Boarding Accommodation

Boarding Accommodation

Cotlake House

Cotlake House

Pupils in Years 3-7 live in Cotlake House, a family-style boarding house in the Prep School. Cotlake is run by an experienced and professional husband and wife team, with the support of two live-in matrons, a non resident matron and two resident GAP students who provide a high level of quality boarding in a caring, supportive, family environment. The well-being of every one of the boarders is paramount and ensuring that each child is happy, settled, relaxed and confident is at the heart of the Cotlake House ethos.

Pastoral care is of an extremely high standard and the affectionate relationship between the boarders and the House staff is evident. The House Parents pride themselves on being excellent communicators – emailing or telephoning on a regular basis, when there is good news or for quick updates. They often send pictures of activities at the weekend. There is no doubt that this approach is really appreciated by parents and trust between all parties is evident. The resident members of the boarding team are always available for the children to talk to, read bedtime stories with or to offer comfort when a young boarder feels homesick.

Just like home, the contributions and suggestions made by the boarders as to the running of the House are highly valued. Although most boarders are full time we aim to be as flexible as possible for parents and so also offer weekly, termly and even occasional boarding for day pupils whenever possible.

Cotlake is an extremely comfortable and relaxed three-storey boarding house, designed to be very much a home from home. The communal area on the ground floor has a large lounge with Sky TV, a DVD player, comfortable sofas, toy boxes with games, puzzles and Lego. The Games Room is equipped with popular table football and air hockey tables as well as computers, a wii console and art and craft equipment. There is a kitchen for evening drinks and snacks which the boarders also use at the weekend for supervised cooking. Year 8 have their own study room with PCs and their own lounge and chill-out room. Matron’s Room is always open for clean laundry, a chat and lots of tender loving care!

On the first floor there are three girls’ dormitories, bathrooms and toilets as well as the House Parents and Resident Matron’s flats. There is also a surgery where medicine is administered and a single bed for children who want to rest. The second floor houses the four boys’ dormitories, boys’ bathroom and toilets and the Assistant Matron’s flat.

View a sample Sunday activity timetable for pupils


Henry and Ali use their experience of raising their own three boys to create a warm, family orientated boarding house. Prior to becoming Cotlake House Parent, Henry taught for 12 years at an independent school in Bristol, where he also coached sport and led the Outdoor Education program. In addition, he coached rugby within the Bristol Bears Junior Academy. Apart from coaching and watching sport, one of Henry’s other passions is the outdoors and during his time off he spends a lot of time outside walking, running, biking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

Ali is a swimming coach and has also run her own business specialising in physical and mental health & fitness. Another key member of the house is the family pet; a working cocker spaniel called Scramble, who along with their three sons also lives in Cotlake. The Cotlake House Parent team are passionate about providing a safe, friendly and fun home for their boarders. They all have considerable experience of supporting children as they grow up and face different challenges. They believe that by using key values to create a positive and safe community and by encouraging independence in a nurturing environment, helps children take responsibility for their own personal growth resulting in happy, resilient teenagers.

Assistant Houseparent Nick Thayre began his career in child care as a houseparent in a children’s home all the way back in 1974!  He went on to qualify as a social worker in 1982 and has had a career spanning over 37 years working with young offenders, children in need, children in care, children who have suffered harm, and at the sharp end of child protection.  Nick has also been a foster carer for over 25 years taking care of children from babies to teenagers.  More recently he has worked in mainstream day schools supporting children who have emotional or behavioural difficulties; and at a State Boarding school as a houseparent.
Now at Queens College Nick is happy that his career has come full circle back to the child care role he so enjoys; and where he started so many years ago.  He likes to work in a positive way, using praise and encouragement and building on student’s strengths.  Nick will help young people understand when they get things wrong and think about how they can get it right next time; and uses his extensive experience to guide, nurture, and help every child to be amazing!
Nick has 3 grown-up children of his own and 6 grandchildren!  He is also the proud owner of a narrowboat that is ideal for family holidays.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he loves traveling the world!

Hutton House

Hutton House

Hutton House is the Senior girls boarding house at Queen’s. Hutton is a homely, nurturing and safe environment which is set up in a structured way enabling our borders to find time to enjoy all aspects of life at a British boarding school and make lifelong friendships.

We believe that each and every boarder needs an individual and positive approach with goals being set and boundaries given to be able to achieve a well-balanced education and life.

We have a fabulous team who live in Hutton and are available 24-7 to support and care for our boarders.

In Hutton, we hope that our well-rounded upbringing and education will allow your child to flourish and grow in their time at Queen’s and beyond.

Read our Boarding Principles


Jo and Simon Elliott became House parents in 2018 and describe Hutton as a warm, family-orientated House.

