Happiness is a top priority and we recognise and appreciate that growing up may come with challenges.
Pastoral care is a central pillar of the community at the School, in which we take great pride, with policy and practices full integrated throughout the teaching and learning and structural organisation. Pastoral care focuses on students as individuals, their personal, social and academic progress paramount.
"Relationships between staff and pupils are excellent both in and out of the classroom … founded on mutual respect."
Independent Schools Inspectorate Report
By investing in small class sizes and our pastoral network we are able to quickly identify if there are concerns, offering exceptional pastoral care and support for our students within our close-knit community.
There are formal structures in place which provide a framework of both care and discipline for our students.
• Form Teacher (Prep) / Form Tutor (Seniors)
• Head of Year
• School Chaplain
• School Nurse
• Peer Mentors
• Parent Seminar Programme
Form Teacher (Prep) / Form Tutor (Seniors)
The key figure is the Form Teacher (Prep) or Form Tutor (Seniors), who sees their students every day and is responsible for monitoring academic progress, and encouraging personal and social development. The Form Teacher or Form Tutor is always the first point of contact for parents. If necessary, the Form Teacher or Tutor will refer matters brought to their attention to the appropriate person.
Head of Year
In Seniors, the Head of Overdale is the primary support for pastoral care for students in Years 7 and 8. Years 9 to 11 have a Head of Year, and in Years 12 and 13 there is a Head of Sixth Form. All are collectively referred to as Heads of Year. They co-ordinate the work of the Form Tutors and play a vital role in the organisation, discipline and care of students in their section of the School. They also oversee the academic tracking and monitoring of students, and liaise closely with Form Tutors regarding academic progress. Overseeing the pastoral system in Seniors is the Deputy Head and serious matters should be brought directly to her attention. The Deputy Head also liaises with all Heads of Year on a regular basis ensuring the continuity of care, both academically and pastorally.
Additionally, the Headmaster and Head of Prep are always available to students who wish to speak with them.
The Chaplain is an important figure in the spiritual and personal development of students. As well as the formal contact they have through Chapel services and assemblies, the Chaplain is also available to students individually on a confidential basis. All students, regardless of their own personal faith, are welcome to approach the chaplain for confidential advice.
The School Nurse deals with both the medical and emotional needs of the students and she can be consulted confidentially by both students and parents who wish to discuss emotional or other concerns. The Nurse is available each day from 8.30am until 3.50pm in the Medical Centre.
Increasingly, senior students take an active role in the pastoral system, having some responsibility for younger students. Each student joining Year 7 has a Sixth Form Mentor with whom they will meet once a week for lunch. Mentors act as friends and advisors, willing to pass on concerns where necessary. Students and their mentors stay in touch throughout the week via School email. There are also a number of students trained in Mental Health First Aid and they are often called upon to support younger students through academic, social or emotional difficulties.
We also recognise that education is a team effort between parents, staff and students themselves. Communication is therefore key and we firmly believe in the importance of informal discussions, mutual observations and progress, alongside the more formal welcome evenings, parent meetings and school reports.
Parent Seminar Programme
To further support parents at home and as part of the Birkenhead School whole education, our innovative Parent Seminar Programme offers access to leading experts in fields such as digital awareness, e-safety and mental health.