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Year IV and V - feel calmed by the tranquil, natural setting


You can’t help but feel calmed by the natural setting of Winifred Holtby House, which is set in the QM grounds and affectionately known as Winnie's. It is a tranquil base for our Year IV and V girls during their GCSE years.

Living in Winifred Holtby House (Years IV-V)

Named after an Old Margaretian who was a famous journalist and author, Winnie's is a modern, three-storey boarding house. Girls share a spacious dorm with three others and have a dedicated study room directly opposite.

With comfortable common rooms featuring a TV and kitchenette, Winnie’s offers the perfect space for getting together on an evening, preparing snacks and cups of tea while relaxing and catching up with one another.

From September 2024, Winnie’s will be the joint living accommodation for girls in Years IV-V. This arrangement will enable all pupils on the GCSE pathway to flourish with the support of academic and pastoral staff under one roof without distractions.

While collectively living together in Winnie’s, Years IV and V students will still reap the benefits of horizontal boarding as they board separately in dorms with girls in the same year group. Each year group will have separate common areas and privileges tailored to their age.

As a house community, Year IV will be able to learn from the experiences and wisdom of their Year V counterparts, while Year V will benefit from the opportunity to mentor their younger peers and showcase leadership qualities.

Outside Winnie's, there is a delightful picnic area, two tennis courts, and a wonderful view of the school gardens.

Click here to find out more about the QM Boarding Houses.

What should parents know about Winifred Holtby House?

Winnie's is one of QM’s best-kept secrets! The girls really value being together under one roof, having previously shared boarding houses with younger year groups.

Being in dorms of four girls (and changing room 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 oneself up in the morning and get to breakfast before registration at 8.15am.

Girls are allowed into York on a Saturday afternoon (providing 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 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, as well as an opportunity for the girls to be more in control of their learning and get 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!

We asked our Winifred Holtby House Housemistress about her favourite part of life in Winnie's. 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.

Find Out More About Boarding At QM Here

Boarding makes a particularly strong contribution to pupils' social development: they build strong supportive relationships with fellow boarders that sustain them during their time at School.

ISI Inspection Report (2019)

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