day and boarding pupils; the boarding ethos of the school infuses all we do here. The houses generate an atmosphere of inclusion, and an understanding that all pupils and staff are part of something more significant than the sum of the individual elements. House sport, debating and music competitions, plays and Christmas entertainments are amongst the many activities which promote friendships across and between year groups, whilst pupils’ wider personal development is individually supported by the special relationship formed with the houseparents and tutors.


Weekends are busy and productive times for Blundellians. All Senior School pupils (13-18) have Saturday morning lessons followed by games in the afternoon. School House boarders (11-13) have no Saturday lessons but have an organised weekend activities programme There is also an extensive programme of weekend activities (see Sunday Activities). In addition we have created our own Adventure and Leadership Programme, which operates on eight Sundays during the year. There are also many Extra-curricular activities at weekends (again, see Sunday Activities) for further details.

We have both “Leave” and “Non-leave” weekends. Boarders are generally expected to stay for non-leave weekends, but may go home on leaves if they so choose. In practice, many will stay in school for leave weekends to be with their friends. There are two exeat weekends, one in the Autumn term and one in the Easter term. Pupils will be free to leave school at Friday lunchtime and the boarders return on Sunday evening. Boarders will be expected to leave the school for the exeats although they are very welcome to stay for the Leave weekends if they so choose.

Where do boarders come from?

Boarders at Blundell’s tend to come from the West of England as most parents wish to have regular access to their children, particularly in terms of attending matches, plays, music concerts and parents’ evenings. Typical areas within 2 hours travel time include Salisbury along the A303, S Wales and Bristol via the M4/M5, Plymouth and the South Hams via the A38 and M5 and Cornwall via the A30.

About 50 of our 200 full and weekly boarders come from the Armed Services community and from the Channel Islands via Exeter Airport (FlyBe). We also have 40 overseas pupils coming from 12 different countries who add a strong international dimension to the houses. We try to ensure that there are very few pupils from the same overseas country in the same boarding house in order to help them to become fully integrated (see International Admissions).


Blundell’s has a fully equipped sanatorium staffed by a team of nurses. The school doctor holds a surgery every day and boarders can see him without appointment. There is always a nurse in the san during the school day and a night nurse is also available to look after any pupil needing to stay in the sanatorium overnight.

Definition of types of boarding & day pupils

Full Boarder A pupil who normally stays 7 days a week with his/her own allocated bed and study area. Laundry, all meals and some weekend activities are included in the fee.
Weekly Boarder A pupil who stays from Monday to Friday inclusive in the Senior School, with the provision of his/her own allocated bed and study area. Laundry and all meals during the week are included in the fee. Weekend stays are possible at the normal Flexi-boarder nightly cost, billed at the end of term.
Flexi-boarder A day pupil in a boarding house with the opportunity to spend nights in the house, providing reasonable notice is given and a bed is available. It is always hoped that a designated bed is available but it is not guaranteed - priority is given to pupils who stay more frequently. Flexi-boarders may also stay for supper and prep during the week. The first 5 nights stayed are included in the fee, but any additional nights stayed are billed at the end of term. Laundry is not included in the fee.
Day Pupil A day pupil goes home at the end of the programmed day. Breakfast and/or supper and prep can be
taken at an additional daily charge.

Statement of boarding aims and values

Blundell’s School acknowledges the sound sense of the values recorded by Dr Fitzgerald in the Boarding Schools’ Association guidelines (see Principles of Boarding). Blundell’s believes in preserving a powerful boarding atmosphere and there are seven houses in all. We apply the same admissions criteria to the boarding pupils as for the other pupils in the school (see Admissions). All pupils in Years 7-8 belong to School House. For Years 9-12 there are two girls’ Houses and three boys’ Houses. For their final year the boys and girls in the Upper Sixth move to Westlake, which is a purpose-built boarding house and provides a pre-university experience. The Houses retain a separate identity in the way they go about things, yet expectations of pupils and pastoral care are unified and integrated across the school.

In addition to some 185 full or weekly boarders, there are also currently 220 flexi-boarders. It is our policy to provide breadth of opportunity for all, to extol the virtues of a sound understanding between all pupils so that a culture of tolerant harmony emerges. The strength of the House system is that it promotes pastoral welfare, happiness, and fosters a strong spirit of academic achievement. Each House has a team of Tutors who work closely with the Housemasters/mistresses to support the broad development of their tutees. They will usually perform evening duties, which allows them to develop a fuller awareness of the pupils in their care. Each House has at least one Matron who is an integral member of the house pastoral team; she also has a strong responsibility, along with others, for the medical welfare of the pupils and, where appropriate, she will work closely with the School Sanatorium. Each boarder will also benefit from the considerable range of structures in the School for example the Sanatorium and the School Counsellor. This Statement, along with the Principles of Boarding establishes Blundell’s commitment to boarding.

Principles of Boarding

Boarding Aims

The following are the nine principles upon which boarding at Blundell’s is based: -
  1. The development of the whole person and the communication of values are vital.
  2. Being an open and trusting school, boarding is based upon mutual respect for all members.
  3. Each boarder has the right to be able to work, play and relax free from abuse, intimidation, harassment, teasing and bullying.
  4. There is equality of opportunity and respect for all boarders, regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender or disability.
  5. Each boarder and each member of staff is to be treated as an individual and with respect by other pupils and by staff.
  6. Although living corporately, staff and boarders acknowledge the right of each other to privacy.
  7. Each boarder has the right to extend his/her intellectual growth in an atmosphere of positive encouragement and in conditions that are conducive to work.
  8. All boarders should be able to develop spiritually, culturally, morally and socially during their time in boarding.
  9. Despite the often great distance separating boarders from their families, links with parents are seen as an indispensable part of the support and development of boarders in this school.
In boarding, we aim to: -
  1. Develop the whole person, a desire for truth and a respect for others;
  2. Produce an open and trusting ethos in which each boarder feels able to approach any other member of the community (staff or pupil), confident in the knowledge that he/she will be treated and respected as an individual;
  3. Create an atmosphere of tolerance, openness and trust in which teasing, harassment and bullying would find great difficulty in developing;
  4. Provide the conditions for boarders to develop their intellectual talents through well structured prep conditions, access to staff and other pupils, participation in activities and in an atmosphere which values effort;
  5. Provide a range of activities, hobbies and opportunities related to age and maturity that will assist in the personal, social and cultural development of each boarder;
  6. Safeguard and promote the welfare of each boarder, by providing an environment that is, as far as possible, free from physical hazards and dangers of any sort;
  7. Provide accommodation that is comfortable and suited to the needs of boarders, according to age and maturity, and which provides adequate levels of privacy;
  8. Develop boarders’ responsibility for self, for others and for his/her environment;
  9. Develop boarders’ qualities of leadership and ability to work as part of a team;
  10. Provide suitable conditions for boarders to feel able to turn to members of staff to share the good things in their lives as well as being able to turn to them for advice, counselling and support during times of difficulty.

Boarding Houses