Weekly boarding

If you’re excited by the idea of Exeter Maths School, but you live beyond the range of a practical daily commute, it’s worth considering our Weekly Boarding option. Every year students from North and West Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset stay over and – judging by the feedback – really enjoy building their independence and learning new skills such as cooking. EMS boarders are guided and looked after by our dedicated pastoral and accommodation tutors who really understand what it’s like living in a city away from home. They are brilliant at combining a welcoming and sociable atmosphere with the hard working ethos of Exeter Mathematics School.

We prioritise accommodation for students that have a daily commute of more than 1 hour each way. Students are able to live in Exeter from Monday to Friday during term time, going home each Friday afternoon to spend the weekends with their families.

There is a charge for accommodation.  We have a bursary fund to ensure that students from low income families are assisted to help meet this cost.

If you would like to access accommodation please indicate this on your application to the school.  Following the entrance test, if you are still being considered for a place at EMS, we will contact you with more details.  We highly recommend that all students with over a 1 hour commute each way consider applying for accommodation.

A deposit will be required to secure a place.

Cost of Accommodation and Financial Support

There is one charge for residential accommodation which includes all rent, utilities, staffing, equipment, food and basic insurance.  There are no hidden extras.

For 2024-25 the total cost for one year is £11,944. 

We recognise that this is a significant amount of money.  We have several payment options available (a one-off payment, 10 monthly instalments or a flexible scheme on request) and a bursary scheme to support those from households with below-average disposable income.

Boarding bursaries are guaranteed to families with below average disposable income, currently capped at £46,510.  Disposable income is the amount of money that households have available for spending and saving after direct taxes (such as Income Tax, National Insurance and Council Tax) have been accounted for.  It includes income from employment, private pensions and investments as well as cash benefits provided by the state.

Please note: The income bands have been updated following a Department for Education review in May 2024.

Boarding Bursary Levels

Household Disposable Income BandLevel of BursaryProportion of accommodation costs families need to payCost of boarding to family, excluding food*Total cost of boarding to a family, including food*
up to £29,190100%0%£0£810
£29,191 - £37,66890%10%£1,115£1,925
£37,669 - £43,72480%20%£2,230£3,040
£43,725 - £46,51060%40%£4,454£5,264
£46,511 or over0%100%£11,134£11,944
*This table shows the level of bursary received for each disposable income band.

The associated policy can be accessed here: Boarding Bursary Policy 2024

The Boarding Bursary Application Form is made available to students who are made conditional offers and select this option when they complete their acceptance of place form.

Here’s a few extracts from our March 2023 Ofsted inspection report:

Excellent Academic Progress

One of the great benefits of accessing our accommodation is that students are able to manage their work well during the week and protect their weekends for quality time with family and friends.  The support they receive from staff and one another enables them to make excellent progress in their studies.

On average, EMS students make better progress than expected based on their GCSE results, so much so that we consistently achieve progress scores that place EMS in the top 1% of all post-16 providers.  This impact is even greater for students in accommodation, who on average make progress that is significantly better than their peers who have a daily commute.

OFSTED Outstanding

In March 2023 OFSTED judged our provision to be Outstanding in all categories for the second time.

The inspection took place with almost no notice – the school was telephoned in the morning and the inspectors arrived just after 11 am.  They spent three days reviewing our policies, talking to students, parents and staff, scrutinising our recruitment of staff and thoroughly checking our safeguarding procedures.  They met with a governor, spent time with students in our accommodation and attended a student council meeting.

Inspectors were particularly impressed by inclusive community, that students feel able to be themselves and the care and support provided by staff.  Highlights  and the full report can be accessed via our “Ofsted and Results” page.

EMS flats

Students live together, from Monday to Friday, in supervised accommodation. Each student has their own en-suite bedroom that includes a bed, wardrobe, desk, shelving, pin board, shower, toilet and sink. The accommodation is loosely arranged into blocks of flats with an open-plan living room/kitchen-diner for every six bedrooms.

Most students choose to bring their own bedding and personalise their rooms but this can be supplied by the school. Kitchen and dining equipment is all provided by EMS but students bring their own toiletries and towels.

The ingredients for breakfast and evening meals are provided each day and students have access to facilities to prepare their own lunch should they wish to do so. They are encouraged to develop independent living skills, for example, each taking it in turns to cook an evening meal.   All students complete a food hygiene certificate during year 12.

Staff support students to enable them to manage cleaning rotas, plan meals and look after themselves. By the time they leave the EMS accommodation they should be fully equipped to fend for themselves.

Our aim is for students to have a home from home existence.  There are televisions, board games, books and wifi provided along with the possibility for students to provide computer games and other entertainments.  A range of extra-curricular activities, including sport, music and drama, is available through Exeter College.  The College gym is open every morning before school and every evening. Other activities are available, such as you would expect from a small, vibrant city.

Further details are contained in our Student and Parent Residential Guide.  Please click below.

