On entry into the school each pupil is allocated a House:
YEARS 7 & 8
Cameron: Mixed day and boarding house within Kirby House Courtenay: Mixed day and boarding house within Kirby House
Clifford: Senior girls’ day house Deacon: Senior boys’ day house Laing: Senior girls’ day house Newlands: Senior boys’ day house
The houses are made up of pupils from different year groups and the house system encourages a sense of belonging. Older pupils benefit from leadership roles within the houses.
The Housemaster or Housemistress has responsibility for the general well-being of pupils in their houses and is kept fully informed on all issues relating to their pupils. The Housemaster/Housemistress provides the main channel of communication between home and school, developing positive partnerships with parents and guardians.
All pupils are encouraged to participate, co-operate and support each other in house events and there are many opportunities for friendly competition against other houses, eg Sports Day, team matches, Singing Competition and House Plays.
Kirby House is the home of the thriving Middle School, which welcomes day and boarding pupils aged between 11 and 13 (Years 7 and 8).
It is situated between the 19th century Junior and Senior Schools, and is constructed with ultra-modern materials. The location of Kirby House epitomises its central role in the College, and its special identity. A key aim is to ease the transition from junior to senior education. Moving from a junior school setting can be a difficult and hard step. It is our aim to reduce that stress to a minimum by providing the best pastoral care of a junior school with all the academic benefits of a senior school.
The house serves multiple purposes, being the academic, social and residential space for these two year groups. As a result, it creates a unique environment in which all of these pupils, boys/girls and day/boarding, mix together before moving into one of the houses of the senior school. These friendships often result in day pupils inviting boarders home at weekends.
Within Kirby House, pupils are allocated one of two houses – Cameron or Courtenay – each made up of roughly equal numbers of day pupils and boarders; girls and boys. Friendly rivalry is encouraged between these two houses, with many sporting competitions throughout the year, as well as academic challenges each term. Kirby House has a dedicated and caring pastoral and academic team of tutors who aim to bring out the best in every pupil.
The building boasts some of the best boarding accommodation in the country with 10 dormitories, each with five beds and en-suite facilities. There are six classrooms, a large atrium, an IT room, a virtual and traditional library, plus two spacious flats for resident staff. Kirby House is a very special place – visit us and see for yourself!
Mr Derry Snowdon Housemaster of Courtenay
Miss Lizzie Young Housemistress of Cameron
Clifford is a Day House for senior girls aged 13 to 18 years (sixth form inclusive), opened in September 2018 in order to sustain the 1:1 pastoral care upon which SLC prides itself. The House is equipped with a kitchenette, fridge and small computer area, in addition to the usual lounge and study spaces, which includes a beautiful, airy atrium. The spaces are largely communal to encourage mixing between year groups.
Ms Humphrys (Housemistress), along with her wonderful tutor team, attempt to keep a sense of community, kindness and respect as the values at the very core of the House. The staff are as much a part of the House as the girls and successes, setbacks and achievements are all shared by us all. This is hopefully reflected in the care, mentor structures and bond between the girls. We pride ourselves on being a dynamic group which nurtures individual personalities and interests, but with an overarching feel of community and togetherness. This year, the sixth form students have taken on a key role in mentoring younger pupils, with some excellent success stories.
Cake Friday and hot chocolate are an absolute staple of Clifford life and this extended even into lockdown, where the girls produced a host of gorgeous bakes without a soggy bottom in sight; Mary Berry, eat your heart out! The girls competed to bake the best ‘showstopper’ this year as we sadly weren’t able to taste their efforts due to the pandemic. Our theory is that there’s not a great deal which can’t be resolved with a good chat over a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of cake! We’re looking forward to a little slice of normality (and taste testing!) resuming in September.
Clifford are the reigning Sports Day champions for both the Junior (years 9 and 10) and Senior girls (years 11, 12 and 13) as of 2021 and are looking to maintain their title next year. This year also saw the Junior Girls reign victorious in the tug of war, something we hope to extend to the seniors next year. Ms Humphrys has assigned a strict diet of carbs and cake in the interim!
