Henry Briscoe Head of Boarding 2021

Henry Briscoe cropped

Since the early days of Christ’s College, boarding has been an integral part of the school.

Boys come from not just all over the country, but all over the world, to experience the high standard of schooling that College provides, bringing with them a wealth of different perspectives and ideas, fundamentally shaping the school’s environment for the better. With three out of the 10 Houses at College being boarding Houses, a large proportion of boys are boarders; thus, for many old boys, the phrases ‘Christ’s College’ and ‘Boarding’ are inextricably linked.

When a boy starts boarding at Christ’s College, he faces a wealth of opportunities. Not only can he throw himself into all the activities available to dayboys but he also has the fantastic Boarding programme, providing a variety of both fun and challenging activities which develop teamwork skills, critical thinking, but, more importantly, healthy relationships between boys and their peers. On top of this, boarders will find it convenient to have many of the school’s facilities (Music School, the workshop and the library, for example) within arm’s reach, even once the school day is done. This places these boys in an advantageous position for school work and co-curricular activities over their non-boarding classmates.

Considering all of this, it is a great honour and privilege to have been selected as 2021’s Head of Boarding.

The school’s dedication to pastoral care and mental health, which, over my time at College, has continued to improve, has always impressed me.

I arrived at Christ’s College from Singapore as a Year 9 in 2016. Interested in activities across the board, I have enjoyed the wealth of opportunities the school has offered, participating in numerous productions, the big band, kapa haka, the choir and a variety of sports. Being able to have a well-rounded school experience is very important to me, and I am thankful that College has enabled me to do this.

As you may be able to imagine, being thrown into a totally new environment far away from home is not always easy. However, the wellbeing support offered by the school has always helped boys, including myself, through the more challenging times.

The school’s dedication to pastoral care and mental health, which, over my time at College, has continued to improve, has always impressed me. The school has put a huge amount of effort into making sure that there are resources available to any boys who may be struggling with mental health issues – particularly important in a boarding environment where boys may find themselves very far from home and family. The staff in the House always keep an eye out for the boys, whether it be the wonderful matrons, acting as a ‘Mum away from Mum’, the tutors, who are consistently willing to have a chat, or the Housemasters, who actively take an interest in the wellbeing of the boys. All of this, in conjunction with the school’s Wellbeing Department and counsellors, means that boarders who may be struggling with homesickness, depression or stress have a solid team to support them when they need it. Over the course of the year, I want to put a strong emphasis on this mental health support, as I believe it is absolutely vital to a boy’s wellbeing.

Within the House, each boy has his own responsibilities and roles to fulfil. Whether it be bin changing, cleaning the common room, or, for the seniors, waking the House up in the mornings or getting the House ready for lights out, this sense of duty is integral to the boarding experience. It encourages boys to take pride in their House while also providing them with basic yet important skills, and a sense of discipline which will help them long past secondary school.

All in all, boarding at College will give boys many good memories and important life skills – interpersonal, teamwork and cooperation – to take with them into adulthood. And, as a result, when they complete their schooling in Year 13, they find themselves much stronger characters, thanks to the experience.

Henry Briscoe
Head of Boarding 2021