The main aim of Pastoral Care in Castlederg High School is to support pupils in their learning and development in a safe, caring environment.
Great importance is placed on the pastoral programme in our school and we consider this to be the concern of every teacher. They have an important pastoral role in building the confidence and self-esteem of all pupils in a positive learning environment. Through our pastoral system we aim to promote the personal, social and academic development of our pupils. We achieve this by creating a climate in which all our pupils feel secure in the knowledge that, as a valued member of the school community, they can give and receive encouragement, guidance and support. It is important that each pupil’s needs, interests and academic progress are monitored and understood by at least one teacher. Each class has a Form
Teacher who can respond to problems of the individual pupils in that class, and who will help them to benefit from the opportunities that the school has to offer. Form classes are of mixed ability so that all pupils integrate with their peers from all streams. The pupils and Form Teachers of any year group are supported by a Year Head.
All pupils have a weekly Personal Development class that focuses on delivering the preventative curriculum around mental wellbeing, drugs and alcohol education, healthy living, study skills etc. Ongoing pastoral support is available through the Form Teacher who meets the pupils each morning for registration.
Pupils in Years 8 and 13 have comprehensive induction programs to help them settle into their new school environment. A valuable part of the Year 8 induction programme is “Your School, Your Business”, a team-building day held at the end of September. This helps new pupils to create friendships by mixing with a wider group in a purposeful environment and gives opportunities for them to think about the qualities they, as an individual, have to offer in school.
Year 8 pupils have additional support from a dedicated team of Sixth Form pupils who act as Peer Mentors.
Pupils are allocated to one of three houses when they arrive in Castlederg High School – Derg, Mourne or Strule and they remain with this house for the duration of their school life. The house system promotes a sense of ‘belonging’ and encourages vertical interaction between pupils of different year groups. Pupils are rewarded through the House System where they earn points for their house by achievements and activities both inside and outside school, this helps to build a sense of belonging and unity for pupils.
Examples of activities for which house points may be awarded are –
Attendance of a club or society inside or outside of school eg sports team, choir, drama group, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Farmers Award, Boy’s Brigade, Girl’s Brigade, Scouts or Guides Volunteer Now etc
100% attendance each month
All homework completed
Absence notes signed
Controlled Assessment deadlines set
Attending school events
Head Girl/Head Boy
Each month the pupil with the most points from each house will receive Reward Vouchers that can be exchanged in the school canteen. At the end of the year the pupils in the house with the most points will be rewarded with an activity trip.
Positions of Responsibility /Peer Mentors
We encourage a sense of responsibility in all our pupils and they are given the opportunity to develop leadership qualities through serving as prefects, house captains, team captains, or as student representatives in the Student Council. Year 14 pupils are nominated as Prefects and some of these volunteer to become Peer Mentors for year 8 pupils as sometimes it may be easier for young people to talk to someone their own age about problems they are experiencing. The Peer Mentors receive training on how to support these pupils effectively, often giving them the ability to deal effectively with their problems thus promoting independence and self reliance.
The school takes a positive approach to behaviour management, encouraging good behaviour and respect for self and others. This involves pupils, parents and teachers working together in partnership with a clear understanding of each other’s rights and responsibilities. Pupils are expected to conform to the school rules and routines in order to ensure a safe and positive learning environment for all. The school rules are available in each pupil’s personal organiser. Pupils who contravene the school rules and display undesirable behaviour will be subject to a range of sanctions administered through the school’s pastoral system. When necessary, behavioural support mechanisms will also be deployed to ensure a balanced approach. Parents are contacted as soon as a pupil’s behaviour gives significant cause for concern.
The school works in partnership with parents, the school nurse and other medical professionals to ensure that staff are briefed, and where necessary, trained in meeting an individual pupil’s needs.
If pupils become unwell during the school day and are unable to stay in class they are monitored by Ms Hamilton, who assists with pupil welfare and liaises with the Vice-Principal on such matters. Parents will want to take responsibility for their children if they are injured or unwell so we contact them if necessary. No tablets or medicines may be issued in school without written parental permission.
Pupils experiencing stress or emotional problems can find it difficult to engage in the learning and teaching process and to reach their full potential. At any time, pupils may need extra emotional support beyond the normal pastoral care in school to help them to cope with difficult experiences. Very often, pupils can benefit from a ‘listening ear’ that is not a parent/guardian, friend or someone involved in their education.
All pupils within the school are made aware of the counselling service. As far as possible, the School Counsellor will attend each Year Group Assembly at an early stage of each academic year to deliver a short presentation on counselling.
Uniform and Appearance
Uniform and appearance should reflect the high standards of the school and pupils are expected to wear the complete uniform at all times. If an item of uniform is missing a note from a parent must be produced.
Attending school regularly is a vital aspect of pupil learning and high attendance rates are expected of all pupils. Absences are monitored closely by Form Teachers and Year Heads and home will be contacted for unexplained absences. The Education Welfare Officer (EWO) also provides support in this area.
The Student Council
The Student Council is a vital part of our school. Its aim is to develop the school community enabling pupils to become co-partners with teachers in their education. The council introduces students to democratic, responsible and mature ways of making their views heard. The council is made up of an elected body of pupils from each form group who meet on a regular basis with senior staff members. They use this opportunity to bring forward new ideas and issues of concern on behalf of their peers and they report the outcomes of the meetings back to their form group. The Student Council gives pupils the experience of creating new initiatives, solving problems and achieving goals in an environment where their views are listened to and respected.