Looking after our students
Our students’ happiness is at the centre of everything we do.
The secret is being neither too systematic nor too big. At its core, in the bigger year groups from 11 up to 16, class sizes can be ten or twelve, but in the Prep and Sixth Form they are more like tutorials. Class assistants in the Prep School often sit individually with smaller groups of children as they work on projects and presentations themed around big topics like Space or Africa. Children who struggle a bit more with Maths and English are quietly extracted from other lessons to get a bit of extra help.
We know every child and every family. We are responsive to day-to-day issues which parents bring to us and we also follow how children in the school are interacting and getting along closely. Form tutors are often parents’ first port of call, and Rebecca Watson, Deputy Head Pastoral, is always on hand to ensure that every child is reaching their potential.
We have clear structures for monitoring pupil wellbeing and clear measures when disciplinary action needs to be taken. Our priority is to foster kindness and happiness but there is no naivety or nervousness about the need for plain talking when things aren’t going quite right.
It is not always easy to instill a consciousness of health and wellbeing in children (and to our shame we do supply a pretty regular stream of cakes from our Food Tech and Canteen kitchens), but we believe children grow into healthy adults if they develop healthy habits of diet and exercise, supplemented by Suffolk’s finest fresh air. We have Meat Free Mondays and we don’t have a tuck shop selling sweets and fizzy drinks.
We have the simplest house structure based on the bipartite nature of our school crest – you are either a lion or a unicorn. Children from the same family always go into the same house (unless they insist otherwise!), and the house system provides a mechanism for competitions and challenges which children of different ages can participate in.
Every year group has a Head of Year and two or three form tutors to whom a smaller group of children is allocated. Parents and tutors are often in almost daily contact – the tutor is the first point of contact for little problems and questions.
Boarding is at the core of our pastoral provision. We have wonderful house parents led by Mrs Sarah Gensmantel and the aim is to create a home from home where children feel part of a family. Boys and girls board in the Stable Block and the Main House respectivel.
Mrs Sarah Gensmantel, Head of Boarding, is our Designated Safeguarding Lead. She is supported within the school by Mrs Katie Peacock and Mrs Jo Bailey but also, from outside, by our Advisory Council team – in particular, Mr Adam Lubbock who is a full-time safeguarding consultant. In addition, we are interested in the mental health and wellbeing of all our children and Mr Nigel Lowson provides advice and support on helping young people survive the 21st century.