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Boarding house renovated to improve sleep quality

Boarding houses lie at the heart of a Haileybury education and have done so for over 150 years. During the summer holidays, renovations were put into action with multiple refurbishments completed across the site. The aim of the works was to ensure that pupils have quality spaces to work, sleep and socialise.

Assistant Head (Pastoral), Mr Peter Blair, and Estate Director, Mr Stuart Hay, assessed various areas and designed plans to upgrade the learning and boarding experience of pupils. Their plans were based on research that shows working in areas that are designed for sleep is incredibly counterproductive, this is because your brain is already programmed to know that area as a place for sleep. The same is true in the reverse, if work is frequently completed in an area designed for sleep, the brain will be unable to switch off and enter sleep mode which then jeopardises the quality of sleep and therefore affects your productivity and performance during the day.

With this in mind, Mr Blair and Mr Hay set their plans in motion to reconstruct the Removes and Middles dormitory in Trevelyan House into separate working spaces and enclosed rooms. Furthermore, pupils now have sofas and small coffee tables in their rooms as an additional social area away from their beds. These spacing ideas worked well in other boarding houses and going forward all Houses will be modelled in this way.

“The new area for Removes and Middles in Trevelyan Is a great example of our commitment to using the best of wellbeing research to redesign the boarding houses for the best experience for our pupils.”Mr Peter Blair, Assistant Head (Pastoral)

In addition to the effective layout of boarding houses, Haileybury wanted to address the negative impact that the use of phones and other similar equipment has before sleep. There is ample research that shows the blue light emitted from such devices prevents the production of the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle, melatonin. This interruption in the processing of this hormone makes it more difficult to fall asleep and awaken in the morning. To counter this, boarders are asked to store away their tech gadgets at least half an hour before they go to sleep to allow their bodies and minds to properly rest.

Other improvements were made to Bartle Frere and Edmonstone’s courtyard which was previously an underused space. It has now been developed into a sheltered seating area for plenty of socialising and rest. A BBQ area and an outdoor gym kitted out with bars and other equipment were also installed to further promote the pupils’ wellbeing.