Boarding starts around age eight. It's optional, though most children want to because their peers already board or are about to. We operate a flexible system, which means anything from full-time boarding, to a couple of nights per week, to a single night here and there when there's something particular on. We offer a per-night boarding fee, meaning children are able to make the most of their favourite evening activities as and when they choose, and many busy families appreciate the flexibility this offers. Boarding parents are welcome to visit school as often as they choose.
Boarders are accommodated in bright and cheerful rooms in the purpose-built Foal Yard (Girls and Junior Boys). Current and former pupils never forget the pleasures of sleeping in a castle, nor do they forget the friendships forged in these exciting days.
The boarders are cared for by a dedicated team who look after their every need. The Boarding Team consists of our Headmaster and his wife, resident teachers, matrons and boarding assistants to ensure that the boarding supervision and pastoral care is of the highest standard. Each year the team is joined by resident gap students who at the moment are from Australia.
As well as school holidays, we have two exeat weekends, one in September and one in November.
At the beginning and end of each exeat, half-term and term we run accompanied trains between York Station and London King's Cross. You can arrange to use these trains through the Whole School Travel Coordinator at Ampleforth College, full details on request.
At St Martin's Ampleforth our boarders are well cared for. The pastoral care at our school ensures the welfare and well-being of each individual child. We have an experienced boarding staff who are always available to boarders. Children also have their tutors and, of course, a number of independent listeners who are available to talk to boarders. Boarders are regularly encouraged to give their opinions on boarding life through the Boarders 'JAW' meetings. There is also a Food Committee who meet with our Catering Manager with suggestions and comments on meals.
We ensure that parents and guardians are regularly kept informed of their child's welfare. The Boarding Staff are available to parents to discuss the happiness and welfare of their child.
Praise and reward are central to boarding life. There are regular treats for the 'tidy dorm' winners. Boarders are welcome to bring a special toy such as a teddy bear and photos to make their bed area more personal. We also ask that boarders bring their own duvet covers and pillowcases so that their bed will look very similar to their home bedroom.
New boarders are allocated a 'guardian angel' when they arrive to help them settle into school routines quickly and easily. The guardian angels, along with the dormitory prefects, assist the boarders to be comfortable and at home with all aspects of boarding life.
If a boarder's birthday falls in term time we do make their day special. On waking, the children are given a card from the Boarding team and a birthday hat. They wear the hat to breakfast where the rest of the boarders sing the school version of Happy Birthday in Latin. The children may wear the birthday hat all day if they so wish. At supper the birthday child has a special birthday tea finished off with a birthday cake.
Boarders are given their own email addresses to enable email with friends and families and have time in the evenings and at weekends to use the laptop computers to access and send email. We also have three pay phones around the school which receive incoming telephone calls. Boarders are encouraged to write home, and have access to paper and envelopes.
The use of mobile telephones is encouraged to keep in touch with families and friends. Mobile telephones cannot be used during school hours and are kept during the day in the mobile telephone cupboard. We do not allow the children to use their mobile telephones to access either the internet or social networking sites.