Private Boarding School In Pietermaritzburg
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE FOR BOYS FROM GRADE 4 - 12
For some, where boarding school is a practical necessity and where school is very far from home, boarding provides a way for scholars to attend their school of choice. For all boarders, boarding represents an opportunity to cultivate life-long friendships, develop independence and make the most of all school programmes.
It is possible for aspects of boarding to be homely but boarding is fundamentally different to life at home in many respects. Boarding presents boys with learning opportunities that are not presented at home and it is our experience that boarders who involve themselves in all aspects of the school programme will gain the most from their stay in the boarding establishment.
"What we must look for here is, firstly religious and moral principals; secondly gentlemanly conduct; thirdly intellectual ability." - Thomas Arnold
Boarding for Primary School Students
Our Senior Primary Boarding House is purpose built to create a safe environment that provides boys with a degree of privacy without leaving them feeling isolated or alone. Boys from Grades 4-7 are accommodated in the same double-story House with junior grades downstairs and senior grades upstairs.
Our Housemaster resides less than a stone throw away from the Boarding House and there are two junior staff members residing on each floor to ensure that help, guidance and oversight are within easy reach. Homework is supervised by boarding staff at the end of each day in the primary school library.
As part of a through school our Senior Primary boys enjoy the space and facilities available to the entire school while closely monitored by staff, who provide routine and control specific to the needs of younger boys. The sanatorium is positioned less than fifty metres from the Boarding House and there is a school nurse on duty 24 hours of every day. For serious medical conditions there are two private hospitals within five kilometres of the school.
Junior School boarders enjoy three meals a day in a dining room shared with senior boarders. A boardingmaster sits with boarders for all meals and boys eating habits are watched closely. Senior Primary boarders are only allowed access to their cell phones for thirty minutes every day and the use of cell phones is closely monitored, as are other electronic devices.
Boarding for Middle School Students
Whether boarding for the first time or moving up from a primary school boarding environment, boarding in Grade 8 offers excitement and challenges. Increased independence, adolescence and the demands of high school academic routines and programmes contribute to these challenges.
A wonderful culture exists within Pennefather House which is driven by concerned and involved staff. St Charles College aims to provide for support and growth by accommodating Grade 8 boys in their own House, which includes a number of dormitories (dorms). Pennefather House is an historic building which houses our Grade 8 boys. The dorms house between 6 and 15 boys in each, which satisfies the need for socialisation at this stage in a boy’s development. We pursue an ethos of inclusion at this level and the boys are encouraged to participate in as many activities as they can.
Pennefather House has capacity for 45 boys and has attached, a Housemaster’s residence. Close communication is maintained between the boarding staff in Pennefather House and parents, as we understand the importance of building close bonds, which will last for the boys’ time with us. Homework is supervised by both a boarding master and a prefect in a communal venue. Facilities are available in the House for the boys to do work outside of routine homework times. The entrance to Pennefather House is monitored by security cameras and the recreation area is supplied with DSTV, although there is little time in the daily routine for boys to watch TV.
Grade 9 boarders enjoy their own house with cubicles occupied by pairs of boys; each equipped with beds, cupboards and desks, so that boys enjoy age appropriate privacy without being isolated. Grade 9 boarders do their homework at the desk in their rooms and are supervised by prefects and the master on duty. A spacious common room and kitchenette provides boys with a communal recreation and relaxation venue.
Boarding for Upper School Students
For the purpose of boarding, Grades 10, 11 and 12 are considered as the Upper School.
These grades enjoy the privilege of living in our newest buildings where we have experimented with different models of boarding buildings. Boys are accommodated in buildings which house between 24 and 35 boys, where emphasis has been placed on greater privacy and easy access to outdoor areas and communal areas. Comfortable, well appointed cubicles are occupied by pairs of boys and each house has a common room equipped with recreation equipment and DSTV.
A boardingmaster is accommodated in each house and Housemasters have easy access to Houses. Prefects are allocated to each of the Grade 10, 11 and 12 Houses. Boarders in these houses study at the desk in their room and are supervised by prefects and the master on duty.
Character and Values
Consideration for others is essential to a happy and properly run boarding establishment. In this regard, the demands of boarding are far more stringent than what many will experience at home, simply because there are so many more to consider in a boarding environment.
Awareness of how voice, actions, and care of belongings affect those who share your living space is essential for boarders and a happy boarding environment. In this respect, our boarding at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg offers boys the opportunity to develop personal disciplines and interpersonal skills which will be invaluable in later life.
Structure and Communication
Living spaces consist of a collection of buildings. The Boarding Houses are situated within the secure bounds of the College. Each grade is accommodated in a different building. Administration, sanatorium and dining facilities are common to all grades. This structure minimises opportunities for domination by seniors and also implies that boys in each cohort spend five years together as a unit, plenty of time to build trust, contacts and friendships for life.
We have boarders from throughout KwaZulu-Natal and a considerable number of boys from; inter alia, Zambia, Tanzania, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Reunion and Mauritius. From time to time we even have boarders from as far away as Europe and China. Consequently, our boarding population is cosmopolitan, to the benefit of all our boys. In addition, many of our boarders come from farming families and these rugged, unpretentious boys with healthy interests are appreciated by our community.
Boarders are allowed to go home on every weekend of the year, with only two exceptions. Boarders who do go home for the weekend may spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at home, as boarders are given the choice of returning to boarding on either Sunday evening or Monday morning. Because of Saturday sport commitments, those who regularly go home for the weekend may spend Friday night in boarding. In short, we offer a great deal of flexibility where weekends are concerned.
But what of the termly boarders? Will they be lonely and bored over the weekends? The answer is ‘no’. Every Saturday of the school year includes a full set of sports fixtures and many boys will be busy with sport from early morning until early evening. This means that weekends only consist of Sundays. In addition, St Charles College has a considerable compliment of full-time boarders and most Saturday evenings will see around one hundred boys enjoying dinner in the dining room.
Those who stay in boarding over the weekend are offered; Youth on a Friday evening, outings on Sundays, trips to the Pietermaritzburg Liberty Midlands Mall on Sundays. Chapel attendance on a Sunday evening is compulsory for boys who stay in over the weekend. Despite opportunities for outings, typically, our boarders choose to relax on the school property on Sundays. All school sport facilities (tennis courts, squash courts, fields, hockey surface) are available to boarders on a Sunday.
Because St John’s D.S.G. for girls is geographically close to St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg and because many St Charles College boys have sisters at St John’s, there is a close relationship between the two schools. Boarders from the two schools have Chapel together on a Sunday evening and the girls from St John’s are often seen supporting their friends on the side of the sports fields on a Saturday. From time to time boarders from the two schools share weekend activities together.
The boarding team consists of:
- A Housemaster who is responsible for the boys in a particular grade
- Boardingmasters. Each Housemaster is assisted by a small team of boardingmasters
- The Deputy Principal
- The Boarding Secretary
- The school nursing team
- The catering, cleaning and maintenance teams