My School Day at Cranleigh Prep School

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My School Day by Toby Batchelor, Head of Boarding at Cranleigh Prep School

Toby Batchelor joined Cranleigh Prep in 2005 as a history teacher and became Head of Boarding in April 2020. In our ‘My School Day’ series he tells us about a typical day at Cranleigh Prep.

7.00am – ‘In my day I was woken up half an hour before I went to bed and had to run a marathon before a bowl of cold porridge!’ Thankfully, boarding has evolved. Today, matron and I wake the children up with a cheery ‘good morning’. They have a leisurely 30 minutes to get up and make their beds.

7.30am – At breakfast catch up with the duty boarding team whilst the children tuck into fresh fruit, cereal and scrambled egg on toast. Me? A bowl of porridge…old habits die hard, but at least it is not cold!

8.00am – Children head into school for registration, I head to my office to catch up with emails and phone calls. Communication is absolutely key for a happy boarding house.

9.30am – Meet the boarding team to chat through the week ahead. Pastoral matters discussed and activity plans finalised. I am particularly lucky to have my wife assisting with the running of the girls’ boarding, it really helps to give boarding a family feel.

10.45am – Time for some teaching. I have been teaching History and Religion and Philosophy for 18 years. I have got to the stage where some of the first children I taught are now introducing me to their own families.

12.10pm – I’m coaching the Upper School games session. I take boys and girls hockey in Michaelmas and Lent and tennis in the Summer Term. It is great to coach a wide range of pupils as you get to see another aspect of what makes each individual tick and the children get to see you outside of the classroom environment too.

1.15pm – A delicious lunch followed by more teaching and an independent study session where children can go to a classroom to catch up on work or seek help in a particular subject. It always amazes me how many children want to come and chat over historical or philosophical matters.

4.45pm – Children can go home from this point but many stay on to take part in one of the multiple activities on offer. Tonight, I am taking an Airfix Modelling Club.

6.00pm – Supper time, build your own burgers and ice cream sundaes, served with fresh fruit mocktails – the kitchens really do quite an amazing job.

6.30pm – We offer a range of evening activities for the boarders to choose from. This evening it is dodgeball or pool, or the opportunity for down time and children can choose to just chill out and relax after a busy school day.

7.45pm – After toast and drinks, the boarders start to head off to their dorms to shower and get ready for bed. Year 8 go up after helping to tidy and wash up. When I get up to the dorms the matrons have achieved the seemingly impossible and have got 60+ children all ready for bed.

9.00pm – The last of the lights are switched off, but not before telling children a terrible ‘dad joke’. Did you know before being Head of Boarding, I worked in a clown shoe factory – that was no small feat!

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