Situated in an enviable position in the heart of the School, Cloisters is a distinctive, self-contained building which provides modern loft-style living with airy, spacious twin rooms. Girls customise their space to reflect their personality. Photographs adorn the notice boards in celebration of the strong friendships that they have developed over the years, as well as the newer bonds formed with girls who have joined the School at Sixth Form.
The shared facilities are the envy of the boarding houses, comprising a spacious, well-equipped, and attractive kitchen & Café space, a roomy Common Room, a specially designated classroom study area, and two intimate common landings. Students enjoy the respite of Cloisters balanced against the demands of the year. They learn to manage their time effectively whilst studying for their A Levels, as well as making the most of the wide range of enriching and sporting opportunities.
Find out more about all our boarding houses here.
What should parents know about Cloisters?
Perhaps most importantly, parents should know that Cloisters' staff recognise that the Lower Sixth is a critical year of transition in their daughter’s lives - both academically, as they progress from GCSEs to A Levels, but also socially.
Cloisters’ staff aim to provide support and guidance through the increased demands and pressures of School life; we keep a watchful eye at all times, but we also respect the growing need for privacy and independence. Finding the right balance and providing it at the right time is key; knowing when to leave alone or when to intervene and guide are important aspects of what we do, and the staff in Cloisters pride themselves on getting that balance right.
We aim to gently remind girls of good manners and old-fashioned, but essential, values such as reliability, punctuality and kindness. Living in such close proximity to others requires a great deal of sensitivity, tolerance and compromise at times, and respect for difference is a key part of the message we reinforce in Cloisters. We also recognise that no matter how experienced a student might be in terms of boarding life, there will always be times when homesickness or loneliness will strike, and we aim to be there for our students at times like these, and make Cloisters as close to a home-from-home as it can be.
What makes Cloisters unique from other houses on campus?
What makes Cloisters unique is the interesting mix of old and new. It has an exciting blend of girls who have boarded at Queen Margaret’s for many years, alongside the arrival of new girls from all parts of the world, some of whom have never lived away from home before.
Cloisters has a truly exciting feel that we celebrate by making the most of wider cultural opportunities. Reaching the Sixth Form also allows for greater privileges and freedoms, as well as increased trust and openness. This signals a shift in the atmosphere of the boarding house - something that will never be quite the same for the girls, either before or after.
Cloisters also elects a House Representative who meets with the year group on a regular basis to discuss how we can make life better for all. Topics for discussion might include quiet times for study, how to improve the fabric and décor of the building, or simply a vote for a change of morning break biscuit supplies! Whatever the issue, the girls have a voice and are listened to on all matters. This is what makes Cloisters a remarkable place to live, work and play, to listen and be heard, and to laugh.
We asked our Cloisters Housemistress about her favourite part of life in the Lower Sixth. Here’s what she had to say…
What I like best about my role as LVI Housemistress is the variety that living in a big family inevitably brings. Cloisters has an atmosphere and identity all of its own; we laugh a lot in Cloisters and the building’s layout lends itself to social interaction and team spirit. My favourite times are in the evenings when girls pop into the Duty Room for various reasons, ranging from needing a plaster to booking a taxi, talking about prep or universities… or simply to grab a biscuit and have a good moan about the day!
The weekends are fun in Cloisters as well. We come together for a variety of popular events – anything from themed film and pizza nights to afternoon tea parties, cheese and wine tasting evenings, and ‘Cellars’. Highlights also include Sunday chapel services, in-house brunches, and evening House meetings.
The girls are largely free to organise their own time, and that makes for a special atmosphere in Cloisters. Many go off to sports fixtures, or shop and eat out in York or at the local Designer Outlet. Some will simply hang out in Cloisters kitchen with a Thai curry takeaway. Of course, many will be working away quietly in their rooms, but there’s always something going on and it’s great to be a part of that!
Find Out More About Boarding At QM Here.
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