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NAPCE News – September 2020

NAPCE News – September 2020

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

Pastoral care in schools across the UK and further afield is proven to be critically linked to the academic and personal-social development of young people. NAPCE continues to support education providers in the process of pastoral care implementation and development.

It is here that we share important news of our latest activities, events and best practice guidance. 

AWARDS: The First Ever NAPCE Awards Takes Place in September 2020, Here’s the Programme & Ticket Link for the Online Ceremony

NAPCE AWARDS PRESENTATION 2020

Ahead of the first NAPCE Awards 2020 ceremony, which is taking place online because of social distancing needs, we’re delighted to share the programme for the event.

We’re also pleased to share the ticket link (below).

A large number of tickets have already been snapped up and the remaining spaces are now available to the general public on a first-come-first-served basis.

For general information about the Awards click here https://www.napce.org.uk/napce-awards-2020-finalists-announced/

Thursday 24th September – 7.00pm (via Zoom)

6-45 pm Guests gather on video conference for pre event drinks

7-00pm Introduction and Arrangements for the Evening – Victoria Bownes, National Executive Member and Host for the Evening presented from Lambrook School in Berkshire. 
Highlights Video of Pastoral Care in 2020

Welcome Phil Jones, The National Association for Pastoral Care, National Chair, Address – Recognising Achievement in Pastoral Care

Guest Speaker, Geoff Barton, Association of School and College Leaders, General Secretary  – Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a 11-18 school of 1650 students. He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and patron of the English & Media Centre. He was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, founding chair of its Pedagogy Committee, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He was elected as General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017 and is a regular guest on BBC News, speaking on a range of education matters.

Awards – Nominations for each category and Announcement of Winners, Victoria Bownes

Closing Remarks, Professor Stan Tucker, Editor Pastoral Care in Education

Vote of Thanks – On behalf of NAPCE – Victoria Bownes
Good Luck in the new academic and we look forward to hearing of your successes in pastoral care over the course of the year.
 
Invitation to the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education
On Thursday 24th September 2020
Starting at 7-00 pm. Please join us for pre event drinks from 6-45pm
Where: Zoom

Topic: NAPCE AWARDS PRESENTATION 2020
Time: Sep 24, 2020 06:00 PM London
 
To book tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/presentation-of-the-national-awards-for-pastoral-care-in-education-tickets-113448278856?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch

INSPIRATION: “Thoughts on Pastoral Research” by NAPCE’s Journal Editor Stan Tucker

 

Some Thoughts on Pastoral Research

Like me, you have probably been listening to and watching various news broadcasts concerning the return of children and young people to school for the new academic year.

One of the major themes of the broadcasts has focused on how the return will impact on the health and wellbeing of those concerned.

For it is fair to say that COVID19 has radically changed the lives of many school-aged children. Even if we consider for a moment the way in which space in school is now being utilised, how different if must feel to sit apart from friends, be continually mindful of the need for social distancing, as well as observing the behaviour of teaching staff as they try and avoid close contact with their students.

Regular readers of Pastoral Care in Education will know that many of our research articles take as their specific focus the wellbeing and mental  health of children and young people in schools.

However, in watching the story of COVID19 unfold, I have become increasingly conscious that research on the impact of the virus is something that is being promised for the future.

It also concerns me that we are likely to only hear about data gathered through large quantitative studies.

So, here is my question: Is there value in those working in schools undertaking their own research into the experiences of children and young people returning to school post-COVID19? I am not talking about a large scale study, but the construction of a number of case studies at the level of the individual school (or of course you could work in partnership with other schools to compare and contrast experiences).

There are all kinds of ways that these studies could be produced – text, video, photographs etc. The voices of young people and staff could be captured, or the diary entries of a member of staff might prove to be illuminating.

NAPCE would be interested in facilitating the production of such materials. Don’t forget also that Pastoral Care in Education has space for the publication of ‘thinking pieces’ where staff, or children, or both, can express their views and talk about their experiences. Or of course you could write something for this newsletter.

If you are interested in discussing your ideas contact me on: s.a.tucker@newman.ac.uk

Stan Tucker
Editor, Pastoral Care In Education Journal

September 2020

 

BOOK REVIEW: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones on “Beyond Wiping Noses” by Stephen Lane, a New Book on Pastoral Leadership in Schools.

Beyond Wiping Noses – An informed approach to pastoral leadership in schools. Book review. 

This new pastoral book written by Stephen Lane (also known as #SputnikSteve on Twitter) was published this month by Crown House Publishing Limited.

It is good to see that a growing interest in pastoral care is resulting in an increased discussion about pastoral issues on social media; more articles and research being presented for publication in journals, including NAPCE’s journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ and more books on pastoral topics being published.

The author comments in the book that with the increased focus on mental health and well-being, along with the increase in concerns over cyberbullying and the negative effects of social media, that pastoral care is arguably more important than ever.

This book makes a significant contribution to raising awareness about the contribution effective pastoral care can make to a young person’s educational experience.

It increases understanding about how the pastoral work of the school helps young people to make sense of their education and lives as a member of society.

At the heart of the book is a call for a more informed and evidence-based approach to the organisation and delivery of pastoral care in schools.

It has always been a belief of NAPCE that research informs good practice. In the days before Twitter and the internet, NAPCE was an important forum for members to share good practice and a meeting point for research and debate about good practice.

The book encourages the view that this process is still important even if NAPCE like many other organisations has had to adapt in response to new technology and ways of working.

In many ways the book is a breath of fresh air for NAPCE members and supporters who for many years it seems have been fighting an uphill battle to ensure that pastoral work in schools is valued and recognised for the impact it can have on a young person’s achievement at school and in later life.

The foreword by Mary Myatt recognises the contribution made by the late Michael Marland, who was a founder member of the NAPCE, in raising awareness about the impact of effective pastoral care.

I can remember sitting next to Michael Marland in NAPCE meetings and being aware of his passion and deep-rooted belief that pastoral care was an important part of education.

Unfortunately, that has been challenged in recent years by a focus on examination results and accountability and it is encouraging now that there is a growing awareness about the contribution pastoral work can make to the achievement of young people and this book contributes to this process by developing the readers’ understanding of pastoral issues in schools.

There is a clear structure and organisation to the book with different topics being explored in each chapter in a sensible and balanced way taking advantage of available literature and evidence for each area.

The book provides the reader with guidance on sources of information and resources that can be used to support the planning and delivery of pastoral care in schools.

Each chapter includes a conclusion with a summary of the issues and gives suggestions on how schools and staff working in pastoral roles should respond.

Stephen includes his own thoughts and experience in what he describes as “a reflection of the journey I have taken towards a more informed response to pastoral matters”. (Lane, S. 2020, p5)

There is a focus on secondary schools in the book, which is the author’s own experience, but the issues explored are relevant to professionals working in primary, tertiary and higher education and will develop their understanding and encourage them to reflect on their own policy and practice.

In the introduction the author makes a case for a research-based approach using evidence for the planning and delivery of pastoral care. Stephen comments on how he discovered the NAPCE journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’.

“immediately I began to see ways to improve my practice in relation to pastoral issues and by extension to improve the experience of the students in my care” (Lane S 2020 p 5.)

In chapter one the book focuses on pastoral roles in schools. It recognises that there can be a lack of clarity about pastoral roles and that they can become reactive and instinctive. He examines the role of the Form Tutor, Head of Year or Middle leader, School Chaplain, School Counsellor and Pastoral Leader in a context where he makes it clear that all adults in a school  have a pastoral duty and that pastoral work is not “wiping noses and kicking butts”.

“Napce does a decent job in encapsulating the plethora of particulars involved. It also succeeds I think in traversing the potential false dichotomy between the pastoral and the academic” (Lane S 2020 p 12.)

He recognises that the NAPCE guidance places a strong emphasis on personal development, which is one of the four key areas in the current inspection framework.

He supports the NAPCE guidelines, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of the skills, knowledge and understanding of staff including the suggested requirement that staff;
“Take responsibility for remaining fully informed about developments in pastoral care and in education that have an impact on the support of learners in schools” (Lane S 2020 p13.)

He examines the plans for a designated Senior Lead for Mental Health in Schools and points out the importance of this being properly resourced and given a high status, which is something that all areas of pastoral work in schools would benefit from. The book argues that it is important for schools to have a clear vision for pastoral roles and that this should be used to inform job descriptions.

