Central to the ethos of life at Mowden Hall is the boarding tradition, and Mowden has a vibrant boarding community. Over three-quarters of the children in the Prep School board in some capacity. However, there is no compulsion to board at Mowden. Children can be Day Pupils, Flexi Boarders, Weekly Boarders or Full Boarders. Boarding starts in Year 4, and by the end of Year 6, many children are Full Boarders. Children may wish to transfer from being Day Pupils to Boarders, and can do so at any stage. There is provision for Flexi Boarding on a nightly basis, which can prove to be a useful introduction to boarding for some children.
The Head Matron works with her assistants and the School Nurse to ensure that the highest standards of care for all children are met. The matrons in turn report directly to the Headmaster’s wife, who oversees all aspects of domestic life within the school.
For boarders, there is a busy and varied evening and weekend programme. We believe it is important to find the right balance between activities and opportunities for personal quiet time, but there is always a focus for Saturday evenings, and a good structure to the day on Sundays. In particular, the junior boarders (Years 4 and 5) are always kept well-occupied.
For examples of evening clubs and weekend activities, please see the Extra Curricular section.
Our boarders share colourful and homely dormitories in the main building. They tend to share dormitories with children from their own year group, although sometimes they mix in with other year groups.
The matrons take care of all boarders’ laundry, and the day children’s games kit laundry. Showers are taken daily by both boarders and day children after games, with the matrons overseeing general hygiene and hair washing.
The School Nurse keeps updated medical records of all children, runs a regular surgery to administer routine medicines, and ensures the smooth operation of all health matters within the school.
There is a half-term of one week in each term. In addition, there are generally two short exeats, or weekends out, in the Spring and Summer term. Dates of these are published well in advance. These fall either side of half-term, and usually last from Friday lunchtime until Sunday evening. During the longer Autumn Term, there are four exeats, two either side of Half Term.
Boarders’ parents are positively encouraged to visit their children regularly, to watch concerts, plays and matches, or to attend the school Sunday church service held at St. James’ Church, Newton, and stay for coffee afterwards at school. Depending on Sunday activities, it is sometimes also possible to take them out to lunch. Permission should be sought from the Headmaster for children to be out of school for special family occasions.
The children all have easy access to their own private email, and the school provides telephones for children to use in the evening after prep is finished. Full boarders also write a weekly letter home.
Mowden Hall services take place in our small, local church, a short walk from the main gates. On School Sunday mornings, the boarders walk up to St. James’ Church, where we attend a short service. We have a visiting preacher most Sundays and the School Choir sings an anthem at each service. Parents and relatives are always warmly welcomed and occasionally, year groups will be asked to run the Service.
Special Services are held to mark important occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday, Harvest Festival and Advent. The Christmas Carol Service is held on the last day of the Autumn Term in Hexham Abbey.
Assemblies are held three times a week in the school theatre. The assemblies are theme-based on Christian principles. They include hymns, prayers chosen, written and read by the pupils, and an address, reading or performance prepared by various members of staff, regularly involving the children.