'The contribution of arrangements for pastoral care is excellent.'
Pastoral Care at St Andrew’s is pro-active rather than reactionary and every child is cared for. The Head of Pastoral Care oversees the school’s Welfare Management Team which prioritises the wellbeing of every child.
The Pastoral Leadership Team which includes the Head of Boarding, Head of Well-being, Headmaster, Tutors, Listeners and each year group Head look strategically at Pastoral Care across the whole school.
Children in Years 3 and 4, who make up the Junior Department, continue to have a Class Teacher in a similar fashion to the Pre-Prep and that Class Teacher, with the support of the Head of Juniors, will take principal responsibility for the pastoral care of their children. From Year 5, children are looked after by their Form Tutor. The tutor system forms a vital link between the family and the school. The role of the Form Tutor is to encourage their tutees in academic and pastoral matters, so parents can be confident that there is a dedicated adult who takes a personal interest in their child’s wellbeing. Form Teachers and Tutors are readily available to talk to you about any aspects of school life.
Years 5 and 6 are called the Middles and Years 7 and 8 are called the Seniors. Each area is looked after by a Head of Department who champions pastoral care in those year groups. Assemblies are held for each area of the school as well as for the whole school to celebrate success, address pastoral issues and also to remind pupils of the school’s values.
Heads of Department coordinate their teams of tutors and feed in to the Head of Pastoral Care who oversees the school’s tutoring provision. This process is augmented through a comprehensive PSHE scheme of work and our very own Mind Matters programme. With growing social pressures on young people, we developed the Mind Matters programme as a way of educating the children how to form opinions properly, how to substantiate ideas, how to self-reflect without over-analysing, how to listen and value other opinions, how to think critically and how to be aware of the wider community. In other words, we want to expand the minds of every pupil so that they become more resilient, more compassionate and better listeners.
Ultimately, the happiness of every child is crucial to the success of the pastoral care at St Andrew’s.
Since returning to school after Lockdown, a new wellbeing hub has been opened this term called The Snug. This is a place where a child can come and be accepted just as they are at that moment, how they are feeling can be explored through play, talk or pictures and art.
The school listening service involves various members of staff who have all trained together in listening skills, offering appointments to children to come and talk in the Snug about absolutely anything. This has offered choice to the children (they can choose the teacher they would feel most comfortable to talk to), promoted staff development and also created a listening culture across the school. This has in turn promoted safeguarding and aided wellbeing for children and teachers too.
The culture of listening has really grown at St Andrews. Children will never be told to stop telling tales. Instead they are encouraged to speak with a teacher about anything on their minds. They will be listened to and helped to find solutions themselves, supported by the staff member. The Snug always has a sense of peace and calm about it and has been welcomed by staff and children alike.
St Andrew’s has built a Memory Garden for the purpose of encouraging children to remember people who they have loved and have died. Each year we hold a service specially to remember those people in the school community who have died. This has become an important part of the year and has provided comfort and support for some of our bereaved children and their families. This year we will be making time and space during the service to recognise the loss and grief that has been a reality for many in our society during the pandemic.
Other wellbeing highlights at St Andrew’s include Beach School and Forest School which enable our children to really make the most of the benefits of the outdoors. With the beach just moments away the Juniors have weekly planned sessions down on the beach and they could be doing anything from building imaginary creatures with the treasures that the latest tide has left behind and creating stories about them to investigating and identifying different types of seaweed. Whatever the activity it is always finished off with a cup of hot chocolate and a biscuit as we think about and admire each other’s creations and achievements. Teachers have undergone specialist training in Beach and Forest school. Both these can really benefit children’s wellbeing as they encourage enjoyment of being together, collaboration skills and an appreciation of natural beauty and the powerful forces of nature. Children who find it difficult to maintain focus in the classroom are often the ones who shine during outdoors education, revealing for example, great leadership qualities in a collaborative task or amazing imaginative writing skills when using the outdoors and nature as an inspiration for poetry writing.
Mindfulness is practised in the classroom as part of PSHE lessons and a mindfulness club is now available during lunchbreak for children and adults to stop together and pause in the middle of their busy days.
Staff wellbeing is recognised as vitally important and a staff listening service is offered to all staff if they need time out to talk through their own concerns.