Brian & Linda Richardson
My wife, Linda, and I have been Houseparents at The Downs since 2008 with our three children, our dog Beanie and our two cats, Chilli and Pepper. We really enjoy being with all of the children here, and our boarders form part of both a large community and a genuine extended family. We take a great deal of time to get to know them in ‘The Warren’, our newly refurbished home.
We always see an additional side of a child’s school life when they board with us. As they learn to live alongside others and make new friendships, we also watch them develop a sense of responsibility. It is important that we - as well as our Head Matron, Mandy James, and our Assistant Matron, Teresa Smith - are always available for the children too.
Following an hour’s Prep (homework time), our full, weekly and flexi boarders enjoy an evening routine that begins with an informal supper at 6pm. This always includes a hot main course and a pudding. After supper, the boarders have free time until the bedtime routine commences. During free time, they have access to communications, the Games and TV rooms, and they can also play on the lawns, the astro and the tennis courts as well as enjoying organised sports and tournaments.
On Saturdays, after the afternoon’s sports fixtures, we have family film nights with popcorn and sometimes the very popular ‘Noodle nights’. On Sundays, there are a wide variety of activities and trips throughout the course of the year. These include pottery making and trips to such places as Cadbury World, Drayton Manor Park and ‘Laser Quest’ to name but a few.
Children leave their family at ‘The Warren’ with a strong sense of community, knowing how to care for others but with enough independence to move on to the next stage of their lives.
Brian Richardson, Head of Boarding BA (Hons) GTP