In chapter two the book asks the question what research can inform the development of pastoral structures and systems and the delivery of effective pastoral care.

 “In order to achieve effective pastoral care for the welfare, well-being and overall success of our students and enable them to participate -pastoral leaders must embrace and engage with the current movement in educational discourse towards a research and evidence informed practice”. (Lane, S, 2020 p21).

The author argues the case for policies and procedures and daily practice to be based upon and informed by ongoing critical engagement with research and evidence.

He informs the reader about the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research in pastoral care. In examining the difficult task of defining pastoral care the book uses contributions form NAPCE members.

These include Michael Marland and the ideas presented in his 1974 book That introduced the concept of pastoral care being about the ‘crisis of identity faced by adolescents; what do I want to make of myself and what do I have to work with’. (Marland 1974). The book uses the article by a former NAPCE president Ron Best in 2014 which argues that Marland’s book had a significant and long-term impact upon ideas about pastoral care. (Best R 2014.)
“As the founding chair of NAPCE, Marland’s influence should not be underestimated” (Lane, S, 2020p p30)

To explore definitions of Pastoral, the book  uses the work of another member of NAPCE’s National Executive Committee , Mike Calvert, who in 2009 pointed out a shift away from the term Pastoral due to its ecclesiastical or agricultural roots and associations with outdated notions of power dependence and models of schooling.

The author points out that even within the pages of the journal – Pastoral Care in Education, it is difficult to locate a clearly recognisable definition. This is a fair comment and reflects the challenges of finding a definition which, from my experience, have been a feature of many discussions and debates at NAPCE’s National Executive and Editorial Board Meetings.

Stephen does respond to the readers’ need for a definition by referring to the first edition of the journal and an article from HMI Eric Lord who provided the following definition;
“the bridge between education and life is best made by those who can help the young to find their way among the exhilarating interests, the satisfactions and the baffling ambiguity of human existence”. (Lord 1983 p 11)

The book also uses a definition from Mike Calvert which he summarises as, “the structures practices and approaches to support the welfare, well-being and development of children and young people”. (Calvert, M, 2009, p267).

It is good to see it recognised in the book, that all the discussions at National Executive, Editorial Board and in the Journal have enabled NAPCE to contribute to developing understanding about pastoral care.

“The NAPCE has its own journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ which includes a range of papers on various topics and also publishes special themed issues” (Lane S, 2020, p35)

In chapter three the author argues for the need for a ‘knowledge rich pastoral curriculum’. The book provides examples of organisations and sources for resources that can support schools in planning and delivering a pastoral curriculum.

The chapter explores the various approaches to delivering a pastoral curriculum and questions the messages that are really passed on to young people. An approach is encouraged where schools are clear about what they include in their pastoral curriculum and about the key messages that it gives to learners.

This is important if pastoral leaders are not going to leave it to chance which good habits, moral values, and personal characteristics that the learners in their care pick up.

It is seen a part of the pastoral leaders’ role to make decisions about what should be incorporated into a coherent pastoral curriculum and to be clear about the messages that are given by the hidden curriculum which is defined as the unwritten values, perspectives and beliefs that are transmitted in the classroom and around the school.

The focus in chapter four is on the challenges of preventing bullying. The reader is provided with an overview of literature about bullying in school and recognises the important contribution made by the Journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ in developing understanding about this issue to inform policies and practice.

The teacher’s role is explored along with the impact of new technology and in particular social media. The reader is provided with a useful summary of intervention strategies and approaches to prevent bullying in a school setting.

Well-being, and mental health are current concerns for schools and the potential cause of the apparent rise in mental health issues and the role of the school is examined.

The impact the school may have, by the pressure it places on learners to succeed because of the schools need to be accountable for their examination results is highlighted. Once again, the reader is provided with resources and sources of information for raising awareness about mental health issues and planning interventions and support.

The writer suggests that schools can improve learners’ self-esteem and their mental health by ensuring that they have experience of success. This has important implications for how the school provides a positive culture and ethos for learning and supports the personal development of its learners.

In chapter six the book explores different approaches to managing behaviour including controversial topics such as isolation booths. There is a well balanced and sensible discussion about the use of restorative practice to and other strategies that can be used to manage behaviour in schools such as ‘warmstrict’, which is described as a modern manifestation of tough love.

By examining different theoretical and ideological perspectives the writer, makes comments and suggestions that will develop the understanding of pastoral staff and encourage them to reflect on their own procedures and practice.

The reader who is looking for practical guidance is not forgotten and the writer shares ideas about practical steps that can be taken to improve behaviour.

The focus in chapter seven is on the recent interest in what has been called Character Education. Definitions of Character Education are explained and different approaches to implementing it as part of the curriculum are shared with the reader.

The literature is used to explore different approaches to Character Education and the reader is signposted to resources and information There is a recognition that Character Education is a contentious topic and this is highlighted by the writer in exploring the available literature. One suggestion highlighted is that character education is needed in schools because the current school system with its focus on examination results does not fully prepare young people for their future lives.

“They suggest that the current schooling system focused as it is on examination results leaves young people with insufficient resilience and fewer coping strategies that they will need in later life” (Lane S, 2020, p111)

In the next chapter the writer, bravely in my view, tackles the current issue about remote learning during the pandemic. The challenges for schools in the short term are difficult to predict and It is not clear what impact the pandemic will have on learning in the future.

The chapter provides the reader with an opportunity to reflect on the recent experience of schools and what implications this might have in both the short term and long term for young people’s education. There has been increased awareness of the work schools do through their pastoral structures and systems to support young people and look after their well-being.

It is frustrating that a global pandemic was needed before the huge difference pastoral staff make, every day by supporting young people and motivating them to achieve their full potential, was recognised and valued.  The writer reports on how schools have continued to take their pastoral obligations seriously and how quickly they have adapted to find new ways to support the learning and well-being of the young people in their care.

The book makes an important contribution to developing understanding about the important impact the pastoral work of the school has on supporting learners on their journey through school and in preparing them for their future roles in society. It makes a clear case for a cohesive pastoral curriculum that is planned, using available evidence and research.

“Teachers must be encouraged to engage in the theoretical and philosophical debate around teaching in order to continually test their practice and so move it towards daily praxis” (Lane, S, 2020, p.126)

This has been the goal for NAPCE since it was first formed in 1982 and this book highlights the important link between research, policy making and practice which has been at the heart of NAPCE’s work for nearly 40 years.

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE)

References 
Best, R. (2014) Forty years of pastoral care: an appraisal of Michael Marland’s seminal book and its significance for pastoral care in schools. Pastoral Care in Education, 32(3): 173-185
Calvert, M. (2009) From ‘pastoral care ‘to ’care’: meanings and practices. Pastoral Care in Education,27(4): 267-277.
Jones, P. (2019) National guidance for pastoral support in schools. NAPCE (3 April). Available at https://www.napce.org.uk/national-guidance-for-pastoral-support-in-schools/.
Lane, S. (2020) Beyond Wiping Noses. Building an informed approach to pastoral leadership in schools, Carmarthen: Crown House Publishing.
Lord, E. (1983) Pastoral care in education: principles and practice. Pastoral Care in Education,1(1):6-11.
Marland, M. (1974) Pastoral Care. London: Heinemann

ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Responds to Guardian Headline “Children in the UK are the Unhappiest in Europe”

 

“Children in the UK are the unhappiest in Europe”

This was the headline in The Guardian newspaper on Friday 28th August 2020.

Although decisions in education are not normally driven by whether young people are happy or not this report being published, as it was just before schools returned for a new academic year, in the middle of a pandemic, encourages pastoral staff to reflect on the experience of young people in school.

It was reported that more than a third of 15-year olds scored low on life satisfaction in the annual ‘Good Childhood Report’, from the Children’s Society.

Children in the UK have the lowest levels of life satisfaction across Europe with a particularly British fear of failure partly to blame, according to the report.

The UK children fared badly across happiness measurements, including satisfaction with schools, friends, and sense of purpose, when compared with children from other European countries.

The rise in UK child poverty and school pressures were cited alongside the fear of failure as reasons why only 64% of UK children experienced high life satisfaction, the lowest figure of 24 countries surveyed by the OECD.

