Beeston life is very busy and the day relatively long, but it is conducted at a pace suited to the children, with the prevailing mood of energy and effort, not pressure.
The day begins with breakfast at 7.30am for the boarders after which many of them will disappear to complete their morning music practice.
Day children arrive from 8.00am with registration, and this first part of the day is devoted to reading, or catching up on some independent work, or perhaps simply self-organising. There is often time to catch up with a tutor or mentor before lessons start at 8.50am.
The children’s lessons are predominately 55-minute long, with 5 minutes built in as a chance to stretch and get to the next lesson. With regular breaks the children also have plenty of time to play and relax. The children are busy, work hard and play hard, so regular opportunities to meet mentors individually to seek support and reflect on their progress and learning is important.
At 4.30pm day children in Years 3 to 5 may go home, or choose to stay at school to join the boarders for junior activities which finish at 5.45pm. Years 6 to 8 have supervised prep at this time. Supper is provided at 5.45pm for day pupils staying for activities* and for boarders, though some day children head home at this point.
Games take place every day, not necessarily in the afternoon, so that all children have access to the specialist sports coaching. On Wednesdays and Saturdays lessons finish at lunchtime to make way for a full afternoon of games, often fixtures in which as many children as possible participate. Even though a small school we put out as many teams as we can across the age groups.
Also there are nine musical groups which find practice times in this weekly schedule. All year groups receive class music lessons but individual lessons, with specialist peripatetic teachers, are available at an additional cost and are timetabled within the school day.
After supper, both juniors and seniors can take part in one of a myriad of evening activities, which finish in time for parents to collect day children at 7.15pm. This is when Beeston ‘day time’ stops and the school becomes ‘home from home’, with boarders using their own time as they choose. Depending on the time of year, this might be a late swim, or playing Spotlight in our woods, late prep, extra hockey, table football or simply relaxing in one of the four boarders’ common rooms. Children’s bedtimes are staggered depending on age.
The Boarders’ Handbook gives more information about timings.