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

Dee Biles Head of School 2023-24

Cokethorpe is centred on its community. The staff are supportive and encouraging, allowing pupils to learn to the best of our ability. The curriculum is wide and varied, with lessons expanding our understanding of the world around us and teaching us the importance of considering and helping others. This can be seen across the School within the Houses that unite pupils from across all year groups, especially visible during House competitions, where House pride comes to the forefront.

Tutor time each day gives us a moment before and between lessons to hear announcements and stay up to date with all the co-curricular opportunities going on, such as STEM competitions, plays and musical offerings. Sport provides us with a physical outlet, with coaches pushing us to try our best, in team sports such as rugby and netball, and more individual sports such as climbing and tennis. Constant opportunities to share pieces of work are offered; school publications and exhibitions offer us the chance to be seen and recognised for our hard work.

The grounds are stunning and provide plenty of opportunities to explore, and the community of Cokethorpe is exciting, varied and enthusiastic. The AOB programme allows us to find new interests and to expand on existing hobbies covering Arts, Humanities and STEM, with opportunities to try everything.


Supporting one another is an important aspect of Cokethorpe, with activities running across year groups, allowing younger and older years to get to know each other. There are also initiatives in the Sixth Form, such as Peer Mentoring and the Tutor Partnering programme, that allow Sixth Form students to interact with younger years in a different format, offering an insight into life across the School.

My time at Cokethorpe has gone so quickly and the community has done so much for me. I am so grateful for all the memories that school gave me the opportunity to make. At the end of this academic year, I know that when the Upper Sixth leave Cokethorpe, we will have a strong foundation of learning and curiosity to prepare us for whatever comes next.


Upper Sixth, Gascoigne
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
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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.

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Approaches to Learning

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