The pastoral provision at Cokethorpe is one of the great strengths of the School and has directly evolved from its ethos of being community and family focused.

Welcome from the Head of School

Cokethorpe is a wonderful place to go to school. Simply driving into the grounds everyday makes you realise how lucky you are to be here. However, once you go beyond the impressive exterior, what you find inside is even more vibrant and exciting.

There is a huge array of subjects to study, each one taught by a department of dedicated and enthusiastic teachers. The small class sizes allow our teachers to spend more time with us, making sure that we all feel appropriately supported but also stretched. We are always encouraged to think big, ask questions and push ourselves beyond the curriculum.

Outside the classroom, there is always a hubbub of activities and engagement. Everyone takes part in the diverse AOB programme, which encourages us to build on existing passions and, just as importantly, discover new ones. Furthermore, the school calendar is packed with sports fixtures, music and drama performances and countless other exciting activities to get involved in. Whether your love is science, sport or singing, there really is something for everybody.

One of the most important things about Cokethorpe is its sense of community and support. From day one, we each join a tutor group which provides us with a supportive tutor and group of friends.

In addition, the Peer Mentor Scheme and the new Sixth Form tutor partnering initiative provide younger pupils with friendly Sixth Form faces to look to for advice and help. The House system strengthens our sense of belonging whilst also encouraging some healthy competition, although no other House ever really comes close to Queen Anne (but maybe I’m a tad biased!)

I still vividly recall my first day at Cokethorpe – wearing a new uniform that was slightly too big for me, worrying whether I would make friends and thinking how huge everyone in the Senior School was. Eight years later, I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. Besides everything I have learnt academically, I will take away so many wonderful experiences such as stepping onto the stage in The Shed for the first time; celebrating on an open-top bus with the rest of the football team; and belting out ‘Tragedy’ with Queen Anne in House Music. When my friends and I finally leave at the end of this year, I know we will not only have fantastic grades, setting us up for the next chapters of our lives, but also treasured memories that will stay with us forever.

Upper Sixth, Queen Anne
Head of School

Pastoral Life in the Prep School

A compelling feature of the Prep School is the excellent pastoral care and the close relationships between staff and children as well as with parents. This strength is a reflection of the School’s aim that children should be well-rounded, considerate and supportive of each other.

Classes in the Prep School (as well as in the Senior School) are kept deliberately small. Class teachers in the Prep School act like tutors in the Senior School, supporting any academic and pastoral requirements of the pupils in their care.

The House system forms an important part of the pastoral care and exists to encourage pupils of all years to socialise, support, compete with and respect each other. Various inter-House competitions and events take place throughout the year and children in Year 6 are elected as Captains and Vice-Captains.

Close communication between parents and the School is encouraged and is a two-way process. At the start of the year, parents are invited to a Parents’ Information Evening which is an opportunity to meet other parents and class teachers and to hear about the organisation of the year, curriculum matters and information specific to the year group. Regular reporting and communication continues throughout the school year.

The Prep School uses RULER to teach our pupils emotional intelligence, helping them to manage their full range of feelings so they can make more informed decisions, form and maintain mutually supportive relationships, attain personal growth and wellbeing, and achieve both academic and life success. RULER stands for: recognising emotions in oneself and others; understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; labelling emotions with a nuanced vocabulary; expressing emotions in accordance with cultural norms and social context; regulating emotions with helpful strategies.

The House and Tutor Systems

The Senior School’s pastoral care is built around the House system and its tutor groups. There are six main houses in the Senior School, named after individuals or families associated with Cokethorpe’s history: Feilden, Vanbrugh, Queen Anne, Swift, Harcourt, and Gascoigne. For those who join the Senior School in First Form (11+), they will enter Lower House – a conjoined House for the whole year group, although maintaining their House allegiances for the all-important inter-House competitions. Lower House helps pupils to adapt to life in the Senior School, get to know the idiosyncrasies of the Senior School, develop good routines, and make friends with new peers across the year group.

