As someone who believes in the values of a boarding education, I am insistent on Aitchison being the very best boarding school. In this regard, the quality and frequency ofcommunication between school and home is crucial. More to the point, it is comforting. Parents need to know their boys are well looked after, well occupied, and have access to advice and academic guidance after school hours.
Boarding is one of my key responsibilities and a pleasure to be involved with. Each night, I dine in one of the houses and meet the boys for a general chat or speak individually, if this is needed. I see them on weekends in sports and games, often in study. I am in constant communication with housemasters and housemistresses on a daily basis, following up on the social cohesion of house life, study habits, academic results, health and participation in school life. While I cannot be across every single issue at every moment of the day, we have extremely experienced and competent people in charge 24/7. An excellent medical team and the provision of good food also ensure that every boy's well-being is met.
I am the first to admit that not everything will go right, all the time, in a boarder's life -but this is also true of life in general. We need to deal with these occasional challenges like any family would, knowing that finding solutions is also a part of growth and resilience. In saying as much, it is crucial that parents are kept informed and feel welcome to contact the relevant housemaster or housemistress should they have queries or concerns on boarding house matters. I have spoken to all boys about why we are here, how we are here to help, and what I expect from them in matters of behavior and effort. As the houses are very busy places and staff always faced with responsibilities, we ask that meal times, Prep and after lights-out be restricted to genuine emergency calls only. This, too, is in the best interests of boys.
It has been decided to provide additional academic supervision (Mathematics, Sciences, etc.) for boarders during Preptime in the evenings, at no cost to parents, so that the classroom and the boarding houses are linked more closely in future.This will benefit students in Prep and Senior School, but especially Senior School where specialist subject assistance is crucial. Juniors are already well-supported. I emphasize that only teachers from Aitchison College will be engaged in the process of academic supervision. The Vice Principal (Academic), Dr. Mohammad Afzal, will oversee this new program. This initiative will operate in addition to the existing after-school 'remedial teaching' that is more individualized and chargeable. I also want parents to know that we keep a close watch on young boarders, who are expected to use their School Diaries for Prep entries.Diaries are checked nightly against a Prep timetable, and signed by the Housemaster or Tutor on Duty. Any shortfalls or study difficulties are followed up promptly. I wish to add here that boarding for our very youngest boys in Gwyn House is conducted in a nurturing and supportive manner. There is an excellent group of female teachers who support a highly experienced Housemistress. My impression of all houses is that they are happy and busy places. They must also help produce the best academic results.
Boarding should be a boy's fondest memory of school. This is our aim at Aitchison College. Accordingly, I look forward to meeting boarding parents during the course of the year.