At Benenden all our students are boarders. There are six boarding Houses for 11-16 year olds (Echyngham, Guldeford, Hemsted, Marshall, Medway and Norris). The Sixth Form have their own Founders Sixth Form Centre, which is divided into four Houses (Beeches, Elms, Limes and Oaks).
The boarding House becomes a student's home from home and the centre of her personal life. It is where she comes 'home' to after the school day and it is where she feels happy, safe and well cared for. Within this supportive and relaxed environment, she is able to develop at her own pace and to participate in a wide range of House-based activities, take on House roles and responsibilities and join in a full programme of Inter-House competitions, sporting and otherwise.
From the start, the girls are members of the friendly dormitories which are characteristic of Benenden, and they quickly learn to support one another. Students themselves play a vital role in running their Houses, and have every opportunity to develop skills of leadership and a sense of responsibility and sympathy to the needs of others.
Each new girl is welcomed by her Housemother (an older girl in the House) who shows her where everything is and helps her to settle in. New girls also meet their 'Big Sister' a member of the Sixth Form, who contacts her before arrival and also helps to welcome her, and keeps in touch to ensure she is settling in well. Big Sisters also invite their Little Sisters over for cakes and treats in the Sixth Form Centre.
Students are well supported in House. Each House is run by a team dedicated to the Pastoral care of each student. A special induction programme is in place for the needs of the girls who join at eleven. The Housemistress or Housemaster is a member of the teaching staff and lives in House, close to the students. He or she is supported by the Deputy and a resident Matron. There are also teams of Day and Evening matrons to look after the girls in House. Each girl also has a personal Academic Tutor, with whom she meets at least weekly to discuss her academic progress, check she is doing her prep on time, and to ensure that she has the right balance of work and extra-curricular activities.
Students also benefit from the link with the Sixth Form, who, though living in Founders, the Sixth Form Centre, remain members of their original Houses, holding senior House posts and taking an active interest in House affairs.
Accommodation styles vary from House to House. Some girls prefer the traditional style of Hemsted and Norris, others love the bright colours and modernity of Guldeford and Echyngham, and then there are those who like to walk 'home' to Medway and Marshall at the end of the day. Whichever House a girl enters, they are all comfortable and welcoming and soon become their home from home.
Benenden is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its students. Each House has a resident Housemistress or Housemaster who is also a member of the teaching staff: he or she is responsible for the academic and pastoral welfare of each student in the House and directs her curricular programme. The House team also includes a Deputy Housemistress or Housemaster, and a team of resident, day and evening Matrons.