At the heart of the School and the core of pastoral care are the Houses. Every pupil in the Upper School at Harrow Hong Kong belongs to one of fourteen Houses which provide them with a home from home during the course of the School day. The Houses are vertical in composition, meaning that they consist of all year groups within that section of the School. For Prep, this means Years 6-8 and for the Senior Houses, Years 9-13. Regardless of whether an individual is a day or boarding pupil, their House acts as a base to which they can return and relax at break, lunch, or after school if they are a boarder. There they will find recreational facilities including a pool, air hockey, board games and much more besides.
Each house is decorated in its own unique way and takes inspiration from its patron and namesake. This creates a clear and distinct environment that helps to enhance the familial spirit within each House and which bonds pupils to both their peers and House Pastoral Team (HPT) and gives them an invaluable support network
Each House is led by a House Master / Mistress who is assisted by members of a House Pastoral Team.
The HM is an experienced pastoral practitioner and teacher who takes responsibility for the wellbeing of
all pupils in their House. It is their responsibility to make sure that each pupil receives the care that they
require in order to thrive at School. They coordinate responses to all behavioural and pastoral issues that
occur with the pupils of their House and act as a bridge between the HPT and SLT, liaising with the latter
in the event of more complex cases. In the case of boarding HMs, they are in ‘loco parentis’ of the boarders within their House and reside within the building, thereby providing round-the-clock support to pupils.
All HMs are supported by an Assistant House Master / Mistress (AHM), whose job it is to deputise for the HM in their absence. They stand in for the HM in all areas of the day to day running of the House and the position is seen as, and has often been, a training ground for the HMs of the future. Our AHMs take on a number of “stand alone” tasks around the Houses, for example coordinating the meetings and work of the School Council. Primarily, AHMs also fulfil the role of a tutor to a group of pupils in their respective House.
All of our HMs and AHMs undergo the internationally recognised ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’ course (the adult version of the ‘Teen’ variant that the Wellbeing Ambassadors complete). This provides them with a basic grounding in identifying mental health concerns and the skills to manage any initial situation in which they may find themselves as our frontline pastoral carers.
The pupils of a given House are subdivided into tutor groups, each led by a member of teaching staff
and who collectively make up the House Pastoral Team (HPT). For many pupils, it is the tutors who are their primary point of contact should they face any sort of diffculty in their School life. The tutor will see their tutor group several times a week for registration in the morning and will have dedicated, hour-long
sessions with them during the course of the working week through Facing Challenges and extended tutor periods. The tutors are at the forefront of pastoral care and are there to provide the pupils with a point of contact and to identify issues early. They will communicate regularly with the HM, and meet as a group and individually with the HM on a weekly basis to discuss the pupils under their care.
MATRONS AND GAP TUTORS
Completing the HPT are the Matrons and Gap Tutors. Every House is visited by one of our four Matrons, who provide a form of invaluable pastoral support that is not directly connected to the academic side of the School. This allows pupils an outlet without the concern that it may impinge on their academic progress. Matrons look after the fabric of their Houses, ensuring that the accommodation and common areas are kept up to scratch. In doing so they are a regular presence within the Houses, and get to know the pupils very well. They are known to all as providers of hot chocolate, solace and worldly advice as required.
The Prep Houses also benefit from the presence of a Gap Tutor. This is a young person who has recently finished school or university and who is undertaking a gap year at Harrow Hong Kong. The Gap Tutors are a huge presence in the community and come into contact with every pupil from the oldest to the youngest. As with the matrons, they also provide a listening ear that is one step removed from the teachers. Both the Matrons and the Gap Tutors keep in close contact with the other members of the HPT allowing for the timely passage of important information throughout the team.
This hierarchy of staff provides pupils with multiple points of access and thereby means of reporting
any concerns that they may have and wish to address. All of our staff are trained pastoral practitioners and we aim to ensure that all of our key personnel undertake the ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’
qualification, as well as regularly participating in other training sessions that aim to continue their