Shelburne House – A home away from home

Although it has been a relatively short half of term, it certainly has not been quiet! We have greatly enjoyed putting on a range of activities in House, and I am particularly grateful to the LVI pupils who have hosted the younger girls this term for hot chocolate nights. It was an honour to celebrate Lunar New Year with pupils, we loved hearing stories from home and learning about new traditions. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we gave time to talk over tea and introduced some new books on failure and resilience to our library. We have been taking part in regular quizzes in House, some of which have become quite heated as pupils test their knowledge against one another! Sporting activities are always high on the list of things pupils enjoy doing to represent the House and a particular well done to our Netball teams who are doing exceptionally well so far this term.

Our evening activities run on a weekly schedule, and it has been such a joy to see pupils of all ages making the most of these opportunities:

Meetings on a Monday, House Order: A chance to reflect on the weekend and go through key notices for the week, while also celebrating the successes of those within our community. This term’s Flourishing theme is ‘exercise’ which is something we discuss during these weekly meetings.
Tuesday Treats: The House has greatly enjoyed coming together for a weekly treat, they’ve particularly enjoyed the chocolate fountain with delicious accompaniments and music.
Wholesome Wednesday: Pupils enjoy relaxing with a cuppa, cakes and toasties while chatting with one another and to House staff.
Thoughtful Thursday: This is a reflective evening for pupils to pause and think about a concept or emotion, or discuss a theme for the week.
Fun Friday:  Chips ‘n’ Dips continues to be hugely popular and great fun, pupils enjoy crisps and games in teams.

Girls enjoying our evening activities

The weekends offer a wide array of activities and events, most notably the trip to see & Juliette in London and the ‘Society Sunday’ extravaganza, offering a range of fun activities including crafts, bee keeping and yoga.

On 29 January we hosted the Shelburne parents, pupils and staff at our annual House Dinner. This was a relaxed and fun occasion, and a fantastic opportunity to bring some light to the long dark January evenings. We were treated to a delicious three-course meal which we all greatly enjoyed, thank you to the wonderful Holroyd Howe staff. Before supper, Frida performed a beautiful rendition of an Adele classic, while the entertainment for the meal was a visual tube quiz and some challenging brain teasers. Our raffle included some high ticket items, which made for a very competitive game and helped us raise a total of £530 for our School charities! It is always so special to come together as an extended community including parents and is lovely to see friendships form between families. The evening allowed us the opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past year and look forward to the term ahead, as well as what makes Shelburne such a wonderful community.

Many pupils describe Shelburne House as their “Home away from Home”. We asked pupils what they saw as the ‘homely’ features of Shelburne and they gave us some meaningful and heartfelt answers –
‘Always knowing there will be biscuits and tea available’;
‘Everyone supports each other in good times and in bad times’;
‘Shelburne has a community that no other House has, we have a bond and House spirit that cannot be described’;
‘Shelburne is like my home away from home’;
‘My friends and the House staff’;
‘The community and the nice warm beds’.

I think this is the perfect analogy for the House as it is so much more than just a building. Home can mean many different things to different people. It could be a place where you have your belongings, photos of your family and friends, your favourite teddy, or your cosy slippers. It could be a place where memories have been created with friends, a place where you laugh and relax. It could be somewhere that provides quiet and calm after a long day, where you feel safe and ‘at home’. For me, a home is made by the people in it. Home is filled with people I care about, and who bring joy to my life. It is the people who make up the Shelburne community that make it a home, from the pupils to the staff to the parents and guardians, and those of us who work and live in the House are lucky to be a part of this.

It is clear that the girls feel at home when they are in Shelburne, something we as staff strive to achieve.