Boys entering the School at 11 join the Lower School under the direction of the Lower School Housemaster. At 13 and in the Sixth Form, boys join one of nine houses: three houses cater for a mixture of boarders and dayboys and there is a further six dayboy houses. Each house is run by a housemaster who works closely with a team of tutors to safeguard and promote the welfare of boys in the house.
The housemaster stands "in loco parentis" to the boys in his house, while they are on school premises - and he will try to help them outside the School as well, with the co-operation of parents. Housemasters play a major part in the disciplinary structure of the School, and may be expected to deal directly with parents in matters concerning their son's good behaviour and appearance.
The housemasters are assisted by teams of tutors, who look after tutor groups within the houses. A boy will stay with the same tutor in the Middle School prior to joining a Sixth Form tutor group in the same house in the Upper School, unless special circumstances require a transfer. There are usually about 18 boys in a group. The tutor is primarily responsible for getting to know the boy as a personality and looking after his academic development. At the beginning of the year, the tutor will check that timetables are in order, and, where necessary, will advise on courses and options. The tutor will monitor a boy's academic progress, and will write a general academic summary when school reports are issued.
All tutors see their charges for a brief period every day. Tutor time for each boy amounts to at least one hour a week, in which tutor groups discuss topics such as choices, progress, current affairs and personal and social education. We regard this time as a crucial part of a boy's educational experience at Abingdon.