Being a Summerhill Houseparent
Are you interested in becoming a Houseparent at Summerhill? The following paragraphs will give you an idea of what the job involves and what qualities you might need in order to survive. If the following text does not trigger a flight reflex you just might be suitable for the job. To succeed at being a houseparent you will need to be patient and accept children as your peers. Life is busy and loud, with personal space and time often being a luxury.
Being a Houseparent is hugely rewarding. Children at Summerhill are great to live with and they appreciate the work their Houseparents do in order to make them feel safe and comfortable. Where, in a more traditional boarding school, there are Housemasters, Matrons and Houseparents, at Summerhill the Houseparent covers the responsibilities of all three positions.
The foremost responsibility is the pastoral care of pupils. This involves taking care of ill or homesick children; being available to comfort, advise and support children in their daily lives; and creating a space where pupils feel safe. On top of that the Houseparent has to manage administrative duties such as keeping medical records, attending Houseparent meetings, etc.. Being a Houseparent also involves some housekeeping duties such as doing the younger children's laundry and cleaning your area's common room.
Houseparents work 6 days a week with one regular day off every week and three weekends off every term. The day begins at 8am when the Beddies Officers wake everyone up and ends after Bedtime. The childrens' bedtimes vary: the one for the youngest children starts at 8:45pm with lights out half an hour later and the older children have their lights out at 11pm (weekend bedtimes are later and the oldest children currently have no bedtime).
Besides the main houseparenting duties most Houseparents choose to teach something or offer other activities as well. Some have also chosen to study part-time towards a degree, however, this might not always be possible. In addition to this all staff at Summerhill share some administrative responsibilities.
Vacancies will be posted on the Summerhill School website.