Boarding Life

The greatest strengths of the school spring from the quality of the human relationships throughout the community and the sense of companionship that these engender. The full boarding environment encourages an incredibly strong sense of community and helps to develop friendships that will be sustained and be sustaining in life beyond the College.

Our sixteen Houses provide an unrivalled system of pastoral care, which seeks to promote individual and academic confidence. Marlburians come to appreciate that there is a balance to be achieved between independence and interdependence and they engage with full boarding with generosity of spirit, energy and a palpable sense of fun. Our most recent ISI Inspection report (March 2018) commented that: “There is a real sense of community and shared focus, underpinned by the full boarding experience which has a significant influence on pupil’s personal development.”

The chance to live and work alongside people from varied backgrounds and countries is a genuine privilege. Pupils work with teachers, other members of the adult community and with other pupils in ways that go beyond the formulaic relationship imposed by the classroom or laboratory. This can be seen, of course, in the extraordinary co-curricular opportunities, to which pupils have access – but it is never clearer than in the boarding houses.

We believe that the boarding Houses of Marlborough College provide the bedrock upon which supported independence and youthful fellowship can be built. Pupils are helped to learn to treat each other and all members of the community with kindness, sensitivity and respect. “The emphasis on happy, thriving boarding communities has a strong influence on pupils’ actions and behaviour.” (ISI Inspection report, March 2018). Life in a community of over 900 adolescents is not without its inevitable ups and down, but as the last inspection noted “Pupils form very positive and productive relationships with each other, irrespective of culture and background. With the support of the house system, pupils emulate a family approach to building successful relationships, drawing on reflective and restorative practices to enable them to maintain supportive, successful relationships.”

Houses are staffed by teams of adults who work generously to sustain and uphold the health and happiness of young people in their care. We seek to work in genuine partnership with parents, based upon agreed values which elevate the well-being and prospects of young Marlburians. Housemasters and Housemistresses are supported by Resident Tutors, Dames and Tutors. Each pupil meets regularly with a Personal Tutor who provides age-specific guidance. Houses vary in character, composition and location but they all share the central ethos of our community.