News and Events

A ‘tartan’ pastoral structure

Posted: 1st March 2024

Pupil wellbeing and character development is a vitally important aspect of life at Exeter School. Any changes we make to our pastoral structure need to be carefully considered and in recent times, we have been looking closely at the strengths and weaknesses of our existing ‘vertical’ house system. We have considered how we might incorporate the widely accepted benefits of introducing ‘horizontal’ threads across the school (through year groups), whilst also maintaining the distinct verticality and character development which a strong house system facilitates. What we have managed to achieve is a matrix approach of pastoral support and character development, or what some have described as a ‘tartan’ structure.

To ensure this new approach is successful, it has necessitated some structural changes within the school which includes three new head of section posts (Head of Sixth Form, Head of Middle School (Lower, Middle and Upper Fifth), and Head of Lower School (Third and Fourth Forms)) and seven new head of year positions. Our heads of section were all appointed last academic year while our heads of year will begin their roles in September 2024. These posts make up the horizontal strands of our tartan pastoral structure. Our vertical stands will remain in the form of houses, led by a head of house, with the house system continuing to offer character development, competition, interaction of pupils between years and leadership opportunities.

Additionally, we will need to reduce the number of houses by half, from ten to five. So we are using this opportunity to look at them with a fresh perspective.

We value the long history of the school and continue to celebrate and remember this in many aspects of school life.

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