Pastoral Care Matters
The Inclusive Multi Academy Trust Pastoral Support Teams work collaboratively across the Trust with the primary aim to remove social and emotional barriers to learning for all our children. We do this by supporting children, families, staff and each other in many different ways.
Our schools within the Trust are unique, with each Pastoral Team being proactive and responsive to the needs of their individual schools and their community. A ‘happy child learns’ and therefore our Pastoral Teams are central to the ethos of being an inclusive, nurturing Trust. We support with children’s attendance, punctuality, behaviour, safeguarding, mental health and well-being to name but a few, it is definitely a busy role. No two days are the same; it is immersive, it is hands-on, yet it is so rewarding. Putting the children at the centre of all we do, means we know a lot of children and their families. We are often the first place a family comes to for advice and support and that important cup of tea and listening ear. Our support includes a friendly face for staff too, there is always an open door and a dedication to being there to listen and help them problem solve.
Relationships are a huge part of the role, we have strong partnerships with the wider community. For example, Watford Salvation Army, who have supported the schools over the past couple of years with recipe boxes, Christmas gifts and emergency work during school closures. Mark and Grace have also been there to personally support us at any point, we can pick up the phone and ask for help. Other partnerships include Asda, whose £1000 grants have made a huge difference to the support that can be offered to the children over the school closures. This support continues with donations of food and items to supplement children’s engagement in school. Both Watford Women’s Centre and Herts Step2Skills are integral to adult learning, offering courses and support to our parents and communities across the Trust. We do not work in isolation, developing relationships ensures additional support for our schools and families.
As Pastoral Leads we have responsibility for embedding the Hertfordshire Steps therapeutic approach to behaviour in our schools, leading training for all staff. Our training sessions always include cake and biscuits, well we are pastoral after all! Supporting staff with analysing behaviour difficulties through this approach allows us to cast a different lens on behaviour. We are all trained in attachment awareness and are also Mental Health Leads. We work in corporation with our NHS Educational Mental Health Practitioner, and fortunately we are all in the same cluster so get an opportunity to network together with external professionals in how best to support children’s mental health. Children’s mental health is incredibly important to all three of us. Covid 19 has exacerbated a national crisis in children’s mental health and we work tirelessly to ensure we are able to support our local children and local community the best way we can.
Our greatest achievement to date has to be The National Nurturing Schools Award. This award was a two-year project which recognises each school in the Trust as having a whole school approach to developing and embedding a nurturing culture. It supports Quality First Teaching and Learning, promotes healthy outcomes for children and young people, focusing on emotional needs and development alongside academic learning in a whole-school environment. We worked closely together alongside out Trust SENCo, Lizzie Butler, and supported each other throughout to become the first Trust in the UK to be awarded this accolade. As we have become firm friends over the last few years, we enjoyed celebrating this success in our favourite local restaurant, Tarboush.
You can learn more about our individual Pastoral Leaders here: