How to Achieve Outstanding Pastoral Care in Secondary Schools
Outstanding pastoral care in secondary schools relies on innovative teaching methods, communication, community buy-in and is helped by a healthy financial budget. It can be represented through five key functions. Each of these is a complex methodology in its own right but it can completely change the way schools operate when carried out correctly.
Here's how to achieve outstanding pastoral care in secondary schools:
- Provide Personal Support
- Create a Curriculum of Success
- Ensure Vocational Support
- Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education
- Utilise Data
Provide Personal Support to Meet the Pastoral Needs of your Pupils
Each student is different. Many of them won’t need personal support, but some will. School staff need to create an inclusive community where personal support is open to any student if and when they need it. It’s a pastoral inclusion covered by a range of activities, such as:
- Monitor attendance and punctuality.
- Consult the appropriate response when attendance is a concern.
- Promote a sense of pride in good attendance.
- Keep up-to-date health records.
- Promote mental wellbeing through a variety of different practices.
- Maintain awareness and vigilance concerning child protection practices.
Create a Curriculum of Success
A good curriculum needs a wide range of educational topics, top quality teaching, effective reporting and analysis of student progress.
Pastoral care within schools needs to be reflected as part of the curriculum. To develop well-rounded students, the study needs to be well-rounded too. The curriculum needs to be multifaceted and multidisciplinary.
Staff have the duty of creating a curriculum that supplies children not just with the required knowledge but also more bespoke and innovative teaching methods. These methods must help them to truly understand and interact with the world around them.
Secondary schools can also provide activities and opportunities that take place outside of the average school day in the form of clubs, trips and resources. Fostering a holistic curriculum that creates resourcefulness and independence within children ensures pastoral care as an overarching methodology will be outstanding.
Teachers also have many responsibilities when it comes to the curriculum, including:
- Encouraging high standards.
- Offering advice on examinations.
- Recording student progress and following up on any issues.
- Advising students when any changes to the curriculum are occurring.
Ensure Vocational Support
Vocational support helps students within the transition from school to adult life. It’s important for every student as they grow and make plans for either careers or higher education.
First of all, it’s essential within this kind of support to treat as equal every avenue a student considers. In the past, there has been too much emphasis on higher education being the only worthwhile option after school. However, this isn't the case. Each child is different and will find success in whichever path they relate to the most.
To ensure a good foundation for vocational support, it needs to include the following:
- Careers education.
- Vocational courses/work experience opportunities.
- Industry activities (e.g. visits to businesses).
- Links with higher education establishments.
Teachers and tutors need to take an active role and interest in the vocational education of students. This means offering support where needed and encouragement for all. Teachers should be aware of college or university open days as well as career fairs and other related events students can take part in to widen their knowledge, preparing them for later life.
Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education
Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education (PSHE) is an important part of secondary school education, as well as being keystone within achieving outstanding pastoral care in secondary schools.
For some time, the subject just focused on the above topics but within recent years, it has branched out to include relationships and sex education (RSE). Now, all secondary schools are expected to include this topic within their pastoral initiatives.
However, as PSHE is a non-statutory subject, teachers and school leaders need to take extra care to determine what the children want and need from their PSHE lessons. This could mean taking the time to talk through PSHE opportunities and topics with students directly, which is a good route of creating student engagement and maintaining it within these lessons.
Secondary schools can measure the effectiveness of each of their pastoral or educational initiatives. Implementing data collection is a way of beginning a process of iterative change where the collected information acts as a resource to influence new or amended educational methods. Issues shown in the data can be discovered and worked upon.
Data can be collected in two forms, qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data could be more personally-motivated data, such as parent, teacher or student surveys whereas quantitative data would be made up of test results and predicted grades etc.
Without data use, schools can be left in a position where they have little to no visibility regarding their educational success. This needs to be a key practice within pastoral care, even covering more holistic areas of study and support such as mental health and wellbeing.
If you'd like to learn more about important topics such as this then please do come along to the SAAShow in London on the 1st May. We will have dedicated sessions focused on the issue of pastoral care where we will be looking at the increasing pastoral responsibilities of schools and trusts amongst many other things across the day.
You can find out more information here: https://www.schoolsandacademiesshow.co.uk/ or register by clicking on the banner below.