A Harrogate independent school’s activities programme devised by boarding pupils and staff – which included team building and leadership skill development opportunities – has won a prominent national education award.
At the TES Independent Schools Awards held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, Ashville College – which has a 110-strong boarding community spanning 14 different nationalities – scooped the Boarding Initiative of the Year Award.
The new activities programme, which judges praised as “a very effective project that makes boarders feel at home”, was devised after an online questionnaire completed by boarders found just 60 per cent considered the provision at the time to be either good or excellent.
As a result, the boarding council – which comprised of pupils from across the houses – met with Senior Housemaster Gilmour Coad to look at how a new activities programme could be compiled.
The new programme includes organising charitable events and visits to museums, art galleries and walks in the Yorkshire Dales, alongside traditional sporting activities and tournaments between Ashville students.
Team-building and leadership skills are developed through a series of inter-house competitions, including singing, cooking and netball.
Students wanted weekend events that gave them an insight into local and national culture, a chance to engage with the local community, and, crucially, were fun.
Ashville’s boarders made efforts to get day pupils involved too, inviting them in for specific “boarding in” weekends so they can also experience and enjoy the new activities.
These included a trip to Harrogate Theatre to watch a traditional English Pantomime, a visit to Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, walks in the Yorkshire Dales and trips to the Bradford Alhambra and Leeds Grand theatres and to the seaside for fish and chips.
Mark Lauder, Ashville College Headmaster, said:
Winning this award is a tremendous accolade for Ashville College and is a recognition of the great work our boarding staff, and students, have put into making boarding a positive and rewarding experience.