The members of staff on the Rowing Courses include approximately 20 instructors employed as either Coaches or Course Assistants for the 3 week period, the majority of whom are not members of Eton's term-time staff. The team ranges in age from 20 to 60 and consists of similar numbers of male and female instructors, drawn from experienced coaches from clubs and schools, and university students currently rowing for their university. Some of the coaches are actively competing on a regular basis, and others have performed at the highest levels of the sport in the past. All Coaches hold qualifications obtained from British Rowing.
The Course Director is Rachel Harris. She has been involved in the courses since 2009 as a course assistant, coach and most recently as house supervisor for the girls' boarding house. Rachel learnt to row at Durham University and competed for four years with the university squad. Her rowing career highlights include winning at Henley Women's Regatta (2004), two consecutive wins in the S2 category at Women's Eights Head of the River Race (2004, 2005) and a silver medal in the 4x at the National Championships (2004). Injury forced Rachel into coaching, first at Bryanston School in Dorset and then, after a PGCE at the University of Bristol, at St Paul's Girls' School in London. Whilst fulfilling the role of teacher in charge of rowing at St Paul's for two years (2009-11), Rachel worked closely with the GB Junior team facilitating success and squad places for some of her schoolgirls. Rachel now works as a boarding housemistress and full-time geography teacher at Wycombe Abbey School, Buckinghamshire. She is also studying part-time for an MA in Geography in Education with the University of London.
SUPERVISION / STUDENT DISCIPLINE
With approximately 75 students and 20 members of staff resident each week, a staff: pupil ratio of at least 1:4 is achieved for the majority of activities undertaken. Prior to the start of the Courses, all staff are thoroughly briefed on the nature and requirements of their duties, and many come with considerable experience of full-time teaching and supervision in a boarding environment already.
Almost all students spend a thoroughly enjoyable week at Eton, and since 2005 no less than 98% of all participants have said they would like to return the following year - a good indicator by any yardstick! For the Courses to run successfully it is essential that all students follow the discipline guidelines outlined in the Course Rules booklet, a copy of which is sent to all participants prior to the Courses, together with a declaration to be signed and returned as proof that students have read and understood the contents. It should be noted in particular that the consumption or usage of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or illegal substances of any kind is absolutely forbidden at all times, and their possession alone will be enough to ensure the offending student's immediate return home.
Supervision Of Daytime Activities
Classroom and organized games activities are also supervised, but the students are given free time every afternoon to go to the outdoor pool or tennis courts, to shop in the Eton High Street or to relax quietly in their own house. Those given permission by the House Supervisor or Course Director may go into Windsor at this time, although only in a minimum group size of three. All students are required to attend the three main meals during the day, and must sign in for supper so that everyone can be accounted for before the evening outing.
Supervision In the Houses
After the evening outing, students may either stay in the houses to watch TV, or go along to the Social Room. In either case, everyone must sign in with the members of staff on duty when making their final return to the houses, and certainly before 10.30pm at the very latest. Lights-out times vary depending on the student age group, but all lights must be out by 11pm at the latest, after which the duty staff resident in the house patrol the corridors until all students have settled down - with 3 rowing outings each day the need for a full night's sleep cannot be overstated! Checks are also undertaken by staff in the houses every morning to ensure all students are awake and ready for the morning outings. A House Supervisor in each house is on call 24 hrs/day to ensure the safety and well being of the students in their care. He or she will have a minimum of five other live-in members of the teaching/ coaching staff also on hand to help with supervisory duties in the house. A resident Eton "Dame" is also on site to assist the House Supervisor with the smooth running of each house. On the first afternoon of each Course the House Supervisors will be based in the houses to welcome parents and students as they arrive, so this would be the best time to ask any specific questions that parents might have about accommodation arrangements etc.
Supervision Of Rowing Activities
All water-based activities are undertaken by groups of 9 or 10 students of similar ability. Every group falls under the supervision of a qualified Coach and Course Assistant for the week, to ensure that all outings are completed safely, with equal coaching and instruction given to all participants. At the end of the week the Coach will write a report for the parents of each student in his or her group.
A formal Risk Assessment has been undertaken in line with British Rowing guidelines, and every effort has been made to cover the courses for all eventualities. Matters of safety are outlined in detail to all staff prior to the students' arrival, and each course itself starts with a welcome and safety briefing on the first afternoon, at which all key points of safety are covered.
