St Peter's 13-18
“Whether it’s in activities or just conversations, you’re always invited to be part of things. I’ve actually not had much chance to think about missing my parents very much!”
Natasha, Third Form Boarder
Third Formers Natasha and Emily are proud new members of The Rise family. With five years of boarding experience behind her, Natasha is no stranger to the lifestyle, whilst Emily has only just begun. Both agree, however, that the community here is something special.
“From day one, everyone wants you to get involved”, Natasha says, “Whether it’s in activities or just conversations, you’re always invited to be part of things. I’ve actually not had much chance to think about missing my parents very much!”
Natasha is particularly full of praise for her House Parent, Mrs Gillies (affectionately known as Mrs G), who has helped the girls settle in: “Mrs G has been an absolute star.”
“She’s like a second mum” Emily adds, “She’s always ready to talk to us about absolutely anything.”
With no previous experience of boarding at age 14, Emily would not be alone in perhaps needing a little more help settling in, but has in fact enjoyed the independence boarding affords above all else.
“I was actually expecting boarding to be quite strict and limiting” she says, “And I was worried that you might not have a lot of personal space, but there’s so much more freedom than I thought there would be here. People who don’t board have said to me that they wish they had the same chances to use the swimming pool or the gym. We get loads of extra time because we don’t have to travel anywhere.”
“Just those few extra minutes in bed make a big difference too!” Natasha adds.
I was worried that you might not have a lot of personal space, but there’s so much more freedom than I thought there would be here.
Emily, Third Form Boarder
For both girls, the value of extra time seems to be in sharing it with their housemates, and not just those their own age. “It does feel like we’re an extended family” says Natasha, “Even though there are people you might not be friends with if you didn’t live with them, everyone knows to respect each other and give each other space when you need it.”
Emily agrees: “Our relationship with the older pupils is basically the same as with the younger ones. It doesn’t really feel like they’re older. My friends at other schools will say they’re really scared of Sixth Formers, but they’re really not scary when you get to know them.”
The combination of that extended family with the extra time boarding allows is central to what Natasha enjoys about The Rise: “We all try to make the most of our evenings together. Depending on what we feel like, we might go to the gym or just have a movie and popcorn night. Saturday nights are the best because there’s no curfew – we can just stay up chatting and watching TV. This Thursday we’ll be going ice skating, and then shopping at the weekend.”
Community is also at the heart of Emily’s choice of the highlight of her first term of boarding: “House Sing has probably been the best part so far. It was really good to have everybody working together and having fun.”
With both girls firmly settled into boarding life, there’s little they disagree on about their experience so far - until it comes to the advice they’d offer next year’s new boarders.
“There’s nothing to be scared of”, Emily says.
“Unless you don’t label your food!” Natasha laughs.