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
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.