Introduction from the Head of Pastoral Care
Life has changed out of all recognition since the first Houses were opened here in the 19th century and there is no question that the stresses and strains on our current pupils are profoundly different to those their predecessors might have been exposed to 160 years ago. However, I am equally sure that in all this time the ambition of our girls have remained fundamentally unaltered – to be happy and fulfilled in their journey to adulthood.
There is no question that Pastoral Care impacts hugely on the behaviour and academic achievement of all the girls in our care. A successful House is one where a sense of warmth and community pervades and where all staff work hard to get to know the girls as individuals, giving them confidence and ensuring that they are appreciated as people, and that we, as their pastoral carers, are committed to and interested in them.
Parents want their daughters to be in a school where they will be cared for, where each child is valued and understood for what she brings to the whole and where the girls genuinely feel that they have someone to talk to should they have a problem.
I feel that this is such a school and that the quality of Pastoral Care we provide as a team is second to none. If you feel that this is a team you want to be part of, I hope you will apply.
Head of Pastoral Care
About the houses
College has been a thriving, global community since it was founded over 160 years ago. Today our 850 pupils aged between 11 and 18 years encompass 40 different nationalities and over 30 languages and come from a wide variety of backgrounds both in the UK and overseas. Over three-quarters of our pupils board across six Junior (11 to 16 years) and five Sixth Form (16 to 18 years) houses. Most houses accommodate between 60 - 70 girls although our most recently opened Sixth Form house (Roderic), which opened in September 2014, houses 20 girls. We do not offer flexi or weekly boarding and believe we benefit from the sense of community that being a full boarding school brings.
Many of our boarders will be leaving home for the first time and our house system is structured to support these new boarders to settle in quickly. This ensures that all girls have a home away from home, where they feel included, valued and part of a close-knit community. The house is a sanctuary where girls eat, sleep, play, relax and study. There is a strong sense of camaraderie and family, with girls developing a fierce house spirit which manifests itself noisily during inter-house competitions of all kinds.
Through our houses we aim to enhance and complement all other aspects of College life. In particular, we look to enable girls to:
- grow into independent, confident adults, capable of forming mature, fulfilling relationships with family and friends;
- develop their own moral, spiritual and social values;
- fulfil their potential intellectually;
- fulfil their potential in sporting, creative and other areas;
- find opportunities to develop leadership and take on responsibility.
Working in a House
Each House has its own unique character. As a member of staff in one of the boarding houses, you will join a team of between five and eight full and part-time staff, led by an experienced Housemistress and her Deputy. Our full-time Housestaff are residential and you will live and work alongside your colleagues, with regular scheduled time off. You are provided with your own furnished apartment within the house. Our Housestaff join us from a wide variety of backgrounds and each person brings their own unique skills and attributes to the role.
Working in a House is varied and the work you do will depend upon your particular rota and whether you are working in a Junior or Sixth Form house. Alongside the more routine jobs, such as general housekeeping and laundry (College does have a fully staffed laundry so you are not required to do all the washing!), you will be involved in things such as ensuring the girls are up and out in the morning or settled down at night, helping with weekend activities, overseeing homework or supervising meal times. For the younger girls, there is an exciting programme of activities and events to fill their time at weekends, whilst the older girls are kept busy with work, matches and rehearsals as well as having time for friends and personal relaxation. In the Sixth Form houses, your involvement with the girls will revolve more around supporting them as they prepare to take their A Level or IB examinations, as they apply to universities or in helping them to make their own decisions as they become young adults.
A significant part of your role will also involve communicating with parents – face-to-face, by email or phone and in person, as well as administrative work. Another important part of the role is to be there for the girls should they need pastoral support and guidance, encouragement or discipline.