Excellent pastoral care at St Chris is fundamental to everything we believe, and everything we are.
It means that our children are enjoying school, want to be here, want to come to school in the morning and want to stay in school at the end of the day! It means that they are making friends, are motivated and engaged in their school work, that they are being stretched and are growing, maturing and finding out who they really are.
Unlike many schools, where pastoral care is an add-on and used after things have gone wrong, at St Chris pastoral care is the starting point upon which everything else is built.
Having children and adults working collaboratively in a mutually supportive, respectful, open and kind community, means that all our children can thrive – personally, socially and academically.
Our pastoral care is not about badges and banners, it is about people and relationships.
Providing excellent pastoral care means taking the time to recognise and understand the different needs of each of our children – something which ultimately can only come about by listening, discussing and building consensus directly with the children.
We’ve found that not wearing a uniform, and using first names, removes some of the barriers to communication that can otherwise exist and means that children are far more confident in asking questions and raising issues with their teachers.
“We are very happy with the way issues are dealt with swiftly and privately. Our child knows that she can approach staff and they will take her problems seriously.” Senior School parent, 2018.
Our staff take an immense pride in developing a culture of excellent pastoral care.
In the Junior School and Nursery, the class teacher and teaching assistant form the first point of call for children, proactively supported by the Head and Deputy Head.
In the Senior School, all children are part of a Company, which consists of up to 20 children from the same year group who are cared for by an Adviser whom they meet each morning and afternoon.
Advisers are supported by their Head of Year and they, in turn, are supported by the Director of Pastoral Care and the Head. In addition, we have a team of counsellors, a School Nurse and a School Doctor.
In Sixth Form, we move to a system of personal tutors, supported by the Head and Deputy Head of Sixth Form. Tutor groups are smaller, allowing for close support through the two year A-level programme of study. Each student is also allocated a specialist UCAS adviser to help them through each stage of the process when applying to university or art college.
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons are run each week for all of our children. This crucial aspect of our provision helps children navigate their way through childhood, and also prepares them for life outside school. Lessons include finance, IT security, law, friendships, and cookery.
Within these structures, our pastoral care is bespoke. The needs of every child are different, and so is our response – tailored to achieve what is best for each child, at each point in time.
When a child starts at St Chris they are paired with a buddy in their Company or class, who helps them settle into school. Pupils in the Junior and Senior Schools are also supported by our trained Sixth Form Peer Mentors, who offer support and guidance on a range of subjects – both pastoral and academic.