Wider House life is important at Cokethorpe, with House Assemblies taking place once a week. There are plentiful opportunities within House to demonstrate and hone the traits of the Leadership Programme, whether leading activities during House Assemblies, participating in the friendly rivalry of inter-House competitions, or the direct leadership opportunities for the Upper Sixth as Heads of House or Prefects.

Every pupil in the Senior School is assigned a tutor, with tutor groups kept deliberately small, helping good relationships to develop between tutors and their tutees, further aided by there being time with tutor groups every day. Tutors act as both an academic and pastoral support to the pupils in their tutor group, liaising with Housemasters, Heads of Department, and parents as appropriate.

Counselling and Peer Mentoring

Cokethorpe has a highly experienced Counsellor on site, having worked with children in counselling for over fifteen years. The service is available to all pupils and staff, supporting and working in tandem with the wider pastoral system, although the information discussed in counselling is treated confidentially. The reasons a pupil might seek to speak to the counsellor vary, but common themes are dealing with stress and anxiety, relationships, and adapting to change.

The opportunity to talk about things of concern, whether a child, young person or an adult, can be a powerful emotional and mental ointment, helping individuals sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever is concerning them. By having a school-based counselling service, our pupils are able to receive support in an environment that feels familiar and safe, enabling them to have a greater opportunity to fulfil their potential.

The counselling I received has really helped me to feel confident in myself. Talking things through helped me to gain self-realisation and understand myself better.

Peer Mentoring is another provision offered at Cokethorpe and is accessible to pupils from First to Fifth Form in the Senior School. The service is run under the supervision of our Counsellor. The Mentors are Lower Sixth students, who have applied, been interviewed and have received extensive training in focused listening, reflecting, confidentiality, and safeguarding. The School presently has nine trained peer mentors in the Lower Sixth.

Participants of both the counselling service and the peer mentoring programme are required to fill out a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) – the standard practice used by the NHS – at the start and end of the process to measure outcomes and ensure the effectiveness of the services.

The Counselling service and the Peer Mentoring programme have a proven record of improving the wellbeing of those who access the service, who may feel more comfortable talking to someone of a similar age whom they look up to.

Pastoral Life in the Sixth Form

The Sixth Form is a sociable, kind, and supportive community, which gives students the freedom to discover who they are, and to follow their own discrete path. We encourage students to be ambitious, both academically and beyond, and, as importantly, give students the necessary support and nurture to achieve those ambitions.

Members of the Sixth Form are supported by the Head of Sixth Form and two Deputy Heads of Sixth Form, each with a responsibility for one of the year groups. There are twelve dedicated Sixth Form tutors, with groups broadly split between the arts and humanities and STEM to ensure additional support and guidance is readily available for students, should they want it.

We celebrate students who work hard, who are mindful of others, and who make the most of all that Cokethorpe has to offer.

Tutor Partnering Programme

Started in September 2021, the Tutor Partnering programme sees members of the Sixth Form spend time with classes or tutor groups from another year group, from Reception Class in the Prep School through to Fifth Form in the Senior School, during afternoon Registration slots.

The students offer support and guidance with pupils’ studies, provide an understanding of Sixth Form life or of subjects pupils are considering studying, and otherwise enjoy another opportunity to interact with younger pupils in the School.

Read about the Tutor Partnering programme from one of our recent leavers, Jamie Minns (OC 2022, Vanbrugh) using the link below.

Where next?

Aerial photo of Cokethorpe School - Welcome from the Headmaster - A co-educational Prep and Senior School - An Independent Day School
Welcome from the Headmaster
Mr Ettinger, our Headmaster, often describes Cokethorpe as a restless school, and one that provides a liberal education with exceptional breadth and an individual focus. Discover why.
Discover Cokethorpe
What you will discover when you visit Cokethorpe is more than a stunning vista. Pupils have an exceptional breadth of opportunity and are supported with a truly individual focus.
Approaches to Learning
Whether at the earliest stages of learning or in the final preparations for A Levels, expert consideration is given to the approaches to learning at each stage of a pupil’s academic development at Cokethorpe.

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