Boarding Principles and Practice
Undoubtedly, boarding life at Woodcote must fall in line with the school’s aims and principles, namely to raise boys who are: happy, safe, confident yet selfless, tolerant and respectful. Woodcote is the ultimate family-run school, and its intimate nature allows us to keep a close eye on each individual boarder and their continued development, with regard to these aims.
It is this sense of family, with all the traditions and values that this implies, which is central to Woodcote’s philosophy. The school family, backed up by a settled and experienced staff and are committed to ensuring that boarders are fulfilled, happy, properly looked after, and relaxed – in short we treat them as our own.
Woodcote houses its 70 Boarders in the main school building and also in a 6th form boarding house (Dominies) within the grounds. Ages range from 8 – 13, and with 12 dormitories of different sizes there is ample opportunity to mix with a range of different talents and backgrounds without being overwhelmed by large numbers.
The Head of Boarding and Head of Pastoral Care are in overall charge of boarding. They train and monitor four Matrons, all of whom live in rooms close to groups of dormitories. There is a rota of senior staff who help with the evening routine.
Turning these principles into practice requires the boys to:
- Communicate clearly to the boarding team if they are unhappy or have any concerns about life upstairs.
- Respect one another’s personal belongings and space
- Respect the pastoral team
- Embrace the wide range of activities that are offered to them.
- Be proactive in forging friendships with peers, vertically as well as horizontally
It requires staff to:
- Promote a happy, fun but safe atmosphere within the dormitories.
- Be a supportive and sympathetic listener.
- Liaise regularly with the HOB and pastoral team about concerns.
- Implement the sanctions and reward policy, which ties in with the dormitory competition.
- Read to the younger boys.
It requires the HOB to have:
– Daily meetings to discuss welfare of Boarders.
– Daily meetings between the Head of Pastoral Care, the Head Matron and Matrons to
discuss Boarders’ needs.
– Several ad-hoc meetings with senior members of staff to discuss wide-ranging issues.
– Daily meetings between Tutors and boys, with PHSEE on the agenda.
– Half-termly meetings of a school council and food committee, with representatives of each year group, and regular meetings between the Headmaster, ‘Full Monitors/Heads of Houses’ and all Year 8.