A message from the Housemistress
“Being a Housemistress is one of the most challenging but rewarding roles in education. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to watch these young women grow into the House we are now and I think their relationships with staff and one another, achievements and outlooks speak for themselves. As houseparents, we are the front line of communication for both parents and the pupils within our care and it’s hugely important to me to forge strong relationships early on in a student’s school journey. I also try to encourage the girls to take on roles of leadership and direction to encourage them to better support one other when the time comes. With this in mind, my focus next year will be on the development of the peer mentor structures within the House.”
Ms Amy Humphrys Clifford Housemistress
Deacon House is one of two senior boys’ boarding day at St Lawrence College. With the increase in school numbers the house was re-opened in 2019 after it’s closure in the early 1980’s after being a boy’s day house here in the late 1970s and 80s.’Mr Rod Wilkening, a current teacher of Computer Studies, was himself a pupil and member of Deacon House during those original years, and is now the Deputy Housemaster. Deacon sports the predominant colour of green in the ties and our house t-shirts are a rich bottle green.
Deacon House is a vibrant house to be a part of, with quiet spaces upstairs and a sporty downstairs which is furnished with an air hockey and table football tables. Pupils are under the care of its Housemaster, Mr Geraint Jones who is supported by a 6 strong tutor group who provide excellent pastoral care.
Sport has been a particularly successful area for Deacon in recent years, the tug of war is always hotly contested with the other houses in the school. The boys as a whole group also keenly participate as a team in the inter-house competitions; Drama and Singing.
All involved with the house actively aim to be a house with a strong sense of community.
Mr Geraint Jones Deacon Housemaster
Laing House is one of the day houses for senior girls aged from 13 to 18.
Years 9 to 11 each have their own spacious common room sited on the ground floor of the main building. Students from Clifford (the other day girls’ house) and Bellerby (boarding girls’ house) are encouraged to visit during free time to provide continuity of friendships formed whilst in Kirby House. Years 12 and 13 have mixed common rooms in their own Sixth Form Centre, which they share with their peers from all houses.
Laing has an outstanding team of tutors, as well as a House Prefect team which is chosen following a student vote and some interviews with staff. The Prefect team are excellent role models for the younger girls, and are also a good first port of call for students who would like to chat to a peer or ask for help. We hold weekly House assemblies; some weeks they are to celebrate achievements of members of the house, sometimes we plan House charity events (our cake sales are legendary!) and other weeks we break into ‘mentor groups’. These groups are made up of students from each year group, and are forums for meaningful discussions on issues ranging from national news to more personal or schoolwide topics. Sixth Form girls are instrumental in managing prep sessions twice a week for the younger students. All of these things contribute to a family approach to our day-to-day existence, with all years readily mixing and helping each other.
The House is represented well across many extra-curricular activities, such as the School Choir, the Combined Cadet Force and sports teams. Highlights of the year tend to be House Singing, House Masterchef, and Sports Day (with plenty of pink warpaint and glitter!). Our aim is to produce confident, caring and well-educated young ladies, who hopefully leave the College having fond memories of a fun, supportive House family.
Dr Kate Barwell Laing Housemistress
Newlands House is the day house for senior boys aged from 13 to 18. We are one of the largest houses in the College, with more than 60 boys. Newlands House was formed in 1929 and has been located in several areas of the school, before settling on the first floor of the main building.
Large common rooms are shared between 3rd and 4th Form (Years 9 & 10) boys, whilst the 5th Form (Year 11) have their own equally large space. The rooms are equipped with table tennis tables, computers, lockers and relaxing spaces to sit or work. We have excellent changing facilities and toilets that are available to the boys for the duration of the school day.
We are a competitive House; we love to take on a challenge and see value in giving our best in all situations. We win many competitions and display our success in various spaces around the house.
A word from the Newlands Housemaster, Mr Huw Stevens:
“My vision for the future of Newlands is one where the House facilitates and guides the boys towards taking advantage of every opportunity afforded to them by the College. Newlands is a House where every student is valued, views can be shared and meaning and purpose discovered. I encourage all Newlands’ boys to develop themselves by challenging their personal weaknesses and doubling down on potential professional strengths. This is the best advice for success in the fast-changing landscape of opportunity that they will leave the College into. I want them to be well-equipped, productive and formidable.”
Mr Huw Stevens Newlands Housemaster
“The school is successful in providing opportunities for pupils of all abilities to gain academic success and develop their individual talents.”