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21st Century Pastoral Care – the changing face and relevance of pastoral care in secondary education

Wednesday 11th March 2015
Newman University, Birmingham

This important regional conference will provide opportunities to debate the changing face and relevance of pastoral care in secondary education. At a time when secondary school budgets are being squeezed, delegates will be encouraged to explore new developments within pastoral care in terms of its role and practices. They will also be encouraged to consider how effective pastoral care can assist in building an environment where young people flourish and succeed.

Delegates will listen to keynote speakers drawn from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds. They will have the opportunity to attend interactive workshops to explore new ideas and approaches. Attendance at the conference will provide ALL delegates with one year’s ‘affiliated membership,’ to the National Association of Pastoral Care in Education.

Confirmed Speakers

Professor Terry Wrigley (Visiting Professor at Leeds Metropolitan University and editor of the international journal Improving Schools)
‘Living on the edge: pastoral care in an age of austerity’

Dr Dawn Casserly (St Paul’s School for Girls, Birmingham)
‘Pastoral care: beyond first aid’

Professor Stan Tucker and Dr Dave Trotman (Newman University)
‘Pastoral care and the support of vulnerable pupils: messages from research’

Audience: School managers, teachers, pastoral support staff, academics and students
Conference fee: £100 (10% discount for early booking – 31st January 2015).

Contact: Cherilyn Ward, School of Education
Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green Birmingham B32 3NT
Tel: 0121 476 1181 x2408


Download the flyer (PDF)

Making a Difference

A seminar and networking event for educational professionals supporting vulnerable youngsters was held on February 14th in Middlesbrough, organised in partnership between NAPCE, Middlesbrough Council, Middlesbrough Schools’ Teaching Alliance and Trinity Partnership.

The event was well attended by an audience of school leaders, governors, and professionals with specific responsibility for supporting vulnerable learners in both primary and secondary settings.

Introductions were made by John O’Boyle, the organiser and NAPCE executive member, followed by Jill Robson NAPCE Secretary and a former Middlesbrough Deputy Head who introduced keynote speaker Dr Mike Calvert, Vice Chair of Napce and Head of the department in the faculty of education and theology at the University of York St John University.

Mike delivered a talk on the development and changes in pastoral care since its inception. He gave a historical overview looking at these changes, some lost in time and other features which have been retained in schools today. The talk was designed to help participants understand how schools arrived at their present situation and how to position themselves in order to bring about meaningful change, in a positive way, to the vulnerable young people in our care.

The key note address was followed by three case studies from local primary schools.

The first case study was presented by Carolyn Baker, Head teacher of Corpus Christi School and dealt with supporting and benefitting from close partnerships with parents. The school had done extensive and innovative work in engaging parents and many examples were presented of how improved relationships had benefitted the school and its pupils.

Sheila Hauxwell, Head teacher of Beech Grove School, talked about early help with in school trough integration with social services and the use of Risk Audits in this process.

The final case study was delivered by Julie Sutton Head teacher at Newport primary school on getting the best for new arrivals in schools with high student mobility. The school has an effective EAL team who deal with new arrivals and their integration into the school.

The afternoon session keynote was delivered by Professor Stan Tucker Editor of the NAPCE journal “Pastoral Care in Education” and professor of Education and social policy at Newman College Birmingham.

Stan’s talk on Pupil Vulnerability: Pastoral Responses in Secondary Education included references to research undertaken in Birmingham in order to understand the increase in exclusions in Year 9. One of the main conclusions from the project was that the provision of pastoral care is changing towards more targeted forms of intervention aimed at the most vulnerable young people and most success was achieved in schools which valued and supported multi professional and multi-agency work.

The afternoon session was concluded by group sessions which allowed the review and discussion of the day’s presentations.

Share and Inspire

Saturday 29th March 2014
10:30 am until 12 noon
(Refreshments from 10:15 – 10:30 am)
Caesar Room, Imperial Hotel, Russells Square,
London WC1B 5BB

Members and Guests are invited to attend
Four short ten minute presentations followed by questions. They will share current research or practice in pastoral care and provide inspiration and ideas that can make a real difference in the learning experience of learners.

Presentation One
Professor Stan Tucker – Developing Policies and Strategies for Pastoral Care in Birmingham Secondary Schools
The workshop will explore key findings from research into policies and strategies currently being developed in 16 Birmingham inner-city secondary schools around the provision of pastoral care. It will specifically focus on school priorities and responses to young people deemed to be at risk of school exclusion. Stan Tucker has has considerable experience of graduate and postgraduate teaching and educational research at Newman University in Birmingham and is the editor of the NAPCE journal Pastoral Care in Education.

