Tuckwell is a truly wonderful boys' boarding house! Having worked and lived in a few during my teaching career, this is by far and away the happiest and friendliest boarding environment of all! In Tuckwell, 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. It is a home away from home and the boys really respect that principle.
There is always someone around to talk to in the house, whether this be peers, prefects or house staff. I have already found it very difficult to stay out of the house, including when my duty staff are in charge, because the boys are so much fun to be around. I have already had some great laughs and some fantastic moments and look forward to plenty more in the years to come.
Tuckwell house came into being in 1965, when rapidly increasing numbers meant the school urgently needed another house. It was named after the Reverend William Tuckwell who had been Headmaster of the college in 1866, and advocated the teaching of 'the unfashionable cause of science'. In 1977 Tuckwell house was 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.
Phil Lewis is now in his fifth year as Tuckwell housemaster and is now the most senior of all housemasters, believe it or not! Phil is also the Director of Sport at King's and lives on site with his wife Clare (who has also taught Geography and History at King’s), their two children Theo and Maya and their black Labrador Woody! The family have already had a fantastic time in the boarding house, especially Theo who has probably already broken the world record for the number of high fives a five-year-old can give in one day (70 teenage boys in one building does help!!). Theo also loves helping out with registration in the morning and with our pizza or ice cream evenings on weekends!!
What is the hardest thing about running Tuckwell House? Phil thinks this would have to be stocking up the tuck shop with all sorts of foods and drink that he totally disagrees with having studied Nutrition as part of his degree! When he’s not with the Tuckwell boys you will find Phil teaching in the PE department. He specializes in Exercise and Physiology and loves teaching the subject. He is also the Director of Cricket and is in charge of coaching the 1st XI and most of our elite cricketers. Phil has coached rugby and hockey throughout his time at King's and is also Master in Charge of Golf. He loves all sports and will encourage Tuckwell boys to get stuck in to the huge variety of sports and activities King's has to offer. Anything to get them away from COD! (He believes this stands for the computer game Call of Duty!). Phil also loves playing the guitar and has taken trips for our musically inclined pupils to watch concerts in Bristol and Exeter.
Phil is helped in the running of the house by his assistant Matt Lang and resident tutor Ben Thomas, plus three other 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! Ben also lives attached to the boarding house and supervises when Phil is away! Ben is one of our sports performance coaches at King's (mainly rugby) and is also one of our strength and conditioning coaches.
Assistants and House Matron
Val Similien (Cricket and Hockey)
Toby Smith (Head of English)
Ben Greedy (Head of Chemistry)
Clare Lewis (Senior Tutor)
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!
Tuckwell House Captain is Rudi Smith. Rudi is this year's House Captain and his larger than life personality and quick wit will serve him well in this position. He is highly academic but also a hugely talented musician (I think he plays about 20 different instruments) and a keen sportsman. He will probably be 1st XI hockey goalkeeper and plays for the 1st tennis team.
Our Vice House Captain is Jack Gibbs. Jack is a fun but calm and self-assured pupil who will support Rudi in his role as vice house captain. He is an exceptionally dedicated and hard working pupil who is not only doing fantastically well academically, but is also a top sportsman. In particular he has already played for Gloucestershire 2nd XI cricket as a 16 year-old!! He is also a very good swimmer and quite nifty on the pool table as well (at least until he plays Mr Lewis!).