This situation is not just the responsibility of schools and there are implications in these findings for society and how it supports the development of children in preparation for their future lives.

The well-being concerns about young people cannot be solved by pastoral systems and structures on their own, but by taking time to think about the purpose of pastoral support in school, they can make an important contribution.

One of the most important findings is that young people in the UK today feel that they have no sense of purpose.

Is this perhaps because in many schools today, the role of the Form Tutor is not valued as it should be as being important for supporting young people to make sense of their learning experiences and to raise their aspirations for their future roles in society?

Is it because far too often tutor time is a wasted opportunity?

Time is allocated to administrative tasks and activities such as revision and not to the important interaction, between a Form Tutor and a learner, to provide guidance and motivation.

I would suggest that these findings support the argument that schools, if they are going to meet the needs of the young people they care for, need to invest and value their pastoral structures and systems more.

The pastoral work of the school can sometimes be focused on solving problems to enable the ‘more important’ work to take place, of delivering the curriculum and achieving improved percentages in measurable outcomes.

This is not the schools’ fault, but a result of the emphasis placed on academic outcomes in holding them accountable.

The findings reported by the Guardian suggest that this approach is contributing to the negative feelings of young people, by placing more pressure on them to achieve better results.

In this situation, is it not even more important to ensure, that all young people have access to guidance and effective pastoral support?

The role of pastoral systems. in supporting personal development, is not just about improving outcomes but it is important for encouraging positive attitudes and the personal skills that will enable young people to take full advantage of their education and prepare themselves, for their future lives and roles in society.

The data for the report was collected before the pandemic, so I would argue that the need for the pastoral work of the school to be given the value and status that is deserves is urgent, as it is likely that the challenges schools will face in supporting young people are likely to increase.

Pastoral systems have a vital role, by developing cultures in schools that raise the aspirations and ambitions of all learners, if these findings are going to change for the benefit of the young people in the UK in the future.

Please share your thoughts and ideas on the challenges being faced by professionals working in pastoral care on the Twitter page NAPCE@NAPCE1

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

NAPCE News – August 2020

NAPCE News – August 2020

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

Pastoral care in schools across the UK and further afield is proven to be critically linked to the academic and personal-social development of young people. NAPCE continues to support education providers in the process of pastoral care implementation and development. It is here that we share important news of our latest activities, events and best practice guidance. 

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Lockdown Challenges” –  NAPCE Secretary Jill Robson Takes a 360 Look at the Importance of Pastoral Support in the Covid-19 Era

Lockdown ChallengesEach week during lockdown my husband and I have spent a pleasant couple of hours drinking a glass of wine and chatting to John and Elaine, our friends in Brazil.

As someone who started their teaching career creating visual aids with an epidiascope, (a forerunner of the overhead projector) I still continue to be amazed that we can Zoom in from our home in North East England into our friends’ home in Rio de Janeiro.

Our meetings often have to be curtailed when Elaine, a maths teacher, goes off to teach on Skype. The internet has opened up incredible opportunities for innovative teaching and access to information that would take hours of researching without it.

Undoubtedly the internet has made the continued teaching of students accessible throughout lockdown and it is ironic that after the concern about the amount of online time some children were spending, they are now being encouraged to do so to access their education.

The lack of internet connection and computers has disadvantaged many “less well off” children. There is an obvious concern that numbers of children have fallen behind with their studies during the pandemic and will need increased support to catch up with their education.

The June and July NAPCE newsletters included interesting articles by my NAPCE colleague Dr Noel Purdy on this issue entitled “Bridging the Lockdown learning gap”. I encourage you to read them.

When school aged pupils are interviewed by the media about the enforced break from normal schooling the continual response is not “I have missed maths, english and science etc.” but “I have missed my friends”.  This emphasises the role and importance of school in socialising our youngsters, allowing them to interact with others and develop social skills.

A few years ago, when returning from a NAPCE meeting in London on the train, I sat opposite a couple of young people who turned out to be ex-students. Once we had established this fact, the remainder of the journey was occupied by their reminiscences of their schooldays.

I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed that the highlights of their schooldays did not include the particularly good lesson that I taught in Year 9 on tectonic plate movements but was all about school plays and productions, sports matches, school trips and residentials.

These pastoral activities are seen by many as peripheral activities but for students they often form the most memorable and valuable learning experiences and opportunities for developing relationships with their peers, building social skills and enhancing self-esteem.

In his July article about the 7 ways to bridge the lockdown learning gap, Noel Purdy cites the first way as pastoral support for pupils and states ”Schools already have highly skilled pastoral teams but they should be prepared to encounter many more emotional health and well-being needs in the months to follow and should adopt a child-centred approach of whole school understanding and trauma sensitive ”flexible consistency” to ensure that all children feel “physically, socially, emotionally and academically safe“.

Over the last 38 years NAPCE has continually worked to promote, support and develop pastoral care, pastoral programmes and personal, social and emotional education in schools.

For many years it was perceived as an unnecessary add on, to many teachers burgeoning workload, due to its non-statutory status, however from September 2020 it becomes a compulsory part of state education and will be inspected by Ofsted.

The opening paragraph of the introduction to requirement (updated on July 9th 2020) is as follows:

“To embrace the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life, pupils need knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their well-being health and relationships and to build their self-efficacy. Pupils can also put this knowledge into practice as they develop the capacity to make sound decisions when facing risks, challenges and complex contexts. Everyone faces difficult situations in their lives. These subjects can support young people to develop resilience, to know when to ask for help and to know where to access support.”

The foreword by the Secretary of State includes the statement that: “Teaching about mental well-being is central to these subjects, especially as a priority for parents, is their children’s happiness. We know that children and young people are increasingly experiencing challenges, and that young people are at particular risk of feeling lonely. The new subject content will give them the knowledge and capability to take care of themselves and receive support if problems arise”.

It is impossible to argue against the noble sentiments expressed in these statements and it is good to see the recognition of the importance of mental health which although always a major concern, appears to have been an even greater issue during lockdown.

This is an issue which NAPCE has continually attempted to address particularly at its conference May 2019 on “Facing the Challenges Mental Health and Wellbeing” and in the special edition on mental health of the journal Pastoral Care in Education (Vol 36. Sept 2018).

I have read many school mission statements over the years that reflected the same intentions as the new legislation; however, the intended outcomes are not always as easy to achieve.

In his book “A Pastoral Programme”, published in 1986, Douglas Hamblin wrote: “Pastoral Care is concerned with skills and feelings. It is about respect for the individual and the transmission of values as well as provision of skills. Transmitting values does not mean a process of indoctrination. It means the building of responsible autonomy and rational self-regulating principles of moral judgement and not blind adherence to a code”.

As with all types of education it is the quality of the delivery and not the content that is often the issue.

Michael Marland one of the founders of NAPCE wrote in his introductory chapter to his book “Pastoral Care.”

“One serious disadvantage of the title of this book is that it could be seen as accepting that school life must divided into two sides, the pastoral and the academic. It is important to stress that at the heart of the matter there can be no pastoral academic split.”

Hopefully a more enlightened Ofsted process will not see an academic pastoral divide focussing on subject content but will judge the process and the outcomes of this new directive in terms of happy, well-adjusted and self-reliant young people.

There is obviously a lot of remedial work to be done in supporting many of our youngsters through the trauma of lockdown but I am sure that, as ever, our dedicated and hardworking teaching profession will step up to the challenge, when full time schooling resumes.

Jill Robson
NAPCE Secretary

INSPIRATION: “Lost in the Social Distance” a Poem by NAPCE’s Journal Editor Stan Tucker

 

Lost in the Social Distance

The school gate is closed 
Lost time, lost space, lost friends.
I balance my schoolwork 
Carefully on my lap,
The promised laptop has failed to arrive.
Harassed by siblings in a small space,
No progress possible in this confined place.
 
We fight over the use of mum’s phone,
No reference books, no support to call my own.
I walk past the school gate
That feels closed now to me.
My safe place, don’t you know
Where I need to be,
To look in a mirror again and actually see me.
 
There’s tomorrow and hope
I heard someone say.
They talk of social distancing,
As if to wish us away.
I’m hanging on now, I really am.
Get to me please and 
Rescue me, if you can.
 
Produced from published materials of young people talking about ‘lockdown’.

