The Houses

Wycombe Abbey School Changzhou has eleven senior Houses, six for boys and five 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.

Nicola Kirby Housemistress


I was fortunate to grow up, and bring up my own family, in Cornwall, the south-western tip of the British Isles. We enjoyed the beach, body-boarding, various attempts at surfing (which is trickier than it looks) and pilot gig-rowing. The sport of gig rowing became our passion and we competed for many years, including at the annual World Championships held in the Isles of Scilly. These amazing experiences were both challenging and exciting and my daughters went on to row for their universities with my eldest daughter also having the opportunity to row for England.

Even though I am a teacher of English, I am a firm advocate for participation in sport or other activity. I watched it teach my daughters, and my son, resilience, team work, self-discipline and how to have a balance between work and hobbies. It is these same qualities that I wish to encourage in the girls of Austen House. To strive to be their best in all they do, to accept when things go wrong and to have the resilience to learn from those experiences.

My team of tutors and I will support your daughter in all of her endeavours, encouraging her to seek challenges and wonderful experiences. As Jane Austen wrote in her novel 'Emma': "a vast deal may be done by those who dare to act."

Tom FyfeHousemaster


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


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.

Lindsay TaylorHousemistress


I am extremely honoured and excited to be the housemistress of Dove, the newest girls’ house at WAIS. I will be with the girls from the very beginning of their experience at the school and will ensure that it will be a life changing experience. In the spirit of our founder, Dame Frances Dove, I will nurture and encourage the girls through this wonderful experience that they have embarked upon.

Having been a teacher for over twenty years, myself and my team of truly wonderful tutors have the experience to enable the girls to excel, academically, physically and socially, equipping them with all the skills required to succeed at the very best Universities in the world.

I am delighted to have brought my two children, Lizzy and Freddie, along with me to experience the fantastic opportunities offered at WAIS.

Literature is my first love, but I also have a wide range of interests. Having played rugby for Kuwait, sung in a band, and having travelled extensively, I realise the value of diversity, and this, along with academic excellence is what WAIS provides. In the spirit of our founder, let us watch our girls soar!

Ralf de BosHousemaster


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.

Samuel Wright Housemaster


Growing up in Derbyshire, a beautiful region in the middle of England, I spent many weekends exploring the outdoors, hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. In school, my main passions were Mathematics and Rugby, which are still core components of my life today. I graduated with a Masters in Mathematics from the University of York, where I played 2nd XV University Rugby, winning the Roses Tournament each year. I then went on to complete my PGCE at the University of Cambridge. During my adult life, I have indulged my passion for exploration, visiting many exciting countries, driving across 10,000 miles of the USA, working for a charity in Uganda, trekking through jungles to see wild mountain gorillas and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

As Housemaster, Mathematics teacher and certified Award Leader and Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award; my ambition is to help create versatile young adults, who share my appreciation of learning in all forms. In Newton House, we encourage our pupils to overcome any obstacles that confront them and to enjoy the freedom that comes from being adventurous.

Jonny BoothHousemaster


I have many interests and hobbies of which travelling, sport and reading would be my constant companions. Outside of conventional sports, growing up in New Zealand I have always been surrounded by the outdoors and have completed many mountain and overnight tramping expeditions, canyoning treks and week-long cycling expeditions. I have always had a joy of learning and discovering new knowledge, and my aim as Housemaster is to ensure our pupils will also have this passion for education. I feel privileged to teach geography since it is a fantastic subject which can help students to look at the world, not only with a sense of awe and wonder but also with a critical eye.

I firmly believe that education is about becoming a member of a school community and playing a full and active part in the life of the school, particularly extra-curricular clubs and activities. I am quick to volunteer to help and believe having other interests is an important part of life.

Keith BrownHousemaster


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


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.

Mandy ParkerHousemaster


It is my great pleasure to be the housemistress of Fonteyn House, the newest girls’ house at WAIS. All the young ladies in this house are beginning their exciting journey at the school, and it is a honour to be able to support and encourage them on this journey towards fulfilling their goals and ambitions for the future. Fonteyn House is named after the great ballet dancer, Margot Fonteyn, and I will work to inspire the drive, resilience and commitment that Fonteyn brought to her art in the pupils under my care. Of course, this should also include the creativity which she was also celebrated for, and which is prized so highly at WAIS. As a drama teacher myself, and with a great love of theatre and dance, I am particularly excited to be leading the Fonteyn House. Having directed a large number of theatre productions in England, I strongly believe in the value of teamwork, trust and friendship on the journey to success, and to this end I will ensure that pupils feel valued and nurtured in this house, and that this sense of community will help to sustain them on their journey through the school.

Having been a teacher for over 30 years, and as a parent of two boys, one now a teacher himself, and one studying for an MSs at University in England, 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 Fonteyn team, the community that girls join in Fonteyn 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.

Sally HowesHousemaster


I am delighted and honoured with my role of Housemistress for Somerville, the new girl’s day house. Having taught in the UK for 9 years, this is my second year at Wycombe Abbey International School and I am looking forward to the experiences that lay ahead both for myself, colleagues and for the pupils.

Mary Somerville was an inspirational woman and I aim to encourage the girls in Somerville to become inspirational too by encouraging participation in all areas of school life and trying their best in all situations, showing enthusiasm and resilience in everything they do.

I qualified with a PGCE in Design and Technology in 2008 after achieving a BA Hons in Graphic Design from Loughborough University. I completed an MA in Education in 2010 at the University of York whilst working full time. I absolutely love teaching, I enjoy the variety, the successes and the relationships you build with the pupils.

As a Housemistress I am looking forward to teaching the girls the importance of being part of a team and how important the bond will be that we create over the next year. As a competitive sportswoman I have played netball for my club, regional superleague and for my home county of Yorkshire. I believe the same values I gained from those sporting experiences can be lessons across all areas of life.

I am here with my partner, Martin Rivers, who teaches grade 3 primary at Wycombe Abbey. Together, we are striving to maintain successful careers and look forward to participating in all the opportunities available at Wycombe Abbey International School.


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