Boarding has been an essential feature of Harrogate Ladies’ College since the College’s foundation. It remains so today.
HLC is “home” to many of our girls. Over half of our 11-18 girls’ section is made up of boarders and a significant number of our day girls also take advantage of our flexi-boarding facilities during their time at the School. All this has a profound impact on the nature of our life here, for all our pupils, whether they are boarding or day, whether they are seniors or juniors.
The College exudes a particularly strong sense of care for all its pupils because of the boarding. We take our in loco parentis responsibilities very seriously. We ensure that all aspects of our pupils’ lives are looked after. This has a particular impact on the nature of our pastoral care.
We provide for all our pupils, whatever their age, an environment in which they can flourish as individuals. We build on their strengths and, like any good parent, develop the confidence of our pupils. Equally, we are on hand to deal with the squalls and showers that life anywhere brings. The dedicated nature of our staff ensures that every pupil is well looked after. Each one has at least one special person to whom she or he can relate.
All this is even more strongly emphasised in our actual boarding community.
“I’m a Day Girl, but my Mum often says she rarely sees me as I’m always spending time with boarding friends!”
We have five boarding Houses. Each one is a distinctive and, it has to be said, grand Edwardian building. The Houses have all been converted to provide excellent, modern accommodation for our girls. Younger pupils will share rooms with two or three other girls, but older girls will share with one other person, and by the Upper Sixth the majority have their own room.
Each House has its own Housemistress and, depending on its size, one or two assistant Housemistresses. They reside within the boarding Houses and so there is always an adult presence in the House. Other, non-resident teaching staff assist with evening duties.
Housemistresses take particular responsibility for the girls in their Houses and they maintain close contact with parents. Assistant Housemistresses assist with these responsibilities, while non-resident staff provide extra supervision and, when possible assistance with prep or other issues. All senior members of staff take a keen interest in our boarders and the Principal, Rhiannon Wilkinson, has significant experience of boarding life.
Boarders are allocated to one of our boarding Houses – Armaclare, Clarence, Lancaster, Lincoln, or Tower. Armaclare, Clarence, Lancaster and Lincoln are situated in the heart of the College. Tower House stands a little further away from the main part of the School and is where Upper Sixth girls live. It is a marvellous staging post for them, helping them with the transition from the highly structured boarding of their years up to GCSE to the independence they will have when they move on to university. In the Spring term there is a ‘You and Uni’ course available in Tower for all Upper 6 girls.
Each House provides for all aspects of a girl’s life in College. Girls live in their Houses outside of school hours, although the main school buildings are open well into the evening to allow them access to the Library and other academic facilities for their prep. The main meals of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are eaten in the School’s main dining room, although each House has excellent kitchen facilities to allow girls to prepare snacks and the like at other times. In Tower House, girls make their own breakfast and many of their own meals in their ultra-modern kitchen. Facilities in all the Houses allow girls to socialise together and provide them with the opportunity to get on with their work in suitably peaceful conditions. HLC has its own Health Centre on site. It is staffed round the clock by a trained nurse. A local, female, GP visits the College to provide us with regular surgeries.
Ordinary school life takes up much of the time of all girls. We work hard to allow all our boarders to enjoy life to the full. Outings are arranged to local cities, such as York and Leeds. There are regular trips to the cinema and theatre in Harrogate. Girls are encouraged to use the excellent sporting facilities we have on site, and they also have access to our musical resources. The Assistant Housemistresses arrange a programme of both fun and more serious activities on at least one evening every week and each weekend. Sixth Formers are allowed a degree of controlled independence to enable them to develop the skills and resources they will need for the next stage of their lives.
We have every confidence that boarding at HLC is a very positive experience. It is based on the values that underpin all aspects of our life in College and it is supervised in such a way that girls are allowed to flourish as individuals. Our boarders are extremely self-possessed, poised and confident young women who are very well prepared for the diverse challenges of university and adult life. All the evidence indicates that our boarders make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead of them.
“Flexi-boarding is the ideal solution for our family – it allows the girls to immerse themselves fully in school life without the time constraints of bus deadlines, while also allowing us to see them regularly, catch up with their news and be part of their school life.”