Stan Tucker
Editor, Pastoral Care In Education Journal

July 2020

 

ARTICLE: The Importance of “Creative Expression in Uncertain Times” by Leading Educationalist Dave Trotman

Creative Expression in Uncertain Times

As teachers begin preparations for welcoming children and young people into the ‘new normal’ of school education, there will be a necessary urgency to gauge the experiences and effects of lockdown in all its aspects – both good and bad.

Amongst the welter of practical changes that schools have already implemented, many will be considering adjustments to the curriculum and how this can effectively support the needs of children and their families during an, as yet, unchartered transition.

As we all begin to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of pandemic life, the histories of curricula past – many of which have been buried for far too long under the burden of prescription and performance – could now be usefully revitalised for these uncertain times.

One such area with strong pastoral agency is the Expressive Arts. As a historical matter, this of course is far from an original idea. Indeed, Michael Marland – widely regarded as the founding Father of pastoral education in the UK – was a passionate advocate for the arts as a pastoral force in the school curriculum.

At the same time Exeter University academic Malcolm Ross brought the expressive possibilities of the arts to wide educational attention. Art, Dance, Drama, English, Media and Music were regarded by Ross as a community of expressive subjects that share a powerful symbolic and aesthetic language – in which feeling and meaning are embodied in creative expressive form.

The expressive arts [with intentional emphasis on the expressive] have immediate contemporary educational relevance in difficult times.

As the gravity of the global pandemic and lockdown has unfolded, it has in turn exposed the acute vulnerabilities amongst many in our communities.

Wellbeing across a wide social spectrum has once again been a prime area of public concern, while the Black Lives Matter movement has made vivid matters of entrenched racism and the need for lasting social justice.

Amidst all the attendant anxieties and promise of new possibilities, the expressive arts can offer a potent vehicle for sensitively re-engaging the interior world of feeling, imagination and ideas as personal exploration and expression in safe creative spaces.

Dave Trotman in formerly a Professor of Education Policy and Reader in Creative Education 

ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Shares a Framework for “Essential Pastoral Care in Schools”

 

Essential Pastoral Care in Schools

There has been increased recognition in recent months that pastoral care is an important part of the young person’s experience in school.

Government guidance, research and the media have pointed out, how young people need pastoral support as part of their learning experience.

It is a pity that it has taken a global pandemic before it has been recognised that the pastoral work of a school has an important impact on supporting the socialisation, emotional well-being, and achievement of young people.

The investment in pastoral care has been given the value that it deserves because of how it supports the learning of young people and because of how it prepares them for their future lives. 

A recent survey by charity Barnardo’s reported that 88% of school staff said that the pandemic is likely to have an effect on the mental health and well-being of their pupils (Barnardo’s 2020)

In the same survey 26% said that they did not feel confident that they had the tools, skills, or resources to support their pupils in this way. (Barnardo’s 2020)

It proposed that at least a term should be used as a readjustment period where schools can be flexible with the curriculum so they can work through the emotional effects of the pandemic.

This would enable teachers to help their pupils reintegrate into the school environment and re-socialise with their friends. It suggested that the structure of the school day should be changed, so there was more focus on pastoral care, play, creative outlets, and outdoor activities. (Barnardo’s 2020)

The Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, Javed Khan made the following comments.
“The government should take this once in a lifetime opportunity to rebalance the school system, recognising that children rely on school to keep them safe and well, just as much as they need to pass exams. We urge the government to work with schools, local authorities, the NHS and charities to place well-being at the heart of the curriculum and school culture, so that every child has the support they need to thrive”. (Barnardo’s 2020)

This recognition of the importance of pastoral support, means that schools will need to think carefully about how they use the available resources to create a positive learning environment.

Pastoral support that motivates and inspires all learners and meets their different needs, to enable them to achieve their full potential is what is needed.

This means that schools will need to have a planned proactive approach, to meeting the needs of their learners, that supports their academic progress and personal development.

Our experiences as a country in 2020 have highlighted the need for the education system to develop young people who are resilient and equipped with the skills and attitudes needed, to cope with changing circumstances and challenges in their daily lives.

The priority for leadership in schools is not to find the structure or system for delivering pastoral care that will be the “magic wand” to solve all problems, but to develop an ethos and culture that inspires the personal development and academic progress of all learners.

It must communicate a sense of purpose to all adults in the school about the importance of their actions, to support young people with the challenges they face.

Schools will need to ensure that all adults in the school have the training and support they need to ensure that they are confident about how they can make a telling contribution to meeting the different needs of young people and support them in being effective learners and in their preparation for their future lives.

There is an opportunity to learn the lessons from lockdown, to make young people’s experience of education better in the future.

During the pandemic it has been recognised that schools have an important role on behalf of society, in supporting the personal development of young people.

Sometimes it is only when something is no longer available such as when schools were closed to most learners, that you appreciate the contribution they make to wider society.

The pandemic has taught us that schools have a vital role in the socialisation process, that develops appropriate skills and attitudes in young people to enable them to make positive contributions to society.

It is important that schools invest time and resources in planning how the school, through the curriculum and the organisation of the school, supports the socialisation process.

The pandemic has highlighted that developing skills in human interaction is as important as passing examinations, to prepare a young person for the challenges they will face in their future lives.

Schools need to value, the importance of adults being positive role models for young people. Schools motivate and inspire young people to come out of their comfort zone as learners because they know the support, they might need is available.

Pastoral support becomes important, not just as a system for solving problems but as the ‘safety blanket’, that supports the learning and personal development of the young people.

If schools are going to learn the lessons of the pandemic and the experience can be used to support a drive for school improvement then it is important that schools ask the question , what are the essential ingredients of effective pastoral support.

The following, as they say on television shows, are in no particular order, but together they provide pastoral support that will encourage a positive learning environment and a culture where all learners are motivated and inspired to achieve their full potential.

Academic Mentoring – to engage learners in a discussion that makes sense of their learning experience and motivates them to overcome challenges.

Time Management and Organisational skills – to enable young people to become effective learners and prepare them for their future roles in the world of work.

Social and Emotional Skills – teaching skills and attitudes that enable young people to cope with challenges in their learning and future lives.

Active Citizenship – providing opportunities for young people to have roles that develop positive attitudes and give them experiences that they can use in the future to cope with challenges and demands made on them. 

Student Voice – encouraging young people to share views and opinions so they can contribute to improvements and understand the difficulties that must be faced, to bring about changes for the benefit of other people. 

Effective Tutoring – to provide all young people with one person, who has responsibility for supporting them daily and providing motivation and encouragement to achieve their full potential.

Skills for Life – A planned and proactive approach to develop the skills and attitudes needed to be effective learners and successful in life, such as understanding financial issues. 

Goal Setting – supporting young people with setting targets for themselves to provide a purpose for their work and monitor their progress, to enable them to identify priorities for improvement. 

Healthy Living – providing guidance and support to enable young people to take responsibility for their health and well-being.

Individual Performance Coaching – individual coaching support, to empower young people to take positive action to make progress at school and to improve their future life chances.

Study Skills – A planned and proactive approach, to ensuring that young people have the skills and attitudes to be effective learners at school and in their future lives. 

Presentation and Communication Skills – a proactive approach to teaching presentation communication to enable young people to be confident about sharing their views and ideas. 

Empathy – To enable young people to form effective social and working relationships with other people by being able to explore ideas and situations for their perspective.

Creativity – A proactive and planned approach to developing creative skills to enable young people to be effective members of teams and contribute their talents and skills.

Problem Solving – to enable young people to experience situations where they can use their ideas and build the resilience needed to achieve success in their education and future working lives. 

Roles of Responsibility – to provide opportunities for learners to take on roles of responsibility to learn about decision making and working effectively with other people. 

Recognising and Rewarding Achievement – to motivate and inspire learners and reinforce positive expectations. 

Developing a Positive Ethos and Learning Culture – to provide a safe and positive learning environment where young people are encouraged to achieve their full potential. 

These are not meant to be the only areas to be considered, in planning effective pastoral support for learners in the future.

They should be used as a stimulus by leaders and staff to decide what are the priorities for their pastoral support and to plan what actions to take to meet the different needs of learners.

I hope that they will provide some inspiration to colleagues who want to provide effective pastoral support for young people, during the current challenging situation and in the future.