The Course Director reserves the right to change the plans, to modify activities or to cancel an activity or rowing outing if conditions are deemed to be hazardous or inappropriate, or should he have any other reason to do so. The Course Director also reserves the right to send home any student whose behaviour is a danger to others or themselves.
For the safety of water-based activities, Eton College and British Rowing water safety guidelines are followed. This includes a swimming test for all students before any rowing takes place, and a capsize demonstration for all beginners on the first evening. All Coaches are British Rowing qualified or members of Eton College staff, and many come with First Aid, Lifesaving and/or RYA qualifications.
The Rowing Courses are covered by Eton College Insurance, and all qualified coaches are covered by British Rowing insurance as part of their British Rowing membership. Emergency procedures are in place and all staff are provided with a list of emergency contact details
All students must submit a completed medical form as part of the registration process for the Courses. The content of these forms is processed by the Course Nurse and used to ensure that all Coaches and Course Assistants are made aware beforehand of any medical conditions, asthma, allergies, and injuries specific to students in their care, so that the necessary precautions can be taken to avoid any problems. Where necessary a student's parents will be contacted prior to the Courses, to ensure any potential problem is clearly understood. With regard to food allergies, all meals on the Courses are served in Eton's main Dining Hall (called Bekynton), where the majority of Eton boys enjoy their meals during term time, and any allergies & special diets can be catered for with prior notice.
We are fortunate to have access to a Course Nurse who is on call 24 hrs/day throughout the Courses. The Nurse introduces herself to all students on the first day of the week, and offers advice on avoiding sunstroke, dehydration, blisters etc during the Course. In the event of any injury or medical problem, students are briefed in the first instance to speak to their Coach or House Supervisor, who can then contact the Course Nurse for advice. An on-site surgery is open every day after lunch for those students who need to visit the Nurse, and depending on the severity of any ailment or injury, a student may be excused from rowing activities, and/or referred to a local GP in Eton for further treatment. Any student excused from rowing and asked to remain in the houses will always be accompanied by a member of staff. In the event of any serious injury or illness during the Courses, parents will of course be notified as soon as possible.
The buildings and facilities of Eton College are spread far and wide throughout the town, and the town itself is easily accessible to the general public. Many improvements have been made in recent years to protect the security of the College's residents and their belongings. The entrances to the houses used on the Rowing Courses are closed at all times and only accessible by means of a security code that is given to all students upon arrival, and which must not be given to any outsiders. Boys are not allowed in the girls' house at any time, and the same is true of girls in the boys' house.
Money and Valuables
Students are responsible for their own money and possessions, and are therefore advised to keep their valuables in the room safe. However, House Supervisors will look after passports and other valuables if requested to do so. About £25 of pocket money in total should be ample for the week; this will cover minor refreshments after outings, and leave a little over for other personal spending. All sports facilities (swimming, tennis, squash, etc) are free, and there should be no other expenses unless an optional trip to the cinema (costing approx £5) is planned during the week, as sometimes happens on a Wednesday evening after the trip to Queens Eyot.
A poster in every room outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of a fire. A fire practice is staged on the first evening of each Course to ensure all of the students are completely familiar with these procedures
CONTACTING THE COURSE OFFICE
For all enquiries before the Courses start, please contact the Course Administrator on 01753 370546, or at email@example.com.
For all enquiries after the start of the Courses please contact the Course Office, which will usually be manned from 9.30-1pm and from 2-3.30pm on 01753370430.
CONTACTING YOUR SON / DAUGHTER
It is not easy to bring a student to a phone; Eton is a very large campus, and he or she may well be up to half a mile away when you ring. If your child does not come to Eton with a mobile phone, the best way for you to contact them is to ring Course Office and leave a message for your son or daughter to ring you from the boarding house itself in the evening.
Letters should be sent to the Course Administrator, Eton Rowing Courses, Eton College, Windsor, SL4 6DW. They should not be sent to the individual houses, nor to the Office; in both cases a delay may result.
VISITING YOUR SON / DAUGHTER DURING THE COURSES
Parents wishing to visit during the Courses are welcome at any time, but should first contact the Course Office. Eton has four boathouses spread out over a large area, and the timings of the outings do change slightly on a day-to-day basis, so parents arriving unannounced may well be unable to find us. Please note that the Procession of Boats is considered to be the most enjoyable spectacle to watch on the Courses, hence its place in the timetable at the end of the week, staged as the final event before the students return home.