At the heart of life at St Thomas More Language College is a strong and inclusive pastoral system, supporting the values and ethos of the College in the everyday lives of our students.
Our Understanding of Pastoral Care
- Pastoral Casework- That is individual work with pupils who are having problems be they of an academic, vocational, social, emotional or behavioural nature.
- Pastoral Curriculum- This includes both the 'hidden curriculum' that is the ethos of the school, the day to day relationships between staff and pupils, the value system of a school, the opportunities for moral, spiritual, social and cultural development.
St Thomas More has a strong disciplinary system and part of pastoral system is to support teaching staff, including the issuing of sanctions and interventions, but is a much wider concept than that. Good discipline which is consistent, which affirms the students' value, which builds rather than crushes, which encourages individuality rather than dull conformity, but all within an orderly environment, is an essential ingredient of effective pastoral care.
Our Pastoral Aims
- To enable each student to fulfil their own potential both academically and socially;
- To ensure that each student has access to personal, vocational and academic guidance and support where necessary;
- To provide opportunities for and encourage students to exercise individual and social responsibility;
- To promote in students the self-awareness and self-confidence that they need to face the challenges, both academic and personal, that are placed on them;
- To establish and maintain an appropriate relationship with every parent, so that together we can help to prepare the students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life;
- To create a caring environment where students are valued for who they are, not just for what they can do;
The Impact of Pastoral Care
As the quality of pastoral care improves, so there are likely to be a number of positive outcomes:
- Improving the quality of pastoral care is an important factor in helping to prevent problems both personal and academic from arising;
- However good the preventative work at school is, inevitably when dealing with adolescents with all the pressures that they are under internally as well as from home and society at large, problems will still arise, but good quality pastoral care will mean that students are better prepared to deal with problems when they do arrive;
- Good pastoral care will raise the standards of behaviour in school. Students with high self-esteem on average behave better than those with a low self-image. Good pastoral care defuses rather than escalates situations and leads to enhanced relationships between staff and pupils;
- Improving pastoral care in a school will lead to higher academic performance. There is no question that students with high self-esteem who are essentially content and well-motivated will work better. Students who feel an academic failure will go a long way to fulfil their own feelings.
Responsibility for Pastoral Care
All staff within the College community have a responsibility for the pastoral care of the students. Form tutors have the primary role of pastoral support and care in the College, as they are the first point of call for students.
Pastoral and Academic Leaders (PAL) are non-teaching Heads of Year at St Thomas More and oversee the academic and pastoral issues in their respective year groups. Each PAL has responsibility over two year groups and are often the first contact for parents, if not their child’s tutor.
The Student Support Centre (SSC) is another arm of the pastoral system and is a place where various mentoring and social development courses, both individual and group based. Exclusions are held in the SSC where extra provision and support can be provided, before reintegration back into classes.