Pastoral care is strong. There’s a new initiative of pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors, an excellent tutor system and a data-recording programme where staff can log any concerns, which are then picked up by the housemaster.

Pastoral Care

We are dedicated to providing outstanding levels of pastoral care and support to our pupils in order to ensure that they succeed in every aspect of their education as well as flourish and thrive as individuals. During their time here, we aim to equip our pupils with the tools necessary to cope with life in College as well as preparing them for a healthy, happy and successful life after school. We are strongly committed to fostering healthy attitudes to both physical and mental wellbeing and understand the importance of nurturing in our pupils their ability to develop emotional resilience and to build positive relationships.

In October 2021, the pupil Wellbeing Ambassador initiative was first announced by the then Senior Prefects, Isabel Raper (IH 2017-22) and Atticus Adams (LI 2017-22). It is based on the insight that pupils from all year groups feel passionately about this issue and want to support each other, so harnessing formal pupil leadership in this area is very powerful.

In January 2022, the first cohort of newly selected pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors (WBAs) started their training and thereby their work in improving the wellbeing and mental health of Marlborough pupils.

A year on, support to our pupils’ wellbeing has been strengthened further by doubling the size of our team of Wellbeing Ambassadors. This pupil group, now almost 50-strong, is focused on supporting the pupil body on a House and school basis. The newly appointed Ambassadors began their training immediately with the Director of Coaching and Mentoring, and this term are offering a series of House drop-in sessions. They are building relationships and profile across the school community, and continuing to increase the openness with which mental health and wellbeing are spoken and thought about by all.

Supporting good mental health and emotional wellbeing is a key priority for the College. We believe that young people learn most effectively when they feel emotionally safe, resilient and supported by trusted adults in all aspects of their wellbeing. We also believe that the personal skills young people learn in adolescence, in terms of sustaining good mental health and taking appropriate action when things go wrong, are ones which can be taken forward into university and beyond into adult life.

We are committed to doing all we can to support the mental health of our pupils. That means continuing to develop their resilience through appropriate challenges, promoting their connection and engagement with one another and the wider world, encouraging their spiritual and physical wellbeing, and helping them to look forward with ambition and confidence to the future. It also means building the necessary skills for meeting the challenges and uncertainties that the more immediate future may present.

We have a wealth of support available for our pupils within the College and via expert online resources. We have consolidated all of this information into a single wellbeing resources document which is permanently available to all pupils on Firefly. This document also includes useful resources for parents on their children’s mental health and wellbeing. We aim to be a ‘talking school’. It is always right to seek advice if you are concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health.

The Medical Centre (Sani) has a team of qualified nurses and paramedics who provide 24-hour care during term time. They are supported by two nursing auxiliaries and an administrator. We have 11 inpatient beds for unwell and injured pupils. These beds can also be used for short-term observation of minor illnesses. All long-term admissions are communicated to parents as soon as possible.  

NHS care is affiliated with the Kennett and Avon Medical Partnership. The two Medical Officers hold daily morning surgery in the Sani on Monday to Saturday each week, and the nursing team hold surgeries alongside the doctors. Our staff have extensive experience in dealing with minor injuries and illnesses, and all attend regular training to ensure we provide up-to-date care, focused on the ages and needs of our pupils.  

Medical services offered include:

  • medicals for all new pupils;
  • chronic disease management, e.g., asthma and diabetes;
  • physiotherapy referral;
  • counselling;
  • psychology referral;
  • childhood immunisations in line with PHE/NHS guidelines;
  • travel advice and vaccinations for school trips and private travel;
  • paramedic on-site cover for major sports practices and fixtures;
  • health education; and
  • repeat prescriptions. 

We have formed a partnership with a local, well-respected physiotherapy clinic, Amanda Marsh Physiotherapy, who will be providing onsite physiotherapy clinics at Marlborough College. This enables us to offer a high standard of care for pupils with musculoskeletal injuries, acute sports injuries and growth-related conditions with the added benefit of co-ordinated care with our current medical provision and strength and conditioning team. Amanda Marsh and her team specialise in adolescent musculoskeletal problems with thorough assessment, diagnosis, treatment and planned rehabilitation programmes – all enhancing health and sporting performance. Appointments are booked with the practice via Sani, and invoiced directly by the practice. For more information about their services please contact the clinic directly at

Concussion Guidelines 

Rugby: return to play after concussion guidelines
MOSA concussion guidelines

Our Marlborough community is one of all faiths and none, but we recognise that we are all on a spiritual pilgrimage towards a deeper awareness of who we are and our place in the world. Chapel plays a large role in this personal journey. Services are ‘gently Anglican’ and highlight the very best of that Christian tradition with its emphasis on inclusivity. Significant feasts of the Church are celebrated, such as Ascension Day, Ash Wednesday and Passiontide. The Christmas services of Lessons and Carols are particular favourites. 

Every year, Confirmation classes are held in the Lent Term and the Confirmation service itself, officiated by a visiting Bishop from the Diocese of Salisbury, is held in April. Roman Catholic pupils are prepared for Confirmation by Father John Blacker and their service is in May. Many Marlburians become heavily involved in the life of the Chapel in a variety of ways, from being a Sacristan or a Chapel Prefect through to singing in the Chapel Choir.  

A pivotal feature of the Chapel and the Chaplaincy is to provide a moment and a place of stillness in the hectic life of a full boarding school. House Communions are popular occasions and pupils appreciate the sense of peace and unity that they bring.  

