The Charterhouse School Monitors application process has been reformed significantly this year. The more archaic process of the Housemasters choosing the monitors in contrast with the current, more rigid process, has caused much controversy and debate over the past week. Ultimately, I think it is a better system than the last, eliminating arbitrary control of who chooses the monitors by the beaks alone, giving the student body more of a choice. I had the opportunity to interview one of the people who conceived this new system, Mr Poynter, and here is how it unfolded:
Tife: How significant are the student body’s nominations for school monitors?
EFP: Very significant, they are in parity with the staff nominations. Each person has 3 votes, regardless of beak or pupil. The votes are then totted up from both staff and students and ranked from most votes down to people with no votes.
Tife: How does the School Monitors Committee decide on a strong candidate?
EFP: Firstly, the fact that one has applied is good. They’re looking for someone who wants to give back and serve community. Everyone is taken seriously. Secondly, student and staff votes are used for rank over. A cut off line of around 60 is drawn, that’s the maximum capacity for interviews. Over 120 applicants, over half of year applied. Conducted by the Senior Leadership team and Housemasters, you are then asked questions designed to give you opportunity, not to trip you up. One is asked to tell what one wants to bring to that role and what one is interested in. They’ll collect their thoughts on the interview then the committee will sit down and make recommendations and see who should be the 25 or 26 that are put forward to be monitors. Application 120, student vote 60, interview to 30 and from there is the shortlist and then from there they’re put into monitor training and which specific role they will be appointed to. Shortly before end of term they’ll be chosen.
Tife: What do you think called for change in the Monitor-deciding system?
EFP: Ultimately the students, sitting down talking to monitors who felt frustrated that the student body didn’t know who they were, not knowing what their job or role was. No student voice on who got to be a school monitor. It used to be about if lots of staff liked you and knew you. Now people who might not otherwise have been a monitor, have a chance. Monitors’ ideas are valued, you can make your job your own.
Tife: Critiques of the new system branded it a ‘popularity contest’, thoughts?
EFP: That’s one of the reasons why there’s an application system, and why applications were not broadcasted prior to votes. That way it’s not just people voting for their mates. It encourages people voting to think sensibly about their vote, and it also gets rid of silly votes. No system is perfect, and this is the first year of running the new system, on balance the benefits outweigh the negatives. Improvements will be made as the years progress and reflection on the trial is made.