There are 60 boys in Batten, and you only really need to come to Twenty Acre during a House sports competition, or to Big School during House Music, to see how much being in Batten means to them. Their sense of community and togetherness is wonderful, and they support each other through thick and thin.
Housemaster of Batten
Batten House is named after the Reverend Joseph Batten, second Principal of the East India Company.
Its badge is that of an arm grasping a battleaxe, the crest of the Battens of Penzance, with House colours of maroon and yellow.
Batten originally formed part of a building erected in 1879 to include three new boarding Houses in one, the other two Houses being Kipling and Melvill (the latter moving to a separate building to become a girl’s House in 2001).
Today, the House is very much one of fun and enjoyment, engendering great loyalty between pupils across the age groups as well as encouraging active competition in school events.
In a boarding environment in particular, it is crucial for every pupil to feel happy and supported. To achieve this, Batten is built around certain core values, which we talk about regularly, and emphasise consistently.
These values are integrity, kindness and ambition. When taken together, they relate to creating young adults with good principles, who always try their best, and who always try to do the right thing; even when that might be difficult.
From taking part in the ‘Grim Challenge’ and dragon-boat racing to summer barbeques in the HM’s garden, quiz nights and our infamous pop-up restaurant, the “Batten Bistro”, boarders in Batten do a huge amount together.
In creating a supportive environment for all, the Common Room and TV room are located very centrally, and so form the heart of the house.
The boys regularly get together to play table tennis or pool, make toast, watch Champions League football, sit and watch a film, or just mill about on the sofas and chat. It really is a hub of activity.
This creates a genuine sense of community, making the House more of an extended family than ‘just’ a boarding house.
Meet the Housemaster
Michael Owen became Housemaster of Batten in September 2018 after joining Haileybury in 2013 as Director of Rugby. He is a retired rugby player who represented Wales and the British and Irish Lions in a distinguished professional career. Since retiring from rugby in 2009 Michael has completed a degree in Business, Management and Sport at the University of Hertfordshire and he qualified as a PE teacher in 2013.
His post-rugby career has also included a wide range of media work that has seen him work for ITV Sport as a co-commentator on the 2011 Rugby World Cup as well as SkySports, BBC, TalkSport, Five Live, Radio Wales and Al-Jazeera.
In his spare time he enjoys cycling, running, walking, travelling, reading and films. Michael is married to Lucy and has three children: Ellie, Olivia and Sonny.
Tutors and HPA representative
Michael is supported in his work by an experienced team of Tutors at Batten, in addition to a House Matron who helps with the day to day domestic management of the House. The House also has its own representative from the Haileybury Parents’ Association.