Sherborne is built on the site of a former Benedictine monastery and the Benedictine ethos of building community is at the heart of all we do here. For St Benedict the key concepts for a successful community involved fostering a sense of belonging, a heart for hospitality secure in the knowledge that you will always be listened to, and the ability to adapt to change. Boys, parents and all staff both teaching and non teaching are all part of our community.
These are values that we are keen to example and nurture in our boys. The school community is ever changing, but life in our boarding houses underpins the heart of boys' feeling of belonging and community and excellent relationships are fostered between staff and boys. Parents are a vital part of the school community and we welcome their close involvement in many aspects of school life. As well as the day-to-day communication, numerous other events are always well attended: it may be a match, House play or at a major school occasion such as Commemoration day.
The rhythm and pattern of celebrating important events and remembering our heritage and our foundation enable us to be grounded in something greater than ourselves. Perhaps the most tangible visual example of community is seen on the Friday closest to Remembrance Sunday, when the whole school pauses for ten minutes in the Courts surrounded by members of the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) to remember Shirburnians past and present who have served and died in the forces.
Sherborne boys cannot fail to be part of the town community. Many boys have to walk through the town from their boarding houses and between lessons. As they move around town they are constantly interacting and engaging with its residents to whom they show the utmost consideration and respect. The simple reality of having to share pavements and doorways often with elderly members of the public means their manners and consideration for others is continually reinforced and these two qualities become an enduring mark of the Shirburnian.
Boys volunteer to help with town events, such as helping to serve lunches in the Digby Hall and collecting for various charities. Boys also help with sport and reading in local primary schools and visit members of the town community who have difficulty getting out to meet people.
St Benedict’s understanding that hospitality to others reveals the strength of a community is certainly reflected in the many members of the town who attend concerts, plays, services and celebrations in the School.
One of many instances where school and town come together to reflect the sense of being part of a wider community is when our CCF boys join in the town’s Remembrance activities on the Sunday and attend the Abbey service.
We hope that by providing opportunities for the boys to mix and engage with the town and other schools, they will develop a respect for others, a sense of belonging not only to their school but to an ever-changing community beyond; and that they will learn habits of hospitality and service that they continue to practise beyond school and on into their lives.
There are strong relationships with the other secondary schools in Sherborne, especially with Sherborne Girls, but also with Leweston and The Gryphon School. Many of our boys have sisters at Sherborne Girls School and there is a busy programme of social events arranged by House (as well as year group) all the way through the boys' life at Sherborne.
As well as some joint teaching in the sixth form, the sharing of timetables, dates, events and facilities all contribute to the close relationship between the schools. The boys and girls have numerous opportunities to meet through joint orchestras, drama productions, societies and other cultural events. With the other schools providing such a cohesive social group, by the time they are in the sixth form many of the boys and girls will know one another and feel confident in each other’s company and socialise outside both at school, during the holidays and onwards after they have left.
Within this unique framework, the boys are still able to enjoy their own privacy and get on with exploring their emerging adulthood with unabashed confidence.