There are about 34 choristers boarding at the school at any one time. They are housed in a separate building in bright, comfortable dormitories. There are two resident, fully qualified nurses who look after the choristers' health and hygiene and who have flats in the boarding house; other residential staff live adjacent to it. The choristers have their own common room with a snooker table, air hockey, table football, play stations as well as a television. They take all meals in the school dining room.
The choristers are looked after by the Head of Boarding who is assisted by other resident teachers, the two resident nurses and two gap year students. The Headmaster takes a particular interest in the care of the choristers and he and his family also live on site.
The pace and intensity of a chorister's life means that it is important for the school to do everything it can to provide a normal and healthy school life to balance the public performances in the Cathedral and wider community. It is also crucial to help the choristers enjoy being boarders and part of a thriving community. Every effort is made to give the boys appropriate free time for relaxation and the Headmaster works closely with the Cathedral's Precentor and Director of Music to monitor the boys' workload to ensure that they are not over-burdened.
The member of staff on duty and the gap students supervise structured practice and homework sessions during the week and, with the nurse, they oversee bedtimes and reading sessions before lights out.
Parents are encouraged to attend Evensong and other public services in the Cathedral. Parents are issued with passes for the Cathedral and are invited in to school at reasonable times.
At weekends the choristers are normally allowed out with their families between the morning and afternoon rehearsals on Saturday and after Evensong on Sunday. Those boys who are not able to go off site with their families are taken out for recreational activities by the staff on duty. Boys who live close enough may also wish to spend Sunday evening at home. They must return in time for the rehearsal before school on Monday morning.
Being a chorister is exciting, hard work and immensely rewarding. During the year, in addition to singing Cathedral services, choristers can expect to take part in several high-profile services attended by the Royal Family, many of which are televised, performances in London's major concert halls and the Lord Mayor's Show. In October 2009 they sang at the Iraq Memorial Service attended by members of the Royal Family, politicians and members of the Armed Forces. In November 2009 they helped launch Disney's film 'A Christmas Carol' and in July 2010 they sang at The First Night of the Proms. They tour abroad regularly – recent tours include U.S., the Netherlands and Germany – and record CDs.