Popular Worcestershire girls' school offers weekly boarding for Gloucestershire families

With its flexible weekly boarding options, Malvern St James Girls' School caters for busy, modern families by empowering students to take ownership of their working week — and helping their parents to navigate the ever-conflicting demands of family and work life.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Weekly boarding helps Malvern St James students achieve a better work-life balance, focusing on their education and school commitments in the week and family time at the weekend.

One of the region's top all-girls' schools, Malvern St James in Worcestershire, is an attractive choice for Gloucestershire families seeking a single-sex education for their daughter.

Not least because it offers weekly boarding — a flexible option that promotes a positive work-life balance by encouraging students to focus on their schoolwork and extra-curricular activities during the working week, while enjoying downtime with their family at the weekend.

With weekly boarders arriving at school on Monday morning and returning home on Friday evenings, headmaster Dr Gareth Lloyd explains that Malvern St James's weekly boarding option gives students a greater degree of independence, allowing them to take ownership of their working week to balance their academic, enrichment and social commitments.

'How they do this will depend on their age,' he continues. 'For younger girls, this means that prep — or homework time — will be supervised with an adult who will be able to help them academically and encourage them to use their time effectively. Followed by plenty of time playing games or an activity such as baking or crafting, having dinner together and fun socials like karaoke!

'Older girls get plenty of time to make best use of our study facilities, including the library which is open until 9pm every weeknight, and the gym — also open until 9pm.

'They are also able to work collaboratively on projects with friends, join in evening enrichment activities like enterprise, debating, or academic lectures and Somerville Suppers; as well as just being able to spend downtime with friends, shooting the breeze and dreaming of the future — it’s surprising how many good ideas and ambitions are formulated this way!'

It's not just students who benefit from weekly boarding, though — for parents, it offers a way to juggle the competing demands of modern life, allowing them to be fully present at work and prioritise their health and wellbeing during the week, and emotionally available for family time at the weekend.

Dr Lloyd elaborates: 'Most of us acknowledge that we parent more effectively when we get time to meet our own needs as well as everybody else’s, and weekly boarding allows parents to create the space for their resolutions to really happen.'

Friendships flourish in the boarding environment, too, with students forming close bonds within their peer group, as well as acting as role models for younger girls and being mentored themselves by the older ones.

Dr Lloyd says: 'This sisterhood concept is what all-girls' school is really about — making everyone feel that they belong, that they are valued and that they all have something unique and significant to offer.'

Boarding with other students also encourages face-to-face interactions, giving students more opportunities to catch up with their friends in-person instead of through messaging apps or social media, thus helping them to grow in social confidence.

Charlie, a Year 12 student at Malvern St James, spoke about the strong community feel as a weekly boarder: 'Everyone gets on and there are always people looking out for you, praising your achievements and holding you up when you need it.

'Everyone's rooms are very much their own personalised space, but everyone mixes throughout the evenings. You can guarantee that if you don't leave your room for the whole evening, there will be a search party of girls to find you and make sure you are okay.

'I never feel homesick because there is simply too much going on.'

Malvern St James students can board from Year 3 upwards. The school has a dedicated boarding team of experienced housemistresses, house staff and boarding graduates who are all on hand to help students navigate school life.

Parents interested in weekly boarding at Malvern St James can find out more by contacting the school's director of boarding, Anouska van Ravenstein, at ravena@malvernstjames.co.uk.

In partnership with Malvern St James Girls' School  |  malvernstjames.co.uk

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