A calendar of events allows students to enjoy as much, or as little, organised activity as they choose.
The only compulsory weekend during the school year is the very first one in the Michaelmas term, where we run a full programme of activities for boarders and it is really important that they are all here to get to know each other.
On any other weekend, boarders are free to leave after their school commitments are complete on Saturday, and provided all the necessary parental permissions have been received. However, the majority of our boarders choose to stay.
After a busy week, Sunday is a chance to relax and catch up. Breakfast is replaced by brunch, which is provided from 10:30 to 12:00, and is an extremely popular meal. A trip runs every Sunday, which might be climbing or mountain biking, or possibly a cinema trip or laser quest. New trips are suggested by the boarders' council, and the list changes regularly to accommodate their wishes. Of course London is just 30 minutes away by train, and as long as parents have given their permission, Sixth Form boarders are allowed to spend the day there.
In addition to these routine trips, and access to the full programme of whole school trips and activities, there are a number of special events for boarders. These might include International Evenings, Valentine dinners, inter-house football and basketball, inter-house quizzes, tutor group dinners, theatre trips and overnight camping trips, to name just a few.
Aisher House: The Future Starts Here
Aisher House students recently visited the Victoria and Albert Museum's 'The Future Starts Here' futuristic design exhibition. They were able to explore the installation of interactive maze-like cross-laminated timber cubes (CLT) in The Sackler Courtyard.
The installation made from CLT aims to demonstrate how it can be used in housing and to illustrate the potential of carbon-neutral buildings. This gave them an appreciation of the materials being used in the construction of the new Aisher boarding house. CLT is an engineered, laminated wood, predominantly spruce, used to form the structural walls and floors. The wood is clad throughout with plasterboard linings to provide good fire protection.
The concept for the new 60-bed boarding house is to create a house without corridors, with rooms grouped around landings as social spaces, and a sense of a home rather than the feeling of a hotel.
The new Aisher House is planned as three linked two-storey pavilions, each about the same dimensions as Park Grange. The three pavilions form an L-shape enclosing the southwest corner of the Park Grange lawn, retaining as much open space as possible.
The design aims to sit comfortably beside Park Grange. The handmade brick at ground-floor level matches the stone tones of Grange Park and a buff-coloured tile hanging on the upper storey provides a textured and animated surface. The roof is of natural zinc, and the new boarding house is a low-energy building designed to BREEAM excellent standard.
Visiting the V&A exhibition gave the boarders a new insight into the construction process of their new house, and an exciting glimpse of the future