Pastoral Care from a Senior School Perspective
Primarily, the pastoral support at ECiM will be strongly, but not solely, centred around the individual boy's or girl's House. Epsom College in England has always been a school whose ethos is based strongly on the House system. The strength of the school is to a very big extent built on this House system, so it made sense to transfer this to the new school in Malaysia. We have developed a system with 'lower school' years (Years 7 & 8) having a transition house. Each House is fully self- contained with its own common room, games room, library and changing rooms. Each is run by a senior member of staff, the Housemaster or Housemistress (HMM), who in turn runs a team of tutors responsible for a small group of pupils. There are around 60 pupils in each House and on average a dozen to each year, in Houses for the older children. In each House, pupils share common areas whether for study or sleeping accommodation, thus accelerating a social mix and promoting community living. As the pupils move on up through the school, small study bedrooms and individual workspaces are provided. All Houses have networked computers and each pupil has a private email address.
Whilst the Housemaster or Housemistress is the key link between the parents and the pupils, within the House, the team of tutors has a more 'hands on' role in looking after an individual student (with the HMM always being involved). The tutor monitors academic progress, reporting any issues to the HMM and uses regular tutorial meetings to check progress, set targets and generally keep students stay on track. The academic role of a tutor is of course absolutely key, but the tutor also performs a more watchful eye over their charges by providing input into a tutee's co-curricular programme. The tutor and pupil sit down together to work out the best balance to keep on top of the pupil's work, but also to plan out a weekly schedule, which allows the pupil to be fully involved in all of the sport that is on offer along with music, either with an individual instrument lesson or within an ensemble, drama, art and the many other clubs and societies on offer at ECiM. It is this one to one planning, treating each student as an individual, within the House, that is so successful at ECUK and we want to ensure it is just as successful, if not more so, at Epsom College in Malaysia.
Along with the individual focus, there are many opportunities to represent your House in countless events in the many inter-house sports competitions, in other House competitions, during leadership training and as a prefect, on House Councils and so the list goes on. It will certainly be true that the friends you make within your House will be life long friends and a great source of comfort and fun for years to come.
Aside from the House structure, there is further support pastorally for every student at ECiM in the form of a committed healthcare team, as befits ECiM given the strong and unique history of its sister school in England, which was formed in 1853 as the Royal Medical Benevolent Foundation School of Epsom. The healthcare team comprises of qualified nurses and a counsellor who play an integral part in the physical and mental wellbeing of all the students and staff. The College also has access to a highly recommended local medical doctor and several hospitals.
Other sources of pastoral support can come in the form of a 'favourite' teacher, a trusted friend, a member of the support staff with the SEN dept, an EAL teacher and so on.