One of the special aspects of a Wellington education is the strength of our pastoral programme. Every pupil in the Senior School has a tutor and a housemaster charged with ensuring that they not only succeed academically, but that they become well-rounded individuals ready to take on the challenges of an ever-changing world.
Pastoral Care and the House System
Pastoral care at Wellington College is modelled on the excellent systems in place in the UK, at both Wellington and Eagle House, with suitable adjustments made for our international, predominantly day-school setting. We are committed to providing the highest standards of pastoral care to ensure the wellbeing of all our students, with teams of experienced and enthusiastic staff to support and care for them, and to help nurture all their aptitudes.
All pupils, from pre-Nursery to Year 13, are members of one of the five “Houses”, all of which are named after, and have direct links with, the same five Houses at Wellington College in the UK. These are the Anglesey, the Blucher, the Orange, the Stanley and the Wellesley. All these names are of key figures involved with the campaigns of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, after whom the College is named, and thus all pupils become part of the long, proud history and heritage of Wellington College. All five Houses have their own distinctive crest and identity, which adorn the walls of the Junior Classrooms and Senior Houserooms. Pupils usually remain in this House throughout their time at Wellington College, however long that may be, and thus develop a real loyalty to it.
Our boarding house is called the Benson (named after Wellington UK’s first headmaster), and boarders develop a keen sense of family, but all boarders are also full members of one of the five Houses above.
In the Junior School, the classroom teacher plays the central role in pastoral care, aided by the Teaching Assistant. Each class has a mix of Houses, so that everyone can take part in House competitions of various sorts. In the Junior School it is the class teacher that parents should contact to deal with day-to-day issues.
It is in the Senior School (year 7 upwards) that the House system becomes a more obvious focus of daily life. Senior pupils meet and register every day in House groups, with their House teachers, as a whole House or in small tutor groups depending on the day of the week. Each House in the Senior School has pupils from across the age ranges, from Year 7 to Year 13, allowing older and younger pupils to meet, interact and enjoy a shared experience in a way that they would not normally do, to the benefit of all of them.
There are six or seven members of staff attached to each House, who between them act as the House Tutors. Each Tutor has a House Tutor Group of up to 10 pupils, usually from a single year group and never more than two. The House Tutors oversee the academic and extra-curricular progress of their tutees, while the Housemasters (HMs) generally deal with administrative and whole-House matters and are the main point of contact for parents, who should feel free to contact them as they would a class teacher in the Junior School. As well as seeing their tutees at registration, tutors run a timetabled weekly tutorial session for the group, and of course the pupils and teachers may arrange individual tutorial meetings at any convenient time. Queries from new or prospective parents about the system in the Senior School are welcome and may be addressed to the Senior School Deputy (Pastoral).
Competition between Houses is fierce at all members of the Wellington family. In both the Junior and Senior Schools here in Tianjin, there are many inter-house competitions each year, including various sports (basketball, badminton, football, swimming), as well as debating, public-speaking, singing and so on; and points are also awarded to individual pupils for academic success, good citizenship and other occasional reasons. The Junior and Senior schools’ competitions are separate, but in both there are regular updates of house point totals in assemblies through the year, and the winning House is crowned at the end of the year.