The Academic Structure
There are 35 schools every week, each of 40 minutes, chapels and assemblies every morning from 8.35 – 8.50, games and other activities every afternoon, and tutorials and society meetings in the evenings.
All the 40-minute schools are separated by a 10-minute gap to allow boys to move around the large school area at reasonable leisure (sometimes at too much leisure – see Tardy Book). After breakfast, mornings begin at 8:35 with chapel, an assembly or a tutorial meeting. All of these end at 8:50 and school begins at 9:00. After three schools the boys have a mid-morning break and masters meet together for what is called Chambers, a daily meeting for the teaching and senior administrative staff. Two further schools follow, beginning at 11:45, and boys then have a boys’ dinner at 1:15, aiming to be out on the games field or at their next appointment by around 2:20.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are called whole schooldays. Boys have five schools during the morning, games or perhaps the CCF or Duke of Edinburgh award after boys’ dinner, then a shower (we hope!) and boys' messing (tea) followed by two more schools called After Four and After Five. Most tutorials take place during Quiet Hour on whole schooldays, which runs from 6:15 to 7:30pm.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are called Half Holidays, not because boys are idle after boys’ dinner but because games take place afterwards and there is no teaching in the afternoons. Mornings are as for whole schooldays, but games occupy boys between about 2:20 and 4:00pm. Thereafter all sorts of things happen, including Chinese and Arabic, creative writing, music rehearsals and a considerable variety of minor sports.
On Saturday mornings there are four schools, a free school called After Twelve, then boys’ dinner and school sport, usually against other schools, in the afternoon. Some far-away fixtures require boys to miss some or all of morning school to travel to their matches, but all such absences are closely monitored by the Director of Curriculum and the games committee.
Masters wishing to take boys on expeditions that involve missing school must ask permission from the Curriculum Committee; overnight absences require approval from the Tours and Expeditions Committee and preparation of the now-ubiquitous risk assessment.