House

The Houses

Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou has twelve senior Houses, six for boys and six for girls. Each House has a Housemaster or Housemistress and Tutors. All Housemasters, Housemistresses and Tutors are full time Academic teaching staff. Together, they closely monitor pupils' welfare as well as their academic progress and social development. Senior pupils also offer positive support for the younger ones, whether by helping them to find their way around, playing games with them or assisting them with 'Prep'.

Each House offers an exciting array of activities - ranging from pure fun to the more serious inter-House competitions, which covers almost every facet of School life academic, sport, music and drama. This range is deliberate to encourage every pupil to feel they have something worthwhile to contribute, and also to help expand each pupil's horizons so that they truly gain an all-round education.

With their own colours, flag, motto and emblem, House members develop a strong sense of loyalty to their House and pride in its achievements, which cultivates important qualities such as a sense of belonging, team work and self-confidence.

Sarah Green Housemistress

Austen

I am extremely honoured to be appointed as Housemistress for Austen House. I have been with the house since 2018 as a Resident Tutor and Acting Assistant Housemistress. I grew up in the English countryside, surrounded by fields, woodland, and a creek; It is here that I discovered my sense of adventure. I have enjoyed travelling to various countries around the world but am now very proud to call China my home.

I have 10 years of teaching experience both in the UK and Internationally. After completing bachelor’s degree, I lived in America for a year. I then returned to the UK to begin my career as a teacher. In 2012 I moved to Saudi Arabia where I lived for 4 years. During this time I was fortunate to travel the world, Australia was a particular highlight! In 2016 I returned to the UK to teach and complete my post graduate studies in Special Educational Needs Coordination. In 2018 I moved to Beijing to teach in an International school, and in 2019 was given the opportunity to work at Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou. I have chosen to focus my career on the more pastoral aspects of education; within a boarding school setting meeting the pastoral needs of all pupils is paramount to ensuring the pupils are achieving their academic and sporting goals.

In many of her novels, Jane Austen created strong and confident female lead characters. Emma being the most prominent; she lived freely with financial security- a rare occurrence for the 1800s. It is this strength of character I wish to instill in the girls of Austen House.

It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”- Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility

Tom FyfeHousemaster

Blake

My name is Tom Fyfe and I am delighted to be housemaster of Blake house. I grew up in a boarding school in Wiltshire before studying for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Exeter University. One of the reasons that I have enjoyed success in the sciences is because I had a fantastic science teacher. I am driven to inspire students in the same way in the classroom.

I enjoy adventurous training and I have been very fortunate to have experience in a huge range of activities; mountaineering, skiing, parachuting, scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, kite surfing, wind surfing to name just a few. I firmly believe that a young person’s education is just as much outside the classroom as in. I also work at an international summer school at Radley College as a Course Director which has giving me a wider understanding of different global cultures. My goal in Blake house is to develop a safe and supportive family atmosphere where everyone has the opportunity and freedom to enjoy all the school has to offer.

Pauline CuthbertsonHousemistress

Cavell

My name is Pauline Cuthbertson and I’m delighted to be the Housemistress for Cavell here at Wycombe Abbey International School, Changzhou.

I come from and was educated in Scotland, one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. I graduated with an Honours Degree in Biochemistry from Stirling University in 1997 before undertaking research in a laboratory for two years. From there I worked in the pharmaceutical industry before attaining my PGCE in Biology from Edinburgh University in 2004 and I’ve been in teaching ever since. Working in both an academic and industrial environment, has given me real life experiences which I believe is invaluable and of great benefit to the children in my care.

I have a grown-up daughter and a young grandson who still live in Scotland.

I have been living and working here in Changzhou for one year and hope to be here for many more.

Vanessa Cockburn Housemistress

Dove

Growing up in Africa, I would watch with excitement as my sisters packed their luggage trunks to make the trip to England to attend boarding school. They would return during the holidays matured and skilled in activities that we had no access to at our local schools and became outstanding horse riders, swimmers and divers.

My family moved on to New Zealand and Australia and I did not have the opportunity to go to boarding school but I could see their time there and left a permanent change in them. They had been surrounded by ambitious teachers and pupils, they had become independent, focused on their studies and they had greater ambitions for their lives than most other young people their age. It is my desire to foster these qualities of ambition and maturity in the pupils under my care.

Although I missed out on attending boarding school, I took my own opportunity to go and study overseas as an exchange pupil when I was 15. I went to live in Argentina with a host family and attended school over there for a year. When I arrived I did not speak a word of Spanish and I did not understand anything that was happening at school nor anything the teacher said. In the beginning was very resistant to learning but I began to write down what they said in Spanish even though I didn’t really understand what all the words meant. By the end of the year through the patience of my teachers and the support of other pupils I became fluent in Spanish. It was through this experience that I learnt how powerful learning in an immersive experience can be. When pupils come to Wycombe Abbey School, I try to show them the same patience and determination that my Argentinian teachers did for me.

