Boarding can often strengthen the relationship between parents and their teenage children.
bout 85% of our pupils are boarders which means that our community bustles with life and activities in the evenings and at weekends as well as during the working day. Our day pupils are just as much full members of the School as the boarders, living and working alongside them in one of our twelve Houses. The Houses are run by caring and experienced Housemasters and Housemistresses (known as HMs) supported by an AHM and Resident Tutor and a Day Matron, ensuring that every child is happy whilst learning at first-hand what it means to share, empathise and get on with others. We know that teenagers test the boundaries, we know that they sometimes get it wrong; we pride ourselves on the level of our pastoral care and the support networks we have in place to deal with these emotionally and physically challenging years.
The Deputy Head Pastoral is responsible for the School’s highly-regarded pastoral care system. There are many different levels of support available in School: each Housemaster or Housemistress is supported by an Assistant HM, Resident Tutor and a Day Matron; Tutors, each of whom have in their care around 6-10 pupils, are responsible for both the academic and pastoral life of the pupil; three Counsellors; and our Chaplain; Sixth Formers are trained to offer a Peer Listening service; and finally, the Heads of House supported by their Prefects, meet regularly with the Deputy Head Pastoral to raise any areas of concern.
The Health Centre is also at the heart of School life and is a warm and welcoming place where pupils have access not only to plasters, bandages and medicines, but also to tea, toast and a chat. Six full time Nurses, plus part-time staff, offer 24-hour cover with each Nurse having responsibility for particular Houses.
Any pastoral system is only as good as the communication that underpins its performance. The Pastoral Group — the Deputy Head Pastoral, Senior Nurse, Counsellors and Chaplain meet bi-weekly. One of the school GPs, who visit the school every weekday, may also attend these meetings. Confidentiality is rigorously respected here, but the Group is able to discuss pastoral trends or issues where pupils or HMs have actively requested support.
As the name suggests, Peer Listeners are members of the School community who are there to listen to their fellow pupils’ problems rather than to advise or instruct. If the issues discussed are serious enough to warrant advice or direction there are trained counsellors to whom pupils may turn.The Peer Listening service is comprised of selected members of the Sixth Form, who are supported and supervised by a small team of teachers.
The role of Peer Listeners is to provide pupils with a more informal and less conspicuous method of aiding them with their problems. In many cases it is much easier for a pupil to confide in a fellow pupil who has the training — given by Relate — to listen and respond appropriately. There is at least one Peer Listener in every house, which adds to the convenience of the service and also means there is always someone to talk to.