|7 Dec 2020|
|King's Bruton News|
The number of pupils at King's Bruton has increased over the last decade, and the School is currently full with 354 pupils. The School is expected to remain full next academic year, and interest from prospective families remains high. However, the pupil profile at King's Bruton has gradually been changing year on year, with increasing numbers of day pupils and increasing numbers of girls. The legacy house structure of King's, having moved from a boys-only school, to admitting girls in the 6th Form, to going fully co-educational in 1997, has resulted in an imbalance in capacity with four 'large' boys' Houses, compared to one 'large' girls' House (Priory, which changed from a boys' to a girls' House in 2003), and two smaller girls' Houses.
Increasingly some prospective parents regard Old House as containing dated boarding accomodation. Due to the historic fabric of the building and its listed designation, there is very little that can be done to improve Old House apart from a cosmetic uplift, and certain areas (the Tower Rooms and the 3rd Form dorm) are unappealing. It is also difficult to provide the boarding experience that boys expect, and deserve, with low numbers, particularly at weekends, despite the outstanding pastoral support given by the Old House staff. There will a large Upper 6th boarding group leaving Old House at the end of this academic year and there is likely to be only 15 boarding in Old House in September 2021.
Therefore, the Governors have agreed to the following major two-phased restructure of the King's campus.
Phase 1 - to be completed by September 2021
Wellesley House will increase capacity:
The School has purchased the neighbouring property to Wellesley House at 1 Wellesly Green. The Wellesley Housemistress (HsM) will reside in 1 Wellesly Green, and her current Hsm accommodation will be changed to 6th Form day and boarding rooms. The HsM's kitchen and sitting room will be retained for 6th Form use. The physical access and communication between Wellesley and 1 Wellesley Green will be enhanced. 1 Wellesley Green will also contain a seperate self-contained staff flat. The Resident tutor accommodation in Wellesley House will remain unchanged.
Old House will cease to be a boys' boarding and day House:
All the Old House boys will be transferred to the other 3 boys Houses for September 2021.
Lyon House, New House and Blackford House will be refurbished to increase their capacity:
The Lyon Tutor accommodation will be movied into the Pavilion Cotttage, and the current Lyon Tutor accommodation will be change to boys' accommodation. The Chaplain's accommodation will move to the flat in 1 Wellesely Green.
The New House HsM accommodation will move across to the Old HsM accommodation, and the Headmaster's Lawn will be come the New House HsM's garden. The current New House HsM accommodation will be changed to boys' accommodation.
Arion is functioning very successfully with the HsM living in an adjacent building, and the same systems will be put in place in Wellesly and New to ensure excellent pastoral care is maintained. Houses will always have an adult in the building overnight, and this wll be facilitated by the creation of one staff hotel-style room ensuite room in each House that has adjacent HsM or Resident Tutor accommodation.
Malcom Jeffrey will replace Dan Hodder at Lyon HsM, as Dan comes to the end of his 5 years' tenure as HsM.
Phase 2 - to be complete by September 2023
Old House to be refurbished:
Old House will be refurbised to include the History department, the School Shop, the Archives Office and the Staff Common Room. The existing HsM and Resident Tutor accommodation will be retained.
The Health Centre to move to Plox:
The Health Centre will be moved to all three floors of Plox (Plox currently contains the staff Common Room and the Archives Office).
The current Health Centre and History buildings will be converted to residential properties:
The Health Centre and History department will be better placed within the School Campus and will have improved capacity. Both current buildings will be available for commercial letting or sale.
The expansion of Wellesley, New, Blackford and Lyon, along with the change of use in Old, ensures that:
This is the most significant change to King's Bruton since Priory changed from a boys' to a girls' House in 2003. I appreciate that this restructure, initially, may be unsettling for some in the School community, so there will be opportunities to discuss the implications over the coming term. However, the new structure will better reflect the current and future pupil profile of our highly successful, fully coeducational, boarding and day school and will allow the School to continue to flourish.
4th December 2021