It is the essential foundation upon which learning can take place. We have high standards of pastoral care that go far further than a basic commitment to welfare, with pastoral care extending to every aspect of school life. We believe that this helps to foster pupils’ personal development as well as their academic progress.
Pastoral care is the provision we make to ensure the physical and emotional welfare of all our pupils.
All parents want their children to be safe and happy at school. The importance of pastoral care goes well beyond this, however. Education and health are closely linked, and recent studies have shown that pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically. What is more, life skills, such as those taught in a successful PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) programme, are associated with greater wellbeing and higher achievement. Good pastoral care in school is also fundamental to the development of character and social skills, which will be of critical importance to pupils in later life.
As our school is dedicated to high standards of pastoral care we have put this at the centre of every day school life. It is reflected in every aspect of school life, from our ethos, the environment for learning, and the way personal development is fostered in the curriculum. It should also be apparent in friendly and respectful staff-pupil relationships, and how far all our pupils are known and treated as individuals by their teachers.
We have highly trained and exceptionally dedicated pastoral staff in school, who are well placed to deal with issues such as friendship issues, anxiety, bullying and stress. The pastoral care team are supported by other professionals within the Trust. Whether or not they have a specific responsibility in this area, every teacher in school recognises the important pastoral role they have to play.
The Trust is committed to a holistic view of education; the Trust has expert experience to draw on in tailoring its provision, not only to how pupils learn, but also to how they develop emotionally. This experience informs all its work.
Good pastoral care matters to our pupils: they have said so themselves. In 2021 pupils were surveyed on what they thought makes for great teaching. Strikingly, the pastoral attributes of teaching, such as pupil-teacher relationships, figured as strongly in the responses as more academic concerns such as subject knowledge.
The typical size of Trust schools means that they genuinely have a family atmosphere. Staff know pupils as individuals and care about their progress; the excellent pupil-teacher relationships are regularly commended in school inspection reports. Issues are spotted and dealt with swiftly, and all children will have a number of trusted staff they can go to if they have problems or difficulties. Children form strong and supportive friendships and are well disposed to help each other.
As a Trust school we benefit from our central network in developing our pastoral provision. The Trust has developed an extensive pastoral training programme and we share excellent practice between schools. The opportunity to collaborate also helps to drive improvement: for example, a group of teachers from different schools have recently pooled their expertise to work on a Health and Relationships Policy exactly tailored to pupils’ needs.
As a member of the Trust we are committed to taking a proactive approach to psychological health, building emotional intelligence and resilience in pupils and giving them a sense of their own agency. This is clearly reflected in our engagement with the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Programme.