23rd June 2020
I am delighted to be able to share with you information about the future direction of Ridley House and our day pupil model, and to lay out what I believe is an exciting development for the School. We will continue to provide day and boarding facilities for all Ridley pupils in the academic year 2020-2021 and we will continue to allow flexi- and occasional boarding for your child. In order to achieve this, Ridley will relocate to the current Queens’ (next to Grafton with which it will be twinned next year and where occasional- and flexi-boarders will be accommodated), over the Summer holiday. We expect Ridley and Grafton to operate closely together as linked Houses but Mrs Harman and her family will move across with the House and she will continue her role as Ridley Housemistress, with full responsibility for the boys as before.
We have already embarked on some structural changes to the two Houses that will allow Queens’ to accommodate all the boys, facilitate close cooperation and sharing of some of the ground-floor facilities with Grafton. These include knocking down the stud wall between Queens’ day pupils’ prep room and Grafton’s games room, to create a larger, more open-plan shared common room for both Houses, removal of the bulkhead and sliding door separating Grafton’s back accy from the Queens’ ground-floor corridor, and enlarging Queens’ day room. You will find some further information, in the form of a question-and answer document (“Ridley House move FAQs”), below.
Ridley’s relocation across the ‘heart’ leaves the ‘old’ Ridley and St Bridget’s empty and we have already begun work on repurposing those Houses into a day-and-boarding, mixed House reserved for Upper Sixth pupils and starting in September 2021 (subject to the provisions outlined in my penultimate paragraph below). I am excited about the opportunities this radical move will create to provide a different boarding model that will prepare our oldest and most mature pupils for university and adult life and allow the possibility of more independent living.
Further details about this are provided here. I anticipate that this prospect will be highly attractive for the pupils; space in the new House will be substantially redesigned to provide spacious ground-floor facilities for relaxation and work, and it will provide all boarders and, in most situations, any day pupils who choose to stay over in the House, individual rooms of a high standard. The consequence of the measures outlined above, is that next year’s 4th and 5th Form Ridley boys will, from September 2021, effectively become members of Grafton House in a natural continuation of the twinning of the Houses next year.
Our current schedule anticipates that your son will return to Ridley in its new home, in September 2020. However I hope you will understand that we need to have the flexibility to manage changes brought about by any future changes to government restrictions in responding to COVID-19.
I look forward to inviting you all to events at which we will present more details of these exciting and significant developments in the School’s model for day pupils and boarders, next academic year.
Mrs Joanna Wright
Ridley House move FAQs
Today we are able to announce that Ridley House, one of our senior boarding houses, is moving house from September 2020. It will occupy a building we call “old Queens’” and will be twinned with Grafton House next academic year (2020-2021). From September 2021, Ridley boys will be fully absorbed into Grafton House.
Why are you doing this?
This development allows Ridley boys to keep all the advantages of the King Edward’s day and boarding model, retaining the possibility of occasional and flexi-boarding – in their twinned House. It also frees up the twin buildings of St Bridget’s, another former boarding house, and the current Ridley House for re-purposing as an Upper Sixth day and boarding House for girls and boys.
When is it going to happen?
During the summer holiday, work will begin on improving and modifying the communal areas of Grafton and old Queens’ to allow boys in both houses to mingle more freely. Stud walls are being removed between Grafton’s games room, and the Queens’ day pupils prep room. The sliding door and bulkhead between Queens’ ground floor corridor and Grafton’s back accy is being taken out. In September 2020, Ridley boys will return to School, in old Queens’.
Will the House have to change name?
No. Next year, Ridley House will continue to exist as a day and boarding House, in old Queens’. The following year, Ridley boys will be amalgamated into Grafton House.
Where will the Ridley boys live and work next year and then in 2021-2022 onwards?
In September 2020, they will return to King Edward’s Witley to live and work in old Queens’, still led and looked after by Mrs Harman. The boys (4th Form, 5th Form, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth) will continue to be able to enjoy all the advantages of a boarding school model – early arrival and late departure including school supper and the chance to consult tutors in the evening. There will be no 3rd Form in Ridley next year. In September 2021, next year’s 4th Form and 5th Form will stay in the old Queens’- Grafton buildings as part of Grafton House. On the same date, next year’s Lower Sixth will return to a refurbished Ridley, when they ‘graduate’ to the Upper Sixth mixed day and boarding House which will be located on that part of the site. The effect of this development on pupil numbers in the Houses is that most boys’ houses will become slightly larger (because one House will be reserved for Upper Sixth pupils only).
Who will be the Housemaster/ Housemistress and how much staff support will there be?
Mrs Harman will continue in her role as Housemistress of Ridley next year, in old Queens’ building and we expect to announce a Residential Tutor shortly to support Mrs Harman and Mrs Young, as a nonresidential day Matron. Supervision and duty arrangements for staff will differ slightly from the normal pattern in other Houses since Mr Emsley, Mrs Harman, the Residential Tutor and Mrs Spassova (Grafton’s residential Matron) will share evening and overnight duties.