An international dimension in education

Hereford Cathedral School reveals plans to open a new international boarding house

Hereford Cathedral School, one of the oldest schools in Britain, is to open a new international boarding house where overseas students will enjoy the benefits of an outstanding education and the friendly culture of a traditional British school.

The magnificent Georgian residence will accommodate up to 31 pupils who can come back to a comfortable, happy home set within five acres of luscious Herefordshire countryside, a range of recreational facilities and friendly residential staff to help them relax in a warm, family atmosphere.

Hereford Cathedral School, which completed the purchase of How Caple Grange earlier this month, has now started refurbishment of the former country house hotel. Accommodation will be single, twin and dorm-style rooms for up to four students. Boarding pupils can share friendly evening meals together in the quaint oak-panelled dining room and relax in a large lounge and games room.

As well as a broad range of extracurricular activities accessed through school, students will enjoy film and quiz nights, trips to local attractions, events and a full programme of social activities at weekends. Transport is provided to and from school and shopping is in nearby Hereford city.

Two exceptional members of staff have been appointed for the new boarding house. Housemistress Pippa Fowler, also Teacher of Maths and Head of Rowing at Hereford Cathedral School, will reside here with husband Richard – a former pupil of the school – and their two young children who also attend the school. Pippa brings with her a wealth of experience from boarding schools, such as historic Rugby School where she was Assistant Housemistress. As a Cambridge graduate of engineering she will also play a key role in preparing overseas pupils for university.

Tutor in Residence will be Ralph Carr, Teacher of Business Studies and Economics, whose extraordinary career before teaching – as manager at a 300-bedroom top London hotel – has made him best-placed to understand the expectations and cultural diversity of a new community of overseas pupils residing in Hereford. A matron in residence will also be appointed in the autumn.

Describing her excitement at being back in a boarding environment, Pippa added that the family’s springer spaniel will also be ecstatic because of the many cuddles he hopes to get. “Since moving to Hereford I have missed working within a boarding environment so I was delighted when I heard of the plans to establish an international boarding house at How Caple,” she said. “The site is a perfect setting for the school whilst the Georgian architecture of the building makes it feel steeped in tradition. I am looking forward to welcoming a diverse group of international students.”

Ralph, who holds prestigious hospitality service awards and whose London hotel ethos was the promise of a “brilliant” stay for each and every guest, said: “My hospitality experience has provided me with invaluable insight into the varying needs, cultural differences and expectations of guests from all over the world.

Staying away from home can be an unnerving experience for people of all ages, but it can very easily become the experience of a lifetime when you have someone anticipating your needs and creating opportunities for you to have a truly extraordinary stay. I cannot wait to take the skills I honed in a first-rate hotel and use them to develop a first-rate boarding house where each and every student can love where they live.”

Planning for this exciting new venture began with the appointment of Head of International Students, Stuart Higgins, who has overseen the development of the international boarding house. Stuart, a former Headmaster of an international school and whose daughter Cristina is former Head Girl of Hereford Cathedral School, is now accepting applications from overseas families seeking outstanding facilities for their children and a safe and friendly environment in one of Britain’s finest schools.

Explaining the decision by the governing body and senior leadership team to offer boarding at Hereford Cathedral School, Headmaster Paul Smith said, “This new and exciting initiative is the culmination of several years of work in developing an international dimension to Hereford Cathedral School. We take great pride in looking after all our pupils but pay particular regard to ensuring that pupils from outside the UK are happy, integrated and successful with us.

“We know that we have much to offer international students, and conversely that international students have much to offer our pupils, not least in helping to prepare them for the increasing globalised world that they will enter on leaving our school. I am delighted that our current international programme is set to expand and we will give a very warm welcome to Hereford to students from a broad range of countries.” 

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