Jo was born in Norfolk, moving to Somerset at the age of 11 to attend the Blue School, Wells. She then successfully auditioned to gain a place at the prestigious vocational dance school Tring Park where she continued her education.

Her specialised dance teaching qualifications were completed with the Royal Academy of Dance and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and she has gone on to successfully teach at and manage many dance schools around the UK.

At Kingsmead School in Somerset she undertook teaching on a project to improve the emotional intelligence of the students through the arts which led to employment by several state schools, independent schools and colleges in the county to deliver dance curriculum and inset training.

Throughout her teaching career she has worked both in the drama and dance sector and she spent a brief spell standing in as Head of Drama at Wellington School, Somerset.

She joined Queen’s College in 2011 where she became Head of Dance producing and choreographing many major school productions and managing the Queen’s Performing Arts Academy.

It was at Queen’s where her role started to have a pastoral focus. She became a Tutor, Assistant Houseparent and now Houseparent for the senior girls’.

Jo is passionate about boarding and has recently completed a two-year boarding course with the BSA specialising in Pastoral Care and Boarding Management.

She lives on-site with her husband, youngest child Archie who attends Queen’s and their black Labrador Albie who has become a firm favourite with many of the girls.

School House

School House

School House is the boarding house for senior boys from Years 8-13. The very grand and prestigious main Queen’s school building is the accommodation for this boarding house – hence the name ‘School House’.

School House is truly a home away from home for the boys. In School House we embrace diversity and the boys develop life-long, fond memories of the experiences and lessons learnt during some of the most formative years of their life.

It is an outdated tradition that boys require a less nurturing environment in which to grow and develop. In School House we recognise that our boys need to be understood and cared for with the utmost regard to their personal wellbeing. The dedicated Houseparents and boarding team in School House centres their work around providing a support network for the boys whilst giving them the tools to develop their own social, emotional and life-skills.

We follow a structured house timetable to enable the boys to establish themselves a routine within the House which teaches them to adopt healthy habits around sleep, technology use, academic study, healthy eating, personal safety and, of course, the opportunity to relax and unwind and enjoy the fantastic facilities on offer.


Jennie Cooling is the Houseparent of School House. She lives in the boarding house with her husband and four children and bordercollie, Juno.

Jennie started her teaching career as a sports teacher and has worked at Millfield, Taunton School and, most recently, Wellington School.

During her time at Wellington her role evolved to Head of Wellbeing alongside working in one of the senior boys’ boarding houses. Developing a Wellbeing curriculum alongside boarding cemented her desire to support the boarding experiences of young men as they navigate their journeys onto the next stage of their education or career.

Jennie’s husband, Robert, is an Assistant Head and DSL at a local middle school. Robert supports Jennie’s role as Houseparent and will often be ‘on duty’ or wandering the House during the weekend or evenings, building positive relationships with the boys and providing them with an additional person to connect with.

Jennie and Robert nurture and support the boys with utmost regard to their personal wellbeing and their hope is that all of the boys will leave Queen’s emotionally intelligent, resilient to all the challenges that they will encounter, able to recognise how to support others and be ready for their next life adventure!

Highgrove House

Highgrove House

Highgrove House is a boarding house for Sixth Form girls. It is located next to Highgrove Nursery hence the name.

Highgrove House is truly a home away from home for the girls. In Highgrove House we embrace diversity and the girls develop life-long, fond memories of the experiences and lessons learnt during some of the most formative years of their life.

We believe that each and every boarder needs an individual and positive approach with goals being set and boundaries given to be able to achieve a well-balanced education and life.

We have a fabulous team who live in Highgrove House and are available 24-7 to support and care for our boarders.

Meet the House Parent

Ella Ridley is the Houseparent of Highgrove House. She lives in the boarding house with her partner, Josh, french bulldog, Rodney and cat, Edna.

Ella started her career here with us at Queen’s after finding her passion for teaching and pastoral care during her role as Drama Graduate. She subsequently studied for her PGCE and is now Head of Drama. Over the last few years she also fulfilled the role as Resident Tutor in Hutton House and most recently has become the Houseparent of Highgrove. 

Alongside her boarding role Ella enjoys assistant directing on the school productions and taking outdoor education co-curricular activities such as Archery and Climbing.

Ella’s partner, Josh, is also a resident Tutor in School House. When not on duty there, he supports Ella’s role as Houseparent and can often be found making hot chocolate for the girls and providing them with an additional person to connect with.

Ella believes strongly in preparing the students in Highgrove House for life beyond school and works with the girls to encourage their problem solving ability, developing their resilience and confidence to head into the next phase of their lives.

Boarding House Handbook (All boarding houses)

Boarding House Handbook (All boarding houses)

Whole College Open Morning

Monday 6 May



Register Now