Eton is a full boarding school with no day or weekly students. Typically there are about 50 boys in a boarding house, ten in each year group. This offers a distinctive balance between small houses, which give a strong pastoral base, within a large, varied and challenging school. A new boy to the school will come to know the people in his house community very well indeed – especially his house master who is principally responsible for him, and his dame, who looks after his domestic well-being. They offer support and encouragement in every aspect of a boy’s life but without unnecessary intrusion. It is a delicate and important balance: boys are encouraged to share problems with those that can help but are steered towards mature resolution of them through their own thought and effort.
From the very beginning, each boy has his own study-bedroom, there are no shared rooms. Boys thus have their own private space and are required to organise themselves and to develop self-discipline in meeting tasks and deadlines.
In addition to the house master and dame, each house has a deputy house master, an assistant master and dame’s assistant attached as well as domestic staff. With the guidance of his personal tutor (assigned to him at the start of his time at Eton) a boy develops the learning habits which will be the foundation of his Eton career. In tutorials boys are encouraged to discuss social and health issues. In all of their academic and pastoral relationships, boys learn to talk comfortably and openly with adults.
The physical health of the boys is monitored by the three school doctors and they are well supported by five fully qualified nurses in the Sanatorium. Immediate and routine medical matters are dealt with by the dame in houses. Psychological support is offered when necessary by the school counsellor (a consultant adolescent psychiatrist). Pastoral support also comes from our chaplaincy team comprising Anglican and Roman Catholic chaplains and Jewish, Muslim and Hindu tutors.
Nurturing individuality and yet understanding and appreciating the differences of others is a central tenet of Eton’s philosophy.
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