What to Expect from Boarding at Woodbridge School
At Woodbridge our boarders are at the heart of everything we do. We have a community unlike any other school, with one traditional, co-educational boarding house, which provides a truly bespoke, family experience. Our boarders enrich the lives and expand the perspectives of our entire student community. There is a real sense of belonging at Woodbridge, where every pupil is known and valued and ‘School House’ very much represents an extended home.
However, boarding at Woodbridge is much more than a kind and nurturing setting. It is an educational experience that provides a foundation for life. We equip pupils with the teaching and facilities they need to attain academic excellence inside the classroom, whilst also offering a plethora of opportunities beyond the classroom walls. We firmly believe that educational excellence is much more than just attaining high grades in exams. We prepare each boarder with the skills and attributes they will need to succeed when they complete their studies with us and embark on life beyond school.
We are looking for pupils who have a desire to explore new talents and passions and experience new opportunities. Children who want to learn and who are excited by the prospect of the new opportunities that await them, will fit right in at Woodbridge. We celebrate the curious and the creative, the passionate and the driven!
School House is conveniently located, both physically and metaphorically, right at the heart of our beautiful Senior School Site. The school is just a ten minute walk from the delightful, historic market town of Woodbridge, providing a safe and secure environment in which to experience British culture.
Recently voted as one of the top ten safest and happiest places to live in the UK, Woodbridge is the perfect location to explore and immerse yourself in English Life.
We are well served by road and train, with easy links to London, Stansted and Cambridge. Woodbridge has its own mainline train station, with regular services from London Liverpool Street, Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough. The station is just a ten minute walk from the Senior School.
We believe that academic success and pastoral care are inextricably linked. In order to flourish academically, it is necessary for young people to feel good about themselves and their surroundings. Pastoral care at Woodbridge therefore involves the overall nurturing of individual students in a caring, supportive and mutually respectful environment.
To achieve this outcome, our very carefully constructed formal policies are enhanced by the care that each member of staff brings to the school. The forming of excellent professional relationships between staff and students is central, and established through understanding each child’s needs, hopes, and fears in order to guide them successfully towards their goals and aspirations.
Co-Curricular and Activities
Here at Woodbridge, we are strong believers in setting pupils up for life by offering a diverse cultural and co-curricular programme to all boarders. We place equal importance on what happens both inside and outside the classroom. We prepare pupils with the skills and attributes that will enable them to thrive in an ever more competitive world. This means that excellent academic achievement is just one part of the outstanding educational experience we provide. We immerse pupils in a truly holistic education which opens the doors for pupils to pursue many new passions and talents.
For boarders, we provide full weekends of activities. These range from educational trips, and house events, to soirees and recreational outings. We also recognise the value of taking time out for quiet contemplation or relaxation; we ensure that our weekends are both varied and purposeful.
We believe that extra-curricular activities are central to the all-round development of our pupils and we aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for pupils to enrich their lives both inside and outside school.
On Friday afternoons, classroom activity ends and activities for all begin, giving pupils the chance to participate in an array of co-curricular opportunities, such as the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), the Sports Leadership Award Scheme, experience the duties of a theatre technician, or enjoy photography – just to name a few. We encourage pupils to choose an activity that will allow them develop new skills whilst also challenging them.
Boarding House Facilities
We celebrate our historical and characterful boarding house and significant investment has enabled us to provide an excellent modern environment in which students can live, work and thrive. The comfortable and well equipped social areas allow students to mix at appropriate times, the well-stocked kitchen area supplements the excellent school dining, and there are calm areas for working, and safe, comfortable bedrooms.
Senior School Facilities
Set in 40 acres of stunning wooded grounds, the Senior School offers outstanding facilities for every interest. Extensive grass sports pitches for rugby, football, and cricket, as well as AstroTurf pitches for hockey and tennis are all on the school campus. Indoor sports facilities include a multi-purpose gym, indoor cricket nets, and courts for sports such as badminton and basketball.
