Pupils are well prepared for the arrival of the new intake of pupils with a Buddy Training Workshop. In small groups, they are encouraged to talk about how they felt during their first few weeks of school and how they may be able to help new pupils settle in. On arrival, each new pupil is assigned his or her own buddy within the House.
Bullying, whether it is of a physical or psychological nature, is not tolerated.There is a clear structure in place where alertness on the part of everyone means that situations are dealt with immediately. There is a network of Peer Counsellors in each house and older boys and girls are trained on how to spot and deal with potential situations around the school. They wear badges that distinguish them and everybody, therefore, knows who the Counsellors are. If there is a situation that they cannot deal with they will, of course, pass it on to a member of staff but frequently matters are resolved at this level and potential difficulties are nipped in the bud. We would naturally ask parents who are concerned, or hear something from their offspring, to let us know at once.
A prefectorial system operates within the School, which gives pupils the opportunity to be responsible for other younger boys and girls. This is an important part of the process of growing up and it adds to the sense of community that is so strong within the Royal Hospital School.
House prefects are trained and appointed within each boarding house at the age of 15 or 16, once their Housemaster or Housemistress believes that they are ready for such responsibility. Their performance is closely monitored at all times and it is our general experience that they provide an important contact between the formal structure of the house and the activities of the pupils within what is their term time home.
Whilst prefects may reprimand boys and girls in their charge, the punishments are relatively minor and invariably practical, e.g. vacuuming a carpet or cleaning a window and must be entered into a formal punishment book. This book is checked by the Housemaster/Housemistress on a daily basis and any boy or girl who is unhappy with any aspect of a prefect’s activity can appeal direct to the Head of House (a member of the lower sixth) or to the Housemaster/Housemistress.
All Year 13 pupils are invited to apply to be School Prefects. Through a process of consultation, interview and assessment the Headmaster, Senior House Staff and Tutors will select 20 suitable candidates including a Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl. These School Prefects will have duties around the School; they will represent the School at events and Open Days and will be attached to a boarding house.
Good work in the classroom is recognised through the departmental reward systems.For outstanding work there are formal Distinction presentations made by the Headmaster and pupils who gain four or more in an academic year are rewarded. In the house there are rewards offered for a variety of activities, ranging from doing well on the sports field to those who have done particularly well in the half termly assessments.
Sometimes, inevitably, boys and girls get things wrong in the Houses or the School. In the House, minor punishments can be administered by prefects who must record them in a book whichis inspected on a daily basis by the housemaster or housemistress. Most of these punishments will be of a practical nature such as cleaning a day room or kitchen. For misdemeanours in the classroom there is a detention system. In the first instance subject departments will attempt to deal with matters internally, but if this fails there are two weekday one hour work detentions on a Wednesday and Friday afternoon. For serious breaches of school discipline there is a two hour detention on a Saturday evening.