John Wollaston's pastoral care approach is underpinned by a vertical House System in the Secondary School where students of all ages are mixed rather than being grouped by age.
Seven groups operate in each of the four Houses – Charter, Hale, Ramsden and Scott – generating positive interactions throughout the year groups.
House Teachers also encourage their groups to create their own point of differentiation to create a sense of belonging. This is the main objective of the House System – to build stronger relationships that provide the basis for good pastoral care within the School.
House Groups meet for 15 minutes each morning and for an extended 50-minute session on Wednesdays. Wednesday morning sessions consist of Assemblies, Worship or Inter-House activities. House Worship has been a particularly positive innovation, with each House Service taking on a character of its own.
Numbers can be controlled across the groups rather than being determined by the size of the cohort. This results in smaller groups, allowing the House Group Teacher to form stronger relationships with the students.
The vertical groupings also mean that any problems within a year group are not carried into the House Group. Teachers comment on the way in which students' behaviour in House Group tends to be self-regulating.
The vertical House System also encourages an increase in student leadership. Year 12 School Prefects have a wider range of duties and are more visible around the School, while the senior students in the vertical House Councils have a greater profile.