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About Boarding

Not so much a boarding school as a second home

Boarders are encouraged to play a full part in the life of the school, thereby developing their skills and interests and becoming confident young adults, ready to take their place in the world of university and work.

Boarders at Oswestry School make up about one third of our community. They come from both the UK and overseas, with around 20 nationalities represented. This international presence enriches the lives of those at the school, bringing a new dimension to the educational experience of our students and offering them a greater understanding of other cultures and religions.

Oswestry School values the dignity of each individual and promotes the development of character and learning through a commitment to high standards within a caring community. We recognise that all pupils have different talents and strive to ensure that every pupil has an equal opportunity to find and develop the strengths they possess. We believe that the development of character, creativity, intellect and spirituality are the primary aims of education.

We work together to create a happy and caring school community which is engaged in our local community and the wider world.

We pursue high standards in every area of school life. The boarding ethos is at the heart of all practice and relationships within the boarding houses as we strive to provide the very best for the young people within our care.

Daily Life

Daily life

Each boarding house is run by houseparents who lead a team of dedicated staff to care for the pupils in their charge. The staff are supportive and understanding, providing ongoing guidance throughout the students’ time at the school and ensuring that new boarders soon settle in with the existing pupils.

From Monday to Friday the boarding day starts at 7.30am when students prepare for the day ahead and go for breakfast in the school’s award-winning Refectory. From there they go to their form room for registration and to join with the day pupils. This is followed by lessons from 8.40am to 4.30pm. After school there is a variety of after-school clubs, activities and training sessions available, followed by the evening meal in the Refectory. The evening is devoted to supervised homework sessions and an evening break when house staff provide supper for the students; the older students are responsible for this themselves. Finally the students have some free time and prepare for bed at a set time, appropriate to their age.

Weekends and Social Events

Weekends and social events

A wide range of activities is available to boarders. Each house organises its own social events during the week and at weekends, which can vary from sporting competitions and quiz nights to theme food nights and barbecues. There is also a full programme of weekend trips and activities organised, including skiing at Chill Factory, shopping in Manchester, cinema trips, paintballing and many, many more.

Boarder's Handbook

Boarding Council and Boarders' Code of Conduct

We consult the boarders once each half-term on boarding and the activity programme. This is an ideal time for pupils to express their opinions, make suggestions and also to help organise future events and help us to develop boarding. Student input and feedback are really important!

We welcome all helpful suggestions as to how the boarding experience can be improved. The questionnaires are confidential and ensure that each pupil voice is heard. Both the Headmaster and both Deputy Heads are given access to the questionnaires once they are completed. If there are some things which cannot be changed, we will explain why.

Boarding Council meetings are held to provide students with information and to discuss any ideas or concerns which they may have. Here, representatives from each Boarding House are given the opportunity to meet a member or members of the Senior Management Team to discuss issues that concern them.

If you feel that a matter has not been dealt with to your satisfaction, you may make a formal complaint. Please click here to view the relevant policy or contact the school office.

Boarding Principles

Principles and Practice

  • The principles of boarding are in line with the broader aims of the school, and we celebrate boarding as a positive experience, providing boarders with academic and extra-curricular opportunities to further enhance their education.
  • We develop the whole person; intellectually, personally, socially and culturally by offering a wide range of sports, clubs, societies, activities and excursions.
  • We are an open, tolerant and trusting school, based on a mutual respect for all.
  • We safeguard and promote the welfare of each individual by providing a safe environment, regular personal social and health education sessions and through our pastoral care and mentoring.
Boarding Aims


  • We provide a welcoming family environment, and activities to foster house spirit and community, including our tribes and families, ‘buddies’ for new arrivals and house socials, competitions and excursions.
  • Although living together, we acknowledge the right of each other to privacy and to work undisturbed.
  • We develop boarders’ qualities of leadership and ability to work as part of a team, through regular group mentoring sessions and the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the house and school.

ISI inspection

Oswestry School has received an exceptional ISI Inspection report showing the school to be one of the best in Shropshire and the surrounding area with the school being awarded six top grades out of nine. ‘Excellent’ was awarded in: curriculum and co-curriculum; personal development; pastoral care; welfare; boarding and governance. The three further strands of pupils’ attainment, teaching and leadership and management were all adjudged ‘good’.

“The quality of boarding provision and care is excellent.”

“Outcomes for boarders are excellent.”

“Boarders are extremely happy.”

“They thrive in a positive atmosphere which enables them to develop confidence and a desire to pursue the highly varied academic and extra curricular opportunities the school provides.”

“Medical care is excellent.”

“The effectiveness of leadership and management of boarding is excellent.”

Inspection Report - Feb 2016   Intermediate Report - Feb 2012   Interim Report - May 2011  

Pastoral Care
Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care

All new students will be assigned to a current pupil who will look after them whilst they are new to the school. Pastoral care in the boarding houses is excellent, with each member of staff taking a personal interest in all their pupils. During the school day the pupils’ immediate care is provided by their form tutor. Class sizes are small, averaging 16, so each pupil is well known to all staff.

Students joining the Sixth Form are offered a structured two week programme of induction when guidance on subject choices, exercises in team building and leadership and general familiarisation will take place. During their time in the Sixth Form all students will be offered excellent support and guidance at many levels, not least with university/course applications, career guidance, interview technique, and understanding personal finance with qualified speakers coming into the school on a regular basis.

In each boarding house fortnightly academic and pastoral meetings take place where by the boarders are allocated to a houseparent or assistant houseparent to hold a one to one discussion; this allows an opportunity for pupil voice as well as providing a much needed foundation on which positive relationships between staff and pupils are built.

From such meetings, an inter-house competition programme has been established allowing for all pupils to gel and forge friendships. As a direct result, the pupils in the house feel part of a larger family. At the end of each meeting if the boarder has no school or boarding house debits then they are asked to choose from a list of rewards. These meetings are recorded and documented and were highly praised by the ISI Boarding Inspection in January 2012, considered as outstanding practice.

The school is non-denominational with a Christian ethos and as such the needs of many different faiths can be met. We are able to cater for students with special dietary needs and halal meat is available.


All overseas students require a guardian with whom they can stay during the half term breaks. The school is able to provide information of agencies who offer a guardianship service, though this is an agreement which should be entered into between the family/agent and the guardianship provider.