Our Senior Chaplain, the Reverend Tim Novis, is always available to listen to pupils and staff who have a particular concern. He offers preparation for Baptism and Confirmation, celebrates marriages for staff and Old Marlburians, and delivers Services of Thanksgiving. Reverend Tim works with the Catholic Chaplain, Father John Blacker, and Catholic pupils to provide regular celebrations of the Mass. He advises those of other faiths and helps make provision for the maintenance of those faiths. He is a tutor in Cotton House and a member of the Board of Governors of Preshute Primary School, and participates widely in the co-curricular life of the school and our community.  

Our Chapel of St Michael and All Angels is one of the greatest ecclesiastical buildings of the Victorian age. The first Chapel of 1848 was replaced in 1886 by the architect George Frederick Bodley’s magnificent structure, but this was enriched by some of the remarkable decoration from its predecessor. Our Chapel has one of the most spectacular and sumptuous school interiors to be found anywhere in the world, not least because of the presence of a remarkable series of 12 paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope on the Ministration of Angels on Earth, and the beautiful Scholars’ Window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, an Old Marlburian. The story of the ambitious enrichment of the first Chapel and the aspirations of those who set about this work and the creation of the new building is an extraordinary tale which is captured in two wonderful publications which can be viewed here. 

With our pupils’ active and energetic lifestyles, food at Marlborough is the healthy fuel on which we run. Our skilful catering team is responsible for producing diverse and interesting menus across breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, as well as delivering catering to support the wide range of events the College hosts. The team is led by our Catering Manager, whose philosophy is ‘good, seasonal food, freshly produced and sourced locally.’ As a result, our pupils enjoy some fantastic dishes, their dining is supporting local suppliers and the quality of produce is second to none. Our approach also means that the College is minimising its food miles, which is an important part of reducing our overall environmental footprint.

Within the full boarding school environment, the catering team is a department that our pupils interact with three times a day, fuelling their minds for the classroom and their bodies for the sports field. Pupils in our in-houses have all of their meals in Norwood Hall, our main refectory, which was designed by the architect David Wyn Roberts and built in 1959, whilst those in the out-houses have breakfast and four suppers a week served in their house following the same menu as Norwood Hall.

Meals and Menus

A range of cooked and continental choices is available for breakfast. For lunch, pupils and staff can choose from a wide selection of hot main dishes, a salad bar, a plated salad of the day, hot snacks, a pasta bar, fruit and desserts. Supper follows the same pattern but with an additional choice of soups for a starter. The team prepares all dishes in the College kitchens and all special diets are catered for, safe in the knowledge that ingredients are sourced by the team and are therefore fully traceable.

Food Forum

Our pupils play a key role in the College’s Food Forum, which meets regularly each half-term to provide constructive feedback and make suggestions on the menus. Each of our 16 boarding houses has a pupil representative on the Food Forum who canvasses the views of their house before each meeting. Actions can be agreed there and then as the Food Forum is attended by the Second Master, Bursar and Catering Manager. Many positive things have come out of the Food Forum, including a redesign of our vegetarian menu, and our catering team enjoys the regular feedback, which enables them to create innovative and nutritious menus with something for everyone.

Tutoring responds to the individual needs of our boarding pupils and is an essential part of the College’s pastoral care structure. All full-time members of the teaching staff are tutors and the team is supplemented by many experienced non-teaching tutors drawn from the wider College community. This enables the tutor-to-tutee ratios to be kept exceptionally low, at an average of 7:1.

The strength of the College’s system can be measured in the quality and warmth of the relationships in the boarding houses between tutors and tutees. Fundamentally, tutors offer consistent and age-appropriate support and guidance through the critical – and often unpredictable and challenging! – adolescent developmental stage.

The Role of a Marlborough Tutor

Each tutor is responsible for a small group of tutees, providing them with ongoing support and monitoring. They act as a sounding board, mediator and confidant, while reinforcing the standards and values of the College. They promote friendly dialogue and act as common-sense listeners through the often choppy waters of adolescence.

Tutors are the first point of academic monitoring and advice, and have responsibility for following up with tutees at each Progress Indicator Report (PIR). The conversations which follow these reporting cycles are critical in assessing progress, encouraging personal reflection and setting individual academic targets at both a short-term and more holistic level.

Tutors take a friendly, informed interest in the pupils in ‘their’ boarding house, contributing to the life of the house through social and co-curricular activities, as well as through a specific weekly evening duty night.

Tutoring Across Year Groups

In the Shell year, pupils can expect their tutor to focus on the business of induction to boarding, on establishing strong and mutually supportive relationships and on ‘settling in’ both socially and academically. As pupils move to the Remove and Hundred, it is right that the focus of tutoring changes to the more specific GCSE support needed at this level. This includes help with time management, coursework demands, the range of skills needed across a typical GCSE profile, targeting and achieving key grades, and the process of making choices for Sixth Form study.

In the Sixth Form, tutorial support is focused on making the jump to A level study; on continuing time management skills, support with independent research and learning skills, and on the process of considering university options. All house tutor teams contain a mixture of skills and experience and, while pupils have a personal tutor, they continue to have access to all members of the house tutor team for support and advice as required.

Training and Development

Tutors receive regular ongoing training and support, both from the HMs in the boarding houses and through centralised INSET. The focus is on pastoral issues affecting adolescents, plus specific academic and curricular matters relevant to Marlborough College. Tutors also have access to specialist training, such as that provided by the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA), Youth Mental Health First Aid and MindEd organisations.