Our Boarding Houses
All boarding schools say their boarding houses are like a family, but ours really are!
In each house, a group of 7 or 8 students of different nationalities live together with the houseparents and their families - which means our houseparents really can have plenty of time for everyone.
It is not known exactly when Church House was built but the oldest part is estimated to have been erected in 1600. There are many famous stories concerning the house, one being that Charles Dickens once stayed here, writing one of his novels – Barnaby Rudge.
Church House is run by Mr and Mrs Rabbitte, who have a young family. Mr Rabbitte is the Head of Geography at Chigwell School and his wife and has been teaching here for eight years and is a qualified social worker. Church House aims to promote an environment where students can flourish both academically and pastorally; they practise a firm but fair and usually fun approach to boarding to ensure that the boarders get the best support when it comes to their school life and their own personal and emotional safety and wellbeing.
Hainault House was built in 1874 in a grand Victorian Gothic style and is run by Mr and Mrs Goddard. Mrs Goddard is the Director of Boarding and teaches Geography and Mr Goddard is the School’s Head of History and Housemaster of Lambourne Day House. They have a young family who love living in Hainault House and meeting girls from all over the world. Bright, airy rooms and plenty of room to work and socialise enhance the friendly, family atmosphere that is the hallmark of Hainault. It enjoys the advantage of being at the front of the School and is surrounded by a large garden – barbecues are a feature of the summer term.
Harsnett’s takes its name from the Founder of the School, Archbishop Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York and Master of Pembroke College Cambridge, who founded the School in 1629 as a school for the poor boys of the parish when he was vicar here. Harsnett’s is a family home run by Mr and Mrs Saunders, who live there with their three children. Mr Saunders teaches Mathematics and is the Director of Studies. Mrs Saunders teaches French, German and Spanish, and is responsible for English as an Additional Language (EAL) for Year 12.
Sandon Lodge was built in 1870, and has a beautiful setting in the middle of the School’s 100 acres of grounds. It is run by Mr and Mrs Lord, who met while they were students together at Oxford University. Chris is the School’s Head of Classics. A graduate in Classics and English, he has also recently completed an MA in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London. Mrs Lord is a research scholar at Cambridge University and the author of several books on music and cultural history. Mr and Mrs Lord, have lived in Sandon Lodge since 1998. They have known many generations of international students at Chigwell and have a big network of friendships with former students and their families all over the world.
It really feels like a family and our houseparents seem to care about us; it’s great that they don’t treat it just as a job, but also a relationship.
Year 13 Boarder
The set-up is boutique and family style. Think snooker tables, cosy lounges and lots of language learning: the school deliberately tries to mix up nationalities to increase diversity.
Best Schools Guide - Muddy Stilettos
The atmosphere in the boarding house is actually one of the best things about living here.
Year 13 Boarder
Boarders praise the School for the consideration that is afforded to their individual needs and they relish the opportunity to share aspects of their own cultures in a positive and welcoming environment.
Independent Schools Inspectorate
Chigwell has an amazing tight-knit atmosphere!
Year 13 Boarder
Chigwell has a really great boarding community, which is small in size. The boarding houses are more like households instead of just a place to accommodate.
Year 12 Boarder