“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” - Aristotle
Comprising around 200 pupils aged between 2.5 and 13 years, our school really is like an extended family. Most pupils and staff know everyone’s name. Pupils, Teachers and support staff share lunch in the same Dining Hall. Friendships transcend all ages through our House system, and families become lifelong friends.
If you were to ask me to describe how I would like pastoral care at Mowden Hall to function I would probably compare it to a warm Dime Bar (yes, the chocolate bar with a crunchy middle!)… let me explain.
On the outside, the bit that everyone experiences first, there is a warm, soft, comforting layer. In confectionary terms, it’s the chocolate. In Mowden, this is our people. Our people, and I mean all people (staff and children included), are part of this system, giving care and support to those we take responsibility for on a daily basis. They provide that home-from-home feel that allows children to feel safe, protected and able to give every day their best shot. We support them when they feel down and cheer them on when things go well. We talk a lot - teachers, parents, kitchen staff, support staff - we all talk. This gives us the best chance to identify when something is not right and know how to make it better.
On the inside (the crunchy almond caramel), is a rigid backbone that not only sets high moral expectations of all involved, but also gives structure to the children’s day. It allows them to know right from wrong and learn to apply these principles in an ever-changing world. It gives them boundaries that allow them to know how far they can go, and it gives them direction, allowing them to see what we hope they will develop into. The children in our care are learning how to navigate this world and so I see this system as one that should help to guide them through this process, applying not only our values, but those of their families and allowing them to develop their own too. Children need to know that it is inevitable that they will get things wrong, and this is ok, but they also need to know there is a system in place that will guide them in the best way to make things right and keep them safe.
Children at Mowden are encouraged to be self-aware, confident and inquisitive, to listen and consider the views of others, and to make informed decisions. When things don’t go according to plan, they know that there is a safety net, someone who will listen and a shoulder to cry on if the need arises. They also know that we will build them back up again and again and let them get on in life, confident that they have reflected and learnt from their experience.
We firmly believe that a happy, secure and confident child will make excellent progress in all aspects of school life. Our system of pastoral care, with Form Tutors at the heart and in partnership with parents, allows us to create the best possible foundations, on which they can learn, grow and develop as young people ready for the next stage of their life.
Mr Philip Sturt, Assistant Head Pastoral
The role of the Form Tutor is holistic, encompassing every part of the child’s school life including academic, sport, extra-curricular and pastoral. Children meet with their Form and Form Tutor regularly. This is an opportunity to discuss any issues that may arise and to ensure consistent support throughout the year.
There are four ‘Houses’, named after distinguished Northumbrians: Bewick, Collingwood, Grey and Stephenson. Each child is assigned a House on arrival in the Prep School, and throughout their time at the School they meet regularly with their House peers for social events and competitions. Each House has a pupil as a House Captain, and a member of staff as Head of House. The children and staff sit in their house groups for lunch each day. House Points are awarded in all areas of school life and count towards a termly house competition.
Great importance is placed on the quality and variety of school meals at Mowden Hall School. A team of in-house caterers, managed by our own Head Chef, prepares and cooks fresh meals for the children on site. A healthy, balanced diet is achieved through carefully planned menus. The School eats as a community in house groups, and there is a formal end to every meal. Good manners are encouraged and expected of all children, and each house serves and waits on the other children on a rotational daily basis.
Options for breakfast include porridge, a variety of cereals, fresh fruit, natural yoghurt, and a selection of toast and fruit juice. This is accompanied by either a cooked or continental breakfast. For lunch, there is both a meat and vegetarian hot option served with a selection of fresh vegetables, along with a comprehensive salad bar (from Year 3 upwards), accompanied by soup in the Winter. A hot or cold pudding and fresh fruit follows. Children have a mid-morning and afternoon snack, with fruit and milk or water. The snacks vary from sandwiches, toasted fruit buns and breadsticks to flapjacks and crumpets, all ensuring the children can sustain their energy levels until the end of the day. Supper provides both a hot meat and vegetarian option which are accompanied by fresh vegetables and a selection of salads and bread rolls. A cold pudding, cheese and biscuits or fresh fruit follows.
The School aims to be ‘nut and seed free’ and we ask parents to adhere to this policy by not sending in any products containing nuts and seeds.
We are fortunate enough to own St James’ Church in the village of Newton. On most Tuesday mornings, the whole of the Prep School will walk to church for a short service which will be led by the Head. This important moment in a busy week gives the children and staff the chance to quietly reflect. Hymns are accompanied by a school band, the Choir will perform an anthem and others will introduce and close the service with the pealing of our newly installed church bells.