The pastoral system, revolving around the House system, is at the heart of the boys’ experience of Beechen Cliff. There are around 800 boys in the lower school. Each boy is placed into one of five Houses: Byron, Chaucer, Kipling, Milton and Shakespeare. In this way the boys across the school begin to know each other and contribute towards the family atmosphere which marks out Beechen Cliff and upon which so many visitors comment.
Each house is supervised by a Head of House, appointed from experienced teachers at the school. Within each House there are nine Tutor Groups led by a Tutor. The Tutor’s role is to oversee and guide the development of each boy in his or her charge and to provide academic and pastoral support. The school nurse provides another strand to the pastoral care system and another point of direct contact for parents.
Academic and sporting competition between the Houses is fostered – as is charity fundraising activity. At each of the three whole school end of term assemblies a House winner is announced, the House flag is raised and all members of that House have certain privileges.
We recognise that parents are at the centre of our work in achieving success with our boys. To help parents support their sons we provide clear information on academic performance and potential, guidance on support for reading and even an online programme to help parents be clear about every homework which has been set for the boys. All payments for activities, and even the exceptional food in the refectory, are made online, helping parents to be clear about what is on offer and how their sons are taking advantage of our provision.
Homework and Prep
At Beechen Cliff we are very clear about the importance of homework. We believe homework has huge benefits – it improves performance in lessons, enables positive reinforcement from teachers, improves attitudes towards lessons and develops pupils’ capacity to work independently. Homework is set rigorously and the school has high expectations of pupils and the quality of the homework handed in to teachers. There is also an expectation that parents will provide the encouragement, the resources and the quiet space to allow homework to be completed well.
Beechen Cliff also runs Prep, supervised time after school for pupils to receive additional support with homework. Some pupils are directed to Prep on a basis of need and some attend voluntarily.