Pastoral Care

Aim of Policy

The aim of the pastoral care policy is to ensure the holistic development of our students who are valued, cared for and respected. Thereby they feel a sense of belonging, and are socially at ease and educationally successful.

Rationale

The Pastoral Care Policy stems from the above aim and the schools’ mission statement. It also underpins the success of the mission statement which provides the main trusts and attitudes for the Pastoral Care Policy to be owned and implemented.

High-quality pastoral care comes about if, as a school community, we help each student “TO MAKE HER GOOD BETTER, AND HER BETTER BEST”, and let the student experience school as a place of hope for her future.  All members of staff are therefore to feel involved, especially by being vigilant to notice those students who are vulnerable and most in need of help.

Since we believe in and foster a holistic education, we commit our school to:

  • Provide loving, caring and secure environments,
  • Recognise the individuality and dignity of each student,
  • Foster life-giving relationships within the school,
  • Foster and nurture teacher-student cohesion, whereby teachers are positive role models, and
  • Maintain a strong school culture that centers around care, respect and harmonious interaction so that all students feel that they are valued and cared for.

Effective pastoral care is becoming increasingly vital because of the rapidly changing home backgrounds of our students, family instability, child protection issues, and the changing attitudes and conflicting messages from society towards various social mores.

Policy Statement

Conscious that the school environment plays a major role in the general wellbeing of children, our school through its holistic approach attempts to meet the personal, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs of every student so that each one may participate fully in, and gain maximum benefit from, her life at school. By performing one’s duty to the fullest, everyone contributes towards creating a safe, healthy, responsible and caring school atmosphere.

Implementation

All stakeholders are to feel involved in the coordinated implementation of this policy, according to their respective specified duties:

the Senior Management Team (SMT), Guidance Teachers, School Counsellor, Spiritual Director/s, Form Teachers, Religion & PSD Teachers, Subject Teachers, School Council, Clerical and Minor Staff, Class Prefects & Sub Prefects, the Students themselves, and the parents.

Enhance the culture of mutual respect and prudent confidentiality while heightening awareness that every member of staff, especially Subject Teachers, may be ‘the first alarm bell’ to draw attention of students who may be in need of help.

Dissemination of and familiarity with other related policies such as Discipline Policy, Homework Policy, Abuse and AnitBullying Policies, Referral Practices, etc.

Stakeholders with direct involvement

Head of School             Overall responsible for the Pastoral Care of all students.

Assistant Heads            Liaison with Head and all staff in the interest of the students.

Head of Departments Link with Head and Asst Heads.

School Counsellor        Counsel students, assist parents to make informed decisions about their daughter’s education, and other duties as per role.

Guidance Teachers      Follow students and are concerned with each student’s personal, curricular and vocational welfare. Where necessary to keep contact with parents in order to offer support and guidance at various stages of the student’s school career.

Form Teachers             Besides their specific administrative duties, Form Teachers monitor class progress and atmosphere. They act as a point of contact for subject teachers and deal with any issues that may arise within the class.

Teaching Staff              Foster and encourage good manners and respect for others during lessons. They regularly communicate with the SMT and Form Teachers to ensure that the needs of all students are being catered for. Their watchful and caring attention may prevent serious damage to students.

LSAs                              Provide in-class support to students assigned to them.

Spiritual Director         The Spiritual Director is available twice a week for those who wish to talk to him. Religion Teachers may also invite them to visit their classes.

Students’ Council          Its members help to further the aims of the school and to promote a positive school ethos.

Class Prefects                Link with between class and teachers. Act as support for students, and they also perform specific duties for the Form Teacher/Asst Head.

Parents/Guardians        Should monitor their daughter’s diary regularly to check homework and note teacher comments besides being genuinely concerned in their daughter’s welfare.

Specific Procedures

Data Capture Forms – Parents are requested to complete a separate form for each student in our school giving details of necessary information including contact priority telephone numbers, according to the Data Protection Act.  Parents are to advise the school of any changes in circumstances as they become apparent.

Non-Class Time SupervisionDuring mid-morning and mid-day breaks and at dismissal time students are supervised by teachers and learning support assistants (LSAs) on a rota basis. Students are invited to participate in various mid-day break activities.

Sickness or Injury – During school hours, this will be dealt with by the Health & Safety teacher.  Parents or guardians will, if necessary, be contacted by telephone as soon as possible to arrange for their daughter to be further examined or taken home.  Significant accidents are recorded on the appropriate accident form.

Medication – At the beginning of each school year parents are asked to supply the school with information of any current or on-going medical problems. Students in need of medication during school hours cannot take their medication on their own and cannot keep the medication in their school bag. School personnel cannot provide students with medications. Parents of these students are to fill in the necessary forms so that MMDNA personnel are contacted.

Absences – When a student is absent due to sickness or any other reason, parents should explain the absence by a telephone call and/or by means of a note, on or when student returns to school. Unexplained absences will be pursued in the interests of the student and as by regulation.

Door Security System – When each school day begins, the school gate is closed.  No entry into the main building can then be accessed without knowledge of the visitor’s identity and purpose. An intercom system is installed to allow immediate communication between the office and all visitors.

Parental Interviews – These will be by formal arrangement twice a year and by request as necessary.  Parents are encouraged to arrange meetings with Form Teachers, Subject Teachers, Assistant Head or Head if they have concerns regarding any aspect of school life pertaining to their daughter as soon as possible.  Such meetings are encouraged to dispel or alleviate worries before any possible distress is caused.  Apart from various competent speakers addressing students during scholastic year, parental skills courses can also be organized by the school if the demand is adequate.

School Reports – School reports are issued thrice annually. Besides monitoring students’ progress evaluating their learning, the reports also include reference to behaviour. The November progress report gives an indication of students’ performance and attainment. The Half-Yearly report reflects the half-yearly exam results, while the Annual report reflects the end of year exam results.

Personal and Social Well-being – Within school students are regularly reminded that they may speak to any member of staff they wish to in the strictest confidence about any matter which is disturbing or worrying them. The teacher spoken is duty bound to be very prudent and responsible, and refer student if s/he feels the issue merits more competency.

Integration and Evaluation

As a school we must work to assimilate and evaluate:

  • the induction process especially among Form 1 students which can be facilitated through networking with our primary feeder schools within the College system;
  • the ways in which we foster the dignity, self-esteem and integrity of each person through the quality of relationships within the school;
  • the recognition given to the variety of learning styles of students;
  • the role of the Form Teachers and Subject Teachers vis-a-vis pastoral care;
  • awareness of the various psychological developmental phases, and of the social and home needs of students, while continuing to respect the privacy of students’ lives and supporting them in times of crisis and instability;
  • the level of trust and co-operation between the school and family members of our students while respecting the various emerging family structures;
  • ways of training of all staff to heighten these levels of this awareness;
  • ways to help our students recognize that their fundamental freedoms and rights are reciprocated by responsibilities/duties in such a manner as to foster self-discipline, so that our students progressively grow in their capacity to exercise moral judgement, democratic values and a concern for the common good;
  • maintaining a positive school ethos, monitor achievement, secure safety and behavioural management;
  • ways and means of harvesting the various resources within the wider community which support pastoral care in schools, such as parishes, church groups, health services and those links that can be established with agencies such as Sedqa, Local Councils, Appogg, etc;
  • an in-house system to evaluate and monitor the causes of absenteeism in order to identify cases of family and personal difficulties;
  • ways of reinforcing good practices.