Senior School Boarding

“Pupils thrive in the boarding community as part of an international mix of pupils, especially in the sixth form where they develop their sense of being global citizens as they share in the international range of cultures. The school is successful in their aim to provide a safe environment in which pupils can recover from mistakes and move on.”

ISI Report 2018


“We wish to thank you and all the staff at Ardingly for the amazing job you have done and are doing for our children and for us families. We appreciate the extraordinary decision of the College to keep boarders on site giving them the opportunity to live a life as normal as possible in this historical moment when, unfortunately, there is very little normality. We all appreciate the great effort you are making to give at least this part of the new generation the chance to have a social life in a protected, safe and beautiful environment.”

Boarding Parent, in response to how Ardinlgy College has dealt with the pandemic. Lent 2021


A School and a Home

Boarders are surrounded by a family of house staff and fellow students for support and companionship. Weekends are for sport, activities, socials, relaxation, and catching up with friends and family.

At Ardingly College, our boarders regard their house as a second home where they learn to become more independent, surrounded by a community of friends.

Students live amongst a mix of personalities, nationalities and interests, developing a wider knowledge of others, and an understanding of difference and tolerance to equip them for today’s world.

Our Head of Boarding is responsible for the boarding community and is supported by an experienced team of Housemasters, Housemistresses, House Tutors and Matrons. Boarding life is structured to complement academic studies as well as providing a fun, sociable, nurturing, caring, and enriching experience.


Boarding Promotes Independence

Boarding is a stepping stone to independence, and an opportunity for students to learn to take care of themselves before gaining full independence at university.

Our focus at the beginning of the year is settling in, and this is achieved quickly through house socials and team-building events. It does not take long for new boys and girls to become fully immersed in school life and develop a strong sense of belonging.

“There is a good induction process for new boarders, who are quickly integrated into the boarding system,’ and ‘The quality of boarding is excellent.”

ISI Report 2018

Parents are encouraged to be part of their child’s house and social events are organised through the Parents’ Association. Life in the house can be followed through their respective Twitter accounts.

Boarding Life

Weekday Evenings

During the week there is a structured evening programme:

  • 5.30 pm – End of school day
  • 5.45 – 6.30 pm – Dinner
  • 6.45 – 8.45 pm (with 15 minute break) Homework or reading in studies supervised by tutor team
  • 8.45 pm – Social time
  • 9.45 – 10.45 pm – Depending on age, lights out.


A typical weekend will see 200 boarders remain on campus. All on-site facilities are at their disposal and, alongside sporting fixtures, there is a full programme of organised activities on both Saturday and Sunday.

Sports fixtures take place on a Saturday. In addition there are activities such as photography, fitness, sailing, fencing and badminton.

On Saturday evenings, houses take it in turn to host an event for the boarding community. Examples include celebrations for Chinese New Year, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Oktoberfest and a New Year’s disco.

Sundays are very relaxed, with brunch served during the morning, but for those who like a full programme, Sunday trips are planned (for example, visits to Thorpe Park, ten-pin bowling, paintballing, and Bluewater shopping). There is also a shuttle bus to transport boarders into Haywards Heath where boarders can take a train to visit London or Brighton, with the appropriate permissions.

Boarding Houses

Mertens and Hilton (Boys Boarding Houses)

Hilton and Mertens each have accommodation for around 64 boys.  They are facing and are mirror images of each other with convenient parking out the front and garden area at the rear of the modern buildings. They are situated on the east side of the campus near the boys’ day houses and the woodland path that leads to Nine Acre.

The boarding accommodation is located on three floors with four distinct areas divided by year-group.  Each area has its own toilet, shower facilities and a Brew Room (a small kitchen with kettle and toaster).  Each boy has a bed with storage underneath, a wardrobe and desk with shelves for books and all rooms have sinks.  The furniture also includes lockable drawers for valuables.

The ground floor houses a large common room, where callovers (daily registrations) and house meetings are held.  The common room contains Sky+ HD Satellite TV with a DVD player, as well as a piano, pool table, table football and Xbox games console for recovering from the academic exertions of the day.  We also have a house BBQ and seating area with benches for social events in the summer. These areas are the social hubs of the house and where visitors are allowed at certain times. There is also a Quiet Room that contains several computers and a house library.  Wi-Fi is available throughout the house.


Aberdeen and Toynbee (Girls Boarding Houses)

The girls boarding houses accommodate girls from Shell to Lower Sixth. The are a lively and caring place for the girls to live and learn in term time. These recently refurbished girls houses are next to each other and have identical layouts. Each house will have it’s own close community but the two houses come together for social, opening up a partition that seperates the houses. They are situated on the West side of the campus near the girls day houses, near the sports hall, medical centre and cafe.

The boarding accommodation is located on three floors with a friendly mix of year groups and nationalities in the house.  The girls share a spacious, light and comfortable common room, gathering here for house meetings and events, relaxation, conversation, or making use of games consoles, books and a piano. It’s the social hub of the house and there is also a fully fitted kitchen in which the girls can cook and bake at the weekend. Life in girls boarding is busy and fun; girls form lifelong friendships here, under the watchful eyes of the experienced staff members who care for them.

House Staff

The House Master and Assistant will run the house, ensuring all the students are happy and well cared for. They are assisted by boarding assistants. During the day the House Supervisor / Matron looks after the boys and girls assisting with a variety of daily needs, from a listening ear to laundry and uniform repairs.

Each house has a highly experienced tutor team, which consists of Senior School teachers from a range of academic disciplines; each evening prep session is supervised by one of these tutors, who is also on hand to assist the girls with their prep. The tutors also support house sporting, musical and social events; in this way, the girls are encouraged to develop productive relationships with other adults in the house, away from the classroom.

Boarding Options

Full Boarding

Boarding is available from the first to the last day of term. During half term students return home or to guardians.

Full boarding is the obvious choice for international students or for parents who work overseas but it is also an option for those who wish to be fully immersed in the school community and to develop their independence.

Boarders may, of course, go out on leave with local families or relatives any weekend they wish after their sporting commitments.

Students can board Monday to Friday and return home at the weekend if they wish, however full boarding fees are charged.


Flexi Boarding

Students board for three nights a week.

This is a popular option for those who have extra-curricular evening activities or for those whose parents have late work commitments. It also ensures supervised study time in the evening.


“Boarding at Ardingly builds life-long friendships; all boarders are like one large community and we have great facilities, making my life here so enjoyable.”

Lower Sixth Full Boarder