In most schools, Pastoral Care is what happens to pupils when they misbehave or what happens in order to try to persuade them not to misbehave. Its stock-in-trade is punishment and/or kind words, outings and treats.
At Nelson Thomlinson we do things differently. Pastoral Care here concerns itself with exactly what our academic organisation concerns itself with: the learning of our pupils. We start from the premise that academic success is actually what most pupils want from school – and so the task of our Pastoral staff is to take this demand seriously. At the heart of this process lies discussion between pupil and teacher in which the central question is “Are we getting things right for this pupil?” This discussion creates an agenda for action. The role of Pastoral staff at all levels in this school is to be concerned about the learning of individual pupils and always to act in accordance with this concern.
If the principle upon which our pastoral organisation is based is valid, one of the things that should follow is a well-ordered and purposeful atmosphere within the school. Parents are invited to visit the school to judge whether this is, in fact, the case. For our part we take pride in the many favourable judgements made on us not only by individual visitors, but also by visiting professionals who, inevitably, have experience of large numbers of schools. We believe that the friendly and positive ethos within this school is largely due to the coherence of our pastoral policy from Year 7 to the Sixth Form.
Overall responsibility for pastoral concerns lies with the Headmaster, supported by Mrs Banks (the Deputy Head), Head of Lower School, Head of Middle School and Head of Sixth Form. Each year has its Head of Year with Form Tutors. This system ensures that pupils settle quickly and happily into new surroundings and adapt to the demands which are made on them in their studies.
As shown in the Pastoral System diagram, Form Tutors will usually move up with their Form. The Year Tutors are always pleased to see parents to discuss their child’s welfare. Appointments can be made by telephone or by letter.
The Pastoral Team at Nelson Thomlinson has an enviable reputation. No one here expects to get into serious mischief and then get away with it!
However, being a Year Head here means a lot more than solving crimes, resolving disputes, dealing with behaviour and challenging bullying, important though these are. The key role of our pastoral team is to support the work of departments by ensuring pupils arrive at lessons ready to learn.
This may partly explain why members of the Pastoral Team are always the first to arrive at school on Results Day…