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Please scroll down this page to read answers to some of the most popular 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQs) girls and their parents have about boarding at Thornton College, and more generally about girls' boarding at girls' boarding schools in England, UK.

There are four sections to this page:

  • Choosing Girls' Boarding At Thornton College.
  • Your Questions Answered About Girls' Boarding.
  • After-School Activities and Weekends For Girls' Boarding At Thornton College.
  • Parents' Questions & Answers.

We hope you find these FAQs helpful, please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions not answered on this page, or if you want to clarify anything.


Choosing Girls' Boarding At Thornton College

Why should I board at Thornton?

We offer a very friendly, family style of boarding at Thornton. As one of our 60 boarding girls you will get to know everyone really well.

With the perfect number of girls boarding with us in any year, we are not too large and not too small. You will enjoy a full range of evening and weekend activities and an excellent standard of accommodation.

How is boarding for girls better at Thornton?

Our girls really enjoy their experience at Thornton College. After a challenging day in the classroom, they enjoy the relaxing, homely environment in the boarding houses. The girls get a lot of attention.

You can choose from lots of different activities including pamper nights, fashion nights and weekly cooking, and the opportunity to use all the facilities of the school like the tennis courts, swimming pool and the beautiful grounds for playing, walking and talking.

It is a wonderful environment in which to grow up. Our position, on the very edge of the vibrant city of Milton Keynes, but in the tiny hamlet of Thornton surrounded by countryside, is both picturesque and safe.

What makes Thornton the best school for girls’ boarding?

Boarding at Thornton offers a first class blend of pastoral care, enrichment and fun together with the flexibility of a modern boarding school. The Trustees are committed to providing the very best in boarding education for the girls at Thornton and as such have invested heavily in its infrastructure and resources.

All our girls are supported academically through strict study schedules, but are also expected to play hard and have a wonderful after-school activity and weekend programme, in addition to plenty of time to relax and enjoy the company of their friends.

Girls enjoy living and studying here – it is a wonderful environment in which to learn and grow.

Is girls’ boarding at Thornton like Harry Potter?!

Yes, with a different kind of magic!

All the fun of living together with your friends, using the fantastic School facilities, getting your homework done in good time… and none of the hassle of travelling to and from home everyday. (Not surprisingly, some of our Day girls become boarders!)

Your Questions Answered About Girls' Boarding

What food options are there for girls who are boarding at Thornton?

There is a big choice and wide variety of food at each meal, choices including vegetarian, coeliac, dairy free and so on.

Will I share a room?

Younger boarders share a bedroom with girls of the same or similar age.

From Year 10 onwards (girls aged 14+) girls have their own bedroom (subject to availability).

How many beds are there in a bedroom?

There are one to five beds typically. Two of our bedrooms have six beds – these are some of our favourite rooms in the house!

Junior boarders and Year 7 and 8 girls (aged 11+ – 12+) share three to six girls, most of the Year 9 girls (aged 13+) will have a twin room and from Year 10 (14+) girls have single study bedrooms (subject to availability).

Are there bunk beds?

Only in one of the Junior Bedrooms. Rooms feel spacious and homely. We don’t cram girls in!

What are the bathroom facilities?

Each area has plenty of toilets and showering facilities. All have been refurbished to a high standard and offer a good degree of privacy.

How many clothes can I bring?

Each girl has a single wardrobe of space for clothes plus under bed storage and a bedside cabinet with drawers.

What are the arrangements for laundry?

We have a daily in-house laundry service provided by our Housekeeping Team.

Can I wear make-up?

There is a strict ‘no-make-up or jewellery’ policy at school, during the school day, but both can be worn at weekends and in the evening. Girls can expect to receive the type of comments about excessive make-up as they do at home!

Can I bring my laptop/mobile devices?

Yes.and WiFi access will soon be available in all boarding houses.

Can I bring my Teddy bear?

Of course – but he or she will have to share your bed!

I have medication – is that a problem?

Not at all. Matron will take care of it for you.

What if I get ill?

During the day Matron will take care of you and your Housemistress will take care of you in the evening. All have first aid qualifications. We will ensure that you are taken to the doctor if required and will let you parents know. In addition, the school doctor visits every Thursday.

Can we have pocket money?

Of course. This is kept in our School Bank and you can visit the bank each Friday lunchtime to withdraw what you need for the weekend and week ahead.

Can we watch TV?

