Boarding Houses

St Chris has two boarding houses: Arundale, in the heart of the St Chris campus, for students from Year 6 to Year 11, and Arunside, on the edge of the School campus, which is our dedicated Sixth Form boarding house for students in Years 12 and 13.

Arundale Boarding House (Year 6 to Year 11)

Arundale is a family-orientated house for our younger boarders which has a friendly and informal, yet well-ordered atmosphere, where everyone feels at home, comfortable and cared for.

Arundale is a co-educational boarding house for up to 40 boarders – boys and girls – and is located above the main school building.

Boys and girls have separate bedrooms and bathrooms in different areas of the boarding house, with shared communal common rooms and kitchens.

Years 7 to 9 have a common room, games room and kitchen in one area of the house, with Years 10 and 11 having access to a separate common room, games room and kitchen.

In Arundale there are a range of individual and shared bedrooms. Students in lower years will sometimes share a room with another student, with students in upper years having their own room.

The houseparents are Chris and Cecilia who live on site on the same floor as the boarding house and have been houseparents since 2001. They have three grown-up children who all attended St Chris but are now living independently.

All meals are taken in the School’s dining room, however boarders are welcome to make snacks and small meals in the two kitchens, and Cecilia is well known for her baking!

Arunside Boarding House (Year 12 and Year 13)

Originally the home of the architects of Letchworth Garden City, Arunside is a modern boarding facility specifically for our Sixth Form boarders, and retains many of the building’s attractive original features.

Boarding at Arunside gives students the opportunity to live within a supportive boarding community and is an ideal transition between school and university, equipping students with many social and organisational skills that will serve them well in adult life.

The atmosphere in Arunside is relaxed yet purposeful. Our boarders are treated as young adults and more is expected of them in terms of attitude, personal responsibility for their learning and overall contribution to school life than is expected of students in younger years.

Boarding is co-educational with boys’ and girls’ bedrooms and bathrooms in separate areas of the house. There are two shared common room areas, study areas, kitchens and gardens. There are 21 boarders in Arunside, and each pupil has their own room.

Iain and Ruth have been houseparents at Arunside since 2017. They live in a house connected to Arunside with their children Reuben and Nellie, who are at St Chris Junior School.

“Arunside is a great place to board – there is always plenty going on and there is a real spirit of friendship and positivity within the house. Whether it’s our weekly ‘cook with Iain’ nights, our buzzing house meetings, or the spontaneous laughter that comes from an impromptu face painting night, our boarders feel that they are part of a happy and engaged community where everybody in the house feels at home.”

Ruth & Iain, Houseparents

“I wasn’t necessarily a very sociable person coming here. I would consider myself definitely an introvert and I was slightly worried about that boarding, because you’ve got people around you a lot of the time. I was worried that I would feel that I would have to socialise a lot. And I have socialised a lot, but it’s because I’ve wanted to. I’ve enjoyed it a lot more because I feel like you can talk to anyone about anything. I was shocked that wanted to do more socialising!”

Boarder, Year 12

“The best thing about boarding is making friends with people. Being so close to school saves me loads of time in the morning. I can’t believe I didn’t start boarding earlier. It also encourages a lot of mental discipline – I’m now better at doing my laundry and ironing! It’s made me a more disciplined person and you get good at making your own structures and routines.”

Boarder, Year 12

“Everyone is free to be their own person, while understanding the responsibility we all have to make the boarding house feel like a home.”

Molly, Head Boarder, Year 13

“As an international boarder I was lucky to be part of the boarding house, which was full of interesting people from all over the world. Living together and being at the same school enabled us to become very close friends and have such a great time.”

Boarder, Year 12