Westminster has a lively and supportive boarding community. With approximately 180 pupils registering to board each year, boarding life is an integral part of Westminster’s identity and is rooted in the history of the School.

Every Westminster pupil belongs to one of the School’s houses, which are each named after people historically connected to the School. There are 11 houses in total, six of which have boarders as well as day pupils and all of which have a mix of boys and girls. Purcell’s is a girls-only boarding house; College, Grant’s, Rigaud’s, Busby’s and Liddell’s are mixed boarding houses. All year groups are represented in each house. There is a strong sense of community between the houses as well as within each house, as all the boarding buildings – with the exception of Purcell’s – are situated around Little Dean’s Yard. Read more about the houses.

Boarding at Westminster has many benefits. It allows pupils to take full advantage of the School’s extensive evening programme of concerts, plays, sport and lectures, and also gives boarders the opportunity to take part in many external academic and cultural pursuits in the evenings and at weekends. The School’s location right in the centre of London offers pupils access to an unmatched choice of restaurants, shops, cinemas, galleries, theatres and so much more. All this variety right on our doorstep means boarders can make the most of their independence, and pursue and develop their own interests.

Without the need to factor in travel to and from School, boarding can offer up more time to fit in studying and extra-curricular hobbies, or indeed some much needed downtime. Boarding also allows pupils to spend more leisure time with their friends in the various social spaces, as well as getting to know boys and girls from outside their classes and year groups.

Who can board?

In the Lower School (Years 9 to 11), boys who are resident in the UK can board during term time. Lower School boarders return home on a weekend, either on a Friday evening or after Saturday school, depending on the week.

In the Upper School (Years 12 and 13), anyone can board during term time, and some boarders choose to remain in School over the weekend and board on a full-time basis. The School welcomes international boarders in the Upper School.

Boarding Life

The School hosts many house-specific and whole-community events for boarders, and pupils can themselves suggest ideas for things to do on an evening and at weekends.

From the regular boarders’ Sunday brunch, with its infamous pancakes, to pizza-and-film nights, from karaoke to salsa dancing, from clay modelling to group sports, there is always something fun and inclusive going on. At the end of each term, housemasters and tutors often run boarders’ outings, to restaurants or the cinema or to take part in an activity like go-karting or ice-skating, as a way of celebrating the time spent together before pupils depart for the Exeat.

Equally, boarding provides opportunities for pupils to relax at School with their friends. After a busy week at School, this is often exactly what pupils need to wind down. There are areas designed for boarders to listen to music together and watch movies. Every house has a common room for the pupils to gather and spend time with one another, with games options such as pool, table football and chess; one of the boarding houses even has a roof terrace and garden and often the entire boarding community is invited to enjoy the space together.

Each house has its own community life and stages annual concerts and plays, competes in sporting competitions, and organises social outings and events for all pupils, and boarders can be involved as much and as little as they wish. Houses also celebrate international festivals that reflect the cultural heritage of the school community; recently pupils have celebrated Chinese New Year with traditional food and decorations and Guy Fawkes Night with sparklers and sausages.

To manage homework, research and revision, all boarders have a structured prep session every evening, with the support of housemasters and tutors. The boarding houses are all equipped with dedicated study areas and there is filtered internet access in every pupil’s room, for any device that needs it. In addition, the School’s library is staffed until 9.00pm in term time. After supper, pupils can visit the Library to study, and use its wealth of physical resources: fiction, nonfiction, DVDs in English and other languages and comics. Pupils can also access the Library’s online resources from anywhere in School, and most of these are also available from home. Pupils can also visit the Manoukian Music Centre for individual and group practice at this time.

The School’s own Sports Centre is a ten-minute walk from the main campus, and is open every week day after lessons, from 4.30pm to 6.00pm, and on three mornings a week before School for those who wish to use the gym (known as the fitness suite). On Monday to Thursday, boarders can also access the fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio and rowing suite from 8.00pm to 9.00pm, for their workouts as well as some supervised activities, like football on Monday evenings or table tennis. Please see our sports pages for further details about our facilities.

Care and support

We aim to protect and support all our pupils, helping them to develop into healthy, fulfilled and resilient people, and making sure they feel safe and enjoy their time at Westminster.

The School has a strong pastoral network that is overseen by the Under Master (who is also the School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead) and includes the Safeguarding Team, housemasters, matrons and heads of year, as well as welfare professionals who include the Chaplain, members of the Counselling Team, the Head of RSHE, the School Nursing Sister and the School Medical Officer. There is a full-time School Counsellor, two full-time members of teaching staff with a foundation certificate in Counselling, visiting counsellors and external links to the Brent Centre who are all available to offer therapeutic support to pupils; the Chaplain also plays an important role in ensuring the welfare of the community. The matrons and the School’s surgery, which is staffed by the School Nursing Sister and other medical staff, provide medical support; boarders also have access to regular GP surgeries that are hosted in the Surgery.

Every one of our six boarding houses has a house team comprised of a housemaster, resident tutor and a resident matron, as well as a team of tutors, with each tutor taking responsibility for a group of pupils from the same year group. The well-established community of houses enables a strong, well-integrated system of pastoral care, to ensure the needs of each individual pupil are met. In addition, every year senior pupils in each house are nominated by housemasters to be Peer Supporters, providing additional support and advice to their peers. Peer supporters receive a weekend of training with the School Counsellor and Director of Upper School.

Head of International Pupils

The School appoints a Head of International Pupils, who is also a member of teaching staff. Their main responsibilities are to oversee provision for international pupils in the School and, under the guidance of the Under Master, to assist the School’s pastoral team. They also have particular regard for the involvement of international pupils in the School’s social and academic life, and they organise and manage weekend boarding events and other events designed to promote integration.

Please refer to our Pupil Welfare page for more detailed information about the pastoral resources available to pupils, and RSHE and Wellbeing at the School.

Find out when your child is able to join the School using the personalised age checker and timeline.

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