The boarding experience

"Boarding lies at the heart of a Haileybury education and has done so for over 150 years. Houses are vibrant, happy, productive and homely communities where pupils are nurtured, stimulated and challenged in their academic endeavours."

Peter Johns Head of Boarding

Boarding - a supportive home from home

For over 150 years, the boarding experience has been central to life at Haileybury. 

Led by a Housemaster or Housemistress, and supported by a team of Tutors, each of our 13 Houses has its own unique character and provides a supportive home from home for up to 70 boys or girls.

Key to House life is Haileybury's own mission of blending academic progress and personal discovery in an engaging and highly supportive environment.

Over their many years in a particular House, pupils form bonds and friendships which last a lifetime.

Why board?

Boarding is about building bonds.

The House system is central to the Haileybury experience and the majority of pupils from 13+ choose to board. With nearly all teaching staff living on site, this means that even at weekends the College is alive with activity.

So while some pupils take the option of returning to their families on Saturday evenings, most choose to stay in House and take advantage of the considerable range of activities on offer.

Whilst our Houses and facilities have changed in countless ways over the last 150 years, our guiding principles have remained the same.

The choice of boarding itself creates bonds which last a lifetime in a supportive, stimulating and caring environment.

The choice of a boarding House often creates even stronger, intangible bonds. Many generations of the same family will board in the same House as a matter of tradition.

Friendship and encouragement

The development of community values, independence and responsibility created in each boarding House is central to Haileybury life. 'House’ is both a home and a workplace for our pupils.

Crucially, every House is about kindness, support and encouragement. It is a place where successes and failures are shared and where each pupil is encouraged to develop and display independence.

Furthermore, it is where every pupil knows that they can find support if they want it - either from each other or from their Tutors and especially their Housemaster or Housemistress.

The importance of the Housemaster and Housemistress

The role of the Housemaster or Housemistress (also known as the HM) is profound, in effect acting as a surrogate parent for every pupil in their care.

The HM is the person with absolute responsibility for the wellbeing of each child, guiding them morally and academically, helping them with problems and pointing them towards specialist help if required.

Supported by a team of dedicated Tutors, each also a full-time teacher, HMs also encourage their charges to seek opportunities for teamwork, leadership and self-improvement.

Each House also has a Matron who helps with day to day domestic management. 

The character of each House

Whilst Tutors are responsible for individual year groups in a particular House, the HM is a constant, ensuring that pupils have a sense of certainty and someone they can trust throughout their time as a boarder.

Every HM has his or her own character and this often defines the character of each House itself, giving each one its own specific identity.

It is for this reason that, depending on an individual pupil's personality, our Admissions team take extra care in working with parents to select the right House for new boarders.


Each House is well-equipped with the essentials for a real home from home, from kitchens to cosy living areas.

All pupils have access to the College's laundry service. All dirty laundry is collected from the Houses, washed and dried, and returned to the allocated linen room for collection. Some of the Houses have additional washing machines if pupils wish to use them and Matrons are always on hand to help

More about boarding

The links below explain more about life as a boarder at Haileybury. Details about each individual boarding House, their character and facilities can be found on each individual House page.

The boarding experience
Haileybury Hertford SG13 7NU 01992 706200 Registered charity number 310013