All children and young people have the right to a secure and happy childhood; to be given the space and support to grow and achieve success. Independent and International schools enjoy a unique but sometimes challenging context, one which brings together people with differing cultural backgrounds and expectations. House staff , including the housemistress or housemaster share the responsibility of ensuring that all – day students and boarders – can develop a sense of belonging and thrive in their own right.

The Role of the Housemaster or Housemistress

While a small number of boarding schools have dedicated pastoral teams who do not contribute to the academic curriculum as subject teachers, the vast majority of housemistresses and housemasters (known in some schools as houseparents) in the UK are members of teaching staff who are also responsible for running boarding houses. On top of this the housemistress and housemaster will have hugely important pastoral responsibilities: they are in loco parentis for the children in their care. 

“It is potentially the most rewarding and fulfilling role that a boarding school can offer; Equally, when performed at its best, it is also unquestionably one of the most challenging and committing.”

Michael Spens, former Head of Fettes College

Who will benefit from the INSET?

Anyone who holds a responsibility for students’ social and emotional wellbeing and academic progress. This will be particularly beneficial for Housemasters, Housemistresses, Heads of House, Year or Phase.

Housemaster / Housemistress INSET Aims

To give those in positions of responsibility the understanding, confidence and appropriate tools to maximise student wellbeing and holistic progress, and to lead teams to strive for the same purpose.

Housemaster / Housemistress INSET Course Outline

Exploring your School Culture and Values

  • Values into setting and practice
  • Staff wellbeing: Student wellbeing – two sides of the same coin
  • Voice – who holds the conch?

Understanding Mental Wellbeing in Young People

  • What is mental health?
  • Students at risk
  • Building resilience
  • Supportive school practices

Creating a Climate of Belonging

  • Belonging – what matters and what helps
  • Self esteem and the teacher’s crucial role
  • The quiet ones – participation and recognition for all
  • Staying a part when learning apart – the online challenge

Effective Monitoring and Sustained Support

  • Frameworks and support plans
  • Antagonists and attrition – staying focused and positive
  • Review cycle for continuous reflection and improvement

How will the INSET be delivered?

The INSET will be delivered in a spirit of respect, collaboration and shared purpose, and will include:

  • Reflection and discussion
  • Examination of school policies and processes
  • Scenarios and case studies
  • Practical frameworks and tools
  • Collaborative action planning
  • Reference to the work of leading researchers (and recommended reading)

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