NAPCE will continue, as it has done for nearly 40 years to share good practice and ideas to encourage effective pastoral support that makes a real difference in young people’s education and future lives.

Please share any thoughts or ideas on the NAPCE twitter link @NAPCE1
 
Phil Jones
National Chair

The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE) 

References 
Barnardo’s, (2020). Time for a clean slate: Children’s mental health at the heart of education.
Jones, P. (2020) Social and emotional learning and its impact on pastoral support”. Pastoral Care in Education. 38(1) 83-87

NAPCE News – July 2020

NAPCE News – July 2020
Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

Pastoral care in schools across the UK and further afield is proven to be critically linked to the academic and personal-social development of young people. NAPCE continues to support education providers in the process of pastoral care implementation and development. It is here that we share important news of our latest activities, events and best practice guidance. 

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Keep Calm and Carry On” – Advice for Parents of Early Years Children During Covid-19 from NAPCE Officer Cathy Harwood

It is always the case that the work of schools is most successful when it is delivered in partnership with parents but these unprecedented times have placed a focus on that teamwork which has never been seen before.

In this new article NAPCE NEC Officer and Director of Whole School Wellbeing, Cathy Harwood, explains why the role of parents in a child’s education at this time for early years children is even more important than people may think.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! 

Dear Parents: How are you doing?

However you are managing to keep your children occupied and yourself positive and calm, keep it up. 

You’re doing a really amazing and important job.
 
Here’s a little bit of info about the brain that explains why what you are doing as a parent is so important, no matter how old your little one is.
 
Did you know that in the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood?

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, neuroelasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life. And it does change, it continues to change as we age and develop but the most critical time for building healthy brains is from 0-5. 

Synapse Density Over Time 
Source: Adapted from Corel, JL. The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1975. 
 
At birth, your child already has about all of the neurons they will ever have – but they aren’t wired up. The wiring depends on experience.


It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Amazing!


Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these early years than at any other time.


In fact, the brain creates many more synapses than it needs: at age two or three, the brain has up to twice as many as it will have in adulthood.


These surplus connections are gradually eliminated throughout older childhood and adolescence, a process sometimes referred to as blooming and pruning.

The organisation of a child’s brain is affected by early experiences.

Why would the brain create more synapses than it needs, only to discard the extras? The answer lies in the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in brain development.

The early stages of development are strongly affected by genetic factors; for example, genes direct newly formed neurons to their correct locations in the brain and play a role in how they interact.

However, although they arrange the basic wiring of the brain, genes do not design the brain completely. 

Instead, genes allow the brain to fine-tune itself according to the input it receives from the environment.

A child’s senses report to the brain about his/her environment and experiences, and this input stimulates neural activity.

Speech sounds, for example, stimulate activity in language-related brain regions. If the amount of input increases (if more speech is heard) synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often. 

Repeated use strengthens a synapse. Synapses that are rarely used remain weak and are more likely to be eliminated in the pruning process. Synapse strength contributes to the connectivity and efficiency of the networks that support learning, memory, and other cognitive abilities.

Therefore, a child’s experiences not only determine what information enters his/her brain, but also influence how the brain processes information. 

Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction.

Therefore, well done! Parenting is perhaps the most important job in the world.

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

There’s so much to worry about right now: the news, our jobs, our families and loved ones.

Sometimes it can be really hard to keep our cool. And I’m not saying that feeling anxious is wrong – our bodies signals of stress is an important message – “This is a difficult situation right now. I need to take care of myself and those I care about.”

Some of us will also be noticing positives, like bird song, more time to bake if that’s our thing, connecting with family and friends in new ways… Maybe you’ve heard of the saying ‘When I was a small boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”’

It’s completely normal to notice all of the negative and worrisome news right now, but it might also help to keep in mind that our brains are actually hard-wired to take notice of the negative. We scan continuously for danger. It’s what enabled our ancestors to survive.

It impacts our nervous system, it’s deep in our brain and we can’t change that. It’s the result of 60 million years of evolution. But this negativity bias is a challenge because all of the positive qualities that we want like compassion, generosity, and feeling safe need to be laid down in our neural structure if they are to become part of us in a lasting way.

It takes effort to notice and take in the good. But the good news is that we can intentionally use our attention to decondition our negativity bias and gradually grow the good stuff.

Here’s how

1.            Look for positive facts (see below for ideas), and let them become positive experiences.
2.            Savour the positive experience. 
Sustain it for 10-20-30 seconds. See if you can
feel it in your body, feel it in your face.
Open to the positive emotions. Intensify your experience. Let it grow as big as you dare.
Notice any inhibition (many people can access the negatives more easily)
3.            Sense and intend/visualize that the positive experience is soaking into your brain and your body – registering deeply in emotional memory – allowing yourself to become different in a small and incremental but lasting way .
–  Feeling safe
–  Feeling accomplished
–  Feeling strong
–  A kind / safe person/pet
–  A favourite place
–  Something you love to do
–  A delicious meal
–  An uplifting or comforting smell
–  A smile

I wanted to remind us all that this small skill can be really helpful – especially if we can’t sleep, or get very caught up in anxieties.

It is uncertain right now, there are a lot of things to worry about, and there is also bird song, more time to bake, creative ways of connecting with friends. And there are also lots and lots of helpers. Look for them. You will always find people who are helping.

For more info you might like to explore www.rickhanson.net
 

Cathy Harwood
NAPCE Officer

ARTICLE: Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap for Children (Part 2) by NAPCE Officer Noel Purdy

Dr Noel Purdy is a member of the NAPCE National Executive Committee and Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

This article, written by Mr Purdy, is the second in a two-part series focusing on Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap, following the societal social distancing restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap (Part Two)

In the first instalment of this blog, I considered two initial questions around the lockdown learning gap: (1) Is there a lockdown learning gap? and (2) What does the lockdown learning gap look like?

In this second instalment, we turn to the third key question: what steps can we take to bridge the lockdown learning gap?

Dr Noel Purdy is Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

BRIDGING THE LEARNING GAP

Over half a century ago, in Education and the Working Class Jackson and Marsden (1966) highlighted a system of educational apartheid in England which benefitted the elite and disadvantaged working class children.

More recently Diane Reay has argued that, despite a common curriculum and many other changes to the educational landscape, ‘educational success is still restricted to a few’ (2017, p.177) and that the winners are predominantly those from families with wealth, influential social networks and a history of educational success.

Reay argues that the upper classes and most of the middle classes have been ‘insulated’ from the last decade of austerity and its consequences, while the working classes have struggled.

Reading the emerging research studies of lockdown learning experiences across the UK (Sutton Trust, 2020IFS, 2020Walsh et al., 2020) leaves little doubt that once again children from working class backgrounds with less educated parents are struggling most, with less access to online resources, less time spent learning at home, and less support from their parents.

Once again, it seems, there is no ‘insulation’ for those already disadvantaged in our education system and society at large.

Instead, the social injustice of the lockdown learning gap is striking, and as we consider practical blended strategies to adopt over the coming months of (at best) part-time schooling supported by further home-schooling, we must be mindful that the gap will not be bridged easily or quickly.

In the figure below, based on a reading of the most recent research, supplemented by my own convictions, and adapted for a new, untested educational landscape, I set out what I see as the seven key ways to bridge the lockdown learning gap, followed by seven underpinning foundations:

PASTORAL SUPPORT FOR PUPILS

The first practical consideration has to be effective pastoral support for pupils all of whom, at the very least, have lived through the crisis of a global pandemic that none of us (as adults) have ever experienced in our lifetimes.

Many will have experienced the uncertainty of their parents being furloughed or losing their jobs, some will have felt the hunger of reduced family incomes and lived off food banks, others will have seen at first hand the devastating effects of COVID-19 and lost loved ones, especially grandparents, and will be experiencing the pain of bereavement.

It must be recognised that many pupils will need emotional reassurance and support, and will feel anxious about leaving home to enter a strangely different, socially distanced school environment.

Schools already have highly-skilled pastoral teams, but they should be prepared to encounter many more emotional health and wellbeing needs in the months to follow, and should adopt a child-centred approach of whole-school understanding and trauma-sensitive ‘flexible consistency’ to ensure that all children feel physically, socially, emotionally and academically safe.

Pastoral care is a feature of every classroom, and all teachers must be encouraged and empowered to show compassion, understanding and sensitivity to children whose experience of lockdown may have been completely at odds with their own.

