Boys and Girls : 13 - 18 : Boarding
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Boarding & Pastoral Care FAQs
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Uppingham has separate houses for boys and girls. The boys’ houses are home to about fifty boys; the girls’ houses to around sixty girls. Each of them has a Housemaster and/or Housemistress responsible for the welfare of the pupils in their care; there is also a resident tutor, a senior tutor and a team of tutors attached to the House.
The Housemaster or Housemistress and their family live in the House, not in a separate building, and the House is home for them and the pupils in their care. The fact that this extended family eats together is also important as each House has its own dining room. The Housemaster or Housemistress will see their pupils every day at meals and informally by simply occupying the same building.
Another important member of the House is Matron, who will look after the health and general welfare of the pupils in her care, make sure they keep well organised, and is another person whom pupils can trust and confide in. The management of the house environment is further supported by the domestic housekeeping team.
At Uppingham the House is very much an extended home.
Uppingham is a big place for a new thirteen year-old. It is therefore very important that the process of familiarisation should be as painless as possible. Every new pupil has a more senior pupil whose job it is to look after them and show them the ropes, and each Housemaster or Housemistress will also use their Prefects (also known at Uppingham as 'Praepostors' or 'Pollies') to help the new pupils settle in to the House.
New pupils are invited for a New Pupils' Tea in their boarding house at the end of June. This provides an opportunity for the pupils to meet other new pupils in their year group, some of the key members of staff who will be looking after them, and also their mentors.
Each pupil is given a copy of the School ‘White List’ at the beginning of each term; a booklet which includes the term’s calendar, timetable, prep diary, maps of the School and classrooms, and lots of other useful information. There is also a full programme of events for the new pupils to help them find out what is on offer for them and most Housemasters and Housemistresses organise trips/events for the new Fourth Form (first year pupils) in the first couple of weeks (to go bowling, punting, camping etc) in order to help the children get to know each other and their Housemaster/Housemistress.
After three weeks there is a leave-out weekend when parents are able to take their son or daughter out of school from Friday lunchtime, returning with them on Sunday evening for a special service for new pupils and their parents, followed by an invitation from the Housemaster or Housemistress for you to meet them to discuss progress.
Uppingham also has a long and successful tradition of integrating new pupils in to the Sixth Form. With one girl’s house, The Lodge, made up only of girls who join for the Sixth Form and nearly every house in the School typically welcoming between one and four new Sixth Formers each year, integration at this stage is part of the School’s culture. Every effort is made to assist new pupils through mentoring programmes that run in each House and through the support of tutors, matrons, house staff and teachers. There are also regular social evenings in the Sixth Form Centre and Saturday evening ‘bops’. Each House arranges its own social occasions from ‘Scottish reeling’ to formal dinners and there are many clubs and societies on offer at the School.
The Housemaster or Housemistress and Tutor are responsible for the formal aspects of the pastoral role. They will as a matter of course see each pupil individually on a regular basis to talk about their work, social life, any problems and whether they are making use of the opportunities the School provides for development in whatever sphere they are involved, and equally ensuring they are not doing too much.
Tutors are responsible for advising their tutees about their work, helping them with any problems they may have, ensuring they are making the most of extra-curricular opportunities, and generally being another person to whom they can turn for advice. Every tutee sees his or her tutor on a weekly basis.
Some children, especially if they haven't boarded before, experience home-sickness, though only very rarely is this serious or long lasting. The Housemaster or Housemistress will be in touch with parents in the early days of the term to provide a progress report, and will be very pleased to hear from parents too if they have any reason to be worried. The whole point is that this is a co-operative venture, and it is essential that parents feel entirely free to talk to the Housemaster or Housemistress as and when required. The Senior Mistress (who is a trained counsellor) or the Chaplain are also very much on hand at this time for any new pupils.
As every pupil has their own PC and email account and virtually all a mobile phone, pupils use these for keeping in touch with home. Housemasters or Housemistresses will advise of their policy for the use of mobile phones in the Houses; they are not allowed in the School itself. All houses have an iPad configured for Skype under the control of the Housemaster / Housemistress. This is situated either in the Housemaster’s or Housemistress’ study or in a tutor room.
For the normal cough or cold, the Matron will cope at the daily House surgeries. Anything more serious will be referred to the School’s Health Centre, which is staffed with qualified nurses and has a doctor in daily attendance. The Health Centre is fully covered by an RGN nurse 24 hours a day during term time. All pupils are registered with the School Doctor.
The School has trained counsellors (both dependent and independent) to whom pupils are free to go and chat in absolute confidence. They are always available, and those who may be finding it hard to cope can go to them. The Chaplain is also an experienced counsellor.
The School also retains the services of a Consultant Child Psychologist and an Educational Psychologist, both of whom advise us on the problems of adolescents and the skills required in caring for them.
All the School’s facilities are available for pupils to use. Extracurricular activities are regularly organised on Sundays – House trips, group activities, tournaments and the like – and a range of School societies also function on a Sunday. There is an enormous amount to do, but no compulsion, though Housemasters, Housemistresses and Tutors will naturally encourage your son or daughter to make constructive use of their time. Music, sport and drama also tend to make full use of Sundays, though again this will be for the activities for which pupils have volunteered, such as plays and musical events generated by the pupils' own enthusiasm.
Your son or daughter is probably at a school which encourages parental participation in their education whether they are a boarder or a day pupil. We hope that you will find little difference at Uppingham.
You will be encouraged to come and see matches, concerts and plays, and you will also find yourself invited to House-based functions: most, if not all, Houses organise their own concerts.
Your child's education is in the broadest sense a joint endeavour, and close contact is encouraged between you and the School - most especially between you and your son’s Housemaster or daughter’s Housemistress.
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