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Boarding Housemaster

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Palmera1234, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Palmera1234

    Palmera1234 New commenter

    Does anyone have any good pointers as i am applying for a housemaster post with head of year experience but not extensive boarding experience.
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Depends quite a bit on the school. Very committing. Very rewarding. You are likely to have no bills for utilities or council tax but do ask about that and factor it into your financial rewards.
    Expect to get to know parents and other relatives and guardians very well.
    Try to find out about the other staff in the house: you'll work much more closely with them than you would with most colleagues. Does the house have any strengths - maybe a history of music or of sporting success? More gently you might find out what issues there might be: in both my appointments I was given clear direction of travel guidance.
    You'll find your family get involved: are they on board with this as you'll have less privacy? Check out the accommodation in that respect.
    Things to consider:
    Safeguarding; your responsibility for the development and well-being of every pupil; organising social and recreational activities; fostering leadership skills.
    It's a wonderful job but not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint-hearted! I didn't enjoy every minute, but looking back on it all, I couldn't have wished for a better time despite some big crises.
    willcott likes this.
  3. Palmera1234

    Palmera1234 New commenter

  4. Palmera1234

    Palmera1234 New commenter

    Hi Skeoch, this is highly useful. Family is fully on board. Would you have a sample letter of application to look at?
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Afraid not: internal appointment with no formal application in either case. Also not terribly sure that it would help anyway as it's a very individual process.
  6. Palmera1234

    Palmera1234 New commenter

    That's ok - have manged to put a letter together with some of the points you mentioned previously. Many thanks for your insight.
  7. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    Hi, just noticed your post & see you've already applied, however, if I may offer a few suggestions assuming you get through to the interview stage (or if you don't and apply to another post ..)

    (apologies also if they sound obvious or with your prior experience you've already considered them ...)

    * Most houses have their own feel ( ie maths, art, cricket, rubgy, etc) which is invariably part historic and part the preference of the previous boarding HM's pref too (probably why they were selected). That being so it's important to ensure that your preferences, if different, don't slew the feel of the house in a different direction. (or not straight away, at least).

    * Some houses now offer flexi-boarding, which can mean a reduced cohort at weekends, something to plan for so those staying keep occupied ... & those who don't stay don't feel left out of the loop

    * Sometimes a new boarding head can be seen to be too lenient or forgiving of the actions of pupils who are 'top' in the HM's subject, much to the consternation of the rest of the house - best to watch for that scrupulously.

    *Useful to find out whether whoever is 2nd in command (ie deputy head of house) was applying too - it might have been a step too soon for them, but if not & they don't get the position & you do ... might require judicious management.

    * Is the person releasing the role continuing on in the school in a teaching or head of house / subject / year, etc capacity? It might offer some suggestions as to how they've handled the house and whether there are any issues that may need addressing (ie may have been too lax, too strick, or simply they've been very good and simply moving up & on).

    * Often parents with pupils already in the house will reaction with apprehension to any change to a boarding head, (" But Mr Smith has been such a strong influence on Timmy over the last few years, and with his exams next year ...") so it's important to ensure you can be seen to keep a firm hand on the wheel whilst changing direction as you might require (Think: Yes Minister & you'll get what I mean!)

    * As already mentioned above, family will play an important part in selection - not just ok with the reduced privacy but are they willing to be involved and will they have any skills to offer too.
    Boardingmaster likes this.
  8. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    I have never seen this. It would be frowned upon in a form tutor, let alone a housemaster.

    Besides - especially in your first few years in the post - a housemaster post is so full-on that it's a struggle to maintain your commitment to your subject (eg, attending meetings, extra-curricular events, doing much at all beyond your timetabled classroom teaching), let alone keep track of who's top!
    MathMan1 likes this.
  9. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    Whilst I can only provide a sample size of one, it happened at our son's all-all boys boarding school.

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