John Taylor is the Director of Boarding at DLD College London. Here he talks about Boarding at DLD and offers insight into life at the college.
What are the main responsibilities of the DLD Houseparents?
“Pastoral care. All students are attached to a ‘Huddle’ group. Houseparents are responsible for the pastoral care of those in their Huddle as first port of call. It is key that Houseparents get to know students so they feel able to come and talk whenever they’re having difficulties – and whenever they’re not!
Communication and inter-personal skills, making sure that parents, guardians and agents are kept informed about students regularly, yet informally. We send regular emails to parents to let them know how their sons and daughters are doing, including pictures of what they’re up to, and informing them if there are any issues at all. Administrative responsibilities to ensure good record-keeping.
What do you do to help students feel at home?
“By ensuring top quality pastoral care through the boarding team. A variety of ways such as, International Day celebrations and we regularly run boarders’ trips, in-house activities and special events to encourage students out of their rooms to socialise and get to know one another, as well as enjoy all that London has to offer. The College’s atrium is transformed into a social space during evenings and weekends, with music, movies, sofas and rugs, PlayStation, table tennis, table football and more.”
What does DLD do to encourage your students to discover their hidden talents?
“Students are encouraged to develop their skills, and we enable this in all sorts of ways; using the last week as an example – we helped a student with leaving at 4am for an archery competition, opened up the music rooms for students wishing to practice, had a house-band rehearsal and put on karaoke on Saturday night because one of the boys wanted to sing (actually, it was Iranian rap!) Houseparents encourage students to try something different, so that they can discover what they love and are good at. We also hold special occasions in the boarding department like talent shows and more.”
What asort of services does DLD offer your students?
“DLD is unique in that it is liberal but well structured; this means as well as one-on-one pastoral care and support we also offer good flexibility, generous curfews (with safety systems in place) so that students can have the freedom to enjoy London, but in a controlled environment. The boarding rooms offer many amazing views over London, such as Big Ben and other local sights. The trips and activities programme is [in my opinion] the best in the education sector. During the Autumn term trips have included concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, the London Jazz Festival, events on South Bank, ice skating, special meals at London restaurants to name just a few.”
What is so unique about DLD College London?
“Our top quality academic support, superb pastoral care, class sizes considerably smaller than other schools, broad and wide range of extra-curricular activities. It’s the only school in Central London with boarding onsite. Good structures to ensure safety of students, while offering a liberal ethos, which encourages students to take responsibility and show initiative. A truly international environment; 52 nationalities this year. And lastly the College’s location – this means we can hold all sorts of trips and activities right on our doorstep, other schools would have to travel further to offer what we can.”
DLD College London is part of the Abbey DLD Group of Colleges.