At its simplest, pastoral care is the provision a school makes to ensure the physical and emotional welfare of students. It is the essential foundation upon which learning can take place. At Downend School we pride ourselves on the breadth and quality of the pastoral care on offer, which ensures students are safe, happy and thrive.
All parents want their children to be safe and happy at school. The importance of pastoral care goes well beyond this, however. Education and health are closely linked, and recent studies have shown that young people with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically. What is more, life skills are also associated with greater wellbeing and higher achievement and good pastoral care in school is also fundamental to the development
How is pastoral care organised at Downend School?
From Year 7 to year 11, pastoral care for students is provided through timetabled lessons and a House-based system. In the first instance, tutors build strong relationships with their students and parents/carers and act as the first point of contact, and teachers in all subjects seek to nurture intellectual, emotional, social, creative and physical development. For many of our students, this will be more than enough to ensure they are safe, happy and thrive.
For those who may require some extra support, the system is led by four Heads of House and supported by the Student Support Centre and the Wellbeing Hub. This team leads on all aspects of student care and guidance, behaviour, attendance, safeguarding, mental health and well being. Heads of House work with the Student Centre to support students experiencing any difficulties that affect their learning and progress and are skilled in overcoming barriers and finding solutions. Some students may be referred to work with our dedicated Mental Health Lead, who works with our students in a variety of ways to provide support.
of character and social skills, which are, of course, of critical importance to pupils in later life.
The Student Support Centre
We have a dedicated team for student support at Downend. The Student Support Centre is a central hub within the Downend School community and is led the Student Centre Manager, and overseen by the Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion. If your child has any questions or needs to know anything, then the Student Support Centre can help them or point them in the right direction.
The team is here to help and guide students through a wide range of issues and various aspects of school life alongside their lessons and learning. We understand that school is a social place and acknowledge that our young people often need support to navigate situations enabling them to learn, grow and develop into well balanced and kind individuals.
The Student Centre Team supports your child and the wider school community in a number of ways. Examples of the type of things that happen here include:
- restorative meetings following friendship issues or other incidents
- first aid response and unwell students
- healthcare plans
- behaviour support
- wellbeing signposting for external agencies
- coordination of internal interventions including the school health nurse
- attendance monitoring
- lost property
- punctuality monitoring
- a friendly ear for worries or concerns
- replacing lost timetables
- missing lunch/no food
- replacement uniform
- free sanitary supplies
The student centre team is available in school from 8:30 until 3:30 Monday - Friday and are always happy to help with parental enquiries as well as queries from students.
The Student Support Centre's direct number is 01454 862339.
The Student Support Centre has access to many support services; therefore we encourage our young people to talk to them if they have any worries or concerns.
The Wellbeing Centre
Our priority within school is not only to provide excellent academic support to our students, but to help them with their mental health and wellbeing, so they can continue through life with the ability to manage their emotions and seek support if and when needed.
In January 2022, we officially opened our Wellbeing Centre, run by Sarah Ware, our dedicated Mental Health Lead. The centre is open during the school day and is available on an appointment basis. If your child feels they need support with their mental health or wellbeing they can speak to any member of staff in school; that member of staff will speak to the relevant Head of House, who will determine what support is required.
It is important that our students feel supported with their wellbeing and therefore this is a confidential service if requested (although please understand that if there is anything that is discussed which we think you need to be made aware of you of course will be told immediately).
Alongside the appointments Mrs Ware is available for ‘drop ins’ before and after school on a Tuesday and Friday and most break/lunch times.
The medical room is manned throughout the school day by a qualified first aider and is situated in the Student Support Centre.
If your child is ill or injured in school you will be notified by a member of staff and asked to collect them if deemed necessary. Please report to the schools main reception to collect your child.
It is essential that your contact details are up to date on our database SIMs, so please inform the school if there are any changes.
If you need to discuss any specific medical need of have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to email the school at email@example.com or telephone 01454 862300 and our first aider will be happy to assist you.