Beale House


Name: Mrs Diane Airey BEd Hons Cantab
Telephone: +44 (0)15242 79212

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Diane and Martin are the girls' House parents. Diane is Head of Individual Needs and Martin works across both the Senior and Prep School sites. Girls' boarding has become increasingly popular and has expanded beyond Beale House to now include Thornfield House.

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House Profile

There is a strong bond between the girls and a warm family atmosphere. All new girls have buddies. Every girl is part of our extended family and also has the support of smaller, family groups that include a cross section across all ages. The security of their term time home encourages the girls to develop and grow as individuals. The ethos of kindness, respect and the tolerance of others underpins all that we do.

Diane and Martin live in House and are contactable by both the girls and their parents at all times. Within girls' boarding we also have a resident, full time Matron and two resident graduate assistants. Other teaching staff live adjacent to the boarding accommodation and a helping hand is never more than a few seconds away.

In addition to this, a team of enthusiastic and dedicated duty staff work during the evenings and weekends. This further extends the network of support and offers extended opportunities for a range of activities.  In the evening there is a varied programme of activities, run by an experienced, caring team of house tutors. This enables the girls to make the most of the wonderful and extensive facilities on offer at our school. Evening activities include social events, family games, talent shows, art, DT, swimming, cookery and air rifle shooting. Those girls who have their own ponies at school also have the opportunity to ride and care for them. On a morning, before school, girls can take part in running club, netball, swimming and cricket coaching. Those who play musical instruments also have supervised practice time. 

At weekends we usually venture further afield, often into the beautiful countryside that we are so fortunate to live in. Weekend activities include water sports, rock climbing, bouldering, Zorb football, go-karting, clay pigeon shooting, laser quest, horse riding, fell walking, an indoor waterpark and a visit to an indoor trampoline park.

All meals are eaten together, as a family. We have pets and animals that live both inside and outside of the boarding house. The girls help to look after them, which fosters and reinforces the ethos of care and responsibility. Caring for our pets adds to the home from home feeling that we are lucky to enjoy. We have two small dogs, a cat and home-grown fish. As well as the ponies, we also have pygmy goats, a rabbit and free-range chickens. Several of our beautiful hens were hatched and nurtured in the house, which was a truly memorable experience.  

House History

Girls have been boarding at Casterton since 1823. When the site became Sedbergh Prep School, Beale became their first House. As numbers rapidly expanded a second girls' boarding house, Thornfield, was opened.   Beale House is named in memory of Dorothea Beale. Dorothea was a pioneer of women’s education and in 1856 she became Headmistress at Casterton School. The girls are very proud of their links to Dorothea, who was an active supporter of the suffragette movement. She was vice-president of the Central Society for Women's Suffrage.

Charlotte Bronte, a former pupil of the clergy daughters' school, is another inspiring woman for the girls to look up to. Thornfield House is named in memory of the home of Mr Rochester in the novel, Jane Eyre.

 Boarding Parents Handbook