Of course – but not all the time. There is so much more going on. Every common room has a large flat-screen TV and dvd player.

Can we have sweets?

You will have your own snack box which is kept in the tuck cupboard and accessed every evening. Years 10 and 11 keep their tuck in their own rooms.

I am Jewish / Muslim – can I pray?

Of course, we welcome all denominations at Thornton. Most girls pray at break and lunchtimes during the school day and are supported in prayer outside of these times. 

How often do I leave school?

This depends on whether you are a weekly or termly boarder and how many activities outside school you are involved in. Weekly boarders leave on Friday evenings and return either on a Sunday night or Monday morning and termly boarders live in all week, but go home or to a guardians on exeat weekends and end of term holidays. Girls who are part of county sports teams or are exceptional athletes and so on are escorted to and from specialist practises.

Will I get picked up at the airport?

Yes, by a DBS checked escort service. When girls arrive into the country the driver will wait in the arrivals lounge and help her to the car with her luggage. When bringing girls back to the airport to come home, he/she will wait with her in departures until her flight is called and not leave the airport until the flight is airborne.

After-School Activities and Weekends For Girls' Boarding At Thornton College

Thornton College offers a wide range of after-school activities.

The safe and secure outdoor space means that in good weather, girls can usually be found in or around the pool, on the tennis courts, enjoying our BBQ suppers, tea-time picnics, or a range of sports and evening activities.

We offer lots of organised activities such as competitions and talent shows to get everyone together. Girls are also welcome to spend time with their friends, have some quiet time alone or in the company of our boarding house staff.

There are games and activity lounges for the boarding girls to use all year round and the boarding girls have access to the Sports Hall, Library, Expressive/Performing Arts Suite and ICT suites.

What do boarders do at weekends at Thornton?

It’s not all about league tables and academic achievement, though they do play a big part in boarding school life. For a girls’ school to foster achievement, there have to be times for the girls to relax with their friends and try out new and exciting activities.

We organise a fun-packed programme of activities for boarders at weekends and after school. The weekend activities schedule can be found on the Weekend Boarding Activities web page.

Weekends have a relaxed feel, a home from home. There are organised trips and activities, but plenty of time for relaxation and catching up with friends.

Thornton is well situated in Buckinghamshire with easy access to Milton Keynes, Oxford and London. The local area and surrounding counties have many attractions for great days out.

Most trips take place on a Saturday. On Sunday mornings girls attend Mass and then have a leisurely brunch. On Sunday afternoons members of teaching staff take over and run a variety of activities from cake making to orienteering in the grounds.

For an example of the termly weekend programme see the Spring Term 2013 Boarding School Weekend Programme.

What trips are organised for boarders at Thornton?

The typical weekend trips for boarders include:

  • Milton Keynes: Milton Keynes is 20 minutes from the school and is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK with lots of leisure and cultural attractions. Girls visit the theatre where they have recently seen 'Guys and Dolls' and 'Chicago'. They regularly go bowling and ice-skating and visit the cinema in the town centre. They also enjoy going to the Xscape complex which includes the Snowdome where they can ski, board or toboggan on snow! 
  • Oxford: The girls very much enjoy their days out in Oxford, including touring the Bodleian and visiting sections of Oxford University where Harry Potter was filmed. They also love punting on the river and the opportunity to have a look around the shops. 
  • London: On recent excursions to London the girls enjoyed The London Eye, The London Dungeons and trips to the theatre to see performances such as 'The Phantom of the Opera' and 'We're Singing in the Rain'.

Excursions to theme parks such as Chessington and Alton Towers are also organised and at the beginning of term each year all the boarders visit Wicksteed Park.

Parents' Questions & Answer

Each group of boarding girls are cared for by an experienced and dedicated Housemistress and boarding Assistant who oversee the wellbeing of the girls in their house.

When do girls study?

  • All boarding girls up to Year 9 study together after school in the Assembly Hall under the guidance and support of the Study Mistress.
  • Year 10 and 11 boarding girls study in their individual bedrooms supported by their Housemistress, Miss Davies.

How do I keep in contact with my daughter?

  • Mobile phones are the most popular method of communication, making it easy for girls to phone home regularly.
  • Pupils are permitted to use our computers which have access to the internet (filtered/controlled for their protection), making regular contact with family and friends by Skype and email.

How is bullying handled?

  • Promptly and girls can speak to their Housemistress at any time if they have any concerns. The school has an anti-bullying policy which encompasses boarding.