Pastoral care is an essential part of school life and aims to meet the needs of a pupil’s happiness, safety, well-being, and ultimately future success. How a school offers this pastoral wraparound care has to be personalized to meet the individual needs of the students in their setting, however, in this article, we discuss 5 ways in which pastoral support can help those students with mental health issues.
1. Helps the whole child… and the whole school?
Research conducted by Best (2014) has shown that effective pastoral care can improve students’ attendance, subdue racism and bullying, teach respect for self and others, and promote tolerance, especially in students with protected characteristics. These issues are a prevalent feature of the lives of teenagers and as the mental health and well-being of students, in general, is becoming more of a concern, Best suggested that working on these problems can only have a positive impact on the health of our students, allowing for an environment in which all students can enhance their academic achievements.
2. The role of a form tutor
With all the pressures of the examination curriculum, some schools may struggle to fit a traditional form period into their school day. However, seeing a familiar face every day and following a set routine can help a pupil who suffers from anxiety, particularly if they have any issues such as missing equipment or if they have a problem they wish to discuss.
3. Engagement during social times
Pastoral care should not stop once form time is over. Social times can be a cause of panic and worry for certain pupils, especially those who may struggle with self-esteem, confidence, or anxiety issues. They may feel unsure of where to go, what to do, and whom to speak to, particularly if they are new to the school. Offering a structured program of activities during social times can help a pupil to understand the demands required of them, and also increase their sense of purpose. Participation in structured activities can also help to build social relationships and a sense of belonging in a pupil.
4. Provision of safe spaces
Similarly, pupils who suffer from mental health or sensory issues may find a noisy playground or a bustling canteen overwhelming. The offer of a quiet, safe space to all pupils will allow those who feel that they need it to have a peaceful and controlled social time. If this provision is offered by a familiar member of staff, such as a librarian or a member of the support team, pupils will feel increasingly secure and are more likely to thrive in this setting.
5. Easy to access support
Accessibility is imperative to a successful pastoral system. Pupils must understand what care and provision is available to them, at what time, where and from which member of staff. This should be publicised widely and regularly so that any barriers to accessing pastoral support are removed. A pastoral centre should feature in every school, however, all school staff should be regularly trained to provide basic pastoral care to all pupils – the buck shouldn’t always fall on just one team within the school. Whether or not they have a particular responsibility for a pupil or a curriculum area, every member of staff should recognize the importance of effective pastoral care.
More than ever, a renewed and purposeful focus on pastoral care is required in schools to ensure that all pupils, especially those who may suffer from their mental health, can thrive in a school environment.
EDClass’ online alternative provision
EDClass is an online alternative provision that treats children’s safety and mental health with a paramount nature incorporating a pastoral wraparound approach as often as possible.
Students learn remotely and can have one-to-one support from UK-qualified teachers with their academic learning or wellbeing. If you would like a free online demonstration of the platform then call 01909 568338, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, book here or by climbing the image below.