Social Life

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Our boarders have plenty of time to relax and enjoy activities. Friendships between students in the different boarding houses are encouraged and boys and girls are free to socialise with each other in the boarding house common rooms and social areas at certain times.

The houseparents organise many socials, activities and trips for our boarders and these include:

  • Surfing trips to our stunning Atlantic beaches just twenty minutes from the school along with many other outdoor activities such as climbing, kayaking, coasteering and camping
  • Shopping trips to nearby towns and cities and visits to the cinema
  • Visits to local areas of cultural, educational and historic significance
  • Regular socials, BBQs and fun activities within the boarding community

Boarders also have use of the school sports facilities including swimming, basketball, 5-a-side football, squash, tennis, football, rugby, fitness suite and golf – there really is something for everyone, no matter what their interest.

Sixth Form Boarding

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Many of our day students convert to boarding after GCSEs and Sixth Form boarding provides an ideal environment for students to work towards their academic qualifications, whilst taking responsibility for assisting in the organisation of many extra-curricular activities and developing their self-confidence and leadership skills as senior members of the school community.

Sixth Form boarding in many ways is the ideal preparation for independent living at university.

Sixth Form boarders live in Parker’s, our impressive, newly opened boarding house which holds 70 en-suite bedrooms for boys and girls along with a variety of social spaces and kitchens which can be used .

All students aged 11-18 will also benefit from a new study centre. This development offers some of the best facilities for boarding and day students in the South West of England.

From September 2017 we are delighted to be able to offer new weekly and flexi-boarding packages, offering exceptional value for money and great opportunities for pupils and busy parents here.

Girls' Boarding

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Bamfylde is our modern and spacious boarding house which houses girls between Years 7 and 11. The house enjoys good facilities including a large communal lounge area with a breakfast bar, flat screen television and DVD player and sound system.

The smaller lounge area upstairs also has a television and is available for use exclusively by Year 11 girls.

The common room has a kitchen area and storage space where students can prepare their own small snacks. There is also a small kitchen upstairs as well as a chest freezer where items such as ice cream are commonly stored as an evening treat!

The younger girls in Years 7-9 share spacious bedrooms. The largest can accommodate up to six girls but most are in rooms for two or four boarders. After Year 9, all girls share double bedrooms with a sense of independence and privacy. There is a large bathroom in each corridor which includes both shower and bath space.

As with all boarding houses, the girls have access to IT facilities and Skype.

The houseparents, a teaching assistant and students work closely in order to ensure the house is a happy place to be. Bamfylde comprises a close knit community offering companionship and friendship in a relaxed environment.


Our boarding houses are attractive and comfortable and run by houseparents who create a warm and happy ‘home life’, enabling students to enjoy their time at the school and to achieve to the best of their ability.

Our very friendly houseparents look after students outside of the normal school day and do all they can to ensure students are happy, confident and have a great experience at West Buckland.

The houseparents are not teachers which we believe is beneficial in creating a warm and friendly boarding house and in helping our boarders to develop close and trusting relationships outside of the classroom.


Matthew Robinson: Head of Boarding and Houseparent, Parker’s

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I am delighted to have taken on the exciting and fulfilling role of Head of Boarding at West Buckland School.  I am responsible for the care and success of what is a very vibrant boarding community and try to help facilitate our pupils to reach their full potential. This means I work with the boarding staff to support the boarders and ensure the opportunities for our pupils are varied and beneficial for their development. Importantly I provide a key link between the academic and pastoral side of the regular school day.

Additionally, I teach in the PE department and am married to Michelle who is an Assistant Houseparent in Parker’s. We have three children; Reese, Eden and Elijah who are all very happy pupils at the school.



Michelle Robinson: Assistant Houseparent, Parker’s

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I am Michelle Robinson and am married to Matthew Robinson the Head of Boarding and Houseparent in Parker’s. Together we and our three children are very happy to be part of the boarding community at West Buckland and try hard to ensure the house is a home from home for our boarders.

I enjoy staying fit and healthy; believing this to be an important facet of life for young people today providing an opportunity for reflection and calm. This is crucial given the nature of today’s fast-paced society.  The health and happiness of our boarders is of paramount importance to me and I enjoy encouraging and helping young people navigate their way to being the best version of themselves.


Amanda Booker: Assistant Houseparent, Parker’s

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My name is Amanda Booker and I am a Houseparent in Parker’s. I have two children who have both attended West Buckland School. My daughter has left to study at Queen Mary College, University of London, and my son is currently a member of the sixth form.

Having worked as a Learning Support Assistant in a local school, I moved to my current position and have made some great friends in Gables and the girls have taught me about their different cultures and customs. I love to cook and I have plenty of opportunities to share my knowledge with the girls, swapping recipes and trying out new dishes.

Living in North Devon means being surrounded by beautiful coastline and when not working, I can usually be found walking on the beach!


James Conlon: Assistant Houseparent, Parker’s

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My name is James Conlon and I am a Houseparent in Parker's House. I was born and raised in Bristol and I am married to Joanna, who works in the West Buckland Art Department. We have a daughter, Tilly who is 2 years old and another baby due in October. We both enjoy being parents and love working with young people independently and as part of a team. Before joining West Buckland, I worked in Bristol as a Student Support Worker in a special school for students with behavioural difficulties.

