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School House

Chris Foster

Housemaster of School House

Home to all Form 7 boys in their final year at Oakham, both day and boarding, School House is a community with high expectations of tolerance and courtesy. Its pre-university atmosphere provides an opportunity for the boys to make new friends and cement existing friendships; a day boy might find himself rooming next to a boarder but also near to friends.

The beautiful Victorian buildings offer the perfect environment – a blend of traditional and modern – in which the boys live and work. The House has two kitchens, where boys can prepare meals, a common room with a pool table, a projection screen for TV and DVDs, and an entrance hall with table football and daily newspapers. The boarders have single study bedrooms and day boarders are in shared doubles. Day boys can work in one of the seven day rooms spread throughout the House.

When reflecting on their time in School House, boys often comment on how much they value the friendships formed in their final year.

School House is a place where every boy can find their own niche, wherever their talents lie, supported by a highly experienced team of resident staff whose breadth of interests match those of the boys; from academic and musical to sporting and dramatic. The staff work hard to craft an environment tailored to preparing the boys for life beyond School; the house structure is geared towards independence. Boys wear suits, rather than school uniform to promote a ‘working day’ approach and are afforded more freedom than lower down the School.

Tea and cake on Tuesday afternoons is a popular tradition and other key social events that break up the atmosphere of serious study are the Christmas Celebration, a black tie dinner dance, and the Silent Disco, complete with student in-house DJs.

When reflecting on their time in School House, boys often comment on how much they value the friendships formed in their final year; at the start they may not know everyone well, but by the time they prepare to leave they have discovered strong bonds that supplement the allegiances of their Middle School Houses.  

History of the House

  • Rebuilt in 1858, School House is the oldest House at Oakham School.
  • It was the Headmaster’s House until 1948 when the Headmaster of the time, G. Talbot Griffith, moved out to live in Deanscroft and became its first Housemaster.
  • The idea of a House where final year students would come together in order to provide a pre-university atmosphere was introduced by Headmaster John Buchanan in 1970.
  • Quad cricket, a tradition captured on film as long ago as 1903, is still played by the boys to this day.

About the Housemaster

I joined Oakham in 2007 from King’s College, Taunton, where I was Head of Chemistry and an assistant housemaster and have been Housemaster of School House since 2010. My chemical interests include forensic chemistry and 19th century dyestuffs. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking and listening to music, particularly classical and opera. I am married to Rachel, who is an assistant curator at Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.

cjf@oakham.rutland.sch.uk