Mission & Vision Focus - Meaningful Relationships

Meaningful relationships… why is this so significant throughout our lives? And for me as a Director of Boarding, why is it a top priority within a boarding school context? …

When we look at the word ‘meaningful’ it throws up the definitions of significant, relevant, and consequential. These relationships will be consequential in how a person is moulded. Before this role, I had been a HouseMaster for over 15 years and my daily life was full of interactions that helped shape relationships and character development of not just the students in my care but also us as staff. The concept of life-long learning should include learning from every interaction and relationship that helps shape our individual potential and helps us become the best versions of ourselves.

In boarding these meaningful interactions are a continuous cycle from parent to the student,  student to student, student to boarding staff, boarding staff to homeroom teachers and homeroom teachers to the student’s teachers and vice versa. All of these interactions throughout the day leave impressions on us. And this is why it is so important for pastoral and academic staff members to have as much cross over as possible. For example, if a teacher knows that a student is going through a difficult time then they can adapt their response to a homework task not being handed in, and preserve a positive and meaningful relationship. 

All relationships grow through trust and mutual respect and even boundaries. In boarding, we take a group of complete strangers who have come from all over the world, each with their own experiences of life, and put them together to bond and become a supportive and thriving community. This can only be achieved with the development of meaningful relationships. Developing team spirit and camaraderie through the House system allows the students to have a common interest and goal, and living with others allows them to mature and grow significantly as they learn the art of compromise, develop independence, and appreciate the diversity of other peoples backgrounds and experiences. They also fully explore new opportunities that are given to them outside of the classroom.  All of these interactions enable boarding students to become happy, confident and mature members of our community who fully understand the importance of friendship.

During times of online learning, we know that not being with peers is having an impact on students mental health so it has never been more important to grow and foster relationships. Boarding offers our students an element of normalcy and stability throughout a very difficult time. Even though they learn online they are still able to grow socially with many activities and wellness sessions provided which gives them the chance to form continued meaningful relationships with their friends and with our staff. We know that this makes a difference as we watch students laugh and joke whilst walking around on campus or just talking about nothing in the dining room. We know these small interactions make us who we are, and at times like these, becomes a stable and secure foundation on which to grow ever stronger meaningful relationships.

Crispian Waterman

Director of Boarding & Head of the House System

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