The Middle School contains pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, and is the largest section of the School. We work hard to support pupils pastorally as they progress towards their GCSEs, becoming independent learners who are prepared for Sixth Form studies.
Pastoral care is delivered through the House system. There are eight Houses, each one with its own Housemaster who is assisted by a team of House tutors. Pupils have one tutor for Year 9 and then a new tutor to take them through Years 10 and 11, their GCSE years. Continuity of pastoral care is ensured by the pupils remaining in the same House until the end of the Sixth Form. The Head of Middle School oversees the pastoral care together with a Deputy Head and two Assistant Heads. This structure helps to foster good relationships and provide a sense of stability as the pupils work and develop through these three key years in the lead up to their GCSEs.
There is a huge range of co-curricular activities available to Middle School pupils, including many House competitions such as House Music, House Science, Lip Synch, House Dance and all the sports. A termly list of clubs and societies is published and all pupils are encouraged to participate in at least one activity. In Year 9, pupils are allowed to join the CCF if they wish. In Year 10, pupils pursue one of three Thursday afternoon options: the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, Volunteering or the CCF. Many pupils find they are successfully able to balance the demands of several co-curricular activities as well as their academic work. Indeed, good time management of co-curricular commitments, as well as setting ambitious targets, can enhance academic performance.
Two Year 11s from each form are elected as Middle School representatives to meet each week with one of the Assistant Heads of Middle School. Middle School pupils may also represent their peers on groups such as the Catering Committee, Learning Council, Co-Curricular Council, Sectional School Council and the main School Council.
Early in the Advent (autumn) term there is a Housemasters’ ‘At Home’ evening for the parents of Year 9 pupils to introduce them to the House system and to the Middle School. A Year 11 Options Evening in November allows parents and pupils to hear talks from Heads of Departments and senior academic staff about A Level options. There is one Parents' Evening for Years 9 and 11 and two for Year 10 during the school year. The tutor is the first point of contact for parents in all Middle School years but the Housemaster is also on hand if there are wider school or pupil-based issues to discuss. The Middle School management team is also always available to discuss any concerns parents might have. Information is sent to parents regularly to update them of relevant issues.
Throughout the School each form spends some time every week with their form tutor for Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCHE). A range of stimulus material is provided to provoke reflection and guided discussion. In the course of the year tutors will support a pupil’s progress in academic studies. This is complemented by the work pupils do during their Alleyn’s Learners’ Programme (ALP) and Balance lessons in Year 9 and 11 respectively, where there is great emphasis placed on exploring how individuals learn and think.
For pupils wishing to discuss confidential matters there are several members of staff with whom they may talk: Mrs Joel (Head of Middle School), Mr Halladay (Deputy Head of Middle School) and Mr Bone and Mrs Lawrence (Assistant Heads of Middle School) are always available for a chat. The Housemaster is key in the pastoral care of Middle and Upper School pupils as well as the tutor. Others to whom pupils can turn are the School Nurses, at least one of whom is always on duty throughout the school day in the Medical Room, our Chaplain, the Rev'd Liz Lander, the Assistant Chaplain, Mrs Birt, our School counsellor or Mr Skinnard, our Senior Deputy Head, who has particular responsibility for pupil welfare.
Mrs Melanie Joel
Head of Middle School