Tuckwell is a truly wonderful boy’s boarding house! As soon as you enter this fresh and modern boarding environment you are overwhelmed by the sense of brotherhood amongst the boys. The variety of academics, musicians, thespians and sportsmen make the house a vibrant and exciting place to be, and the sense of community we have here is wonderful as is often witnessed when the boys support each other in the many events they take part in across the school. It is a home away from home and the boys really respect that principle.
It is the aim of Tuckwell is to ensure the house is a happy and safe place to live or spend time in, where all feel as though they can express themselves with confidence and strive to be whatever they want to be. There will always be opportunities for individuals to take responsibility and develop leadership skills. In doing so, we hope the boys will adopt the values of aspiration, integrity and respect, creating a work 'hard and play hard' ethos where friends for life are made.
Tuckwell house came into being in 1965, when rapidly increasing numbers meant the school urgently needed another house. It is named after the Reverend William Tuckwell who built the first school on this site. He was a great advocate the teaching of 'the unfashionable cause of science'. In 1977 Tuckwell house was one of three Houses which moved to the old rambling Convent site (now a slick housing development) where other boarding houses were also located. In 2002 the new house was built on the main school site, an impressive building rendered in an earthy pink to reflect the hues of the local soil, with lovely views over the 1st XI cricket outfield.
There are 70 boys in Tuckwell house, spread throughout the year groups. There is a nice balance between boarders and day pupils. There are three Third Form dorms with separate study rooms, next to the housemaster's accommodation (in case prep time becomes too exuberant), most of the Fourth Form and Fifth Form have twin study bedrooms, and Sixth Formers have single study bedrooms. Day pupils have their own designated study area integrated within their year groups, and there are beds available for when they wish to board, often more than once a week. The day boys are very much included in house life and often stay on to do their preps in the evening or for the many house socials we run each week.
There is a Tuckwell house captain from the U6th, and a team of prefects (and trainees), whose job it is to help ensure the smooth day-to-day running of pastoral issues within the house. Most importantly they are there for younger members of the house as a sounding board, to discuss concerns that they may not want to speak to staff members about. For the first three years each pupil is assigned one of the house tutors, who looks after their academic progress primarily, but also takes a close interest in all the outside activities that they are involved in. In the Sixth Form, pupils can choose their own tutor from throughout the school.
The boys in Tuckwell believe themselves to be particularly strong in sport at the moment, although I would like to see a few more of our boys get in to the 1st XV rugby team!! The house can also boast many outstanding musicians with no fewer than eight of our boys currently in the school choir. Tuckwell boys over the years have fared very well at hardy challenges such as Ten Tors and Duke of Edinburgh and we always seem to provide a majority of the Pringle Trophy marine cadets. Most importantly Tuckwell pupils are known to be incredibly supportive of each other and there is a huge sense of community and togetherness in the house.
The Tuckwell Sunday trips are usually very well attended. What better way to get back at your tutor than to shoot him at point-blank range with a paintball gun, or how about a session of go-karting, surfing, bowling or indoor football? Occasionally though the boys would rather just chill out on a Sunday with a back-to-back movie session in our newly refurbished cinema room (complete with surround sound!). Regular evening or weekend barbecues can be long lavish affairs or impromptu do-it-yourselves events. Tuckwell enjoys a few annual events too. The Ottery Tarr Barrels is a firm favourite with the U6th, as is the hog roast at the end of year celebrations, and Tuckwell's very own Children in Need Night in late November, organised by the 6th form a lavish evening of entertainment which usually raises around £1000 for charity.
Brendan Craggs is the new Tuckwell Housemaster having been at King’s for three years. He moves into Tuckwell with his wife Magdalena, newborn son Sullivan and their cat Teddy. Brendan is a local Taunton boy who despite living and travelling away from home, has always wanted to come back to his roots, family and friends – something he values immensely. His sister was a proud King’s music scholar many years ago, although he admits to having inherited absolutely zero musical talent whatsoever, unless singing in the shower counts! His mother is also a keen supporter of King’s and can be seen on the sidelines watching a game of rugby from time to time and is looking forward to the role of being Tuckwell Grandma when visiting.
Before joining King’s Brendan worked in a local secondary school for 10 years where he has been a Head of Physical Education, Head of Year and been part of the Senior Leadership Team with varying responsibilities. When not in Tuckwell Brendan can be found teaching GCSE PE, BTEC Sport or coaching football, golf, cricket and rugby. He can be known to proudly boast of needing a new trophy cabinet due to recent successes with his football, cricket and rugby teams. He and his wife are thoroughly looking forward to getting to know boarding life and encouraging the 68 boys of Tuckwell to get involved in as much as possible that this wonderful school has to offer, as well as offering his academic and pastoral experiences to the house.
Brendan will be helped in the running of the house by his assistant Ben Thomas. Ben lives attached to the boarding house and supervises when Brendan is away. He was previously resident tutor and has been living in Tuckwell for two years now. Ben is a high level sports coach and is currently one of our sports performance/conditioning coaches. He has played rugby to a high level and is now not only one of our 1st XV coaches but also Head Coach of Chard Rugby Club 1st XV. Ben also coaches hockey and runs the tennis programme at the school as well as helping to run our cricket festivals in the summer. A busy man!
Assistants and House Matron
Val Similien (Cricket and Hockey)
Toby Smith (Head of English)
Ben Greedy (Head of Chemistry)
Matt Lang (Head of Physics)
Tuckwell boasts a variety of tutors who each teach a variety of subjects and help with the smooth running of the house: Matt Lang, Ben Greedy, Valence Similien and Toby Smith all help with a duty night per week and it is safe to say their personalities bring a different spice to every evening in Tuckwell!
Lorraine Morton helps with the running of the house during the mornings. She organises the smooth running of the domestic side of the house, making sure that it is 'spick and span', at least while the boys are in class! The boys greatly appreciate that there is always milk, toast and biscuits available for a second breakfast at morning break. Lorraine is a mother figure within the boarding house and is a huge support to all the boys and a friendly face when it is raining, cold and dark in those winter months. She has teenage kids of her own so she is fully trained in the art of dealing with hormonal behaviour!