From Jennie Cooling, Houseparent ...
I would like to introduce myself as the Houseparent of School House. I live in the boarding house with my husband and four children and bordercollie puppy, Juno.
I look after and care for our senior boys from Years 9-13. The very grand and prestigious main Queen’s school building (top photo) is the accommodation for our boarding home - hence the name ‘School House’.
2020 is my first year at Queen’s College, although, as a local to the area, I have had lots of experiences on the Queen’s site; usually on the sports fields or in the Dining Hall for match-tea! I started my teaching career as a sports teacher and have worked at Millfield, Taunton School and, most recently, Wellington School.
During my time at Wellington my role evolved to Head of Wellbeing alongside working in one of the senior boys’ boarding houses. Developing a Wellbeing curriculum alongside boarding cemented my desire to support the boarding experiences of young men as they navigate their journeys onto the next stage of their education or career.
I am delighted to be working at Queen’s College which boasts not only a fantastic location in the South West of England, but also we have a fantastic, large building in which to call our home. During this very strange 2020, we have not felt confined by the restrictions, even though we have strict procedures in place to maintain year group bubbles. Each Year Group has the luxury of three social spaces, as well as their own bedrooms. I’m not sure that many schools can boast such space!
My husband, Robert, an Assistant Head and DSL at a local middle school, supports my role as Houseparent and will often be ‘on duty’ or wandering the House during the weekend or evenings, building positive relationships with the boys and providing them with an additional person to connect with.
Our House motto this year is ‘We are all a bit weird, but we look out for each other’. My aim is to build a home for the boys where we can embrace diversity and develop life-long, fond memories of the experiences and lessons learnt during some of the most formative years of life.
I hope that all of the boys will leave Queen’s emotionally intelligent, resilient to all the challenges that they will encounter, able to recognise how to support others and be ready for their next life adventure!
It is an outdated tradition that boys require a less nurturing environment in which to grow and develop. In School House we recognise that our boys need to be understood and cared for with the utmost regard to their personal wellbeing. This is where School House centres our support - providing a support network whilst giving them the tools to develop their own social, emotional and life-skills.
We follow a structured house timetable to enable the boys to establish themselves a routine within the House which teaches them to adopt healthy habits around sleep, technology use, academic study, healthy eating, personal safety and, of course, the opportunity to relax and unwind and enjoy the fantastic facilities on offer.
To see the second School House Newsletter of 2020-21, CLICK HERE
To see the first School House Newsletter of 2020-21, CLICK HERE
Our student Head of House this year was elected by all the house residents to support the smooth running of the day-to-day life in the boarding house and to ensure the views of students are heard. This is my tenth year boarding now at Queen’s and I still really enjoy it, every year boarding house here is a little bit different which is what makes it so nice, especially when there’s a change of staff in charge. It’s very nice boarding here as it’s like a second home in many senses, very thankful for everything the staff have done for me over my time here.
CJ - Year 13
When I first came to the School House, I thought the teachers and staff will be really strict on me. However, the staff are really kind and always there for you. Also, one of the main bits of boarding is to meet and communicate with students that come from all around the world. The facilities in the School House are extraordinary - you can find anything from pool and table-tennis to Sky Sports and Xbox. Overall I really enjoy my time in School House thanks to the dedication of pupils and staff.
Elliott - Year 10