Pastoral Care: Introduction
Bloomfield Collegiate School’s pastoral support is of crucial importance in creating an environment where our pupils feel secure and know they are valuchildren are being educated in a caring community.
We were delighted when the Inspectorate reported that the “the quality of the pastoral care is very good” in the school. However, we are also dedicated to continuous improvement and we provide an evolving, responsive and comprehensive Personal Development programme for each pupil, evaluated regularly through consultation and contributions from all staff members, pupils and parents.
If you have arrived at this page because you have a concern, no matter how big or small, we suggest that your first step should be to get in touch with your daughter’s Form Teacher or Head of Year and we will try to talk through ways of dealing with thed as individuals. We strive to support the girls’ growth and learning, reassuring parents that their e situation.
It is difficult for any written text to convey the quality of pastoral care. Many visitors to the school comment on the friendliness of the girls and the welcome they receive from the moment they walk through the front doors. We hope you get a sense of that warmth from the following outline of our pastoral care.
Full details of many topics can be found in our policies at the bottom of this page.
Pastoral Care and Academic Success
Our pastoral policies and practice receive strong support from all members of staff. We believe that positive academic, social and personal outcomes are supported by strong pastoral care within the school. Every day in class, our pupils are taught to work with their peers, building friendships and valuing the contributions and views of others. We encourage the girls to become sympathetic and sensitive to each other’s needs, developing the skills and resilience necessary to face the challenges of GCSE and A-Level examinations.
The Special Educational Needs provision is outlined in the Special Educational Needs Policy. We aim to work in collaboration with parents and the pupil in order to support optimal academic achievement.
Whether they are in the classroom or in extra-curricular activities, the girls’ achievements are recognised and celebrated. We have a Merit System and a Gifted and Talented programme. Successes are also rewarded every week in assembly presentations and, of course, at the annual Prize Day ceremony.
“When I was selected for the G & T programme, I felt pleased to have my potential recognised, and happy to be pushed to achieve the things I’m capable of”. (Year 12 pupil)
Our Mentoring System
We work hard to ensure that, at whatever age your daughter joins the school, she does not feel overwhelmed or lost. The Inspectorate reported that our “senior pupils are excellent role models, contributing effectively by supporting younger pupils very well through academic and pastoral mentoring”.
Each year, Year 14 girls are invited to train as Mentors and join the Pastoral Team. They are assigned to junior classes, getting to know them and offering useful guidance from their own school experiences. A school day can be fast-paced, especially for girls in Year 8, but our nurturing and supportive mentoring system is capable of dealing with many challenges, including if your daughter needs help to find her misplaced sports kit or calculator!
“I have always received invaluable support from the school, especially during my sickness and my parent’s ill-health. This period in my life would have been a lot harder without the support of the school community. It made all the difference knowing that I had someone there for me when I needed it. Now, as a mentor and prefect, I feel privileged to continue this warm tradition of the school’s pastoral system.” (Year 14 pupil)
Other subject-specific mentoring schemes are also in place to help with the academic progress of the younger pupils. As these mentors have recent understanding in dealing with the challenges of a particular subject, they can relate to the problems and barriers younger girls may face, providing them with a real insight into how to cope with those difficulties.
“It feels good to feel cared about and know that someone is there to help.” (Year 9 pupil)
“My Mentor was very useful when I need to revise for my exams. I think the Mentor gave me a great advantage.” (Year 9 pupil)
The mentors also find it a highly satisfying and enjoyable experience that develops their confidence and communication skills. The inspectorate noted that our girls “value greatly belonging to a caring community, enjoying very good relationships with one another and their teachers”
Other examples of leadership positions include Form Captain, Team Captain, Prefect, House Captain and Drama Club Mentors. These roles develop pupils’ teamwork skills and self-confidence, and offer opportunities to give back to the school community.
Our staff organise various extra-curricular activities that help forge positive relationships beyond the classroom. The girls are confident that we are accessible and will make every determined effort to help resolve their personal problems and concerns.
Pupil participation is at the very centre of our pastoral programme. The girls are very aware of factors which help or hinder their learning in school so pupil voice is encouraged through the School Council, pupil evaluations and observations. A high level of participation in these decision-making processes leads to better relationships, more relevant and effective policies, and enhanced learning.
“In the School Council, we asked for…” A. Pupil (Year 14)
Pupils have an important part to play in making sure Bloomfield Collegiate continues to improve every aspect of school life and the Inspectorate praised how we offered “a clear sense of collegiality through active participation in the house system and school council”.
Parents can avail of the opportunities to visit the school to discuss the progress and particular needs of their children. For example, each Head of Year holds an open evening to outline the challenges the pupils will face that academic year. These information sessions, held near to the start of the academic year, provide parents with a particular opportunity to speak with the Head of Year. At other times, an appointment can be made by contacting the school.
“My daughter needed pastoral care help in school, and I cannot speak highly enough of the staff or of the school pastoral system itself. My daughter was treated as an individual case, and staff invested a lot of time with her. In their dealings with her, the teachers showed the highest integrity and discretion in supporting her, and that really did help her through the problems. I would select Bloomfield Collegiate School for any future children based on the pastoral care system alone.” (A parent)
Pastoral Care and Social Media
We understand that the daily school life doesn’t end with the ringing of a bell. We have a progressive attitude towards pastoral care. We endeavour to tackle internet and online issues, encouraging our girls to meet these challenges. Further information is available in our Social Media Policy
Personal Development Programmes
The names of the current Heads of Year are available on the staff section of the website.
