Pastoral Care

Pastoral Overview

At North Bridge House we are committed to educating the ‘whole’ child and we pride ourselves on our integrated vision for pupils’ education and well-being.  All staff are approachable, informed and actively committed to both the pastoral and the academic aspects of school life.  Pupil well-being is at the heart of everything we do.

We have a strong pastoral structure and systems of support in place at the Senior School. The pastoral team is overseen by the Deputy Head, who has specific responsibility for pastoral care.  The team includes Form Tutors and Heads of Year as well as a range of additional specialist staff.  We always aim to work in conjunction with parents and guardians to build strong links between home and school.

We equip our pupils with the personal skills and knowledge required to make informed choices, to keep themselves safe and to have the self-belief to be who they want to be, both in school and beyond.  All pupils benefit from an innovative and contemporary PSHEE curriculum, which is informed by topical research and ideas from pupils and parents. Our programme of assemblies, guest speakers, awareness fortnights, careers advice and charity initiatives give further scope to explore the views of others.

For every child to be truly celebrated as an individual, they also need to be encouraged to find ways that they can celebrate themselves.  The size of our school and classes enables us to get to know our pupils exceptionally well, and pupils support and encourage each other.

We realise that children will face challenges as they are growing up and we respond to issues if and as they arise, ensuring that support is timely, suitable and effective.  We promote the importance of asking for and accepting help, both pastorally and academically.

All members of staff receive regular safeguarding training and are bound to work within the guidelines of Cognita’s Safeguarding Policy and the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board’s procedures.  Our 2015 inspection acknowledged North Bridge House Senior School’s robust safeguarding practices and noted the good links we have with local authorities and other external agencies.

Providing children with an environment in which they feel safe, happy and have a sense of belonging is vital; we want all pupils in our school community to be in the best frame of mind not only to learn but to feel secure, purposeful and empowered to be themselves.

Form Groups & Year Groups

When a child joins North Bridge House they become part of a form group, made up of pupils in the same school year and looked after by a Form Tutor.  This sense of belonging is crucial and form groups create strong bonds.

Pupils register and spend form time with their Form Tutor in the morning and again in the afternoon.  The Form Tutor is therefore pupils’ first and last point of contact at the start and end of each school day.  Importantly, they are also a key contact for parents and home-school communication is encouraged.

In particular, Form Tutors help pupils to keep on top of organisation, deadlines and routines.  They prepare their form group for the day ahead, and then reflect on the challenges and achievements with which pupils were faced in the afternoon, recording feedback in the group’s ‘Form Book’. Form Books also enable subject teachers to give feedback and record merits, so that successes can be celebrated together. Form Tutors are a crucial source of support and advice for pupils, and have an excellent overview of each of the children in their care.

All staff at North Bridge House Senior School are either Form Tutors or Attached Form Tutors, who provide a particular year group with extra support. For example, Year 7 receive additional specialist guidance from the Head of Learning Support, the School Librarian and the Food Technology teacher, who are their Attached Tutors.

In Key Stage 3, pupils are taught in their form groups for most subjects and class sizes are small.

In Key Stage 4, pupils are taught in GCSE option groups and form groups reduce to approximately ten to twelve pupils.

Each year group is overseen by a Head of Year.  Through working very closely with the pupils and the team of Form Tutors, they maintain a comprehensive and current overview of their year group, and are responsible for setting standards and leading year group initiatives.

Along with their team, the Head of Year collates a ‘Pastoral Timetable’ of interesting activities and helpful routines for form time.  They lead regular year group assemblies and promote weekly celebrations of pupils’ successes and achievements. They are sensitive to the needs of the particular age group and cohort with whom they work, as well as the individuals within it.  As part of the PSHEE curriculum, the Head of Year runs a series of ‘individual tutorials’ in which they reflect on school life and progress with each member of their year group.  They also meet regularly with their Year Team and with Form Representatives – pupils elected by their form groups to chair the year group’s Student Council meetings.

 

School Counselling Service

We offer specialist services as part of our pastoral support at North Bridge House Senior School.

The School Counselling Service provides students with the opportunity to express their concerns in a safe, non-judgmental and suitably confidential environment, where they can reflect on how to respond to day-to-day situations they might be finding challenging or overwhelming.  The aim is to facilitate thoughtful reflection and to promote resilience and flexible thinking.

When meeting a student for their first session, the Counsellor explains how the service works, as well as making clear the limits of confidentiality in the interests of safeguarding.

All pupils at North Bridge House Senior School are entitled to:

  • Five free Counselling sessions free of charge.
  • Lunchtime ‘Drop In’ sessions free of charge.

The School Counsellor works in partnership with North Bridge House Senior School as a member of the Pastoral Team.  Where appropriate and in the best interests of the child, there may also be partnership with parents and families, as well as external agencies and other professionals and clinicians.

The School Counsellor is part of the team that delivers the PSHEE curriculum, sharing expertise on more wide-ranging topics such as Mental Health and Wellbeing.

They are a professionally trained member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, bound by the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice and subject to their Professional Conduct Procedure.

Full information about the School Counselling Service, its terms and availability and how to access sessions is shared with all pupils and families at the start of each school year.

 

Mentoring

Where appropriate, members of staff may be assigned to ‘mentor’ pupils to support their particular needs.  In addition, we have a specialist Mentor who works as part of both the Pastoral and the Learning Support Teams to deliver weekly sessions, which provide support, skills, strategies and guidance to pupils who might be struggling to cope emotionally or socially.

Pupils usually receive one forty minute session per week and interventions may be short, medium or long-term.  Examples of key areas of focus in sessions are:

  • Self-Awareness and Self-Esteem
  • Self-Control
  • Communication Skills
  • Assertiveness Training
  • Building Positive Relationships
  • Responsibility and Choices
  • Concentration, Study Skills and Organisation

 

Anti-Bullying

All members of the school community are expected to promote the North Bridge House values of consideration, tolerance and respect, and to celebrate equality and diversity.

We are committed to creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which all pupils feel safe and valued, as we recognise that pupils only learn effectively when in a secure environment.

We are explicit with pupils that we take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying.  Incidents brought to our attention will always be followed up as a priority and in keeping with our Anti-Bullying policy and procedures.  We treat all cases of bullying the same and so cyber-bullying or bullying via text, for example, would be acted upon in the same way face-to-face interactions.

Clear examples of what constitutes bullying are outlined in the Pupil Planner, which acts as a shared resource between school and home.  All pupils are asked to commit to and sign the Commitment to Anti-Bullying page at the start of each year.

To prevent bullying of any nature, we also:

  • promote a ‘telling culture’
  • include Anti-Bullying as part of the PSHEE Programme
  • regularly discuss issues such as Anti-Bullying in Form Group and Year Group time
  • recognise Anti-Bullying Week annually
  • ensure pupils have a strong pastoral support network

Staff are sensitive in working with anyone being bullied to agree the best way forwards and we would always urge anyone with any concerns to seek advice from a trusted member of staff.

Any child who bullies another will be asked to consider carefully the reasons for their inappropriate behaviour towards others.  A bully can expect, as appropriate, advice, reprimand or punishment and will always be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, even if their intention was not to cause distress.

The sanctions for any form of bullying are made absolutely clear in the Pupil Planner and in our system of Sanctions and Consequences, which is shared with all pupils and displayed in all classrooms.  Serious or persistent bullying offences may incur expulsion.