Andy Boyle Pastoral Care Article
Pastoral care - can you feel it?
As a new Headmaster, my first half of term has been spent carefully observing and evaluating the many strengths of Barfield School, while also looking for those areas where a fresh pair of eyes might make a difference. One aspect of school life which is working beautifully here is the understanding of what outstanding pastoral care looks like.
With research showing that mental health issues are becoming apparent earlier and earlier in children’s lives, is it any wonder that some parents are putting more emphasis on finding a school which places a higher priority on pastoral care and wellbeing?
From your first telephone conversation with the Admissions Registrar, you are immediately making judgements as to the ethos and values of the school and rightly so! However, it is my belief that pastoral care is best measured
by ‘that feeling’ you get when you walk in through the front door for the first time. The cornerstone of a culture of warmth, support and family comes from the people. There is simply no substitute for great staff and certainly no shortcut in the relationships they build with your children. Trust your first impressions, but if you are not sure, take a few moments to look around at the children, as they are always the best ambassadors of a school and its beliefs. Outstanding pastoral care is not just the responsibility of the named Deputy Head or a policy document to which you refer to when something goes wrong, but it is in fact a commitment from top to bottom, with the understanding
that everyone has a significant role to play. Cliché or not, happy children are going to make the most progress and will fulfil their potential in all aspects of school life.
I do not have the pleasure of having children yet, but when I do, top of my wish list will be to watch them skip into school every day, safe in the knowledge that when they do hit a road bump, the people around them know them inside and out.
Mr Andy Boyle
Headmaster of Barfield School