Boarding with Families at Michael Hall

Our Commitment to Our Boarders:

We strive to ensure that every child who joins our School has a sense of belonging, feels safe and nurtured and enjoys their experience with us. We offer a healthy curriculum that supports learning for life and our Boarders have a wonderful opportunity to participate in a Waldorf educational programme that is rich and nourishing. Cultural diversity is important to our aims and students from abroad both bring to and take from, our learning environment in so many ways. Boarding within a family situation helps to support students away from home and provides real personal care for each students needs. Within the School the Boarder has a Personal Tutor and has regular contact with the Boarding Coordinator, to ensure the Boarder has someone to turn to if they have concerns or difficulties. There are strong connections between our Boarding Families, the Boarding Coordinator and School Teachers. It is these connections that ensure that each child is personally supported in both their school and home life as an integrated whole.

The experience of boarding helps support each child in their path towards learning to become more independent, and to develop appropriate levels of personal responsibility. These skills will help each student thrive as confident, healthy and successful individuals in their future life.

We are proud of our last government inspection that determined our boarding provision as ‘good and we strive to ensure that these standards are rigorously maintained in all areas of boarding life.

Our Aims

Many of our Boarding Students are here to develop their English language skills. The best way to learn a language is to live in the country where it is spoken.  At Michael Hall we have developed the framework in which students aged 14 to 18 can live in the community and communicate with their English contemporaries while absorbing the culture and receiving the benefits of a Waldorf education.  Students stay with host families that are closely connected to the school either as parents or as teachers. Students may often feel insecure about their ability to speak English, we therefore recommend students are encouraged and that you are patient and understanding when communicating.

Our Value Statement

Inspired by the Waldorf vision of childhood, our education values and celebrates each stage of development, facilitating each child's gradual self-realisation as part of a social whole. We are dedicated to harmonising the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of each of our pupils in a way that gives them the confidence, resilience and insight to make a positive difference in the world throughout their lives. As the longest-running Waldorf School in the world, offering a proven and progressive alternative to the pressurised approach to education, we continually work at deepening our teaching practice, the better to realise the aims stated above.

 

Our Boarding Provision

Michael Hall has an excellent range of carefully selected boarding homes to suit different needs and interests. We welcome many students from the UK and internationally. Our boarding provision provides a fully-supported home-from-home experience for our students. Some boarders come from abroad to develop their English and experience life in England, others join us from other parts of the UK. All are treated with personal care to ensure that their needs are met and that they feel welcomed, safe and nurtured.

There are many reasons for choosing boarding and whatever the reason we offer high standards of care, support and education to enable the boarding experience to be one not to be forgotten. We have a dedicated and professional team of Teachers and Boarding Families making it possible for every Boarder to benefit from a variety of educational and extracurricular experiences. We have Class Guardians, Tutors, Pastoral Care and the Student Welfare Officer, who can be consulted outside regular lessons regarding any problems or concerns that may arise. Contact with teachers is not just limited to classroom activities, it continues into Guardian meetings, tutorials and, if needed, at lunch and breaks at School. This support is extended into the Boarding Families at home and often by shared activities during celebrations and festivities, all promoting a strong sense of community and sense of belonging..

Boarding – Making the Decisions and Types of Arrangements:

Our boarding accommodation is arranged with local families. Many of our Boarding Families have or have had children at Michael Hall and usually live close to the school. Great care is taken when placing a student with a family in order that a sympathetic match can be achieved to ensure the success of the boarding. Boarders will have a room (shared or on their own) with a bed, storage and desk/table. This allows the opportunity for personal, private space within the family life of the boarding family. Our Boarding Families all welcome new Boarders to their homes and are all supported in ensuring that they are sensitive to the particular dietary, religious and cultural diversity that the students bring to the home. Boarders also usually make friends with other students at the School and there are opportunities for socializing within the boarding homes and for working together on homework and other academic studies.

