Bloomfield Collegiate School’s pastoral support is of crucial importance in creating an environment where our pupils feel secure, know they are valued, and 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 with 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 the concern.
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.
Wellbeing 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.
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.
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.”
Raising a Concern or Making a complaint
The Designated Teacher for Child Protection (DT) is Mrs J Wharry. The Deputy Designated Teachers for Child Protection (DDT) are Mr G Greer and Mrs J Waterworth.
If you have a concern about your own child or any other child, please contact the DT or a DDT without delay. The DT or DDT will inform the Principal, discreetly clarify the facts of the allegation, and refer the matter to Social Services or PSNI if considered necessary. On occasion, advice may be sought from the Education Authority Child Protection Support Services for Schools. If required, the Principal will report to the Chairperson of the Board of Governors.
If considered appropriate, the DT or a DDT will provide feedback to the person who raised the concern.
Our mission statement of Excellence in a Caring Community is reflected in our day to day conduct. Honesty, compassion, tolerance, courtesy and determination are values implicit to our work and relationships. By our attitudes we strive to promote a school as a safe environment in which everyone feels involved, supported, valued and satisfied.
In accordance with the aims of our school and to fulfil our statutory obligation under The Children Order (Northern Ireland) 1995, we have in place a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.
The essential principle which underpins the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is that the welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration at all times.
If you have a query about the BCS Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, feel free to contact the DT, a DDT or the Principal. The full Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is available on the BCS website (www.bloomfieldcollegiate.org.uk) or on request from Reception.
KEEPING OUR PUPILS SAFE
We take preventive measures to protect our pupils and to promote their emotional and physical safety. For example:
- The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
- Form teachers and Heads of Year support pupils.
- Staff have regular Safeguarding & Child Protection training.
- A number of staff are trained in First Aid.
- Visitors to school must report through Reception.
- Staff and volunteers are vetted in accordance with DE guidance.
- We encourage pupils to talk about their worries.
- The Independent Counselling Service for School operates within school.
- We promote safeguarding within a preventative curriculum.
- We teach pupils about internet safety.
- The School Council provides pupils with an opportunity to have their voice heard.
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.
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.
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”.