Alastair McGilchrist, the Lower Master, supports the house-based pastoral system and has responsibility over boys in their first two years.
One of his most important roles is in organizing the school wide induction process for new boys. This starts with the highly successful ‘Novi Visit’ when boys are still in Year 8 and takes place at the end of the Easter Term before they take their CE and Scholarship exams. The two day induction visit consists of a range of enjoyable sporting, class based and other activities around the campus. It has been running for many years and enables boys to build relationships with their housemaster, tutor and the other boys who are likely to be in their house. Boarders stay overnight in ‘their’ house and day pupils will have dinner at school and do some short evening activities.
Novi boys also participate in ‘Novi Camps’; camping out over a weekend and enjoying a range of activities. Again the purpose is to help them build strong friendships and to assist them in settling into their house groups during their first half term.
Whole school pastoral care involves many figures working closely together and so the Lower Master works with Housemasters, the Anti-Bullying Coordinator, the School Counsellor, the Second Master and novi lead teachers. All are focused on providing high quality pastoral care and effective communication to assist the boys under our care.
The Lower Master leads fortnightly assemblies for both years, guides tutors in leading the tutor times, helps with the delivery of the PSHEE programme and encourages / monitors boys to participate fully in Tonbridge’s academic, sporting, cultural and social opportunities.
Leading the Lower School Council and representing the views of the Lower School boys to the Senior Management has also resulted in a number of recent changes and improvements to how the school runs and in what is provided.
Moreover, the Lower Master is involved in building links with prep schools, in interviewing Tonbridge boys for the exchange programmes with schools in Australia and New Zealand and informally in the different scholarship selection processes.
The role of the Lower Master therefore is to bring both consistency and innovation to the first two years in the school, supporting Housemasters and other staff and enabling boys to get the most out of their time at Tonbridge School.