Weekends at CH are very busy, with lessons on Saturday morning, sport in the afternoon plus a wide variety of activities. Some of these activities are compulsory, some are a matter of choice and there is also some unstructured free time for pupils to enjoy.
In general, our school terms work on a three weekly cycle with every third weekend designated as either a “leave weekend”, a half term break or an end of term holiday. On leave weekends, pupils go home or to guardians on the Friday afternoon and return late on the Sunday evening or, with special permission, early on Monday morning. During leave weekends a boarding house (or houses) may be kept open to accommodate those who really cannot go home, in particular, our overseas students.
For the other two weekends, there are opportunities to leave the site and/or go home with the correct permissions (see below).
On Saturdays there are five academic lessons in the morning, followed by Band Parade. After lunch all pupils are involved in sport (often matches against other schools) or other timetabled activities.
That is the end of formal commitments on a Saturday: after this senior pupils can go to Horsham and our final year (Year 13/Grecian) pupils can also go to Crawley, to do some shopping and use recreational facilities. Neither day children nor boarders can leave before this time.
Saturday nights at CH are “full on” and there are always organised activities such as film nights, discos, talent shows, quizzes and much more.
Sundays are more relaxed and, pupils have more choice in what they want to do. There are plenty of facilities on site to encourage different activities – the sports hall, practice rooms for musicians, common rooms in Houses for relaxing with friends, lovely grounds etc…
All of those pupils on site will attend a chapel service which can take place in the morning or in the evening; there is a compulsory Chapel Choir practice for choir members before the service and there is a compulsory Band practice for band members on Sunday mornings.
Sunday afternoons are a good time for pupils who live locally to meet up with their parents.
Permissions and Safety
We must always know who is on site and we need to make sure that anyone leaving school is doing so in a safe and secure way. It is important, therefore, that we have clear procedures for granting permissions and signing out:
Those going home or to guardians for occasional weekends (ie between leave weekends).
Parents/guardians must let Houseparents know by the previous Wednesday what they plan and the associated travel arrangements. If Houseparents are contacted by e-mail they will always ring to confirm directly with parents/guardians that the arrangements are satisfactory. We will only allow pupils to leave the site when we are sure that they will be looked after by a responsible adult,
When pupils actually leave the site they must follow House signing-out rules. This is really important and any failure to do this will be treated very seriously.
Our experience is that children settle in most quickly to boarding life when they stay with us from the start of their first day of term until the first leave weekend, whatever boarding pattern is followed beyond that. The boarding staff have enormous experience in helping children to feel at home here and on the whole, new pupils settle in very quickly to boarding life.
We also find that children want to take part in activities over the weekend and feel they miss out if they do not do so. This means that a very high proportion of our children stay over on most weekends – please do not be surprised if your child wishes to do so as well, no matter what you or they may have felt in advance of joining us!