Presentation Two
Jill Robson – Student Voice – Why and How
The presentation will share experiences about how student voice has been delivered in different schools and it will give examples of how running student voice days can impact on the personal development of the students participating. Jill Robson is a former Deputy Head teacher and is currently the Secretary and Treasurer for NAPCE.

Presentation Three
Phil Jones – Making a Difference with a High Achievers Programme
This presentation will explain how a State secondary school has worked in partnership with an independent school to implement a High Achievers Programme for students from both schools. It will describe how the programme focuses on developing personal skills such as teamwork, problem solving and thinking skills to support the student in achieving their potential in their learning. Phil Jones is a Headteacher and is currently the chair of NAPCE.

Presentation Four
Jakub Makowski – ‘A Curriculum for Life’ (Speaking on behalf of the National Youth Parliament)
Jakub is the Member of the Youth Council for the Colchester constituency and represent 27,000 young people in the constituency. The UK Youth Parliament is looking for a radical change in the curriculum so it is about preparing young people for life. One question they are asking is “What is the point of having 5A* to C if you cannot clear 5 figures of debt? ” He will talk about their views that the curriculum in schools currently fails young people and does not prepare them for their future lives.

The presentations will interest anybody who is looking for inspiration to make a difference in the academic and personal development of learners. To reserve your place at the Share and Inspire Presentations please contact Melissa O’ Grady, Administrator at NAPCE by email no later than Friday 7th March.

Is there ever a justification for an illegal exclusion?

John O’Boyle

Educating Yorkshire, September 2013, the episode featuring a young man struggling to cope in school after the unexpected death of his older brother. After days of escalating disruption, the charismatic Head Teacher calls the boy and his mother into his office, “Although he hasn’t done anything wrong, we are sending him home for a few days until after the funeral, it is the best thing for everyone” (or words to that effect). All nod their heads in agreement. Wait for it… fifteen seconds later, the first comment on twitter, “Oh dear! An illegal exclusion. #educatingyorkshire”

On April 24th 2013 the office of the The Children’s Commissioner published a report entitled ‘Always Someone Else’s Problem’. This report highlighted a wide range of practices categorised as illegal exclusions estimating that approximately 1600 schools across the country were, at the time of the research, sending children home for disciplinary reasons without recording it as an exclusion. The recommendations of this report included the citing of a need for an effective sanction for schools engaging in this malpractice -OFSTED to be immediately informed. The DfE and OFSTED responded quickly with new attendance guidance focusing on the correct use of the ‘B Code’ (educated off site) issued and a new impetus for inspectors to investigate schools’ exclusion procedures and use of attendance codes.

Fact: there were, and maybe still are, some schools that were sending children home, often for long periods of time, because they were generally too difficult to manage. Recorded as educated off site to mask the practice even though work was rarely forwarded and hardly ever marked. Vulnerable children abandoned; inexcusable practice by immoral Head teachers more concerned with the way their (exclusion and attendance) figures look than ensuring every child’s right to a suitable education. No argument.

But is there ever a grey area, exceptions to the rule that are genuinely intended for the good of the children? The intuitive head of year that can just smell the fact that said student is going to have a bad day, perhaps a domestic issue during the night before, he/she steps in before a major incident arises. Parent asked to come into school, no transgression committed, but a recommendation that said student go home to cool off before we all come back tomorrow to talk things through – is this acting in the best interests of those concerned? The alert form tutor that picks up a rumble of a social network tremor in registration period. A fight arranged, no way for those concerned to back down as the whole school is anticipating the contest, quick intervention, potential combatants intercepted and conflict avoided – dignity intact. Is this justification for those concerned to be excluded given nothing has really happened between the adversaries yet (especially if the fight has been arranged by a third party)? And what about the boy whose older brother has unexpectedly died and he has been finding it difficult to cope? Exclude him at his time of greatest need of support? Send him home on compassionate leave? Record him in the register as ‘C’ – other authorised circumstances for absence? But what if he is still not coping next week, or the week after that? #Dilemma #Discuss.

What goes around … ?

Yet again it appears that staff at the DfE are about to fail to take the essential step and include PSHE Education as a statutory part of the revised National curriculum due in 2014.

