Woodhouse Grove School was founded by the Methodist Conference in 1812 as a boarding school for the sons of Methodist Ministers. Now mainly a day school, we still provide accommodation for 120 boarders who keep the school alive seven days a week and provide a strong nucleus for our clubs and activities. Pupils can board from the age of 8 years old on a full or weekly basis; we also offer flexi boarding which offers an ideal solution to the demands of modern family life.
“The contribution made to pupils’ education by boarding at school is outstanding. Pupils experience the highest standards of care in comfortable surroundings and enjoy a range of activities which they find stimulating and rewarding.” (ISI)
Our boarders are housed in one of three houses dependent on age; senior boys, senior girls or mixed junior. Modern day boarding is very much a ‘home from home’ experience and our boarders’ comment that ‘Boarding is like being in a big family with all your brothers and sisters’.
Each boarding house is very well equipped and comfortable with modern fitted furniture in each room. The senior boys' boarding house comprises twin study bedrooms with en-suite shower facilities. There are also a number of single study beds available for the sixth form boarders. Senior girls and junior boarders have either twin or three bedded rooms with shared bathroom facilities nearby. All the boarding houses have communal areas with comfortable settees, sky TV, DVD players and games consoles. Each house has kitchenettes, where boarders can make drinks and snacks on an evening and at the weekend.
The Grove is set in a beautiful campus with plenty of space and facilities for our boarders to enjoy both during the school day and in their leisure time. After school clubs and activities include sport, drama, music, science, art, and chess clubs, to name but a few. In addition, during the week there are specialist themed evenings, quiz nights, bingo and a regular film club to keep them entertained. Activities on a Saturday are based in and around school, but there are excursions every Sunday, organised by the Boarding Activities Co-ordinator which include visits to theme parks, water sports, paintballing, laser quest, indoor skiing, go-karting, shopping trips and much more.
The boarders are looked after by a team of boarding staff who, under the guidance of the Senior Boarding Master, are dedicated to watching the personal progress and general welfare of our boarders and who are always available to offer advice and support. The School Chaplain lives on site too and is also on hand to offer pastoral support to boarders at any time.
The school’s Medical Centre is run by qualified nursing staff and the school doctor runs two surgeries a week.
There is a supervised study period from 6.30 pm every weekday evening which is set aside for individual study and homework.
Parents who reside overseas are expected to arrange guardians for their children. Such guardians should live within easy travelling distance of the school and be mature adults, able to offer accommodation to the pupil for leave and exeat weekends, half terms and main holidays where necessary. It is also helpful if they can attend parents’ evenings and give appropriate support and encouragement to the pupil. In an emergency, they would be expected to act as the parents’ representative. We also encourage boarders to have a Grove family ‘home-stay’, preferably from the day student community and invite Grove families to be on a ‘home-stay’ list.
In addition to the half term holidays, we have termly exeat and leave weekends. On leave weekends, boarders can go home to parents or guardians, but the boarding houses will remain open for those unable to go home or who are involved in sports fixtures. However, there will be no activity arranged at these times. On exeat weekends, boarders can go home to parents or guardians but the boarding houses will be closed from 7pm on Saturday after sports fixtures until 7pm on Sunday evening. There are usually two leave weekends in the spring term and one in the summer term, two exeat weekends in the autumn term and one in the summer term.
The broad national and international social mix provided by our overseas students enriches school life for all pupils. To help our overseas students feel welcome and part of the school community, we operate an Overseas Students Integration Policy (OSiP).
At Woodhouse Grove we have a dedicated ESOL department for our overseas students. It is the aim of the ESOL department to engage students in as interesting and useful classes as possible. Students should feel that ESOL is special for them, a place where they can practise their English in a relaxed and friendly environment. Students are encouraged to develop their English capabilities in the following areas: Composition (Grammar and Vocabulary), Reading, Listening and Speaking; all of these elements are important. Written work is set at regular intervals and, where possible, students are encouraged to incorporate any new grammar and vocabulary.
ESOL students in year 7 – 11 should attend at least two lessons of ESOL per week. If staffing and timetabling allows, this should be more. The main emphasis must be on improving grammar, vocabulary and writing skills. Listening and speaking skills can also be focussed on; however, these skills can and should be developed outside of the classroom during normal social interaction. Grammar and vocabulary can be delivered through the core text books that are used for each year group. Teachers have a choice of text books for each year group. Each text book offers suitable material delivered in an interesting and structured manner. Grammar and vocabulary learnt through the text books should be developed through regularly set written work.
All overseas students are encouraged to take the IELTS exam. However, if they have achieved a C grade or above at GCSE then it is not necessary for them to do this. It is impossible to fail an IELTS exam; all IELTS exams are graded out of 9. Students must achieve a 6.5 or above in order to meet most University entrance requirements. The school expects overseas students to achieve a 6.5 pass at IELTS to help students with their application to University.
At the start of term, ESOL students are strongly encouraged to enrol in Speech and Drama. It is expected that new overseas students, and existing students who continue to be weak orally, do Speech and Drama. This is seen as an essential part of their English language development.
The Overseas Students Integration Policy is a mentoring scheme which has been developed to bring together our British and Overseas students.
When an overseas student arrives at The Grove, they will be allocated an English speaking mentor who will be responsible for welcoming them to the school, encouraging them to speak English and introducing them to their friends.
Overseas students will have a local guardian where they go to stay during some of the holidays and the exeat weekends, but we also encourage them to have a ‘Grove family home stay’, so they can stay at the home of a day pupil for the weekend or for some of the holidays.
Activities outside school are an important part of a student’s integration into the school community. As such, boarders go on an organised activity weekend once a term. This is at an off-site venue and will usually involve team building activities to encourage teamwork, participation and integration.
Throughout each term, weekend activities are organised for Sundays. Boarders are encouraged to come up with new ideas for activities, but generally they include day trips shopping, paint-balling, theme parks, cinema and bowling.
But activities are not only confined to the weekend. During the week, the evenings are occupied with a variety of events over and above the normal school activities, plays, concerts and fixtures. Talent nights, bingo and quizzes are popular past-times and our boarders look forward to special themed meals in the dining hall.
Sport obviously plays an important part of school-life and inter-house competitions take place which involve both English and overseas students taking part in table tennis, badminton and football competitions.
It is assumed that one of the main reasons for overseas students coming to The Grove is to improve their English. To permit overseas students to speak their own language without restriction impairs their progress in English. As such, overseas students are encouraged to speak only in English most of the time. Although this is understandably difficult to achieve, we encourage our English speaking students to do all they can to support our overseas students in speaking in English and to be patient with them. There are a number of fun initiatives in place to ensure that international students only speak English around school.