Parents will undoubtedly have a general understanding of the term ‘pastoral care’. Broadly, pastoral care is known as spiritual and emotional support that aids student wellbeing. It is something that many schools place significant emphasis on and there is a good reason why pastoral care is important in schools. At Trinity, our pastoral care system is central to everything we do and is essential to our mind, body and spirit education philosophy.
Why is pastoral care in schools important?
According to Sheila Bethel, author of Making a Difference: Twelve Qualities that make you a leader, students do not recognise a teacher’s knowledge and understanding unless they know that teacher cares about them. To ensure students are motivated to succeed, they need to understand that teachers have a personal interest in their development – whether that be academic or personal.
A good pastoral care network can remove any potential barriers to learning, ensuring student needs are met and learning opportunities are maximised. It should extend to co-curricular activities, going beyond classroom learning and creating opportunities to stimulate learning and foster a supportive environment.
Children today face many internal and external pressures and are more accountable for their actions. Being equipped to navigate a range of challenges is important to ensure social and emotional wellbeing throughout a person’s lifetime. We will all encounter obstacles at various stages throughout life and it’s important we learn to deal with them from childhood.
Student wellbeing should be a priority on any school’s agenda. We uncover five crucial benefits of pastoral care in education:
1. Prevents barriers to learning
A whole-school approach to pastoral care ensures the establishment of a healthy culture and environment for learning to take place. Focussing on students rather than outcomes means that schools can identify risk-factors ahead of time and implement protective strategies to address health and wellbeing concerns. One important outcome of pastoral care is the enhancement of academic care. The concept of academic care helps to promote positive self-esteem for students through supportive relationships and interactions. It means that academic structures and interactions can be responsive to student needs, protecting against risks and preventing learning barriers.
2. Helps form positive relationships
Relationships are central to student wellbeing and academic performance. A supportive and positive learning environment goes a long way toward building a sense of connectedness. A key discovery from our research about boys’ education highlights the importance of boys feeling a sense of belonging to their school environment. Connectedness helps prevent risky behaviour and can also improve learning outcomes.
3. Aids health and wellbeing
The promotion of student health and wellbeing continues to be a key focus for schools. Pastoral care programmes consistently aim to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging both physical and emotional development. There are a number of national frameworks that have been instrumental in developing an approach to the promotion of child health and wellbeing, with a focus on creating safe and supportive school environments. Generally, pastoral care programmes affirm the right of everyone to feel safe at school, promote care, respect and cooperation, with a focus on building positive relationships to ensure a supportive learning environment.
4. Builds resilience
A key protective factor for learning, resilience is also important for social and emotional development. Defined as the ability to cope with, or overcome risks and adversity, resilience is an important life skill. Within the context of a pastoral care network, students learn to build resilience by experiencing supportive and positive relationships with both peers and teachers; through clear and consistent boundaries and behaviour expectations; and opportunities for meaningful participation. Building resilience can help children to become confident individuals who can set and work toward goals to reach their potential. Resilient children can experience healthy self-esteem, take a pro-active approach to obstacles and navigate challenges with reasonable persistence. They have a good capacity to develop a range of strategies to identify problems and adopt a flexible approach to problem-solving.
5. Improves learning engagement
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates that positive relationships and emotional development can foster or impede a child’s academic engagement, work ethic, commitment to learning and successful learning outcomes. Social and emotional competence improves learning engagement which has a positive impact on academic achievement.
At Trinity, your son will be guided to:
- value his self-worth and that of others;
- develop emotional intelligence, resilience and self-discipline;
- respect the principles of rights and responsibilities; and
- become a responsible, contributing member of society.
Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting –providing both care and discipline – enabling boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men. Combined with an ongoing partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment. The pastoral care of our students is of upmost importance at Trinity, and is at the core of everything that we do, each and every day. Pastoral Care Week presents the opportunity – over and above our daily focus – to emphasise pastoral care issues and offer parents and students alike the tools and resources to ensure that the mental and physical wellbeing of students is maintained.
Our Life Skills Programme is part of a School approach to health and wellbeing that enhances our boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent. Discover more by downloading our Life Skills guides now.