QUALITY BLENDED TEACHING AND LEARNING

The second priority has to be quality blended teaching and learning. In September it is likely that pupils will be in school at most 50% of the time, so there will still be a need for effective provision of remote learning.

Some teachers naturally feel out of their comfort zones, but I would reassure them that the key elements of effective pedagogy remain the same as before, irrespective of the teaching medium: clear learning intentions, engaging content, differentiated tasks, opportunities for a range of meaningful pupil activities, and timely formative feedback on work submitted.

Our recent report of parents’ experiences of home-schooling in Northern Ireland also revealed that almost a quarter of homes did not have access to a printer.  Others were struggling to afford the cost of printer paper and ink. As a result, some schools have already signalled their intention to offer printed hand-outs which is welcome.

Creating online quizzes rather than asking pupils to print pdfs to complete, scan and submit is also something that can reduce inequalities as well as helping to reduce a teacher’s marking load.

CURRICULAR INNOVATION

As my colleagues Dr Sharon Jones and Dr Glenda Walsh have suggested in their recent CREU blogs, there are, thirdly, opportunities for curricular innovation in the post-lockdown learning environment.

While formal changes to the curriculum will take time, teachers can immediately explore the flexibility of the existing curriculum to integrate more outdoor learning play opportunities, to focus on the positive elements of character education within Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (Primary) and Learning for Life and Work (Post-Primary) and, I would argue, to make opportunities to discuss and process children’s experiences of the past six months.

Moreover, there have been some wonderful examples in the past of how school communities have come together in the wake of natural disasters (e.g. Carol Mutch’s work following the 2010-11 New Zealand earthquakes) through creative projects to recount, illustrate or commemorate their own experiences and stories.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS

Fourth, teachers have worked hard in challenging circumstances to upskill themselves, but ground-up initiatives like @BlendED_NI illustrate that there remains a skills gap across the profession and an urgent need for Professional Learning Opportunities for Teachers.

The key considerations here are the availability and affordability of such learning opportunities. Stranmillis has recently provided free CPD to over 300 teachers on its Remote Teaching and Learning course (see website for details of all Stranmillis professional development courses).

The other obvious concerns here are teachers’ own access to the internet, availability of appropriate hardware and software, and teachers’ own need to maintain a work-life balance. While there is much to learn from online courses, recent experiences have also illustrated the potential from emerging online ‘communities of practice’ where materials are increasingly shared openly, and much-needed guidance offered by peers.

FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORT

Fifth, there will be a need for focused learning support for pupils in September. Although pupils are likely to be in school only part-time, it will be important to use some of that time to quickly assess what exactly are the learning needs of the different children in each class, and to consider approaches to support.

For those children on the SEN register, the additional learning and therapeutic support which was often partially or completely absent during lockdown, can be restored but it is important to note that budgets are already incredibly tight in schools and as the 2019 Northern Ireland Affairs Committee inquiry on educational funding highlighted, SEN spending and classroom assistant support are often among the first cuts to be made as school leaders struggle to balance their budgets.

Providing additional focused learning support without additional funding will simply not be possible.

CATCH-UP TUTORING

Sixth, and returning to the opening discussion of the social injustice of lockdown learning, the widest learning gaps to be bridged will require more than skillfully differentiated classroom teaching.

For those children who have been engaged in little or no home learning since 23 March, the challenges of re-entering the educational system cannot be overestimated. In response, there are several options for catch-up tutoring.

One is the summer school model which has been adopted by schools across Harlem Children’s Zone and which endeavours to use vacation time to fast-track the recovery process. Another model is to enlist community volunteers or university students to offer free tutoring to disadvantaged pupils.

The recent EEF report notes that a pre-COVID evaluation of low-cost tutoring provided by third-level students generated a positive impact on pupil learning of three additional months’ progress.

As ever, there are significant challenges in meeting the learning needs of the most disadvantaged children, including demands on teacher time, affordability, safeguarding, and ongoing digital access inequity.

ENHANCED PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT

Finally, enhanced parental engagement: the Stranmillis report on homeschooling during the COVID-19 crisis revealed harrowing experiences by some parents and high levels of stress and exhaustion among others, especially those on the front line employed as Essential or Key Workers.

However, many parents also used the survey to comment on how much they had enjoyed spending time home-schooling with their children, and had felt closer than ever before to their learning. This report should make essential reading for schools as they seek to capitalize on some of the positives from the lockdown.

While parents often requested more guidance on how to support their children’s learning and how to navigate the complex range of learning platforms available, this shouldn’t disguise the fact that they want to be involved and, coming out of lockdown, I would contend that this is an opportunity for schools to build on, improving communication with home, welcoming dialogue and embracing the notion of parents as learning partners.

A FURTHER SEVEN FOUNDATIONS TO BRIDGE THE LOCKDOWN LEARNING GAP

While these are important practical steps to be taken, the figure illustrates a further seven foundations upon which the bridge must be built.

Of foremost importance, of course, is the health and safety of the entire school community (pupils, all staff, parents, visitors) and it goes without saying that schools must follow the most recent government guidance on social distancing, PPE, hand sanitizing etc. as there are very real and justifiable concerns that a return to school as part of a broader easement of lockdown restrictions could lead to a rise in the R number, as was briefly the case in Denmark following the re-opening of schools there on 15 April.

Throughout this crisis we have seen excellent examples of effective school leadership, with gifted principals taking difficult decisions with little guidance to help them, communicating regularly, informing and reassuring the school community.

Given the unique circumstances of each school, school leaders will continue to need to adapt broad-stroke guidance to their individual school circumstances. The underlying principles of pupil voice and inclusion/equality of access remain prime considerations to ensure that pupils are involved meaningfully and have a valuable role to play in their schools, and that no one is left behind or excluded, willfully or by oversight.

Regular, clear and consistent communication at and between all levels has also emerged as a much valued element of a school’s response to a crisis. I would argue that this will be particularly important in the approach to the new academic year, when staff and pupils will naturally be feeling anxious about the return to school, though not to school as they knew it.

With technological support, it will be possible to communicate directly to pupils and parents, showing them (via photos and/or video) what schools and classrooms will look like, thus alleviating some of the understandable anxiety that is already growing. Adopting a research-informed approach is also more important now than ever for educators.

If the current health crisis has shown anything, it is that the scientific community has united as never before, sharing expertise, making research open-access, adapting as new findings emerge and helping to inform those charged with making policy decisions.

There is an onus on those of us who are researchers to work hard to disseminate our findings to policy-makers and to those on the front line in schools. All of this requires generous government funding if it is to become a reality rather than an aspiration, at the very time when budgets look to be tighter than ever before. However, this pandemic has demonstrated that there is the potential for additional spending where the need is deemed to be great enough. So why not now?

Is this not the moment to invest in educational recovery, to facilitate the purchase of the latest technology (hardware, software, internet access, printers) to enable effective blended learning, to support the efforts of schools to upskill staff through high-quality professional development, and to provide learning support to those in danger of being educationally as well as socially ‘left behind’?

There is no quick fix, no silver bullet. Bridging the lockdown learning gap will require vision, courage, tenacity, skill and investment. It is time to get started.

Noel Purdy
Member of the NAPCE National Executive Committee & Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

ARTICLE: “Masked Communication” – NAPCE Officer Julianne Brown Explores one of  the Greatest Challenges for Schools in the “New Normal”

 

Masked Communication

This Autumn, many of us working in education, as well as students and parents, will be hoping for a return to face-to-face teaching and learning at school.

As we move forward to the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19, certain behaviours and ways of being will be changed, at least temporarily.

The last few months have been difficult, and in some cases traumatic, as many of us will have experienced life-threatening illness, loss of loved ones, enforcement of social distancing from our friends and family and confinement indoors for long periods.

When we return to school, we will need to be attentive to the social and emotional needs of those around us.

Effective communication will be key to our response but what happens if we find ourselves ‘masked’ and socially distanced?

What effect might this have on our relationships, our understandings, our ability to provide social and emotional support for those in our care.

In what ways might this special ‘covering’ affect teaching and learning in and outside of the classroom?

Communication is key and being able to communicate effectively with others requires skill and practice. It is therefore timely to reflect on how we communicate to meet the challenges ahead.

What is verbal communication?