Moving to a new school is daunting. The Year 8 Personal Development programme focuses on a smooth transition and the holistic development of the girls. It considers social, physical, emotional cognitive and spiritual health. The emphasis is on encouraging pupils to develop skills that will enable them to cope with changing circumstances. In addition, pupils are introduced to the concept of employability.
Through a range of activities pupils are encouraged to;
- • make friends;
- • enjoy school;
- • take pride in their work;
- • have a sense of responsibility;
- • be motivated to do well in school;
- • develop self confidence;
- • develop social skills;
- • be able to make informed choices;
- • be happy and content;
‘My favourite thing about Bloomfield is that I have so many amazing, loyal caring and loving friends who will always be there for me.’ (Year 8 pupil)
The Year 9 Personal Development programme builds upon work done in Year 8. Pupils continue to work towards achieving personal potential, becoming more confident and independent, and making informed choices and decisions. The girls are encouraged to reflect upon their skills and qualities within the context of employability.
The topics covered include:
- • friendship;
- • feelings and emotions;
- • anti-bullying;
- • managing influences and making decisions;
- • managing change;
- • health and the whole person;
- • safety and managing risk;
- • self-esteem;
- • relationships and sexuality;
- • morals, beliefs and values;
- • stress management;
- • money matters;
- • exam preparation.
Year 10 is a particularly important year as it is the time when GCSE subject decisions are taken. Therefore, throughout this year, emphasis is placed upon the provision of Careers information and guidance; each pupil receives an individual Careers interview. In addition, during the first term, pupils will think about the ways in which decisions that they make can impact upon health and well-being including, for example, exploration of the ways in which alcohol and drug use may affect long and short term physical health, and financial well-being. Later, the pupils are encouraged to look outwards and to think of others through research relating to charitable organisations and donations to a local food bank.
The Year 11 Personal Development programme is linked to that devised for Year 12; a wide range of topics is covered ensuring that valuable Careers education is provided and the requirements of the Northern Ireland curriculum in relation to Key Stage 4 Personal Development are met.
The programme includes the following topics:
- our values, including both school values and personal values;
- effective learning at GCSE, including study skills, examination technique and stress management;
- relationships and sexuality, a presentation delivered by the Love for Life organisation;
- emotional health;
- internet safety (CEOPS presentation);
- self-image and identity;
- healthy relationships, delivered by representatives from Women’s Aid;
- money management.
We also deliver the Learning for Life and Work Curriculum during Form Time. Topics covered will include:
- Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
- Global Citizenship
- Employability and Career Planning
- In the Summer Term, examine aspects of Mental Health, with the support of outside agencies.
A major focus of the Year 12 Personal Development Programme is on Careers Education. Through contact with our Careers staff in school, as well as external personnel, we encourage pupils to investigate their career options, make plans for achieving their goals and support the creation of a CV document before they graduate from Key Stage 4. Each pupil receives an individual interview delivered by a Careers Advisor from the Careers Service of Northern Ireland. With the pressures of GCSE examinations and on-going Controlled Assessment tasks in mind, we also provide more information on learning styles, study skills and stress management. In addition, we encourage the pupils to broaden their perspectives beyond Year 12 deadlines by focusing on coping with disability and by supporting a local food bank charity in the Autumn Term. With pupil safety and well-being at the top of our list of priorities, we also cover material on road safety (provided through the DoE’s “Crashed Futures” programme) and relationships and sexuality (provided by “Love for Life”).
Mindout Mental Health
In Year 12, a module following the Mindout Mental Health Programme is delivered through timetabled Learning for Life and Work lessons. This programme aims to encourage healthy self-esteem and resilience, and to provide information on sources of support. If you have any concerns about this programme, or if you would like more information, please contact Dr L Finch.
In Year 13, Careers guidance and support assumes particular significance, as pupils begin to consider their choices for Higher or Further Education. We also continue to work to educate our students in healthy decision making. Young people are under considerable pressure to make unhealthy choices which can have very serious consequences for them, resulting in physical, mental and emotional harm, as well as failure to reach their full potential. In response, Year 13 pupils are involved in a wide range of activities focusing on, for example, study skills, independent learning, healthy lifestyle, and managing and making decisions. In particular, Year 13 girls receive a presentation from the PSNI on Road Safety.
At the commencement of Year 14, pupils embark upon the UCAS application process. They are supported in this by Careers staff and by their Form Teacher and Head of Year. At this time, Careers education and guidance is of paramount importance. In addition, the purpose of the Year 14 personal development programme is to develop the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the ‘world’ outside of school and prepare them for life after school at University or their chosen alternative. As a result, Year 14 pupils will be involved in talks/activities focusing on personal safety, relationship and sex education, internet safety and personal and mental health (including strategies to help cope with and manage stress). Many organisations will be involved in delivering the programme, such as the PSNI and Action Cancer.
Policies – available on the school website or, in paper format, from the school office.
- Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
- The Positive Relationships and Anti-Bullying Policy
- E-safety and Safe Use of the Internet
- Citizenship and Behaviour Policy
- Special Educational Needs Policy
- Gifted and Talented Policy
External Support and Publications
From time to time, the school draws on the expertise of external organisations such as PSNI, Social Services and the Health Service. A School Counsellor, funded by DENI, visits the school on a weekly basis and pupils may access this service if they wish. Further information may be found at: familyworksni.com
Useful information for parents is found on the Education Authority website.