Pastoral care within the school is delivered through a House structure. Unlike many large boarding schools, there is no separation in the working day of boarders and day pupils: all are attached to one of four Houses, named after Victorian benefactors: Baker, Wagner, Warneford and Watson. Pupils’ commitment and attachment to their Houses is usually absolute: the frequent inter-House competitions are fought with passion and pride, and the annual trophy awarded to the most successful overall House is greatly coveted.
In charge of each House is a Housemaster or Housemistress, who has responsibility for the care and welfare of c. 80 pupils. He or she is aided by a team of tutors who are teachers attached to the House. A tutor will take specific interest in c. 8 -10 tutees, either a mixture of Lower Fifth and Middle Fifth (Years 9 and 10), or of Upper Fifth and Sixth Form (Years 11, 12 and 13) pupils. Tutors get to know their tutees well, both academically and in their wider lives. Tutors monitor academic progress, saluting achievement and admonishing slackness as necessary. They keep an eye on matters of discipline, taking an overview of behaviour, organisation and conduct. Tutors will deal with relatively minor concerns; anything more serious may be managed in conjunction with the Housemaster.
Housemasters have contact twice a day with their entire House as they register in the morning and at the start of the afternoon. Tutors have a tutor period once a week when they meet their whole tutor group, and they also have time at the end of the weekly House Lines (House assemblies) to pick up on matters of the moment.
Tutors and Housemasters are usually the first point of contact for parents who have queries about academic matters, who want to share important information that may affect their child’s progress, or who simply want to comment on matters of concern. They will also initiate contact with parents or guardians when they have important information to communicate.