Boarding and Day

Boarding life at Clayesmore closely resembles the atmosphere and diversity of a busy, happy family, with sixty per cent of our pupils boarding in one of our five houses, each of which is run by a team of House Staff, Matrons and Tutors.

Ensuring the happiness and welfare of every individual is of paramount importance. Pupils are guided, supported and protected with great sensitivity and care appropriate to their age, which means they can confidently get on with the business of developing their talents and achieving success.

All our pupils have every opportunity to take part in a vast range of co-curricular activities and pursuits in the evenings and every weekend, and there are two planned exeat weekends of freedom each term when they go home and realise how much fun they have at school!

Day pupils share every aspect of school life with the boarders and receive every bit as much of care and attention from House Staff. They are fully integrated into the house structure (we do not have separate day houses at Clayesmore) and are more than welcome to join in with House activities and events in the evenings and at weekends.

The school day begins at 8.15am and lasts until 5.15pm, Monday to Friday, with a full programme of lessons, sports and activities, and from 8.15am until 4.00pm on Saturdays.

In order to help day pupils get to school, Clayesmore operates a fleet of its own smart, liveried mini-buses, serving an extensive area including Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester, and Salisbury as well as the many outlying villages and the nearby towns of Blandford Forum and Shaftesbury.

The House Structure

There are three boys’ Houses: Devine, Gate and Manor and two girls’ Houses: King’s and Wolverton, at Clayesmore.

Each House comprises approximately 45-50 boarding pupils, and a number of day pupils, across the age range of 13-18. All the Houses, with the exception of Devine, are positioned within the school grounds. Devine is the former rectory, located in its own large country garden in the village of Iwerne Minster, which is adjacent to the school grounds. Church Path acts as a very popular annexe to Devine, where senior students spend some time out of the main Boarding House in three charming terraced cottages with an Assistant Housemaster and his family.

The Bower is a recent and beautiful extension to the Main House where Wolverton girls already reside, which has enabled us to take another 14 girl boarders. As with Church Path, the girls remain full members of their House proper, and live under the immediate care of an Assistant Housemistress.

Each House has its own atmosphere and “feel”, with a balance of homely comforts and the sort of facilities needed by busy, hard-working and hard-playing teenagers. 

The Tutor System

Though the House staff are chiefly responsible for pupils, everyone is allocated to a tutor group and tutor meetings are an important fixture in the weekly timetable. This is a time for the discussion of grades, exam results, future targets, option choices and personal concerns.

The aim is to build a mutually respectful working relationship, so the pupil can receive sound advice on getting the best out of their time at Clayesmore, and the tutor can develop a personal interest in each individual and support them fully.


There is a fully staffed, self-contained medical centre in the centre of the school grounds which is staffed 24 hours a day in term time by a team of nurses. One of the school doctors visits Clayesmore every day and specialist appointments for follow up, if required, are also arranged via the Sister in charge.

The Medical Centre provides health care in the widest sense and pupils are welcome to call in to discuss worries and issues as they wish in their free time. If parents have any specific health concerns for their child or if the child has a particular medical condition, they are welcome to discuss this in advance with the medical team who will do everything they can to provide whatever support and assistance is needed.