Roland and Julie were jointly appointed to be the first Houseparents of West in 2014. Since that time the house has gone from strength to strength, while still maintaining its unique Sixth Form only ethos. Roland arrived at Stowe in 2007 to teach Chemistry. Having studied at Bristol (BSc Biochemistry) and Durham (MA Education), Roland served as the Head of Elite UCAS Applications and Assistant Housemaster of Chandos before being jointly appointed to run West House. Roland's interests include sports coaching, languages and opera.
Having gained a double-first class honours in English and French from Queens University Belfast and an MA with Distinction, Julie came to Stowe in 2008. Julie was a Sixth Form Housemistress in her previous school in Shropshire, before becoming Head of the International Department and Assistant Housemistress of Stanhope at Stowe. Julie's interests include travel, equestrianism and classical music.
Roland and Julie Johnson
Being located on the western edge of the school campus provides West house with a real sense of open space and tranquillity, not found in the labyrinth of the main mansion. There is also a real sense of maturity amongst the girls and they are rewarded with a degree of additional independence in their daily routine. As a house we still meet for two stances a day, morning and evening, with the evening stance taking the form of a house meeting which is a forum for girls to discuss any issues or give important announcements.
As a new student in West House you will be part of community of other students who are also new to Stowe School, with many boarding for the very first time. Our girls are all in the same situation and therefore support one another as they find their feet in their new environment, and have the Upper Sixth from who are able to impart wisdom having been through the same experiences just 12 months earlier.
In West we strongly encourage all our girls to try new activities and participate in Sports and Arts even if they haven’t done so at their previous school. With students joining West from a range of different schools there is a wealth of amazing skills and talents from Academics to Music, Sport to Art and almost always someone in house who is taking your subject that is willing to help you out with a difficult prep or to join you on the walk to activities.
We are very fortunate to have brand new, purpose built accommodation in the form of the new West 5 block. There are 24 en-suite rooms joined by a glass walkway with balconies to be enjoyed on sunny days. Within this block there is a large kitchen and communal space to be shared by all West girls. The boarding house is completed by other recently renovated buildings that each have their own smaller communal spaces and kitchens, providing ample space for the girls to have some independence and get a feel for what university life might be like.
The House is not in fact named after its location in the Western Garden, but after a member of the Temple-Grenville family named Gilbert West.
As the newest House at Stowe, West was officially opened in 2014 by Viscount Cobham, the direct descendent of the family who built and lived at Stowe.
Our House Colours are ‘argent and sable’ – better known to those without a deep knowledge of heraldry as silver and black! These are based on the coat of arms of the West family.
"What I like about West is that it offers preparation and guidance for the transition between school and university, allowing you to develop in confidence and gain other skills such as the ability to organise oneself efficiently. West also gives you the opportunity to make lifelong friends, in a welcoming and family-style community.
West is a house that is very encouraging and seeks to bring out the individual person, whether their talents lie with sports, academia or elsewhere, rather than taking the approach that everyone should fit a prescribed ideal."