21/10/20

Finalists in National Association | Newsletter

In March 2020 the Pastoral Team, having been put forward for a number of categories in the National Association of Pastoral Care in Education were delighted to hear that we were one of the finalists for Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care (An individual, group or organisation who through their actions have raised awareness about pastoral care or pastoral issues and encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people). The other contenders were:
Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby
Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor, Northern Ireland

We had to provide an overview for our nomination and this was what was sent:

We want all our students irrespective of age or contextual background to be happy and to thrive and we need their carers to know that. Whether through assemblies, form time, parental workshops, chats with students themselves, PSHCE provision, outside speakers and parental meetings, we constantly strive to inform students and their carers about everything we do. We encourage students to share their own experiences with their peers and to take a lead. We support a wide range of issues from depression and anxiety to eating disorders and academic pressure. 

Once we found out we were finalists we were asked if we wanted to send in a 300-word summary. Helen Felton, our Year 11-13 Pastoral Leader wrote this:

We are a sizeable and growing Pastoral Team made up of SLT, Pastoral Leaders and non-teaching colleagues, which makes itself readily available to students. We let our girls know that it is safe to speak out and to share their worries and concerns. We tell them where in school they can get help and we signpost to a range of outside agencies. There are physical spaces set aside where we can support students such as the Pastoral Hub. We have a very full programme of assemblies and PSHCE provision and as an ethnically diverse community, we tackle difficult subjects such as forced marriage and FGM. We became a Suicide Safer School last academic year and did a walk to raise money for PAPYRUS. At times staff are generous enough to share their own personal experiences and we often welcome back former students who speak, now with the benefit of hindsight, about their own issues while in school. Through a weekly bulletin to parents and carers, regular workshops on issues such as anxiety, stress and behaviour for learning and occasional coffee mornings, we include families as much as possible. We are constantly reviewing our provision and for example, recently hosted a webinar on teenagers’ mental health during lockdown. Parents of students with particular concerns often build up close working relationships with pastoral staff and we encourage all parents to engage closely with school via meetings or email. All staff are sent, at least weekly, briefings on pastoral issues and girls of particular concern whilst also receiving frequent pastoral training. Any personal interest in pastoral issues by staff is welcomed and encouraged. As part of a Foundation of schools, we work collaboratively with other schools to share good practice.

The first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education presentation event took place online on September 24th at 7pm with 6 members of the team holding a socially distanced gathering in the Centenary Room to watch the proceedings.

On this occasion we weren’t winner (Sean Henn won) but Irrespective of the outcome, the team deserves to be applauded for all they have done and continue to do for the young people in our school.

I strongly believe that it is important that parents, carers, staff and pupils know that education is about supporting young people to be the best they can be and not simply about academic success. In the three years that I have been part of the Pastoral Team I have seen colleagues work tirelessly to support our most vulnerable students through challenging situations and do all they can to engage with parents. We, as other pastoral teams, want to destigmatize mental health and so much of our work is about raising awareness of the correlation between mental, physical health and wellbeing. In these unprecedented times this focus couldn’t be more relevant.

Miss Glendenning, Director of Pastoral Care Years 7-11