Student and Parent Guide to Accommodation 2024

Meet the team

We have a team of dedicated pastoral staff that ensure students are cared for and supported as they transition towards independent living. Our core residential team consists of five Pastoral Accommodation Tutors (PAT), Devon, Jade, Magda, Nikki and Zoe who live onsite alongside our students on a rota basis.  Their aim is to create a home from home where students are able to relax, learn and socialise happily.  Whether it’s teaching students to cook, encouraging them to clean their room or just having a chat about how things are going, Devon, Jade, Magda, Nikki and Zoe are always on hand.



Magda picture




Grace is our Deputy Safeguarding Lead, overseeing Residential and SEND.  Grace is responsible for student well-being and supports Devon, Jade, Magda, Nikki and Zoe to provide outstanding care and support.

Yasmin is the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead and leads the pastoral provision and team, including residential staff.

Either Grace or Yasmin are on call each evening and night to provide additional staffing and support if needed.



There are always two members of staff on duty and students and parents are able to contact them direct by email or telephone.

You can find out more about our pastoral team by reading their staff profiles here.

Duty Rota

Evening and NightMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday
Pastoral Accommodation Tutors on DutyDevon, Jade and Nikki
Devon, Jade and Magda
Devon, Zoe and Magda
Devon, Zoe and Magda

Catering in the EMS flats

We recognise the importance of a healthy, balanced diet to enable students to thrive both physically and academically.   We are equally committed to supporting students as they learn important life-skills such as cooking.  For these reasons we ensure all students have access to healthy ingredients to enable them to prepare a range of meals.  We also structure the preparation of food to provide them with experience of planning and preparing meals for themselves and others.


Students prepare their own breakfast  and are expected to clear up behind themselves.  They access to a range of healthy options that include: a range of cereals, bread for toasting, spreads for toast, milk, fruit juice, fresh fruit, yoghurt, tea, coffee.

Staff are available to provide support and supervision for those students that need it, particularly at the start of year 12.


Students make their own arrangements for lunchtime.  There’s plenty of space for them to store their ingredients should they wish to prepare a packed lunch.  The main school also has microwaves and boiling water available for those that wish to bring something to school that requires a little preparation.


All students cook for one another on a rota basis.  There are always at least three options available to cater for different dietary requirements and we have the flexibility for students  to prepare an alternative meal if none of the main options are suitable.  Staff support students as they learn to cook, providing tips, advice and encouragement.  During their first year with us, students work towards a Food Hygiene Certificate and by the end of year 12 should be confident and safe working in a kitchen.

The menus for each week are decided by the students: each lead-cook submits their recipie the week before they are due to cook.  Staff order the ingredients and take delivery of them on Monday morning.  We’ve created our own recipie book to provide students with some ideas of meals that are nutritious and reasonably straight-forward to create.   Students are encouraged to add to our collection and/or cook using recipies of their own.

Weekly menus are displayed in each kitchen.  Below is a sample.

Weekly Menu – Week Beginning 09/01/23

Monday: Toad in the hole and fresh vegetables

Tuesday: Homemade spaghetti bolognese

Wednesday: Bacon, mushroom and roasted vegetable pasta

Thursday: Smoked haddock, wedges and peas

Vegan/Vegetarian Kitchen Menu

Monday: Black bean tostadas with salad

Tuesday: Miso aubergine curry with naan bread

Wednesday: Smoked tofu stir fry

Thursday: Carrot and sweet potato stew with tiger bread


We have a range of food available for students to have or use to prepare their own snacks.  They are also welcome to bring their own snacks – there’s plenty of space to store them either in the kitchen area (labelled) or their own room.

Special Needs

We adapt our provision to meet the needs of each cohort of students and encourage students and parents to make us aware of specific needs, early in the application process.  If we are able to make adjustments to enable students to attend, we will do so.  The examples below illustrate this but are by no means a comprehensive list of provision.

  • We have a ground-floor room and linked kitchen that is designed to be accessible for wheelchair users
  • We have adapted menus to ensure those with a food intolerance have a balanced diet
  • We have put in place additional structures for students with autism

Our support for students with specific needs is integrated with practices in the main school.  For example, a dyslexic student that finds organisation difficult may agree a study timetable with their form tutor and then have support from pastoral staff to implement their plan.  More information about our whole-school approach can be found on the page “How we look after students“.

Our Students’ Views

There is a great atmosphere, the staff aren’t teachers so it is easy to talk to them.  It is very close to school which is convenient.  Having three kitchens means there are a variety of meals to choose from or I can always cook something myself.   Alex, year 13.

I’ve had a cracking time so far, it’s good here. Freddie, year 12

Accommodation has helped me to make friends that are like a second family to me. Hattie, year 13.

There’s a good mix of socialising and studying, good location.  I like how it’s chilled but we still get looked after, making sure we are OK and it’s not too strict.  We are treated like adults and allowed to be independent.  Accommodation is like renting your own place and getting support when we need it.  Cooking is a good life skill and helps me with my organisational skills.  Luke, year 12


Triangle mountains