Boarding Pass


As Benenden School makes history with its new Fourths’ Boarding House, Julia Millen met with Katie Salisbury, the first Housemistress of the new Fourths’ House for an exclusive tour

In the first phase of the School’s boarding house refurbishment programme, during the summer Medway boarding house was transformed and is now being devoted to the Fourths (Year 7). The change was introduced as a result of the Fourths’ positive experience while temporarily living together as a bubble last year.

How does it feel to be the first Housemistress of the very first Fourths’ House at Benenden?

It’s such an honour. My team and I are part of the very beginning of a student’s Benenden career. It’s very special and a real privilege. I also get to work with a super team, who all more than match my enthusiasm for the Fourths.

What is your favourite thing about being Housemistress?

Sundays are lovely; Miss Brown might run a baking activity (bonus - the House smells amazing), Miss D will have some girls hanging out in her office crafting, and a group of Fourths will join me on a dog walk. No pressures, just good, relaxing times.

How would you best describe what the Fourths’ House is like?

It’s full of energy and kindness, with a small dash of madness, too. Living together as a year group has meant that the Fourths have all become incredibly close and supportive of one another. Our House is a very kind and warm place to be. We have lots of visitors from the older year groups, who love to help with bedtimes, read stories to the Fourths or come and join in with some of our in-house activities. Medway is also located in a fantastic spot here at Benenden, right next to the woods which is perfect for campfires and exploring.

What have been some of your highlights since the House opened?

Watching the Fourths play Lacrosse last weekend; they have made huge improvements in such a short amount of time. They played beautifully as a team. The rest of the House and parents were there to cheer them on. There was such a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie. I walked back to House with a huge grin on my face.

Where is your favourite place in the Fourths’ House and why?

This is a tricky one. We have lots of great spaces here in Medway: a great kitchen, House Study, and a Day Room. If I had to choose one room, I think it would be the Snug. There’s space for the girls to relax and play board games, play the piano or watch a movie, however the best feature of this room is the huge sofa which is big enough to fit everyone on. It’s a great space to meet as a whole House. Recently we even had the Head Girl and another Six Two come down to the Snug to read the Twits to the Fourths, which was lovely.

The girls were delighted when they saw their brand new House and they have enjoyed getting used to their new environments during these past few weeks. In Medway, the House has been designed specifically for the Fourths’ age group and includes:

  • Bright and airy dorms
  • A House Study which is perfect for storing schoolwork and completing in-House prep
  • A cosy snug where the girls play games and hang out with their friends
  • A beautiful, modern kitchen where the girls make snacks and learn how to cook
  • A lovely private outdoor space for relaxing, playing and enjoying the warmer weather

These refurbished Houses set the standard for the remaining Lower School Houses, which will be refurbished over the next few years.


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