The role of Housemaster/Housemistress/Houseparent is a very well respected and vital non-teaching role within independent boarding schools and is dedicated to the daily care and welfare of the children living at the school.
It’s a demanding career that requires an abundance of enthusiasm however, it offers the thrill and fulfilment of no two days ever being the same and of helping young people to live a purposeful and happy life, whilst meeting their full potential. First and foremost, you are ‘in loco parents’ and a mentor and will be a beacon of care, discipline and structure and will offer an equal measure of fairness and consistency.
So, what does a day in the life of a Houseparent look like?
Your day will often begin at 7am when you will ensure your boarding house is awake and ready for the school day. When operating the register you will deal with any concerns or medical issues that might have occurred the previous night. Of course breakfast is the most important part of the day, so it is key that you encourage your house to attend and ensure that they eat before the school day starts.
The morning is also the time for confirming that the house is tidy and ready for the day ahead, obviously encouraging the children here is paramount.
After you have bid farewell to your students you will complete any administration, such as arrangements for temporary boarders and manage any preparations, for example school trips, that need organising. You will also be expected to report any maintenance issues that arise with the property.
At around 4pm you will be back on duty and will begin the evening programme. Many of the students will be involved in extra-curricular activities which you will actively encourage and you might organise some yourself such as baking.
Meal times will be supervised and you will encourage good manners and behaviours.
Early evening is prep time and it will be a primary role for you to provide the right academic environment and encouragement.
Time for supervising bed time and lights out and providing overnight care.
Obviously, this is only a guide as each day will offer its own unique opportunities and challenges, and may differ from school to school
Qualifications needed to become a Houseparent
Some schools will ask for a pastoral care track record of working with young people and a nursing qualification or first aid certificate is often an advantage, however any experience in pastoral care, for example, Nanny or Youth Worker will be considered.
Of paramount importance is that you can offer the right skills for the role including enthusiasm, reliability, energy and organisational skills. However, what is essential is that you have the skills to provide a caring and consistent environment to the young people in your charge.
Salaries range from £12,000 - £40,000, however, it is as much about the benefits as the salary for these roles. Benefits can include free or subsidised accommodation and meals, domestic cleaning, gardening and subsidised school fees.
The hours are long and will require you to be flexible. However, you will get time off when not on duty and at weekends and of course you will have the school holidays to enjoy rest and relaxation away from the school campus.