How do Concord's boarding residences work?
Each of our 17 boarding residences differ in terms of size and layout. There are about 440 boarding places currently available and of these most are single rooms with over 150 en suite rooms available for senior students. There are some double bedrooms and these are allocated to students whose places are booked the latest. Each boarding house has at least two Boarding Parents who share the duties in terms of checking on student welfare at bedtime and waking students in the morning.
What role does the tutor play?
Students meet with their Tutors for registration most weekday mornings unless they have assembly. Tutors also meet with individual tutees two or three times each term and monitor their academic progress (test scores and reports) as well as monitoring their welfare and involvement in our Enrichment (or extra-curricular) programme.
How does the college ensure a pupil is properly involved and motivated?
Right from the start, Prefects and returning students play an important part in encouraging new students to get involved and get the most out of their life and work at Concord. While staff monitor and encourage new pupils both inside and outside of the classroom, it is a strength of the College in that our returning students provide new arrivals with a sense of the high expectations set and the many opportunities which are on offer to help them to develop, flourish and get the most out of their time here.
How are the pupils helped to settle in?
There is a full induction programme of talks, tests, tours and ice-breaking activities for all new students who arrive in either September or January each year.
What if a child doesn't settle easily, or hasn't boarded before?
Boarding Parents and all staff are vigilant for signs of homesickness and pairing up returning students with students new to life in a boarding school is the best way to get them to settle. Encouraging new students to join clubs and discover fellow students with similar interests is often the best way forward. Getting used to new routines, College food and UK weather is a common experience for the vast majority of our students. Sometimes it is a comfort to hear that they are not alone in needing a period of time to adjust to speaking and studying in English as well.
What medical arrangements does the college make?
A team of nurses staffs the medical room in the main building and a large number of staff have First Aid training as well. At present, a female GP visits the College on Tuesday mornings to see students who have made appointments the day before and a male GP visits on Thursday mornings.
What counselling facilities does the college have?
The College offers a comprehensive counselling and listening service with 1:1 appointments for students. An Independent Listener is also available if students would like to talk to someone outside the College community.
What happens at the weekends at Concord?
Students have tests on most Saturday mornings during term. Lunch is provided and is followed by a free bus service for students to travel to Shrewsbury for shopping in the afternoon. A free bus to the cinema in Shrewsbury is also provided in the evening for Sixth Form students who are over 16. There is usually a disco on Saturday night on campus and there are many special events throughout the year (e.g. Hallowe’en, Divali, the Autumn Mooncake festival, Christmas, Valentine’s, Chinese New Year). Sunday is a quieter day of rest for many students. Some choose to take a bus to churches in Shrewsbury on Sunday morning. Other students have a later start and catch up on sleep and work. Trips off campus are also organised most weekends by our team of Pastoral Assistants.
How often can parents visit?
Parents are welcome to visit at any time and we do not place any restrictions on how often parents visit. However it is our experience that new student settle in more quickly as boarders if their parents are not around.
What direct communication will parents have with their child?
Given Concord College’s rural location, some mobile ‘phone networks do not provide good coverage. O2 and EE probably offer the best mobile signal. Students have access to wi-fi in all boarding residences and teaching areas. (Please note that wi-fi is turned off between midnight and 6am to encourage students to get some sleep.) Skype and other similar internet-based forms of communication are probably the best, & cheapest, means of direct communication.
Does Concord have fixed exeats?
No. In contrast to many UK boarding schools, the College remains open to boarders every weekend during term-time. Students can ask to leave the campus on exeat so long as parental permission is provided via e-mail and a form is filled in for Boarding Parents beforehand.
What happens during the holidays?
Free transfers are provided to and from Heathrow Terminal 3 at the beginnings and ends of terms. In contrast to many UK boarding schools, the College remains open to boarders during half-term holidays. The College even remains open to boarders during the Easter holiday as long as they are over 16 years of age. Students are required to register three times a day. All meals are provided and a trips and activities programme is offered.
Does my child need a guardian?
No. This is not felt to be necessary for the majority of our boarders and the Principal acts as legal guardian for them when necessary. The College can provide contact details for a company which provides UK guardianship services in emergency situations.
Does my child need to bring bedding?
No. All bedding is provided by the College. If students wish to personalise their bedding, this is also possible. Single duvet covers and pillow cases can be placed in laundry bags with their other dirty clothes each week if students would prefer their own designs. If College bedding is used, beds will be changed by cleaners once a week.
Does my child need to bring towels?
Yes. The College does not provide any towels for student use. Once again, these can be washed by students placing them in their laundry bag each week.
Is there any further information available from the College about equipment needed or laundry arrangements?
Yes. More details about equipment required and laundry arrangements can be found in the Parent Handbook which is sent out to all parents in the months before they join the College.
Will my child’s special dietary needs be catered for?
The kitchen and dining room does its best to provide a range of meal options to suit: the dietary needs of vegetarians; those holding religious beliefs – such as Muslims requiring halal food; those who have allergies or intolerances to certain foods. There is a clear system of labelling of meat, dairy products and items containing shellfish and nuts in the dining room. Further individual arrangements and needs might be able to be catered for upon request. However, it should be kept in mind that the kitchen and dining room caters for over 500 students plus 150-200 staff at times. Food will be different from that which some students are used to consuming back home while trying to cater for a range of international tastes and appetites.
Will my child be able to cook at Concord?
Students do enjoy cooking and all boarding residences are equipped with kitchenettes (equipped with microwave ovens, hotplates, toasters, kettles, a fridge) to enable snacks to be prepared. Instant noodles are a popular snack. It should be noted that cooking is not allowed in bedrooms and hotplates are not permitted to be used in bedrooms for fire and safety reasons. For more serious cooking, one student kitchen is located on the campus close to the main West End Common Room and disco. It has hotplates and ovens. A number of students enjoy shopping for ingredients and cooking meals at weekends.