I feel blessed to be Housemistress of Dove House, in my previous role as Assistant Housemistress I was mentored by the kind and brilliant Housemistress before me and I know the young women of Dove House very well. They are also kind and brilliant, excelling academically as well as in music and sports. It is this holistic interest in life through sports and music that gives them the energy and joy to focus on their academics and to be interested in and inspired by what they learn. The tutors of Dove House take great care in helping their pupils adapt to life at Wycombe Abbey it is our aim to help create a positive environment for your daughter where she can grow to become a caring, mature, young woman with exciting choices for a life full of opportunity.

Ralf de BosHousemaster

Elgar

Having spent my youth and a large part of my career in various countries around the world I have discovered that where you are, is less important than who you meet. This has played a vital role in developing me as a teacher and tutor and I have always tried to ensure that all pupils would feel safe and at ease around me. I also believe that the happiest people are those who meet challenges and overcome them so my pupils know they will be pushed hard in my class but they also know I will not abandon them to struggle alone. Being able to share ups and downs with others is, I feel, the best way to create a lasting bond with someone and I am always ready to join my students in pursuing their interests, be they athletic, musical, artistic or academic. As I wrote earlier, who you meet is more important than where you are and my wife and children will always ensure that I feel at home wherever I am, not matter how tough the challenges are! Here in Elgar I will encourage, excite and support the boys so that they may achieve the best in life.

Stuart Hunter Housemaster

Newton

Newton House has a strong reputation at Wycombe Abbey School. Boys in Newton House are successful academically, in sport, music and in everything they do. It is my intention to support all of the boys in Newton House reach and exceed their goals here at school and help them be accepted to the best universities in the World, while taking very good care of them in the House.

I am from Manchester in the UK. When I was young, I was interested in Architecture and Engineering, so I studied the GCSEs and A Levels that helped me be successful in applying to Sheffield University, one of the best universities in the UK for both Architecture and Engineering. While I was studying my undergraduate Master’s degree at Sheffield, I volunteered regularly with young people, including working each summer in the USA at a summer camp for children. After I graduated from Sheffield, I completed my postgraduate Master’s degree in Engineering at Brunel University in London, named after the famous British engineer, Isambard K Brunel. Because I found working with young people in the UK and USA so rewarding, I decided to train to be a teacher, and I received my postgraduate teaching degree from Edge Hill University, Liverpool, UK, in 2014.

I love to travel, and am lucky to have visited 62 countries around the World so far. I find it very rewarding to learn about different people’s culture, food, languages, and more. I have worked at Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou since 2018 initially as a Mathematics teacher, and since then I have taken on responsibility for the Scuba diving trips and the Outdoor Education programme, including helping pupils work toward the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. These opportunities are just some of the things pupils can do at our school as part of their holistic education.

I have seen for myself in the past few years how the Wycombe Abbey School style of education benefits the pupils and I am very proud to be a part of the team of teachers who are dedicated to supporting the pupils every day. The Newton House tutor team and I are committed to nurturing and guiding the Newton House boys in all aspects of school life and beyond.

Robert KititiHousemaster

Scott

My name is Robert Kititi and I am honoured to be the Housemaster of Scott House in Wycombe School Changzhou. I was privileged to have attended some of the best schools in Kampala that promoted holistic education before acquiring a BSc, Ed at Makerere University. These gave me an opportunity to participate actively in my hobbies and realise their importance in a student’s life.

Having worked at Wycombe Abbey School for seven years I have seen the benefits that holistic education and academic excellence can bring to our pupils. I have taught all our pupils who have gone to the University of Cambridge in Mathematics and those pupils keep in touch with me regarding mathematical aspects of their courses. I know that our pupils who move onto the best universities appreciate and continue to use the support of teachers, tutors, housemasters and the school and I hope that your son will also gain all those benefits in Scott House

With a wide range of facilities at Wycombe Abbey School, I look forward to motivating and encouraging all boys in Scott House to participate fully and enjoy the extracurricular activities at their disposal.

As we raise our beautiful daughters, the youngest is 4 years old and the eldest 10, Joyce and I have learnt how to listen with patience, how to guide and encourage our children to try out different activities depending on their needs. Together with my teaching experience of children with diverse backgrounds in Uganda, Tanzania and now in China, I am in an excellent position to help the boys, respect and care for each other, work as team when facing challenges, build their self-esteem and confidence and work towards particular goals set in their lives with joy and purpose.

Living with my family and the boys on the same floor has always made me feel at home because it reminds me of the large family that I grew up with as a child.

Keith BrownHousemaster

Turner

I am extremely honoured to be appointed Housemaster to Turner House, I see this role as one of significant importance and responsibility for the personal development of your son.

I have three grown up children who I am immensely proud of, who now live and work in London. Having raised three children, I believe I have a very good understanding of the phases, children go through, as they travel through adolescence and the support they sometimes need.

Growing up in London, one of the busiest cities in the world, taught me to be tolerant, patient and respectful of others.

I come from a Sporting background having competed and coached at the highest level in the sport I am passionate about rowing. This experience and knowledge led to me being appointed Head of Rowing at Wycombe Abbey.

I have travelled extensively throughout the world, learning from and respecting each new culture and society I have encountered.

From this background I will strive to be a Housemaster that is good at listening to others, empathetic, adept at resolving difficult situations, caring and interested in holistic development, being persuasive and committed to the development of every pupil.

