How long have you been at Lambrook and what did you do before?

J: I’ve been at Lambrook for two and a half years now and before that, I lived and worked in Cape Town. I worked at a private Girls’ School in Cape Town – a small school, and I am wife to Mr Shuttleworth who was Head of Boarding at Bishop’s Prep there, so I was very involved in boarding life during the evening, and then during the day, I was surrounded by all the girls and teaching them.

A: This is my second year at Lambrook. Before then I was at the Dragon School in Oxford, a Prep School, which is quite similar to Lambrook in many ways. Mrs Bowden and I ran a boarding house there for Year 4 and 5 boys. I also did lots of sport and taught maths.

 

What do you do at Lambrook?

A: I run Boys’ Boarding with Mrs Bowden, I also teach maths to Years 6, 7 and 8 and I also do lots of sport, which is something I am really passionate about.  I love football, closely followed by cricket (but I don’t tell many people I support Tottenham!).

J: I am in charge of Girls’ Boarding, which I run with my team. I also teach English and Maths and RS.

 

What has been your highlight of Lambrook life so far?

J:  For me, the highlight most definitely, was when I first arrived at Lambrook and we had those long summer days, that just seemed to go on for ever. The warm weather was a real treat, and being able to sit outside and eat our supper there, as well as being able to play golf, kick a ball and go for a walk through the Orchard.

A: The big highlight for me was the end of my first Christmas Term, where Mrs Shuttleworth and I put on a Boarder’s Christmas Dinner. It was great fun and lovely to come to the end of a first term, where at the start, you didn’t know anyone and by the end of the term, you knew everyone. It was a really fun-filled evening and finished off with a big bonfire out on the field.

 

What is boarding life like for you and your family?

J: I have one son in Cape Town who is at University there and another son at Boarding School here in the UK, so its just me and Mr Shuttleworth at home for most of the time. He tends to have meals with the Boarders in the Dining Room, and he is a great sounding-board. We do a lot of the thinking about boarding together.

A: I have two young daughters and they can’t get enough of being in the Boarding House with the boys. They absolutely love playing pool or table tennis whenever they can with the boys. They are normally bossing the boys around – doing my job for me! There have been many mornings where we have lost my oldest – she has just made her way to breakfast in the Dining Room to sit with the Year 8s and can be found happily catching up with them all.

 

 

Why do you like being involved in boarding?

J: With boarding, you see another side to the children that you teach during the day. You really get to know them and have fun outside of the classroom. It is very relaxed. I do like the role of being a second mum and the tales they tell about what has happened during the school day.

A: There is so much that we teach our children inside the classroom, but in the evenings, being together as a boarding community, is really special. When Mrs Shuttleworth and I often reflect on the journeys of some of the children through boarding and that development and growth is very satisfying and ultimately, why we do the job.

 

What is your favourite boarding night of the week and why?

J: I would probably say, a Friday night during the summer. There is a lot to be said about a Friday night! Especially if the weather is lovely and they are able to run around outside and play some of the fantastic games, or play golf, or mess around in the cricket nets. It is lovely to see them relax, seeing them happy and enjoying being in each other’s company.

A: My favourite boarding night is pizza night! Because of lockdown last year, I haven’t experienced a summer boarding night yet, but I am very much looking forward to it!

 

What have you been doing for the boarders during lockdown?

A: We have definitely tried to stay in touch with the Boarders, throughout each week, via Teams and Zoom. We have caught up, met their pets and we have set them challenges. Quite a few of the boys enjoyed watching cooking demonstrations from the Boarding team and then making their own healthy lunch themselves. We did a sports quiz as well…

J: Which was very challenging!! We have done lots of catch ups and baking, with the girls making some amazing creations!

A: Although nothing beats having them present, in person!

 

You do quite a lot of baking with the boarders at school – what is your speciality?

J: A tried and tested family recipe of Lemon Meringue Pie, although I did use my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe with our boarders last term, and it proved to be a great success!

A: My baking skills are quite average, but Mrs Bowden’s banana bread goes down very well with the boys (and with me!).

 

Is there a particular night or incident that has made you laugh in the Boarding House?

A: Watching some of the children ‘swim’ in the brook, to avoid being caught in one of our games, ‘Spotlight’. They were covered head to tow in mud, soaking wet, but determined to get the prize of sweets!

J: I must say, seeing them covered in mud is a scream!

 

What are the benefits of boarding at Prep School, when thinking about future schools?

A: So many of the Lambrook children will go on to full boarding schools, so it is teaching them resilience, it is teaching them independence, it is giving them real vital life skills that they will need moving forward. I always say to parents, that when they start senior school, their children are 13 years old, having just become a teenager, they might not know many people, and then if you were to then throw boarding in for the first time, that could be quite a daunting prospect. If they have some good experience of boarding, they know the general boarding routine, they will enjoy the transition much mor and it will set them up for starting senior school well.

J: It really does give them some great skills; to be independent, to remember everything for each day, revising for exams – it will certainly set them up brilliantly.

 

When you are not looking after the boarders, what do you do to relax?

A: For me, spending time with my daughters is good fun! Ms Bowden has been doing lots of running and so has encouraged me to try and get out and do some runs myself.

J:  It was to go out for a walk, or a coffee, or go somewhere for a glass of wine, but now in lockdown, it is to watch a good movie, read my book or try out a new recipe.

 

If you could have a Boarding House pet, what would it be?

A: I am being bombarded by wife and two daughters to get a dog, so there is only one outcome of that argument! I am sure at some stage Westfield House will have a new full time resident!

J: The girls would love to have boarding bunnies!

 

We are excited that pupils from Years 5 – 8 are going to be able to board from next week, what plans do you have for the boarders over the coming months?

J: Brace yourselves! We have so much fun lined up! Slip and slides in the summer, zorbing, suppers outside, swimming in the pool, BBQs…

A: Golf, tennis, cricket, enjoying the beautiful grounds, playing games and so much more! The boys will be coming back to a slightly brighter and newly painted Westfield House too.

 

Parents may be worried that the children have too much fun and they don’t have time to do work, music practice etc. How would you respond to that?

J: Our Year 8s have study sessions each evening, as they prepare for their exams. If our boarders haven’t finished their prep at school, then there is a perfect opportunity before supper. They also have staff members with them that they can ask for help, along with peers to work alongside.  It’s a win win – they get it done and they get it done well.

A: We also build in music practice time for each child that plays a musical instrument.  We do a 15 minute reading session once they are in bed, before they go to sleep, which is a great end to the day.

J: We have some very talented musicians in the Boarding House, and so practice is timetabled. We all listen to them perform regularly as well and it is enjoyed by everyone.

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