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.

Domonic Ford: Head of Boarding


I am Dominic Ford and have been given the very rewarding role of Head of Boarding. I am a Physical Education teacher for the Senior School. My main functions are to be the link between the academic staff and the houseparents and to care for the boys and girls whose home during term time is West Buckland School.

I am married to Vic, who runs Parker's, the sixth form boarding house. We have two children who are an important element of the boarding community.

My role means that I monitor the pupils' academic abilities and ensure that the boarding community takes every possible opportunity provided to them by the school. I believe that West Buckland boarders have a chance to become fantastic academics and fantastic people by being interesting and interested in the environment around them!



Vic Ford: House Parent, Parker’s

My name is Vic Ford and I am Houseparent of Parker's Boarding House. I am married to Dominic Ford who is the Head of Boarding at West Buckland School. We have two children, Cameron and Evie, who are both at the school. As a family, we love being part of Parker's and my children thrive on the constant buzz the boarding house brings. We have tried to make it a very homely place and the boarders love the strong family bond within the house.

I grew up in a boarding community and look back with fond memories of those days. My first job was as a professional Ballerina with The Central Ballet, which then lead on to teaching dance and, ten years later, to where I am now. As well as running the boarding house, I teach dance two afternoons a week at school in the games lessons; many of our boarders take part in these classes.

In my spare time, I enjoy running, especially around the beautiful countryside which surrounds the school. I find it is a good way to unwind and it also helps keep me fit. I cherish time spent with my own children, coupled with the rarer quiet moments when I might pick up a book.


Amanda Booker: Assistant House Parent, Parker's


My name is Amanda Booker and I am the Houseparent of 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 House Parent, Parker’s


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.



Sarah Bailey: House Parent, Bamfylde


After graduating from the University of Hertfordshire in 2004, I embarked on a career in teaching. I have taught children aged from 4 years up to 18 years! My new role as Lead Houseparent of Bamfylde presents me with a new challenge and responsibility, which is an adventure I am excited to begin. Joining me is my husband, who is a teacher in the Prep School and my two daughters, Lila (7 years old) and Holly (5 years old).

In any spare time I have when I'm not working or being a mum I enjoy running, swimming, reading and crafting.


Alina Melchior: Assistant House Parent, Bamfylde


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: House Parent, 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


I am Kimberley Turner, married to Geoff Turner who has taken up the position of Director of Sport 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 House Parent 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 House Parent

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

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

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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