On arrival in the school in F block, a boy is assigned a tutor by his house master and generally remains the pupil of that tutor for three years. In almost all cases this is an opportunity to mix in a small group with members of other houses.
The tutor’s principal official function is to assist house masters in monitoring academic performance; in practice he is perhaps better seen as another adult figure to whom boys can relate at a more personal level than is possible in large school classes. He also fosters his pupils’ personal, cultural and social development. His pupils come to him in small groups once a week for a tutorial in which they follow a programme of study skills (designed to inculcate effective and increasingly independent working habits), Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE — designed to raise a boy’s awareness of moral, social, and health issues), and topics chosen by the tutor. Tutorial outings to the theatre in Windsor or London, to concerts, or to a bowling-alley or paint-ball competition help to cement the bonds between the boys and their tutor, and provide for culturally and socially diverse experience.
PSHE is also delivered through block lectures on alcohol, smoking, drugs, sexual matters, the use and abuse of the internet, and in other parts of the curriculum.
When the boy becomes a specialist (i.e. when he enters C and embarks on sixth-form work), he chooses his own tutor. This will often be a master who teaches one of the boy’s A-level subjects. The tutor’s basic function remains much the same, but Private Business, which replaces the tutorials, is a less structured affair, and the tutor is also expected to act to a greater extent as adviser, on such matters as careers and higher education.