With Christmas a distant memory and the first half-term break of 2013 fast approaching, the boys in Dolman House are full of the energy and enthusiasm a new year brings. 2013 has brought with it changes to the Dolman boarding community – changes which have been particularly exciting for those of us working both in boarding and in Lyndhurst, the junior department at Pocklington School.
As a female Reception teacher of 4 and 5 year olds at Lyndhurst, I am not the stereotypical non-resident house tutor in a boy’s boarding
house. However, as I begin my 2nd year in boarding, it is clear to me that the face of boarding at Pocklington continues to change.
This term, our youngest boarder William (8 years old) arrived to join his sister Charlotte at the school. Having watched the big sister he looks up to return to Pocklington so happily after holidays and exeats, William was sure that one day he would board too.
With the arrival of Will and the imminent arrival of another junior boarder, we now have a growing group of younger boys in the boarding house and in fact 1/3 of our ‘lower’ boys are in the Prep school.
People have asked me whether the younger boys get on with the older boys and I have no doubt that there are times when, just as in families, the older and younger boys irritate each other. But the thing that makes Dolman special is the feeling that it is a big family away from home, and the great thing about families is the mix of siblings of different ages who all rub alongside each other – and yes, occasionally rub each other up the wrong way! Watching the older boys care for, help and encourage their younger housemates you see them demonstrate the leadership qualities that we encourage in Dolman – perseverance, co-operation, tolerance, honesty, kindness and responsibility.
The Dolman ‘family’ are not the only ones who benefit from our younger pupils, as boarders add an important dimension to the Prep school community. As a teacher at Lyndhurst I see first-hand how our boarding pupils have a sense of ownership over their surroundings and a confidence in themselves and their teachers. They involve themselves in after school activities and take pride in their school. The laughter that rings through the corridors on a Saturday morning as the Lyndhurst boarders take part in their Saturday activity is cheering to any staff member who has organised the fun.
When Sunday evening comes and everyone has feasted on brunch, spent the day karting, den building or wild camping, it is no surprise that the boys, young and old, can be found lounging on every bean bag and sofa of the common rooms, content and relaxed, working their way through treasured tuck and gearing themselves up for another exciting week ahead. It is a pleasant reminder of the fact that, regardless of how old the boys are who live in the house or which part of the world they come from, there are some things that never change!
Non Resident House Tutor