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Boarding and House Life

Boarding and House Life

A 'home away from home' is what boarding pupils need to achieve their best and at Clayesmore that is what we deliver.

Our three boys' Houses and two girls' Houses are warm, 'family' environments where our boarders can socialise, work and have fun while being supported by experienced Houseparents, a strong pastoral team and academic staff who can help weather the storms of 'growing up' and support successful study. This pastoral care is further underpinned by exemplary medical care delivered by qualified nurses should boarders fall ill or require medical support.

Boarding at Clayesmore is about forging strong friendships, taking responsibility, accepting challenges and becoming independent. We want our boarders to leave the school with a good set of values and the foundations of confidence that will last a lifetime.

On Saturdays, boarders participate in LEX with the day pupils and form part of sporting and games teams in the afternoon. Sundays offer a wide range of trips and experiences too - but there is plenty of time to also unwind, rest and prepare for the week ahead in cosy dorms and common rooms. Exeats ( non-school weekends) also provide the opportunity for our international and overseas boarders to go on weekend trips with the school which are planned ahead and may include destinations such as London, Edinburgh or Paris.

Socialising within Houses and between Houses is important and many formal and informal events and dinners are planned for boarders throughout the year.

Many of our pupils like to start boarding as they move up through the Senior school as they are able to start to develop a sense of independence and personal responsibility which sets them in good stead for life away from home, at university or work.

Belonging to a House

All Clayesmore pupils, whether day or boarding, form part of each House community which ensures their friendships in the school are broad and diverse. Older pupils enjoy having responsibility for, and mentoring, younger pupils and all our students learn to treat others with compassion, kindness and respect in their 'home' at school. 

Day pupils use the House common rooms during the day where they can relax and socialise with their friends and have their locker space to use during the day.


Devine House - Boys

Devine House is located in the heart of the picturesque village of Iwerne Minster, an easy walk to the main school where there is a large day room allocated for Devine students. All boys are based in the Main House during the day and return to Devine in the evenings. Boarders have access to two large common rooms in the House.

The boarding house is the former village rectory where there is a wonderful garden with a small football pitch surrounded by trees. There are also two ponds over the spring that leads to the river Iwerne. Boys have a wonderful fire pit, created especially for them, and often spend evenings outside enjoying barbecues and outdoor activities in fine weather.

Mr Cédric Didier is the Housemaster who is ably supported by an assistant, a day and boarding matron and tutors.

Gate House - Boys

Gate House is conveniently located in the heart of the school campus, within easy reach of the teaching rooms, sports pitches and the sports centres. It is a super house with wide corridors, large common rooms and a fabulous courtyard which the boys can use. Mr Palacios, is the Housemaster and lives in the building with his family.

There are beds for 48 boarders and there are a similar number of day pupils attached to the House.

Boarders have access to two large common rooms and have use of the table tennis tables, pizza oven and outside tables in the courtyard. 

Mr Sam Palacios, Gate Housemaster


From the Head of House

I’m honored to represent Gate as Head of House, as I believe that it is the best and most friendly house in the school! Gate is the best because we have the most academic, sporty, and musical boys in the school: winning the house cup, house music, and virtually every house sports competition we have played in so far. These are only a few of the achievements which come to mind when I think about Gate. 

Gate house is a unique, exciting house which is great to be a part of! A day in the life of a gate boarder consists of Mr Palacios (Housemaster) waking us up at 7:15am… and, for the lazy among us… again at 7:30am! Once we are showered and looking our best, we drift over to breakfast and then school generally starts by 8:30am. The morning is not always easy, particularly during the dark, cold winter months and we often need a ‘pick me up’ by mid morning. If we are lucky enough, Mr Palacios and Mr Westlake (Assistant Houseparent) fry up tons of bacon in our courtyard - usually enough to feed the whole house twice! This lifts the atmosphere significantly within the house, which helps us get to the end of the week! To be honest, the rest of our engagements in house inevitably revolve around some kind of food whether it is biscuits, doughnuts and snacks from Mrs Everest (Matron) or a cheeky takeaway on a Saturday night. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the year is our December Hog Roast. Last year, we took down a whole pig in one sitting and we don’t intend on anything less this year!

What I also love about it is the friendly atmosphere which comes with being part of the Gate community. Since the first day of Year 9, everyone, especially all the House staff, have been so easy to talk to, making me feel at home from day one.

This is why I love Gate and why I’m so proud to be Head of House.

Josh P.

Manor House - Boys

Manor House is conveniently located at the heart of the school campus within easy reach of the teaching rooms, the sports centre and the games pitches.

There are beds for 50 boarders and there are a similar number of day pupils attached to the House. Boarding pupils have access to two large common room areas and to a games courtyard. Dorms are situated in a pupose built boarding house and range in size, with the youngest pupils having larger rooms with more beds.

Manor is a happy and busy House run by Mr Chris Burton who is ably supported by an assistant, a matron and tutors.


Mr Chris Burton, House Parent, Manor House

King's House - Girls

King's is located at the edge of the campus near the lake, woods, theatre and playing pitches, making it a lovely quiet House that feels like a home to all the girls. As a purpose-built boarding House, it offers everything both boarding and day girls require.

There are beds for 44 boarders and there are a similar number of day girls attached to the House.

All boarding pupils have access to the common room area and Sixth Form have their own additional kitchenette and sitting room area. 

Mrs Lydia Chmielewski is the Housemistress and she is ably supported by an assistant houseparent, matron and Tutors.

Mrs Lydia Chmielewski, Housemistress, King's House.

From the Head of House

"Due to its size and location, King’s feels like a real home. It is smaller than the other houses, so it is easier to adjust to senior school as well as connect with other year groups. We also have 'families', something unique to King’s, where one girl from each year group is put together to form a 'family' which especially helps the new students feel more confident around older students.

Something I personally love about King’s is that it feels like a proper home from home. It is tucked away from the rest of the school and all of the King’s girls are welcoming to everyone and always look out for each other. Whether it’s through our ‘Crumpet Frumpet Friday’, or the ability to create a cosy atmosphere, everyone in King’s is always there to help you out and make your day."

Georgia L.


Wolverton House - Girls


Wolverton House is situated on the top floors of Main House, a Victorian manor house built in the 1860s.

The larger part of the House is spread over the three upper floors, providing accommodation for girls in many different dorm types, from single rooms to one six bed dorm, commonly used for the youngest pupils. The dorms are all very different in character, ranging from high ceiling country-house style to cosy attic conversions and the girls welcome the individuality this allows. There are beds for about 50 boarders and there are a similar number of day pupils in the House.

Boarding pupils have access to a selection of lovely communal areas including the kitchen, breakfast room, common room and workroom, as well as the snug and post room. 

Mrs Emma Dorey is the Housemistress in Wolverton House who is ably supported by an assistant, a matron and a resident tutor. 

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