Whilst there are continued calls for schools to address all the concerns of society – drugs/alcohol, smoking, teenage pregnancy, bullying, anti-social behaviour, knife crime, obesity, healthy eating, self-harm, mental health, road safety and most recently careers education… (I’ll leave you to add to the continuously increasing list) the desire to ensure this critical element of every student’s personal development is to be left to the vagaries and enthusiasm of individual Headteachers. Please don’t misunderstand, there have always been some schools where the importance of PSHE has been placed alongside the core subjects with time, staffing and resources provided to ensure students can make important decisions based on sound knowledge. However too many children have received, at best, an occasional or one off lesson in say S & R or drugs education, or at worst the basic facts provided by the science curriculum or death by worksheets, as there are no suitably qualified staff to deliver key aspects or time left to provide regular sessions. With the demand for improved numeracy and literacy and the pressure on Heads who have to respond to targets and league tables, who can blame those who feel they cannot give appropriate time and resources to PSHE, it is not statutory!

I was really excited when I heard comment in2012 that PSHE was to become statutory, I should have known better. It appears this will not be the case, the ‘Consultation on PSHE education – summary report’ published in March 2013 dashed our hopes again. The best we can expect are ‘new standardised frameworks or programmes of study’ with ‘funding from the PSHE Association to work with schools, to advise them in developing their own PSHE curriculum’ ‘enabling schools to respond to student need’. That sounds very much like it’s left to Headteachers to decide again and so the roundabout turns again. Who will help equip staff with the necessary skills to deliver some of the more sensitive or specialised aspects? Where will the finance be found to properly resource programmes? What is most disappointing is there are many, not profit making organisations (NAPCE, Sex Education Forum, NSPCC, CEOP to name a few), who continue to work in various aspects of PSHE and could have provided the DfE with the knowledge and skills to put together the key basics of a good programme – who remembers all the great work that went into ‘The Passport Project’ only for it to be pushed aside by a more political group championing citizenship?

As I near the end of my 33yr teaching career, the foundation for which has been on Pastoral aspects and supporting young people to develop into confident well rounded young adults, I am disappointed that in the 21st century the staff at the DfE still do not recognise the key value of personal development through a PSHE curriculum that is as well developed, structured and resourced as English, Maths, Science (but not examined by tests)

What can you do? Send your comments to NAPCE at and/or write to your local MP and make your views known. Unless we raise the issue another 30 odd years will pass and many more young people will be denied the knowledge and skills they deserve to help them make sense of and make informed decisions in a confusing and demanding world.

Jae Bray
NAPCE June 2013

Making sense of the cuts and the move towards the private sector in health, education and care

Those engaged in one of the ‘caring’ professions cannot help but be feeling the pinch in terms of the cuts that have followed the credit crunch and the economic downturn. The Government’s ‘Plan A’ is for a rapid reduction in debt, front-loaded so that the effects are being felt acutely and very early in the electoral cycle.

Before Christmas there was the news of the first privatisation of a NHS hospital (Hinchingbroke) and plans to privatise 5 prisons including Doncaster. There were planned strikes at Prince Henry School in Otley whose staff were protesting about the shift to Academy status removing the school from Local Authority control.

Observers could be excused for thinking that these moves are simply the Government recognising that cuts have to be made and that bringing in the private sector can bring about savings. However, what lies behind this and Cameron’s related policy of The Big Society is a far bigger global agenda which goes by the name of neo-liberalism. Some readers will be well acquainted with the term through their reading but the term is not that common in daily parlance. What we are witnessing is an ideological shift that started with Thatcher and Reagan in the 1980s and has been gathering momentum over the last 30 years.

For the uninitiated then, what is neo-liberalism? Neo-liberalism describes a set of principles which are anti-socialist and anti-welfare and embrace the following: a shift of responsibility from the centre to the community (localism); the primacy of the individual with a responsibility for maximising their potential; the state being small on ’bureaucracy’ and big on ’control’; the primacy of the market and competition to bring about choice, economic efficiency and prosperity. The neo-liberal tenet of ’more market’ means deregulation and privatisation in the move to restructure the welfare state.

Essentially this means that the Government believes in a strong controlling state that devolves responsibility and creates market-like conditions in the belief that this will produce greater efficiencies and effectiveness, higher standards and reduce the burden on the state. Inspection regimes ensure compliance and the Local Authorities are bypassed as, in theory at least, the ’voice’ of the consumer is heard. The individual in this new world has to take responsibility for him or herself with a rapidly shrinking welfare state. Privatising parts of the national health, education and the care services represents a logical step up from privatising the utilities and public transport that took place in the 1980s.

No matter what role you have in terms of caring for others, either as a teacher, health worker or carer, you will recognise the dangers of letting the market decide. Decisions are made on the basis of data and savings and the discourse is of productivity, streamlining, consumer satisfaction and, sadly, downsizing in many cases.

It is worth reflecting on the cuts and how they are affecting your organisation and then looking at the way in which they are presented in such a way as to suggest improvement and a changing philosophy. Only time will tell what the consequences of this ideological shift will be.

Dr Mike Calvert
July 2012

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