Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a charge for school pupils living in the halls?

  2. What about transport costs from my home island to the halls of residence?

  3. How do I know if I can stay in the halls of residence?

  4. Can I have a bedroom to myself or do I have to share a room?

  5. Are the bedrooms lockable and if so do I have a key and is there a cost for my key?

  6. What meals are provided?

  7. What happens if I have a problem?

  8. What happens if I am unwell?

  9. What if I'm not happy with some aspect of my stay here at the halls?

  10. Can my family and friends visit me in the Halls?

  11. How can you help me to keep in contact with my family and friends?

  12. Is there wifi?

  13. Do you have DVD players and computer games available?

  14. Can I watch any DVDs?

  15. Are all the games free?

  16. What if I don’t have my own pool cue, darts or table tennis bat?

  17. Can I win trophies?

Q1. Is there a charge for school pupils living in the halls?

No.  Accommodation costs are paid for by the local authority.

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Q2. What about transport costs from my home to the halls of residence?

Transport costs are paid for by the local authority within a transport framework.

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Q3. How do I know if I can stay in the halls of residence?

For isles pupils in the Kirkwall Grammar School (KGS) catchment area, a large number have no feasible alternative to residing in Papdale Halls of Residence in order to access KGS as follows:

  • Pupils from Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Papa Westray who normally transfer at the beginning of S5; and

  • Pupils from North Ronaldsay and Eday who transfer at the beginning of S1.

There are other pupils who attend KGS, who do not need to stay in Papdale Halls of Residence but may request to do so, as follows:

  • Pupils from Hoy can opt to attend Stromness Academy or KGS from the beginning of S1.  Daily travel from Hoy to Kirkwall leads to an extremely long day, consequently pupils may request to stay in Papdale Halls of Residence. A similar situation applies to pupils from Flotta and Egilsay.  This involves being off the island between 10 and 12 hours per day.

  • Pupils from Rousay and Wyre, again daily travel leads to a long day of between 9 and 10 hours.

  • Pupils from Shapinsay are expected to travel daily as a general rule.

There is a need to prioritise entitlement and consequently priority will be awarded as follows:

  • Pupils whose attendance at KGS can only be facilitated if they stay in Papdale Halls of Residence.

  • Pupils from Hoy, Flotta or Egilsay who wish to attend KGS but do not wish to travel daily.

  • Pupils whose parents make placing requests with a compelling case, for example their child requires courses not available at the junior high school (particularly for S4).

  • Pupils from Rousay, Shapinsay or Wyre who do not wish to travel daily.

  • Pupils from Norway who are part of the exchange programme.

Our Allocations Policy covers this in more detail, a copy of which is available in the related downloads section on the left hand side of this page.

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Q4. Can I have a bedroom to myself or do I have to share a room?

We always take into account student requests and their actual needs which help to decide who gets what accommodation.

Most of our bedrooms are however single, although we do have a small number of twin rooms and some “Accessibility” bedrooms for students with additional mobility needs for example. All bedrooms are en-suite regardless of type.

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Q5. Are the bedrooms lockable? If so do I have a key and is there a cost for my key?

Yes they are lockable. You will have an electronic key for which there is a refundable deposit payable by you at the start of each term. This key looks like a credit card and is programmed to allow you access to the front door at specific times, your bedroom at any times and also gives you access to a range of student facilities on the ground floor.

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Q6. What meals are provided?

Breakfast, dinner and supper are provided at no charge and a light lunch is provided for students who are ill. We also hold theme nights such as Indian, Chinese, Italian or barbecue nights for example.

We look at every student’s catering needs and provide meals suitable for them so if students require specific dietary requirements for reasons of conviction i.e. vegan or vegetarian; for medical reasons i.e. they have a food intolerance; or indeed for religious reasons i.e. Halal or kosher then we will be pleased to be able to oblige.

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Q7. What happens if I have a problem?

You can freely discuss it with a member of staff who will assist and advise you accordingly. Anything discussed will be treated confidentially in strict accordance with Orkney Islands Council’s policy on confidentiality.

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Q8. What happens if I am unwell?

Staff will notify both your parents/carers and Kirkwall Grammar School. Staff will also look after you in Papdale Halls in cases of minor illnesses. They will either make a medical appointment for you when required or provide information to you to enable you to do so for yourself and will either accompany you or arrange transport where required. All of this is dependent on your age and or personal views. Where students are absent from school for more than a few days or in the case of someone who has flu or another communicable illness they will make arrangements for you to travel home and for someone to meet you at your destination.

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Q9. What if I’m not happy with some aspect of my stay here at the halls?

Again, you can discuss this with a member of staff or the duty manager and we would hope to be able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction. However, you have a right to make a complaint at any time and a copy of the complaints procedures is available on request. There is also a link to the complaints section available in the related links section of this page, including complaints to the Care Inspectorate and how they may be contacted.

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Q10. Can my family and friends visit me in the Halls?

Most certainly and we actively encourage this. Please see the facilities section in the related links section of this page. In here you will find information and images of the facilities available for use by residents and their family and friends including access to the family room. Please note, however, that we reserve the right to deny access to anyone that in our opinion was unsuitable to be around our students for example if someone was using foul language or appeared to be intoxicated for example.

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Q11. How can you help me to keep in contact with my family and friends?

We have a private payphone booth which is available to you at all times.

If have no mobile phone access we will make an office phone available to you.

We have installed Skype on our computers in the Standing Stones suite.

If you require assistance at any time please ask and if we can assist you in this area then we most certainly will.

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Q12. Is there wifi?

Yes we have wifi access to all areas of the ground floor but accommodation areas are hardwired to accept computers.

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Q13. Do you have DVD players and computer games available?

Yes these can be hired for a nominal returnable deposit.

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Q14. Can I watch any DVDs?

Yes, providing they are age appropriate you can use either the television room or if there a number of people watching they can be linked into our home cinema system for an enhanced viewing experience.

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Q15. Are all the games free?

A deposit is paid when taking out games and returned, provided the games are returned in the same condition that they were given out in.

The pool tables are coin operated and the cost per game is just a nominal 20p.

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Q16. What if I don’t have my own pool cue, darts or table tennis bat?

No problem, we provide them for a small returnable deposit.

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Q17. Can I win trophies?

Yes, we run a variety of competitions where trophies for the winners and runners up are presented.

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