I want to make Turner a happy House where pupils from different year groups operate effectively side by side. Pupils are encouraged to work hard, but also get involved in many of the activities around the School.

My aim is to also ensure every Turner boy leaves well-prepared for life beyond school, with excellent skills, knowledge and qualifications, good manners, decent values, self-respect, respect for others as confident young men.

Sam ThurgoodHousemaster

Hawking

After spending most of my life in the boarding sector, I have witnessed first hand the experiences and values that boarding life can provide within a holistic education. It is my duty to instill these within the boys under my care and I will do my utmost to impart this. I have a wide variety of interests from history to sport and the latter stimulated my passion to teach Physical Education. I have also had the fortune of visiting many wonderful places around the world, of which China is now definitely one.

This is my first time visiting Asia and I have been captivated by the culture and diversity within this unique country. I have travelled to Wycombe Abbey with my partner Daniela and she has a wonderful manner with the pupils in the house. She is currently studying Chinese and has fully embraced this opportunity. It is an honor to be working in such a forward-thinking establishment and feel privileged to be shaping the lives of such delightful, open-minded young men.

The Wycombe Abbey International School community has been so welcoming and without doubt justifies the huge change and sacrifice that we have made in moving away from friends and family in the UK. Daniela and I have every intention of playing a full and active part in all aspects of school life, not just within the co-curricular programme with which I am so familiar.

Lisa BenthamHousemistress

Fonteyn

I am excited to be Housemistress of Fonteyn; it will allow me to build on the relationships I have already established as House tutor. My school motto was ‘Let us make progress.’ That is my aim For Fonteyn girls as individuals, groups and a House.

Growing up in Chester (a Roman city), I was surrounded by history and had access to the beauty of North Wales where I completed my Duke of Edinburgh expeditions with school. I studied at Nottingham University and Hull University. Literature is one of my passions alongside education. My teaching role allows me to combine both; whether that is helping a pupil struggling with grammar or discussing Shakespeare with A Level pupils.

Having been an English teacher for over thirty years in UK, Africa and South America, the opportunity to teach in China had to be grasped. The work ethic of the pupils at WASCZ is exceptional. Fonteyn I will endeavour to ensure all Fonteyn girls make the most of the opportunities afforded to them.

I have twin sons who have both become competent linguists after living abroad, choosing to study languages at university. More significantly, they went to boarding school from the age of 13. I know, as a parent, how difficult it can be to leave your child at boarding school; I also know that both my sons loved their time at school, becoming very loyal to their House and considering it home. I hope that Fonteyn girls will feel that same sense of loyalty and belonging.

Eileen TamatiHousemistress

Somerville

My name is Eileen Tamati and I am thoroughly enjoying my role as Somerville Housemistress. Mary Somerville was a strong and aspiring woman, qualities I would like to encourage our Somerville girls to develop through the vast array activities available here.

I am from and was educated in New Zealand – the land of the long white cloud. I hold a Physical Education Degree, Bachelor of Education Degree and a Teaching Diploma and have been teaching for 21 years now, which is something I am very passionate about.

This is my third year at Wycombe Abbey School. Currently I am Head of Physical Education, Director of Sport as well as Somerville Housemistress.

I am here with my 3 children, all of whom are currently thriving in China. My oldest daughter is teaching in the Physical Education Department and is leading the Netball Development. Sport is a passion of mine and I have played and coached competitive and high-performance netball and basketball spanning over 30 years.

My oldest son is currently going to Changzhou University studying a Degree in Chinese Language and Literature. He is in complete admiration with China and its culture and is making the most of his opportunities whilst here.

My youngest son is a pupil here at Wycombe Abbey Changzhou, he loves sport and will play anything if given the opportunity.

We are a family that love to travel and have done so extensively. I believe in giving my children the opportunity to see the world and the many cultures within, to assist them to grow into confident and independent young adults.

Through the nurturing and encouragement from our enthusiastic Somerville staff we will support our girls to achieve their potential and to seek head on the challenges that lay ahead.

Karen Stevens-BarryHousemistress

Blyton

I am honoured to be the Blyton Housemistress and have the opportunity to support the girls in the house through their journeys toward becoming accomplished and cultivated young women. I am further delighted to be in the house named for one of my favourite childhood authors; Enid Blyton’s books about adventurous children and boarding school antics inspired my love of literature and I aim to encourage the girls in Blyton House to find inspiration in their experiences at Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou. I came to the school in 2018, and have been so impressed by the opportunities provided to pupils across academics, the arts, sports and through challenges such as the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. Raising my family in this boarding school environment really highlights to me how an holistic education encourages pupils to thrive in many areas.

As a teacher and a mother of three children, I am very aware of how important support, encouragement and a good role model are in encouraging young people to excel academically, physically and socially. I will be encouraging them to take full advantage of all the wonderful opportunities the school can offer them. Along with the wonderful tutors who are part of the Blyton team, the community that girls join in Blyton House will be key to ensuring that they are able to develop into strong, creative and intelligent young women who will be able to achieve their dreams in the future.

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