An Introduction To Boarding At The Dragon There are four junior boarding houses - three for boys and one for girls. These houses are homes for between 65 and 75 eight and nine year old children in Years 4 and 5. The houses themselves are North Oxford family houses, and the houseparents and their families live in and amongst a maximum of twenty Dragon children. There is also a resident matron, who is usually an 18 or 19 year old girl on a gap year. She helps with the domestic side of life, and acts as something of an older sister to the children. In addition to their pastoral duties, the houseparents are also academic tutors. The childrenâ€™s teachers will keep in contact with houseparents both informally and via progress reports. Houseparents go through these reports with the children and parents, and follow up on them as necessary.
Who are the Boarders? Boarders are very much the heart of the school, and they benefit from being with children from a wider range of backgrounds than is present in more traditional boarding schools. We have children from local, national and international backgrounds. About a quarter of our boarders are Londonbased and another quarter are from
Oxford and surrounding counties. The remainder come from further afield; 19% are from British families living abroad.
The Boarding Life Unlike many Prep schools, our boarding houses are not just used at night time. The children are in and out of them throughout the day, and the houseparents get to know them extremely well and very quickly! The children return to the houses after breakfast, at mid-morning for “bunbreak”, lunchtime and at tea-time for cakes and drinks, and are often around the house and garden in their free-time.
Bunbreak back at house
At 4.15 p.m. when the school day ends, the children return to their houses for afternoon tea. After tea they may have a club (organised termly) or free time. Following supper, the children attend a staff-supervised prep.
Year 5 prep
Each boarding house has several members of teaching staff attached to it as “dorms takers”. They will meet the children after prep and take them for an activity; perhaps ‘dodgeball’ in the gym or a swim.
On other evenings it might be time for getting out good old-fashioned board games.......
Saturdays & Sundays There is normal school on Saturday morning until lunchtime. In the afternoon there are activities for the junior boarders (eg judo, climbing, cooking). Alternatively, unless they are involved in matches against other schools, they are also free to go out with their parents from 12.30 for the rest of the day.
Children can in fact go out with parents and friends on all but five Sundays in the school year. Three of these are the first Sundays of term (only three days after the start of each term). On these weekends the boarders have a very full programme often organised around the individual houses doing things together.
Children are free to go out after the School Service (c. 11.00am) on Sundays. Some go out most Sundays, some every two or three weeks and some only at exeats. Whilst a lot of children are out with parents or their friendsâ€™ parents, we always have 80-100 children remaining at school, who do a variety of fun activities (see Boardersâ€™ Weekends leaflet). Junior House children have an expedition or activity in school arranged especially for them every Sunday afternoon. Generally, Sundays are a mixture of relaxed time in the house and an activity.
Keeping In Touch All the children have their own email address and can send or receive emails on computers around the school. The two computers in the house are the ones they will probably use the most. In addition, each of the boarding houses has a separate telephone line for children to use and for parents to ring them. Houseparents, matrons and indeed the children themselves reasonably reliable at taking messages and finding each other! The children do not need money or cards as they are given a pin number, which allows us to bill parents for all calls made. Mobile phones are not allowed at school.
Birthdays Birthdays are special times and we like to celebrate them in House. Children whose birthday falls during the termtime, or close to the start or end of term are given a special birthday tea. Parents are always welcome to attend.
The First Ten Days
The new boarders settle in surprisingly quickly and this is helped by keeping them very busy, particularly over the first ten days.
the boardersâ€™ barbecue, held on the second Sunday and to which parents are also invited, provides evidence of the links developing between the children, their parents and the Dragon staff.
The first weekend is only three days into term and on the Sunday John and Wendy Baugh take all the new boarders on a tour of Oxford, including a trip up the River Thames. By the second weekend, the routine of school life is becoming established and
Is boarding for you? Coming to see round the Dragon is obviously the first step. Children usually make their first visit between one and two years before they join us. This is the Dragon litmus paper test. Does s/he go red with excitement or white with horror?! If children are going to come so far from home and really thrive, they need to be happy boarders, so it is important to see that they are enthusiastic about the idea. After this visit a lot of talking will take place in the family, as it is important that you all agree on your decision. We recognise that this is an important decision for parents and the Registrar will help you reach an informed conclusion as to whether and when your child should come to the Dragon. In the term prior to their arrival we very much like the children to come for an overnight stay. This will be in the house they will be joining and gives them a chance to meet the other children, house staff and experience the daily routine.
Junior Houses At the Dragon Junior Houses take the names of the houseparents. On arrival in the September, typically half the house will consist of new eight-year-olds. The other children will have completed their first year and help the new children settle in.
STUART-CLARK’S (14 Bardwell Road) Houseparents: Mike & Sally Stuart-Clark Mike teaches Maths and is not only an Old Dragon himself, but also the son of a former Dragon housemaster. They have 3 children, Amelia (20), Rosie (17) and Isabel (6), along with a very friendly black lab called Dylan. Their door has a warning for visitors: “Do not annoy the Dragons for you are small and crunchy and go well with ketchup!”
NICHOLSON’S (26 Bardwell Road) Houseparents: Angus & Becky Nicholson Angus is Head of Design & Technology and is also in charge of sailing. Becky teaches Art part-time at the Dragon. They have three children, Freddie (8) and Rory (5), both at Lynams (our pre-prep) and Louis (2). Watch out for the stone dragon on the doorstep. There’s a warning above – ‘Beware of the Dragon’!
WILSON’S (28 Bardwell Road) Houseparents: Richard & Anna Wilson. Richard teaches Geography and is also coaching lots of sports (especially cricket!) They have one son, Alfie (2), and a baby daughter called Poppy. They also have a dog, Maisie, who is incredibly friendly and loves everybody. They are always very excited to welcome new Dragons into their Den.
WHITTY’S (5 Charlbury Road) Houseparents: Emma & Andrew Whitty. Emma teaches Science and Year 2 games at Lynams, and together with her husband Andrew, previously ran the Year 6 girls’ boarding house. Andrew is fully involved not only in the house but also with the school’s Activities programme. They have a lovely, friendly cat called Evo who loves being fussed over by the children. Whitty`s has the motto “ Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together”.
For further information about Boarding please contact: Desmond Devitt, Registrar Telephone: 01865 315405 E-mail: email@example.com Dragon School, Bardwell Road, Oxford OX2 6SS
The Dragon School Trust Ltd is registered as a charity, no. 309676, and as a limited company, no. 524331, at the above address