Boarding is at the heart of St Leonards and we welcome full, weekly, flexi and occasional boarders from age 10-18. Each of the boarding houses has its own unique character, but an overarching, welcoming ethos ensures that boarding is always friendly, with an emphasis on a family atmosphere.
Over the past five years, our three boarding houses, Bishopshall, St Rule and Ollerenshaw, have undergone an extensive £4 million redevelopment, creating smart social spaces, state-of-the-art kitchens and comfortable study bedrooms, equipped for the demands of a 21st century education. Pupils live in a stylish country house setting, where bedrooms have sea views beyond the school playing fields.
A home away from home
At St Leonards, we provide a home away from home for 155 boarding students, who are cared for by their Housemaster or Housemistress, as well as a dedicated team of resident and non-resident House Tutors. This figure includes around 50% of the Sixth Form. Our boarders receive the very highest levels of pastoral care, giving them a safe, nurturing environment in which to make the most of what St Leonards has to offer. Boarding at St Leonards is overseen by our Head of Boarding, Mrs Julianne Pennycook, who has a wealth of experience working in independent education, including boarding. Most recently, she was named winner of the BSA Boarding Research Award 2023.
The welfare and development of the pupils is our number one priority. In addition to the pastoral care received at school, international pupils will have a UK-based guardian from the point at which they begin their studies until the point at which they leave St Leonards.
Boarders are encouraged to learn vital social and organisational skills by getting involved in the running of their house and in the setting and upholding of standards of behaviour. Our pupils have regular opportunities to provide feedback on house matters and propose and organise social events, trips and activities.
Camaraderie is a key part of life at St Leonards and, because they get to know pupils in different year groups and forge friendships with them, our boarders play a key part in spreading this spirit right across the School.
Each of the houses is equipped with study bedrooms, recently refurbished common rooms, state-of-the-art kitchen facilities, IT access and games rooms. With their impressive staircases, expansive communal areas and beautifully maintained and restored period details, our residences have a distinct 'country house' feel. Wireless internet access (monitored) is available, enabling our pupils to stay in contact with family and friends. Students receive nutritious meals and regular snacks, including brunch at the weekends, in Restaurant 1877. Weekend breakfasts are often eaten in house, to encourage a homely, relaxed feel, and Ollerenshaw's outdoor wood-fired pizza oven is well used and loved for social occasions.
The warm, family atmosphere that is present in the houses is the most important thing to us. However, the buildings themselves are something to shout about. The facilities may be modern but each of the majestic structures has its own fascinating history, including a stint for one house as the private residence of the Bishop of St Andrews.
Bishopshall was the first of our houses to undergo a complete redevelopment, with the project completed in August 2016. Ollerenshaw followed, with phases one and two of the refurbishment taking place in summer 2018 and 2019. Work commenced on St Rule in summer 2019, creating smart yet homely social spaces and a friendly, prep-school ethos for our younger boarders.
Many rooms have views of the sea, the hills of Fife or the iconic ruins of St Andrews Cathedral.
Full-time, weekly, flexi or occasional
Pupils can board full time, weekly or on a flexible basis, however nearly all boarders stay over the weekend and enjoy the opportunity to participate in a full programme of enriching activities and regular trips and visits.
There are no distinctions between day and boarding students at St Leonards - all pupils are part of the same friendly family. Day pupils therefore play a full part in boarding life too. In the Sixth Form they become members of one of the houses and socialise, relax and study there, and in the younger years, pupils are attached to one of our four day houses - Mull, Lewis, Harris and Skye - which sees them come together with boarders to compete in inter-house competitions ranging from sport, music and drama to debating. They also have the option to join in weekend activities and excursions.