Unlocking potential and inspiring futures

It is always rewarding when GCSE and ‘A’ Level results arrive at Burford School, and happy smiling faces mean that grades have been achieved and academic potential fulfilled. But equally rewarding, and important, is watching students leave school as well-grounded and confident individuals. In a world of increasing pressure from peer groups, social media, academic expectations etc, the importance of consistent, reliable pastoral care is of the utmost importance.

During the past decade, there has been a growing recognition that the school environment plays a major role in social and emotional competence and wellbeing. As a consequence, increasing national and international commitment has been directed towards the development of Health Promoting Schools, with efforts being made to assess how curriculum and pastoral practice can best contribute to students’ social, emotional, physical and moral wellbeing.
Pastoral care underpins personal development. Where there is outstanding pastoral care and students feel they belong, self-esteem grows. An environment in which students feel valued, whatever their backgrounds, capabilities or aspirations, is one in which they will flourish. They progress academically, seize opportunities and achieve their goals.

At Burford School our pastoral support is extensive and on-going. All staff support the key members of the pastoral team, watching out for signs that a student might be struggling – at home, with friends or from external influences.
To make each individual’s journey through secondary school as smooth as possible, students visit us for activities from as early as Year 2 (infants), and by the time they start here in Year 7 many aspects of our school life are familiar to them. It is essential that their first experience with us is positive and so we take a lot of care during the first few weeks to ensure that moves between classrooms are easy, lunch is a positive experience and no buses are missed at the end of the day!

Students participate in various Personal, Social and Health activities with their tutors, the School Health Nurse and the Home School Link worker. This continues throughout all year groups and encourages students to work collaboratively on aspects of learning that do not fall into the academic curriculum. There is the understanding that sometimes we all need a little bit of help as we prepare for the wider world.

Our philosophy at Burford is that ‘every child matters’ and we encourage a culture of openness and appreciation; one in which understanding is fostered and taking responsibility for oneself is encouraged. Given the pastoral framework provided, we find that our students leave us at the end of school as well-rounded young adults, instilled with the personal values and skills to allow them to flourish in the wider world.

Ms C Skerten
(Assistant Head i/c Pastoral Care)

October – November 2017