Care and community
We have been very pleased to welcome Mrs Rebecca Dockree to our staff this week as our new Well-being Manager. She brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise in working with young people and is also a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead. She will work alongside other pastoral staff in all three schools to support the happiness and well-being of our pupils in both proactive and reactive ways.
Our successes at LGS are underpinned by values which place children at the heart of all our endeavours. You will be aware of the increasing mental health concerns amongst young people over recent years, and the pandemic has unfortunately exacerbated some of these, with the NHS and CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) facing unprecedented demand. At school and at home, we should support our children in managing both mental and physical well-being in positive ways, so that they can build personal resilience, enjoy a sense of healthy balance in their lives and be able to adapt to the challenges which they will inevitably face. This is not always straightforward, and knowledge of the individual, a listening ear, the encouragement of open and trusting dialogue, as well as guidance and support are all important.
We are an academic school where our pupils often have very high expectations of what they should achieve. In reality the best grades are not necessarily top grades, but the best grades relative to a child’s abilities; no-one can ask more of someone than they do their best and grow into a caring and valued human being.
We have been committed over the last two years to continuing development of pastoral expertise and provision. Two of our school aims are:
- Create a happy and mutually-supportive community of learners and staff, in which each individual is encouraged and enabled to do and be their best.
- Care for the mental and emotional well-being of pupils, and be proactive in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
In our Vision and Strategic Objectives (2020-23), we state, amongst other aspects of our development plan:
The school communities within the Trust will thrive through:
Care and community (Pupils’ well-being, support and guidance; staff professional development and well-being)
- Ensure best deployment of pastoral resource to address pupils’ needs (CC1)
- Become increasingly recognised as a community which cares deeply for pupils, staff and others (CC2)
We have recently reviewed our progress:
- Extension of nursing hours (Trust)
- Increased time-allocation for Heads of Year, all of whom complete Designated Safeguarding Lead training
- Appointment of full-time Lay Chaplain and Youth Worker (Trust)
- Appointment of Healthcare Assistant (enhanced replacement for First Aider)
- Appointment of full-time Well-being Manager (Trust)
- Regular revision of the PSHE (Life Education) programme, to extend coverage of certain topics: e.g. Relationships and Sex Education
- Introduction of the following pupil groups: Spectrum (LGBT+), Diversity and Inclusion (with focus on race), Feminism Society. School councils were reinvigorated and now meet regularly.
- Introduction of firstname.lastname@example.org and Anonymous Voice
- Training of Diana Award Anti-bullying Ambassadors
- Two groups (c.40) of Year 12 students training this year over 8 weeks as student supporters
- Coverage of key pastoral topics at evening meetings for parents, including introduction of further Meet the Tutor evenings and a GCSE Years Evening for Year 9.
- Introduction of an Employee Assistance Package for all Trust staff, which includes both phone and in-person counselling.
- Mental Health First Aid training for all teaching staff and key pastoral staff (50% trained, with others to complete next summer), as well as Place2Be training for pastoral team
- Mindfulness training completed by c.15 staff across the Trust, followed by training for two LGS teachers to deliver .b Mindfulness in Schools over a 9-week course to Y9 pupils.
- One member of SLT now has the title: Director of Well-being and Co-curriculum
- In progress or planned: replacement School Counsellor from Lent term; Well-being Award for Schools (LGS and LGJS); construction of a Well-being Centre.
The division between ‘academic’ and ‘pastoral’ in the life of a school is in many ways arbitrary; the two go hand in hand as we support children in their growth towards young adulthood and a lifetime of adventure.