What it is like to be a matron?

Joining us over 12 years ago, Matron Stamp tells us what it is like to be a matron, an invaluable role within Fyling Hall’s boarding team.

When I joined the Fyling Hall boarding team 12 years ago, my role was Relief Matron, working 2 nights and days in Ramsdale with the Junior boys then moving into Woodside to spend the same amount of time with the Junior girls. This enabled the full time Matrons to have their time off. Both houses were full to capacity when I started with mainly Forces children, ranging from Y4 -Y9.

The first few weeks were a bit of a nightmare…. working out where I was meant to be every time the bell rang, the locking and alarming of several doors at night, then remembering to reverse the procedure in the morning, getting the uniforms and sports kit to the laundry after school, making sure the washers and dryers were set at the correct temperatures, pressing pleats and creases into endless grey skirts and trousers and most importantly desperately trying to remember the names of all the boarders. It did get easier once I had mastered the routine.

I remember vividly being in Woodside when it was decided that the whole School would have an electronic free night each week to play board games etc. Wednesday was chosen as the ‘night’ much to the annoyance of the girls, that was the night they all crowded into the sitting room to watch Waterloo Road. A couple of the girls got it completely wrong, phoning parents to complain that they weren’t allowed to use any electricity  on Wednesdays so how would they dry their hair!

If you heard screams from upstairs, you knew that a spider had been spotted in the bathroom or worse still, in a dormitory! Occasionally a bat would find its way into the House. I could deal with the spiders but not the bats.  So Dr Richardson or Miss Anders would be summoned to catch and release the invader elsewhere.

The boys spent most of the lighter nights playing football on the flagstones, cold winter nights were when the younger ones built forts in the common room with the big jenga blocks, sharing out the toy solider and battling to the end! There was one computer in the House which was used on a rota system, chocolate or crisps would occasionally be exchanged for someone else’s time. The boys got very excited when they were allowed to make ‘dens’ in the dormitories, tying blankets and old curtains between the bunk beds, transforming the rooms beyond recognition.

Ruth Stamp, Matron