Boarding & School Life
Overview, Aims & Ethos
‘‘Boarders are extremely well cared for and supported in all aspects of their personal life. The excellent relationships in the boarding community enable the children to feel safe, happy and able to succeed. The boarding provision has an outstanding influence on the pupils’ personal development by building confidence, character, independence and a spirit of adventure. Boarders become well-rounded and interesting young people who are independent, self-reliant and resourceful.’
- SIS Inspection Report, 2018, which rated the quality of the boarding experience at Pembroke House as Outstanding
During the inspection, Pembroke pupils described boarding as ‘like having a fun sleepover with your friends every night of the week’.
Boarding at Pembroke provides a safe, happy and comfortable environment in which to learn, play and grow. Our two boarding houses - Mackie House (boys) and Scholes House (girls) - are effectively a home away from home for our pupils, and we are proud of our commitment to making boarding as positive an experience as it can be, for all our pupils.
Pembroke is a full boarding school with a responsive approach. This means that our boarding houses are fully operational 24 hours a day, from Monday to Sunday throughout the term. However, we are responsive to the needs and varying circumstances of all our families. We provide guidelines about boarding at different ages and stages of school life, while also ensuring that everyone is happy with the boarding experience.
The school runs a full and comprehensive programme of weekend activities. This is to ensure that all children are busy, happy and making the most of everything that the Pembroke environment has to offer. Each weekend, almost half of our pupils stay at school. While there is plenty of free time for children to ride their bikes, play with friends or just hang out, there are also several structured activity slots, to help ensure Saturdays and Sundays are full of fun and never boring. These include cooking, walking trips, art and craft activities, free swims, using the ICT Room, bouncy castles, dodgeball, playing board games and Lego, as well as many more. The first and last weekends of the term are closed weekends, meaning that all pupils are expected to stay in, apart from those in Year 1.
Please see our full Boarding Policy here.
At the heart of a Pembroke House School’s education is a love of learning which is supported by a healthy body and a healthy mind. Children enjoy well balanced, varied and above all delicious meals that help students feel at home.
School menus rotate on a tri-weekly basis and are created with input from staff and students via Pembroke Voices.
As much as possible, the food offered is produced using locally sourced, sustainable fresh ingredients prepared on site by our dedicated catering team.
Our kitchens provide special meals and all dietary requirements are catered for, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten and pork free.
Safeguarding & Pastoral Care
‘Pupils’ personal development is outstanding and their behaviour is excellent. They develop a strong moral compass, based on Christian values, and are respectful and caring towards one another. The school is very successful in its safeguarding, care and nurture of all pupils, and they grow into self-confident young people who say that they feel totally safe in school.’
- SIS Inspection Report, 2018 which rated our pastoral care as Outstanding
Pembroke children are surrounded by people dedicated to their happiness, personal development and well-being. They are all working to guide each child to be the very best version of themselves, and to support them in resolving any issues or problems. As we are a small school, each child is known by everyone, allowing us to be fully aware of individual needs and personalities.
Pembroke recognises our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice. Child protection forms part of the school’s safeguarding responsibilities. While our Safeguarding Team is especially dedicated to ensuring the welfare of all our children, we also understand that safeguarding is the responsibility of every staff member. As such, all staff undergo safeguarding training each term, as well as specific professional development in this area.
Our pastoral care also extends to the Boarding Houses, our tutor system and our Heads of School. For parents, their child’s tutor usually serves as the first point of call for any concerns or issues, and they are supported by Boarding Houseparents and Assistants, as well as the Heads of School, where necessary. In the Junior School, Form Teachers are also tutors, and in Years 5 - 8, students are placed in tutor groups and allocated a tutor who remains with them until they leave. We hold weekly tutor meetings, which are specific opportunities for students to discuss any issues or problems with their tutors, but tutors are available at any time to help their tutees, as are all staff.
Please see our full Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy here.
Health & San
The health of the children in our care is one of our biggest priorities. We understand that it is never fun for children to be unwell, but that this is especially true when they are away from home, and that this is a major concern for parents. Therefore, we aim to ensure we deal with any medical issues in a caring, prompt and professional manner. We have a San (Sanitorium) attached to Scholes House, and there is always at least one fully qualified nurse on duty, including overnight. The nurses hold clinics several times a day, where they deal with any illness or injuries, as well as dispensing regular medication. There are always nurses on the sports' fields during home matches to attend to sporting injuries.
The school doctor also visits the school weekly, to help review more serious cases. Children who are particularly ill are admitted to sleep in one of the beds in San (there are four beds in each of the boys’ and girls’ sections, as well as separate bathrooms), so they can be closely monitored and attended to by the nurses. If their illness becomes more serious, they will be referred to hospital, as in emergency situations. Children with prolonged illnesses will be sent home to recuperate. There is also appropriate access to visiting specialists, such as the optometrist, podiatrist, physiotherapist and dentist. We are also introducing a visiting counsellor to assist students when they need this kind of help.
All new students must have a comprehensive medical form completed, so that we are aware of any particular medical needs, including food and other allergies. All prescribed medication is stored in San for safety reasons, and dispensed as needed. All students must also hold an AMREF card to show they are a member of the Flying Doctors, and should provide evidence of being covered by a private health insurance policy. For away matches and school trips, the nurses pack a medical kit with all the relevant medication, including specific medication required by individual children, which travels with them on the bus. All staff also undergo regular first aid training by accredited providers.
We take security extremely seriously at Pembroke. We are fully aware of the relatively precarious nature of security in East Africa, and take every precaution to ensure our students and staff are always safe. The school is fully enclosed by an electric fence, and is protected by security guards 24/7, who also patrol the grounds hourly. There is a system of all visitors being checked and signed in by security guards, and being issued with visitor passes. Students leaving the school also need to be issued with a gate pass by a staff member, so we are always aware of their whereabouts.
