Boarding Review

The first half of the Lent Term zips by in a bit of a blur – a huge amount gets packed into a few short weeks, so I hope pupils are now enjoying some well-earned rest (and, if they’re in the Upper Sixth, combining this with some regular but manageable revision). 

As ever, house competitions have been at full throttle, from water polo through football and hockey, to showdowns on ergos in the gym. It is in these events that pupils’ commitment to their houses is clearest. Seniors and team captains organise and inspire their house bids for victory; team members give their all; house staff cheer them on; and (we hope) all pupils learn something about teamwork, fairness and humility in the process. The excitement of victory passes; the development of character remains. 

On the social side of weekends, the Norwood Hall team has laid on two delicious and lavish gala dinners – one for the Upper Sixth and one for the Hundred – and, last week, the Year of the Dragon was ushered in with an excellent lunch organised by the Chinese Society. 

The non-stop pastoral support in houses has been bolstered by a series of pupil talks, societies, workshops and assemblies, including those on ‘Relationships and Sex Education’, ‘Digital Safety’ and ‘LGBTQ+ History Month’. There have been expert talks for parents, too, most recently from Dr Charlie Easmon to parents of pupils in the Hundred on supporting teenage mental health. The various mechanisms for hearing pupil voice have continued to thrive: the new School Council, the Food Focus Group, the year group and house councils, and the new online suggestion platform called ‘Echo’. 

Finally, the Wellbeing Ambassador team has continued its excellent work supporting the pupil body on a house and school basis. These pupils have established their HQ in the new Wellbeing Hub from where they plan their initiatives, and are collaborating with the Marlborough Mindset and Digital Learning Ambassador groups over an ongoing programme of visits to all houses to discuss tips and guidance relevant to particular year groups. As usual, I have been deeply impressed by so many Marlburians’ willingness to devote their precious time and considerable initiative to supporting their peers. It is a delight to see their selfless and solicitous approach to the wellbeing of others, and this is one of many reasons the College community is such a kind and positive one. 

Ed Nightingale
Deputy Head (Pastoral)