Safe, secure and happy
In the latest edition of Winchester Lifestyle magazine, we responded to some questions about how we're supporting boys with our pastoral care.
Without proper pastoral care systems in place, foundational learning simply can’t take place – what is the ethos of pastoral care in your school?
Our ethos is to be both proactive and consistent, allowing issues to be dealt with in their infancy so trust can be built with pupils and parents, and they will know what to expect when difficult situations are communicated. For children to grow in their own unique way relies on this partnership. We hold a twice-termly forum where parents can learn about various facets of pastoral care and actively discuss this with the Senior Leadership Team.
How do you balance the pursuit of academic excellence without that pressure being felt by pupils?
By fostering a positive and supportive learning environment, we strive to empower our boys to excel academically while minimising undue pressure and stress. That said, pressure is a feature of life, so it is no bad thing for boys to experience a little. Our curriculum is designed to challenge and engage, and we emphasise the importance of critical thinking over rote memorisation. Reinforcing the message that mistakes are opportunities for learning helps alleviate pressure and guides boys to understand that the journey towards excellence is marked by continuous progress rather than perfection.
How do you encourage emotional literacy?
It is crucial for boys to learn that emotional expression is ok and this is modelled in day-to-day conversations with tutors and more formally. PSHEe lessons offer a valuable opportunity for boys to speak about emotions and how to manage them, and we enhance this with other opportunities, such as a six-week course called Group, where Year 7 boys can discuss experiences and emotions in a safe space.
Social media and mobile phones have shaped social interactions – often for the worst – how do you help pupils manage this?
We discuss good decision-making around the use of devices and the internet in both PSHEe and academic lessons, focusing on positive communication skills, empathy and self-awareness and considering threats and risks. We have introduced an online platform that demonstrates a positive form of digital engagement. Fundamentally, we promote the importance of face-to-face interaction, and illustrate the benefits of good online communication.
As seen in Winchester Lifestyle Magazine.