Three times each term, we have intruder and fire drills, so that children and staff can practise what to do in case of these emergencies. This includes a nighttime drill. These are highly effective in making everyone familiar with a safe course of action. Our extensive alarm system notifies our reputable, outside security provider about a potential emergency, as well as alerting everyone on site to the problem. As part of this, we have an extensive call tree, involving parents and community members, who have the knowledge and resources necessary to assist quickly and effectively in an emergency situation. We attend regular information sessions with institutions like the British Defence Force, about any security developments in the region. We also maintain strong relationships with other IAPS schools, emergency service providers and security experts, to ensure that all our information about security is current and pertinent.
When travelling on school buses, children always have a teacher or escort with them. All children must have their own seat and wear a seatbelt at all times. Drivers are trained in defensive driving and know what to do in case of an emergency. Buses travel in convoy whenever possible, and are in touch with the school as to their location, especially in case of a diversion or traffic accident. We also have a strict policy of vehicles not travelling in the dark.
Leadership & Responsibility
At Pembroke, we offer many opportunities for children to develop their leadership skills and sense of responsibility. We like all children to be independent and responsible for their own belongings and routine. Senior pupils ring the bell and say grace before each meal, giving them significant responsibility over key aspects of the school day. Even the youngest children are expected to know when they have paid extras to attend, or when to change for a swimming lesson. They have to keep their areas tidy in dorms, and to manage their free time so they are ready for showers at the appropriate time. It is all these little things that add up to developing independence, confidence and responsibility, which are such important qualities for life.
At Under 9 level, our sports team captains help to keep their teams focused and enthusiastic, and provide a role model when it comes to the very important area of sportsmanship. Acting roles in school performances mean that even the youngest children have to take on the responsibility of learning their lines. Small jobs in the classroom and dorms, such as handing out books, taking biscuits to cocoa or tending the fairy garden, are further opportunities to develop responsibility. We are proud of that fact that our children start developing these skills early in life.
When our students reach Year 7, they have two different form trips which are largely based on furthering leadership skills. There is a team building exercise at the Malewa River, and the Year 7 form trip to Bobong, which incorporates a range of activities linked to demonstrating teamwork, decision-making, resilience, being adventurous, and leadership.
Our Senior pupils have responsibility in terms of being elected as House Captains, Library Monitors, Prep Monitors, Head Choristers in the Choir and serving younger students at dining room tables for breakfast and supper. Dorm Prefects take responsibility for the younger children in their dorm, ensuring they keep themselves organised and are happy and prepared for school life each day.
The ultimate leadership positions come in the form of Year 8 Prefects. Our Prefects undertake a range of duties around school and are selected on merit. They need to be responsible, set an example and act as a positive influence around school. They keep a caring eye on those around them and actively go out of their way to solve problems and take the lead. They meet with the Head weekly, to discuss issues and give feedback on the general opinion of the student body.
Houses & House Point System
There are four Houses, named after former Headmasters: Fosters, Hazards, Opies and Turners. All new children are allocated a House by the sorting hat during Chapel. Our house point system rewards children for hard work or improvement in lessons, and they may also receive conduct points for being particularly helpful or kind. Children can then ‘spend’ their house points at the tuck shop, which is open three times a week. On the flip side, poor behaviour or effort can lead to the issuing of demerits and detentions, which are aimed at helping children appreciate the consequences of their actions and learning from their mistakes.
House points are recorded at weekly House meetings, and contribute to the overall Cock House competition. All students learn their House chant, which is performed at House meetings and before Inter-House matches. There are also a number of bigger Inter-House competitions throughout the year, including the Inter-House Sports' Day (Athletics), Inter-House Swimming Gala, Inter-House Cross Country and Inter-House Song Competition. The pupils from the House with the highest total house points at the end of the school year are rewarded with a special lunch.
Pembroke has two types of uniform. On formal days, when for example Chapel takes place or for exams, all the children wear a white shirt and tie with a grey skirt or shorts and long grey socks, black shoes and a navy blue, school sweater. On other days, in recognition of the slightly less formal day and the warm climate, the children wear polo shirts, a grey skirt or shorts and short grey socks with their black shoes. For PE and games sessions, the children wear their polo shirts with navy blue shorts and trainers. In the evening after shower time the children put on navy blue tracksuits to ensure they are warm and comfortable for supper and prep. Different sports teams also have dedicated match kit and this includes athletics outfits and swimming costumes. All children will also need a House t-shirt to be worn during Inter-House competitions. On the weekends, once the children have taken part in all official activities, they can change into ‘home’ clothes.
There are two providers of Pembroke school uniform. One is Haria Uniforms, based in Nairobi, and the other is The Clothing Company East Africa, which operates from Gilgil. They both provide good quality, comfortable uniforms in a range of sizes. Please contact them here for more information:
To help accommodate the needs of parents who live some distance away, or who cannot travel easily to school drop offs and pickups, Pembroke offers a number of transport services. We run a bus to and from Naivasha most days, as well as Nairobi buses on select days around the weekend, which usually includes Friday afternoons, Saturday midday and Sunday afternoons.
When we break up and return from exeats, half term and end of term holidays, there is also a comprehensive transport system to Naivasha, Nairobi, Wilson and JKIA airports. Parents need to liaise with the office to arrange whatever transport they need for their child by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a cost of ksh1800 per return trip to Naivasha, and ksh4500 per return trip to Nairobi. These bus trips are always accompanied by an escort, with information about drivers and travel times clearly conveyed to parents.