There are two boys’ Houses for pupils in Years 9 to 13. School House, located in the main school building is run by an experienced and caring husband and wife team, supported by an assistant boarding master, a member of the academic staff and a boarding assistant. The staff provide a high level of quality boarding in a supportive, teenage environment and pupil behaviour is excellent. The well-being of every one of the boarders is paramount and we aim to ensure that every pupil is happy, settled, relaxed and confident.
Pastoral care is of an extremely high standard and the affectionate relationship between the boarders and the House staff is evident. There is a lot of interaction between year groups and younger and older boys mix together well. The House Parents pride themselves on being excellent communicators – emailing or telephoning on a regular basis, when there is good news or for quick updates. There is no doubt that this approach is really appreciated by parents and trust between all parties is evident. The resident members of the boarding team are always available for the pupils to talk to, to give advice or to help with homework when required.
Just like home, the contributions and suggestions made by the boarders as to the running of the House are highly valued. Most of the boarders in School House are full time, however, we aim to be as flexible as possible for parents and so also offer weekly, termly and even occasional boarding for day pupils whenever possible. Boys are often invited home to the houses of their day friends and we are very flexible in enabling the boarders to see their friends or family visitors.
School House is an extremely comfortable and relaxed house which has been extended with a new Sixth Form wing this year. Designed to be very much a home from home, the communal area has a large lounge with Sky TV, a DVD, play station, pool tables, dart boards, games and comfortable sofas. In addition the Sixth Form have their own lounge, again with Sky TV, a DVD and comfortable sofas. There is wireless internet access to all parts of the House. There is a prep room where prep takes place in the evenings and at weekends for Years 9-11. This is supervised by the House staff and prefects. Sixth Formers have study bedrooms with a desk and are encouraged to work independently. Each house has a range of PCs linked to the Internet and the School's own network. Older students bring their own laptops. Telephones are also available in the Houses for the pupils to use although almost all now have their own mobile phones.
There is a kitchen for evening drinks and snacks which the boarders use at the weekend for supervised cooking and to make snacks and a laundry room.
The boys’ dormitories, bathrooms and toilets as well as the flats of the House Parents’, Assistant Boarding Master and the other boarding assistant are all located on the second floor. Younger boys sleep in large, airy dormitories of between four and six pupils. Sixth Formers have their own floor as well as the new wing and the Lower Sixth generally share a study bedroom with a friend whilst having their own study bedroom in the Upper Sixth.
There are sporting activities such clubs and practices for the curriculum sports (hockey, netball, athletics and tennis) as well as clubs for cross country, athletics, swimming, badminton, basketball and rounders.
The large and spacious Sports Hall is extensively used for gymnastics, dance, basketball, badminton, volleyball, indoor hockey and indoor tennis. There is also a squash court adjoining the Sports Hall and an extremely well equipped fitness room where students are provided with individual training programmes, classes and specific fitness techniques.
Within the sports complex is an indoor heated pool which is used at various times both for team and recreational swimming. Team swimming,canoe polo, diving and lifesaving clubs are regular activities throughout the year.
Every Saturday morning there are Performing Arts rehearsals which contribute to a large scale production every term. Anyone interested in Drama, Dance or Music is welcome either on stage or behind the scenes in set design, costumes and make-up. In addition, our popular ‘Crew Club' for those keen on the technical aspects of theatre such as programming lighting boards or creating recorded ‘soundscapes' is extremely well attended. The Dance Academy offers classes in Street Dance, Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern, Tap and Contemporary dance appealing to both girls and boys from a variety of age groups.
With such a strong musical tradition at school, individual musicians receive lessons on instruments of their choice and are able to take part in the many musical groups, clubs and activities on offer. Five choirs, three orchestras, wind band, swing band, sax sound school, brass ensemble and a variety of string groups all operate on a weekly basis and our musicians also take part in external music groups and festivals.
After school and at weekends, Queen’s College offers canoeing, diving, mountain biking, climbing, sailing and caving which give all our boarders the chance not only to improve their skills or try something new, but also the opportunity to explore some of the beautiful countryside in the South West. In addition, the Deputy Head Pastoral, who runs her own trekking and riding centre, takes groups of boarders riding on a bi-weekly basis and the School’s equestrian team competes in riding events representing the School. Most pupils in Years 10 and above also participate in The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which comprises volunteering, expedition, skills and physical recreation. Walking, kayaking, mountain biking and camping expeditions are organised as well as opportunities to undertake community service.
Model United Nations
Run by the Sixth Formers at Queen’s, Model United Nations is an extremely well supported society with members from Year 9 through to Year 13. Simulating actual United Nations situations, students attend conferences at other schools throughout the South West, acting as delegates representing a specific nation or person through committees.
Weekends are a mixture of structure and free time. Saturday mornings are jam-packed with organised activities, such as cookery, art and drama, outdoor pursuits and recreational sports such as swimming or are a good time to catch up on work. On Saturday afternoons, many students are involved in competitive sports fixtures whilst others have free time to walk into town, watch a film or continue with coursework.
Many House events revolve around eating copious amounts of food! There are a number of BBQs in the summer term, takeaway and quiz nights are popular and film nights feature prominently. Cinema trips, bowling and paintball are other popular activities and for a number of years School House has supported “Help for Heroes” with sponsored events.
The boys are encouraged to play a major part in the day to day running of the house and in decisions about its facilities, events and routines. Central to this is the Head of House and a team of Sixth Form Prefects, two of whom are on duty each day. Their duties include supervising morning and evening routines but, more importantly, they are expected to help the younger boys when problems and worries arise; they are also excellent mentors in their chosen academic areas. Induction for this role takes place in Year 11 when the boys operate as weekend prefects and, for those new to the Sixth Form, in the first half of the Autumn Term.
Jon Shepherd runs School House with his wife Sally. School House is at the very centre of the original School building and as such combines a sense of history and grandeur with modern facilities. The School House boys certainly enjoy the convenience of being at the very heart of the School.
Jon was educated at Hampton School in Middlesex and at Loughborough University, where he completed a BSc in Human Biological Sciences followed by a PGCE in Science Education in 1990. Just after qualifying as a teacher, he worked for two years in a Japanese High School, coaching rugby and teaching English. Since then Jon has taught biology and coached rugby and cricket in schools in Hampshire and Somerset.
Jon joined Queen’s as Head of Biology in September 2007, however he relinquished this post to concentrate on running the Boarding House in September 2012. He teaches biology to all levels and is still heavily involved in coaching rugby and cricket teams. He loves all forms of sport but his participation now is mainly limited to the staff 5-a-side football team and to playing golf (badly!).
‘Sally is a teacher and has also taught at a number of primary and secondary schools in Hampshire and Somerset. Jon and Sally have 3 children, Hannah ( 20), George (19), and Joe (17). Hannah and George have now left Queen’s and are off to University and Joe is in year 13.’