Teaching facilities include the stunning modern Belstead Centre and the Sixth Form Centre, which is exclusively for those pupils studying their A Levels. Both state-of-the-art facilities have been built within the last ten years.
Those with a love of art and design will find our facilities fully equipped with a photographic studio, pottery kiln and Sixth Form studios akin to an Art School. Our Design Technology department has been extensively refurbished within the last five years and includes a computer suite for CAD/CAM drawing, as well as fully equipped workrooms with state-of-the-art machinery.
We have an onsite professional theatre with a seating capacity of 330. It has played host to the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Royal Ballet, as well as numerous local theatre companies. Students are fortunate to experience daily drama lessons in such a fantastic space, as well as having the opportunity to perform on stage for theatre productions.
Our Music School, known as the Britten-Pears Music School, was refurbished in 2017. The music complex boasts a fantastic performance space as well as individual teaching rooms. Pupils now have the advantage to learn composition on one of a range of Apple computers.
Other buildings of note include the School Chapel, built in 1927 by pupils of the school; a traditional Cricket Pavilion, which is a centre point for English post-match teas and the annual sports day; and Maryott House, formerly classrooms, and now the administrative hub of the school and the first port of call for visitors to Woodbridge School.
Boarding Key Facts
• No exeat weekends with the exception of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend
• No Saturday school
• One co-educational boarding house
• Boarding from Years 9-13 (ages 13-19)
• Orientation week prior to the first term
• Dedicated and experienced staff providing exceptional pastoral care
• Full weekends of diverse and cultural activities
Prior to the start of the Michaelmas (Autumn) term, each new overseas boarder is asked to attend our one week SCHOLA course (Social, Cultural, Orientation, and Language Assessment). New students will be given a complete and thorough introduction to Woodbridge, their new boarding house, fellow students and the surrounding area, all in a relaxed and informal manner to help with settling in.
Each boarder is also assigned a day student buddy who will provide further support and advice during the first weeks of the boarder’s time at Woodbridge.
English for Speakers of an Additional Language (EAL)
We are fortunate at Woodbridge to have a significant community of international students, who come to us from across the world. We are fully committed to integrating all students into our school community and we will support you with your learning to ensure that language is not a barrier to progress and learning.
Our EAL department is here to help improve boarding students’ linguistic skills. The main objectives are to facilitate communication; develop cultural and geographical awareness; integrate wholly into mainstream lessons and to set pupils up to achieve the necessary qualifications to access higher education.
Through regular assessment, EAL students will be carefully monitored and if it is determined that a pupil requires extra support then we will advise the parents. Various members of staff, including the EAL co-ordinator, can provide advice in order to support the pupil effectively.
Home Office regulations require that all overseas student studying at Woodbridge have an educational guardian.
Woodbridge School insists that every student whose parents are resident abroad must have a suitable guardian living in this country. Guardians must be over 25 years of age and live close to the School. We will write to the guardians once they have been selected by the pupil’s family.
For parents who are unable to appoint a suitable guardian from their own family or friends, we refer them to the AEGIS website (www.aegisuk.net). Woodbridge School is not able to arrange the appointment of a guardian for pupils; parents are responsible for this and for the welfare of their child whilst the child is under the care of their guardian.
What Former Boarders Say
Former boarders returning to Woodbridge often say that their time at School House provided them with an invaluable and unique experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Here’s what a few of our boarders had to say:
“For me getting to know new people is usually hard but here the sport has really helped; making friends by working with others.”
“The boarding house gives us time to get our work done with support and then socialise too. I really like the boarding house environment.”
“It was really easy to settle into the boarding house as you meet lots of new friends and during the first week we did lots of activities to help us speak to different people.”
Delicious and Nutritious Meals
A delicious and nutritious range of options for breakfast, lunch and dinners are available as standard for boarders in our Senior School dining hall. Don’t just take our word for it; take a look at our current weekly menus. Although all meals are provided for, our boarding house is equipped with its own well-stocked kitchen space.