A pupil’s happiness and well-being are recognised as the foundation for their success. Effective pastoral care underpins school life and there is always someone to whom the girls can turn for help and advice. Every adult has a responsibility for the girls’ welfare and security and there are many layers of care in place.
Our Pastoral Care system aims to promote responsible behaviour and respect for ourselves and each other. We are committed to a positive approach and, whenever possible, praise and rewards are used to motivate and encourage the girls. Although necessary, rules and sanctions are kept to a minimum in order to reinforce the importance of self-discipline and integrity.
Our Pastoral Care system has a horizontal and vertical structure, which work together to ensure that our girls are individually valued and well-supported.
The Horizontal Structure
Our horizontal pastoral structure sees Heads of Year working closely with their form tutor team to ensure we get to know every girl. Each year group of the school has a pastoral structure appropriate to the age of the girl.
In the Junior School girls belong to Forms and are cared for by a Form Teacher. Being placed into a form is reviewed on an annual basis and each girl will know in which Form she will be placed before the start of the school year. Towards the end of the summer term, every girl has the opportunity to spend the day in her ‘new’ form meeting her Form Teacher and the other girls who will be in her form. In September, girls act as buddies to help and support the new girls, with girls in Year Six keeping an extra-special and caring eye out for the girls who have just joined Year Three. The Junior School currently has 14 forms for approximately 250 girls ranging from Year Three to Year Six (ages 7 – 11 years). Years Three and Four have three parallel forms and Years Five and Six have four parallel forms. These are not set or streamed. We believe that our children develop strong friendship groups across their year and, by the time they reach Year Six, they have achieved a strong bond with those in their form and in their year group. All Form Teachers share in the responsibility for the pastoral care of each of the pupils in their form as well as her academic progress. They also liaise closely with members of the Senior School staff who teach the form.
In the Senior School there are four distinct stages: Transition -Year 7, Years 8 and 9, Years 10 and 11 and Sixth Form – Lower and Upper Sixth, with a Head of Year for each stage. The Heads of Years have overall responsibility for the efficiency and effectiveness of their form tutor teams, an overview of pupil progress and the general welfare and behaviour of pupils in that year group. We have a detailed Induction programme for new girls which aims to promote their ability to enjoy, achieve and make a positive contribution to the school community. This is organised and overseen by the Head of Transition. A ‘buddies’ scheme, of girls in the same year group, helps new girls during their settling in period.
School Nurse and Counselling
The school nurses are available during term time to administer First Aid and medical care as well as making a valuable contribution to the health and well being elements of the Pastoral Care programme. Our two school counsellors are also available on one morning and one afternoon a week. Sixth Form girls provide a listening service for the younger year groups. They are planning to introduce discussions of specific issues such as cyberbullying in order to raise awareness of the implications and consequences of misuse of chat rooms and social media.
The Vertical Structure
Our vertical pastoral structure is represented by our House system, a powerful and effective way for girls to feel part of the school. Each girl is a member of one of six Houses which helps her to develop relationships across all age groups throughout the school. It supports the co-curriculum programme creating many more opportunities for girls to participate in school life as they take part in house competitions, whether it be house choir competitions, house sports competitions or even house art exhibitions. It links the Junior School with the Senior School and Heads of House get to know the girls as they progress up through the school.
All girls are encouraged to be active members of the wider school community, becoming responsible for themselves and aware of the needs of others. As a member of a form, a year group and a school house, each girl learns to co-operate with her peers and also with girls who are older and younger than herself.