Communication is at the heart of excellent pastoral care. It has been described as a complex, two-way process of giving and receiving a message that consists of both verbal and non-verbal clues (Hubley 2004).

Verbal communication is more than just giving a clearly expressed, articulate message, it depends on the ability of the receiver to listen and understand. It is not only in what we say that we are able to communicate.

We use non-verbal clues such as facial expressions, eye and head movements, and body language to convey meaning (Prozesky 2000).

Being able to see people’s lips is often necessary for understanding as I found out from personal experience when shopping the other day. I have to communicate in French.

My French is quite a good level, but the mask muffles the sounds, limits visibility of non-verbal clues and not being able to see the person’s lips results in misunderstanding and anxiety and highly irritated shop assistants!

How we greet people is also a form of communication that has had to be reconsidered for many people across the world. For example, in Switzerland it is customary to shake hands with a colleague or say ‘hi’ to family or friends with three kisses.

Even our body posture and our distance from each other conveys a message. A good communicator uses all these signs in a process of empathetic response to reinforce a message and to read whether the message has been understood.

As educators and specialist professionals in health and social care working within schools, we know how important clear communication is for everyone, particularly for our students.

Whether we are meeting to provide one-to-one emotional or learning support or to facilitate excellence in teaching and learning in the classroom or during extracurricular activities, communication is key.

There are certain contexts where verbal communication is more difficult. Examples are the multilingual classroom, people who have a degree of hearing loss and for students moving to a new school or class where they are unfamiliar with the teaching style and nuances of their teacher. ‘Masked’ communication will present further challenges.

The challenges of ‘masked’ communication in the classroom

Returning to school will present particular issues with social distancing behaviours and the possibility of wearing masks. Certainly, within my area of work, in an international school, wearing a mask in the classroom may be enforced by Government law or will be a voluntary act that some students and staff will want to consider.

This will require some adjustment in how we can communicate effectively. Let’s not forget that wearing a mask sends a message to others, and one message at the moment is “keep away”, because we are wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others.

A first step to meeting the challenge of masked communication is to bring some positivity to the situation.

Acknowledge the difficulties that wearing a mask may have on your ability to communicate and introduce it as a symbol of caring for each other; an opportunity to keep everyone safer rather than a response to a threat. Remember, wearing a mask is a physical barrier to clear communication, it’s going to slow things down!

Verbally, the message given needs to be well articulated and clearly expressed. In the following table I have adapted Prozesky’s (2000) non-verbal communication model to identify areas where ‘masked’ communication may be problematic in the classroom and suggested possible solutions. The arrows  in bold (é) represent non-verbal clues that could be strengthened:

Non-verbal clues Barriers Overcoming the barriers
*Appearance e.g. untidiness Type or design of mask may provoke positive or negative response Agree type/design in advance. Design Competition to encourage Student ownership
⬆️ Personal appearance – make that ‘extra’ effort
Closeness e.g. coming too close to someone Social distancing prevents any form of supportive ‘touch’ Acknowledge change in cultural norms
Appropriate ‘self-hug’ or ‘hand on heart’ to convey meaning
Facial expressions e.g. frown Limited facial expressions visible
Inability to lip read
Increase use of eye and brow movements
Use of pre-recorded video providing overview of learning objectives and an opportunity for students to ‘see’ their teacher
Head movements e.g. nodding ⬆️ Scan the classroom to include everyone and look at people directly when addressing them
Eye movements e.g. winking ⬆️
Posture e.g. slouching ⬆️
Hand movements e.g. waving ⬆️
Body contact e.g. shaking hands Social distancing prevents this Possibility to adopt elbow or feet bump in certain circumstances
Sounds e.g. laughing Muffled
Ways of talking e.g. pauses, stress on words Muffled Check for understanding
Face class when speaking

*Appearance – I included the mask here as it is an important non-verbal form of communication in itself. Schools may choose to consider the type and design of masks that will be acceptable and respectful to others.

Social distancing and the wearing of masks in schools will present us with many challenges. Not everyone will want to comply, increasing fear and anxiety in some members of the community.

Wearing masks will be a barrier to effective communication.

Now, more than ever, we need to raise our awareness and reflect on our own communication skills, be proactive in identifying the barriers of ‘masked’ communication, think creatively and work collaboratively in order to overcome them for the wellbeing of our students and for each other.

References

Prozesky, D. R., 2000. Communication and Effective Teaching. Community Eye Health, 13(35): 44–45. (Available from :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1705977/ [Accessed 7th July 2020]

Hubley, J., 2004. Communicating Health. An Action Guide to Health Education and Health Promotion. Selangor, Malaysia: Macmillan Education.

Julianne Brown
NEC Officer
NAPCE

AWARDS: Update on NAPCE Awards Online Ceremony

 

The first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education Awards presentation event is now to take place online on September 24th.

The virtual event will be hosted on a video conferencing platform and guests will be invited to attend via an exclusive link.

There will also be a special guest speaker and representatives from sponsors and the education sector will be online to announce the winner in each category.

Despite plans for a physical winners ceremony in Birmingham, organisers of the NAPCE Awards 2020 revealed last month that the celebration had to be moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All finalists will be invited to attend and will need to book FREE tickets via Eventbrite shortly to receive the access link.

It is fully expected that an in-person event will be held in 2021 and beyond.
National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2020 – The Finalists

Pastoral Development of the Year – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A pastoral initiative or idea that has achieved positive outcomes and has improved the learning experience and future life chances, for young people)

ACS International School, Boarding – Cobham, Surrey

Anneliese Walker, Nidderdale High School – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dan Midgley, Malet Lambert School – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Malet Lambert , Peer Mentoring Scheme – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Mr Shaun Easton, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, Essex

Pastoral Leader Of The Year – Sponsored by Taylor and Francis 

(Has a passion for pastoral care that is shared with colleagues to inspire and motivate them to make a real difference in the lives of the young people they work with)

Rebecca Finn, Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Dave Richardson, Kingdown School – Warminster, Wiltshire

Lena Dhrona, North London Grammar School – Hendon, London

Sarah Freeman, The Park Community School – Barnstaple, Devon

Laura Howieson, St Michael’s Middle School –Colehill, Dorset

Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year – Sponsored by TES

(A member of staff who works in pastoral care and who always makes the extra effort to support young people to enable them to become effective learners and achieve success)

Ms Ceri Ellis, Rhyl High School –North Wales

Sunita Mall, Morecambe Road School – Lancashire

Mr Dominic Riste, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

Melanie Ennis, Archway Learning Trust- Nottingham

Deborah Mason, Silver Spring Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Greater Manchester

Pastoral School of The Year – Sponsored by BlueSky Education

(A school that can demonstrate a commitment to pastoral care and support for learners that makes a real difference in the progress and personal development of young people in the school)

The Grove School – Tottenham, London

Shaftesbury High School – Harrow, Middlesex

The Stanway School – Colchester Essex

All Saints Catholic School and Technology College- Dagenham Essex

Brighton Hill Community School – Hampshire

Pastoral Team of the Year – Sponsored by The Thrive Approach

(A team that works in pastoral care and can demonstrate a determination to support young people to achieve their full potential and a positive impact on the young people they work with)

Moor End Academy – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Pastoral Support Team – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Guidance Team –  Churchill Community College – Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

Pastoral Managers- Julie Ayres, Hannah Jolly, Gieves La Fosse and Lauren Koster, – The Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

Silver Springs Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Cheshire

Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care – Sponsored by Association of School and College Leaders

(An individual, group or organisation who through their actions have raised awareness about pastoral care or pastoral issues and encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people)

Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby

Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls – Handsworth, Birmingham

Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor , Northern Ireland

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care)

Glenlola Collegiate School – Bangor, Northern Ireland

Jackie O’Hanlon, Shaftesbury High School –Harrow, Middlesex

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Tor Bank School, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ann Armstrong, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

The Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in July but has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE has made tentative plans to host an event in September 2020, but is also looking at back up plans to announce the winners online if a physical event is not feasible within the chosen timeframe.

There will be a prize of £100 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

NAPCE News – June 2020

NAPCE News – June 2020
Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

Pastoral care in schools across the UK and further afield is proven to be critically linked to the academic and personal-social development of young people. NAPCE continues to support education providers in the process of pastoral care implementation and development. It is here that we share important news of our latest activities, events and best practice guidance. 

