Harris House, originally designed as purpose-built boarding accommodation for boys, was opened by Lord Menuhin in 1997. At the moment, it also houses a small number of senior girls, who have their own corridor on the ground floor.
All bedrooms have hand washbasins, and most are double or single rooms, with just a couple of triples for the younger boys. The House is divided into corridor areas, known as ‘pods’, with 4 rooms to each pod, sharing bathroom and toilet facilities. The doors to the pods are alarmed, which ensures that each area can be self-sufficient overnight, and the students’ security and welfare are protected at all times.
The House also boasts its own laundry room with washing machine and drier, as well as a common room with a large flat-screen television, pool table, a fridge, a kettle and a microwave. During free time and at weekends, students can use this space to sit comfortably and chat; they can also come to the Housemaster’s flat at any time to talk or relax over a cup of cocoa or Saturday evening activity. We are very aware that the School is their ‘home away from home’, and we do everything we can to make their days here happy and stress-free.
Apart from the Housemaster and his wife, who live in a flat on the ground floor of the building, there are four members of staff – House Tutors – who help to cover those evenings or weekends when the Housemaster is off-duty. There is a bedsit for their accommodation when they stay overnight, and therefore there is always a dedicated member of staff in the House.
As a team, we are keen to be consistent in enforcing routine and self-discipline (such as bed times and getting up in the mornings!), and we also encourage the students to look after their environment by contributing to the well-being of the community. We have a rota, for example, for keeping the common room clean and tidy, and we place a senior student in the single room of two of the pods to look out for the younger boys in the House.
Boarding can be a valuable learning experience in developing maturity, self-awareness and the life skills that are so important beyond the School gates; in Harris House we take pride in being an integral part of every student’s first steps towards independence.