Harris House is a happy, safe place in which the world’s most gifted young musicians live and work. Purpose-built as a boarding house, it was opened by Lord Menuhin in 1997. It is sympathetically constructed in red brick, surrounded by trees and plants and set around the central quad of the School. At the rear, the House opens to a large field where pupils can play freely.
The Housemaster, Simon Larter-Evans, has a lot of experience in boarding schools, and direct experience of the pressures of performance. He is also the Head of English and Drama at the School. His wife, Dawn, has her own career working for a software company and is often around.
All bedrooms have hand washbasins, and most are double or single rooms, with just a couple of triples for the younger boys. Befitting the nature of the School, there are pianos in many rooms and corridors. The House is divided into areas, known as ‘pods’, with 4 rooms to each pod sharing bathroom and toilet facilities. To protect the students’ security and welfare, there is an alarm system on the doors to the pods so that each area can be safe and self-sufficient overnight.
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 freezer, 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 for weekend activities. 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.
In addition to Simon and Dawn, who live in a flat on the ground floor of the building, there are four other members of staff – House Tutors – who help to cover evenings or weekends when Simon is off-duty. There is a bedsit for House Tutors when they stay ensuring that there is always a dedicated member of staff in the building overnight.
The oldest girls at the School come under the care of Simon and Dawn and live in a small, senior sixth-form block. They are free to join us in the common room and are encouraged to share in the daytime community of Harris House.
We are all keen to be consistent with routine and self-discipline (such as bed times and getting up in the mornings). We also encourage 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.
Harris House is a fantastic community where every person is supported in what they love to do. It is a vibrant, happy place with plenty of intellectual and cultural ambition to help set them up for an exciting and successful future.