All homes are carefully selected and visited regularly to ensure that the facilities on offer are of the highest standard. Boarding Families also undergo police background checks (DBS), and are subject to the Schools rigorous health and safety checks. The Boarding Families have regular contact with the Boarding Coordinator to ensure that any difficulties or concerns are quickly dealt with.

Organising a Placement:

In organizing boarding arrangements the Boarding Coordinator begins the boarding placement with the needs of the individual students at the centre of the process. The Boarding Coordinator will contact the parents of the potential boarding student in order to gain as full a picture as possible of the students boarding needs and personality. It is important that we are aware of the needs of the Boarder (health issues, dietary requirements, disabilities and any other relevant issues) in order to match the Boarder to the Boarding Families. The potential Boarding Student and their family will be put in touch directly with the chosen Boarding Family in order that direct contact can be made and an important early link can be made before the Boarder starts the new term.

It is important to us that we get the matching process as ‘right’ as possible from the beginning. At the centre of our work are the individual needs of each student. The fact that many of our Boarders make deep and long lasting relationships with their Boarding Families and friends made at Michael Hall is testament to this care from the very beginning.

Arriving and other School information:

The First Day at School

We warmly welcome new students whenever they may join us. We meet each student on their first day, ensure they have a tour of the School and an introduction to all that they need to know. They will meet their Class Teacher or Guardian and Tutor. The Boarding Coordinator will ensure that all is done to help the Boarder settle into School life. Our classes welcome new students into their groups and the community and are always open and embracing of new students to the class. To ensure the transition works from the beginning we allocate a ‘buddy’ to new students to help them in the first few days and Guardians or Class Teachers and Tutors all keep a close eye to ensure the new Boarder has friends to support their  transition into the School.

We work directly with the students to arrive at a timetable that supports the student’s interests. This often changes in the first few days as students ‘try out’ different options and we are flexible and supportive of this always aiming to find a programme that develops and engages the individual needs.

Lunches

Lunches can be either packed lunch or taken in our canteen. The canteen has a weekly menu published in advance and available through reception. A choice of meals is offered, catering for all tastes and special dietary needs.

Health

First Aid provides the daily support of a qualified school nurse. We have a School Doctor who visits the School at certain times of the School year and appointments can be made if appropriate. Where necessary, the Ashdown Health Centre in Forest Row has a number of NHS doctors who can support health difficulties and there are also local Dentists and so forth to support any emergency treatment. Such visits will usually be made after discussions with parents but sometimes emergencies do occur and the Boarding parents step in to support the Boarder and will accompany Boarders on such appointments.

 

Types of Boarding Arrangements

Full Board- The Host will provide you with breakfast, a packed lunch for school and dinner during the week, as well as at weekends. Your laundry (washing and drying only) will also be included in the price.

Weekly Boarding - The host will provide you with breakfast, a packed lunch for school and dinner during the school week after which the students travel back to their own homes.

Flexi Boarding- The host will provide you with breakfast, a packed lunch for school and dinner during the selected days for your boarding arrangements, which could be 2 or 3 times a week.

As well as offering Full Boarding for our students we also offer Weekly and Flexi Boarding with families. For many London based families it can be a great relief for parents to know that their child can receive a creative and outstanding education in a beautiful country setting and at the same time avoid extended separations from their family home and too much time travelling.  Flexi-Boarding can be arranged for 1 - 4 nights a week while Weekly Boarding covers 5 nights a week (Sunday to Thursday).  A Flexi-Boarding arrangement allows students to enjoy the opportunity of taking part in some of the after school clubs offered at Michael Hall and to also be able to spend time in the company of their friends after school without having to spend further time travelling home at the end of the day.

Our Boarding Students stay with school families and all arrangements are overseen by our Boarding Coordinator who takes great care in the placement of each student in their boarding home.

Arrangements can be individually tailored to meet the needs of each student and further details can be obtained from our Admissions Registrar.