I love to spend my free time playing with Tilly, listening to music, walking my dog around beautiful north Devon and taking photographs. I also love to play sport when I can and enjoy taking an active part in the school sports.

Together we aim to promote a warm, friendly, family atmosphere that will enable each and every member of the house to enjoy day-to-day life at West Buckland.



Kristin Bondy: Houseparent, Bamfylde

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I am delighted to have taken on the role of Houseparent of Bamfylde from September 2018, helping the pupils and boarders in my care achieve not only their academic goals but their personal and extra-curricular goals as well.  I believe boarding is an excellent opportunity to foster self-reliance, independence and confidence which will enrich pupils’ lives in years to come. 

I moved to the United Kingdom 10 years ago after graduating from university with honours and training as a teacher.  I have been teaching in the Personalised Learning Department at West Buckland for the past year and look forward to continuing this part-time, going forward, as well as taking on the exciting role in the boarding house.


Alina Melchior: Assistant Houseparent, Bamfylde

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My name is Alina Melchior. My 22 years of experience working with children of all ages, started in Europe, teaching Latin for the first three years. 

Moving to Devon 13 years ago I began working with children and families at the Children's Hospice. I also spend a few hours a week with young children in my local village planning and performing activities with visually impaired children at a nearby school.

I love my role in Bamfylde House. I believe that boarding is like taking small steps towards maturity. Bamfylde is a happy house where girls share daily practical living as well as being very supportive of each other. As I have experienced being away from family and friends for many years, I feel that I understand how life may feel for the boarding students; therefore, my aim is to support the children's expression of emotions, perceptions, and share of personal experiences in the context of learning new life skills.

In my spare time I attend Pilates and Yoga classes and take long hikes on Exmoor. Each season on Exmoor offers unique attractions and the freshness of the air here reminds me of the air in the Swiss Alps and meadows.



Shaun Morrison: Houseparent, Boyer

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One of my life's little missions is to show the boarders how great life can be if you keep your mind open and your body active. As a former assistant Houseparent of Boyer, I'm sure the boarders will tell you that I'm always trying to encourage them to sign up to activities such as volleyball and coasteering, as well as getting them into Saturday morning Park runs and organising chess tournaments.

I like almost all geeky things as I've been a web design and developer for over ten years. Prior to coming to West Buckland I was also Pupil Entertainment Manager and a Tutor at a large boarding school.

I have a plethora of interests – currently, I'm learning more about world history, philosophy and trying (with varying success) to teach myself Cantonese. With my wife Amelia I have cycle-toured across France and Spain, studied in Japan and played national-level beach volleyball.

Being part of the boarding community over the past year has been a real pleasure for both Amelia and myself – we are really looking forward to taking up our new roles as Lead and Support Houseparents.


Kimberley Turner: Assistant House Parent, Boyer

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I am Kimberley Turner, married to Geoff Turner who teaches in the PE department at West Buckland School. Geoff and I have a daughter who is 8 months old and as a family we are hugely excited about our new lives as part of the West Buckland community.

My main role will be as a Houseparent in Boyer House. Working with a team of experienced boarding staff, my responsibility will be to promote and ensure a family atmosphere in which the pupils feel safe and happy. The aim of which is to provide a stable foundation upon which boarders can strive to succeed in their school lives.

I hope to utilise my previous experience as a peripatetic teacher of singing, drama and musical theatre in order to further contribute towards the school community.

I am very much looking forward to meeting and getting to know you all.


Amelia Morrison: Support Houseparent

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I grew up in Devon on the other side of Dartmoor attending Exeter college before moving to study Illustration at Brighton University. After university I was hired as a Creative Producer in an animation studio – working with brilliant clients such as Nickelodeon and LEGO. After many enjoyable years of coming to North Devon to play beach volleyball, my husband and I decided to make it our home. We both love being part of the boarding community – we get to share our passion for being active and creative with the boarders. We are starting our own family in November, and I will be taking all of my students' baby name suggestions very seriously… maybe apart from Pumpkin!


Weekly and Flexi-Boarding

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Boarding comes in many shapes and sizes to fit the individual requirements of our students. As well as full time boarding, some of our UK students take advantage of our and flexi-boarding options, and this is particularly popular in the Sixth Form.

Boarders in Years 7 – 11 stay in our boys’ and girls’ boarding houses, Boyer and Bamfylde respectively, which are run by our very able and caring Houseparents, who are on hand to ensure a smooth transition into boarding life and who run an exciting range of evening and weekend activities.

Boarders in the Sixth Form will stay in our spectacular new Sixth Form boarding house, Parker’s, in single en suite bedrooms.

Weekly and flexi–boarding is designed to help busy parents, as well as pupils, but it is also beneficial for the boarding and day communities, encouraging them to have closer links.

We can normally make arrangements for day pupils when they wish to board but it is helpful if we have early information from you to our Houseparents to plan for a happy and productive period in boarding.

We are delighted to include weekly and flexi-boarding packages, offering exceptional value for money and great opportunities for pupils and busy parents.

If you would like to discuss the new weekly and flexi-boarding offer, or book a place, please contact Head of Boarding, Matthew Robinson:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 01598 760171

A form for booking ad hoc/occasional boarding is available on My School Portal.

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