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What it’s like to live in Winifred Holtby House (Year V)

Winifred Holtby House (better known as Winnie’s) is named after an Old Margaretian who was a famous journalist and author. Situated in a scenic area of the campus surrounded by beautifully sculpted landscape, woodland and a scurry of squirrels, is the modern purpose-built three storey home from home for Year V.  Each girl shares a spacious dorm with three other girls with its own dedicated study room opposite.  There is a comfortable common room with a TV and a kitchen. Each floor also has its own kitchenette for preparing that all important cup of cocoa before lights out! Outside you will find a picnic area, two tennis courts and a wonderful view of the School gardens.

We asked our Winifred Holtby House Housemistress about her favourite part of life in Year V. Here’s what she had to say…

Enabling the girls to become independent learners is an important cognitive process; one which I think we do particularly well and one that I really enjoy witnessing. We have a great group of pastoral staff and try at all times to remember that this is the girls’ sanctuary during term time – it’s important that they buy into this concept too! A happy girl is a productive girl so we aim to establish friendly bonds as we soldier through this important year together. The only downside being that all too quickly we find ourselves at the fabulous end of year meal reminiscing and laughing about our time together before the girls move up to the Sixth Form for their final phase of School life.

What should parents know about Winifred Holtby House?

Winnie’s is QM’s best kept secret – but we are biased! The girls really value being back together under one roof, having previously shared common areas with younger year groups. Being in dorms of four girls and changing rooms every term allows the girls to really get to know each other better and widen their friendship groups. Along with greater freedom comes greater responsibility in a variety of guises; kitchen, common room and laundry duty for communal benefit as well as learning to get one’s self up in the morning and get to breakfast before registration at 8.15am. Girls are allowed into York on a Saturday afternoon (if they are up to date with work and all other commitments are fulfilled) and there are far more optional activities and events in which their opinions are frequently sought.

What makes Winifred Holtby House unique from others on campus?

One of the key features of Winnie’s is the sense of growing independence that comes with this unique part of QM. There is more freedom for girls to structure their own preferred study routine outside lesson time. Every weekday there is a ‘quiet hour’ from 7-8pm which gives everyone the chance to do what they want in peace, either to catch up with prep or  unwind after an intensive sports session. Winnie’s provides the ideal environment to get suitably prepared for GCSE examinations, an opportunity for the girls to be more in control of their learning and a taster of what to expect in the Sixth Form as links start to be forged.  If you were to ask the girls what makes Winnie’s unique they would no doubt point to the lift at the entrance – a godsend at the start and end of term – not just for girls but parents and staff too!