FEATURE ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones on effectively handling “Pastoral Leadership In A Crisis”

It can be argued that when everything is going to plan leadership is easy! It is when you are faced with difficulties or a crisis that leadership becomes challenging.

Most pastoral leaders would probably agree that this happens every day in their role.

When I was a senior teacher, I had a middle leader come to me and complain about the performance of one member of their team. I think they were expecting me to summon the member of staff to my office and tell them off for not performing as expected.

My response was to point out that there may have be reasons why this member of staff was not performing as well at that time and that as a leader they needed to earn their money by finding out the details about the situation and provide support when things were not going well and it is not just about taking the credit, when the team is performing to expectations.

The middle leader was not aware that the member of staff was going through a difficult divorce and although they did not want their private life to become public knowledge it was making it more difficult for them to meet deadlines at work.

It is a much easier task for leaders to develop structures and systems and to implement strategies and developments, but the real challenge comes in leading the people involved in the process. Leaders need empathy to understand the feelings and pressures people are experiencing and to find ways to enable them to make a positive contribution.

“The most powerful thing you can do in a pastoral role is to give someone your understanding” (Daniel Sobel)

This is especially true when there is a crisis.

Pastoral leaders will be under pressure themselves, but this is when their leadership skills and qualities will really be needed and tested.

It is in these situations where it is important for leaders to build trust.  It is an important part of the role for all leaders, that they take every opportunity to build trust, as this will be an investment for when they are facing a crisis or other difficulties.

It is not possible for any leader to please everybody with the decisions they make but to build trust it is important that they always make every effort to act with integrity. With an ethical approach to leadership it can be demonstrated that all decisions are taken in the best interest of the organisation, the people in the organisation and its vision and values.

To achieve this, it is important that leaders are prepared to reflect on their actions and acknowledge where they have not gone to plan and achieved their intended outcomes. It is not about blame but creating a culture which builds trust, where everybody including leaders are encouraged to learn from experiences.

Pastoral leaders need to reflect on the appropriate style of leadership required in a crisis. A crisis can encourage a ‘knee jerk’ response from leaders, but this is a time when careful considered approaches to leadership, are more likely to be effective and achieve sustained outcomes.

“Involving all the people who are going to be affected by the change provides them with a basis for understanding what is going on and an opportunity to influence the change which in turn can generate ownership of it and a commitment to it”. (Daniel Sorbel)

An important role of pastoral leaders which becomes a greater priority during a crisis is to provide a safe learning environment.

This is extremely relevant during the current pandemic where the organisation of schools must change from what learners recognise and know.

The physical environment impacts on how safe people feel and this becomes incredibly challenging when actions must be taken for health reasons, that means normal interaction between people is not possible and buildings do not feel as warm and welcoming,

Safeguarding is a priority for pastoral leaders and this is because feeling safe is an important ingredient for effective learning to take place.

“When you think about a child’s mental, emotional and psychological health we need to prioritise their feeling safe, as they can be a major driving force of mental health disintegration” (Daniel Sorbel)

Changes in the organisation of the school and expectations about behaviours must be explained carefully and in a way that builds trust in the people, who are providing care and leadership for them.

There is an emerging view during the current pandemic, that the educational agenda that has focused on raising standards in recent years is widening its focus to include the socialisation of young people as an important part of a young person’s educational experience.

It has been recognised that the socialisation and personal development of young people has been damaged during the period where schools have not been fully open and that pastoral care needs to be a priority, as learners return to the classroom.

“School are aware that some pupils require additional emotional and pastoral support when they return to school, so making time for pastoral care is a priority”.
(Department for Education)

It has been acknowledged in government guidance to schools that pastoral support is an important part of the support that schools can provide for young people.

“It is up to schools to decide how they want to use face to face support in the best interest of their pupils as additional pastoral support, academic support or a combination”
(Guidance for Secondary School provision from 15th June 2020)

An article from Glasgow University published in April 2020 points out that, “apart from the obvious disruption to learning, school closures are likely to have far reaching negative effects”. (University of Glasgow of Education)

Pastoral leaders will have to plan how to use available resources to meet the pastoral needs of learners and this is likely to be a priority for some time into the future.

“When schools return teachers will be tasked with not simply resuming normal classes but with supporting their students’ emotional wellbeing”. (University of Glasgow School of Education)

The article calls on schools to make the development of resilience a priority to enable young people to cope with shocks in life whether they come from Covid 19 or other threats.

Pastoral support in school is likely to become more relevant, in supporting young people during and after the pandemic and this will encourage a greater understanding of its importance to the learning experience of all young people.

“Pastoral care is   not simply a sub plot in the central story of curriculum, teaching and learning but rather a foundation stone upon which everything else in school can take place”
(Daniel Sorbel)

The experience of leadership during a crisis, encourages leaders to reflect on priorities. It is likely that pastoral leaders will look to focus on the whole person in planning and delivering pastoral support in schools.

In a crisis the importance of developing the whole person is highlighted and encourages a focus on developing resilience and positive attitudes in young people, so they can cope and face challenges in their daily lives.

“There are few who would question that developing the whole human being is a legitimate part of the school’s work”. (Les Bell and Peter Maher)

Effective pastoral support will not be a ‘firefighting’ reaction to problems, but it will become a structure and system for preparing young people for challenges in their lives.

Primitive views of pastoral care, being responsible for maintaining discipline, may not be relevant in schools after the pandemic and pastoral leaders will need to explore how available resources can be deployed, to meet the different needs of all learners in the ‘new normal’.

There will be implications for curriculum planning and more emphasis may have to be given to developing and implementing a planned pastoral curriculum, to support learners in making sense of their learning and the challenges they are likely to face.

It was a founder member of the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE), Michael Marland, who first introduced the concept of a pastoral curriculum being needed in schools. For Marland the Pastoral Curriculum was part of the whole school curriculum.

“It was that part of the curriculum which more or less dealt with the development of the whole person”. (Les Bell and Peter Maher)

An approach to pastoral care that focuses on the needs of the whole person will become relevant in schools after the pandemic.

“For those who saw pastoral care as an emergency first aid system to deal with discipline problems Marland’s’ introduction of the term pastoral curriculum is certainly a quantum leap”. (Les Bell and Peter Maher)

A quantum leap will be required from pastoral leaders to respond to all the pastoral needs of young people during and after the pandemic and a planned proactive approach will be required that resists the temptation to not a react to problems as they arise.

The current crisis should encourage pastoral leaders to reflect on the role of the form tutor. Effective tutoring can help young people to make sense of their learning and support them in coping with the challenges that they face.

In the uncertain times that schools find themselves in, which is likely to continue for some time, they should reinvest in form tutors and value the important contribution that they can make.

“Where problems arise the form tutor is well placed to offer help and encouragement”.
(Les Bell and Peter Maher)

There has in the past been some tension from some staff about their role as a form tutor. Pastoral leaders need to make it clear how tutors can have a positive impact on achievement and make sure that the most important resource for this process the staff engaged in the role have the training and support they need to be effective.

Finding time for academic mentoring, could be a positive investment for pastoral leaders to identify gaps in students understanding and barriers to their achievement.

This could be one example of a positive outcome from the crisis that pastoral leaders can use to improve future pastoral support for learners in schools.

Phil Jones
National Chair
National Association for Pastoral Care (NAPCE)
June 2020

References
Bell, P and Maher, P. 1986 “Leading a Pastoral Team” Blackwell Marland, M. 1980 “The Department for Education. 2020 “Guidance for Secondary School Provision from June 15th, 2020”, GOV.UK website
Department for Education. 2020 “Pastoral Care in the Curriculum. How schools can provide additional emotional and pastoral support for pupils when they return to school following the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak”, GOV.UK website
Pastoral Curriculum”.in Best, R. Ribbins, P. and Jarvis, C. (eds) 1980,
Perspectives on Pastoral Care, Heinemann
Sobel, D. 2019 “Leading on Pastoral Care”, Bloomsbury
University of Glasgow School of Education. 2020 “Supporting Resilient Learning in the Face of Covid-19”, University of Glasgow School of Education Website

ARTICLE: Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap for Children (Part 1) by NAPCE Officer Noel Purdy

Dr Noel Purdy is a member of the NAPCE National Executive Committee and Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

This article, written by Mr Purdy, is the first in a two-part series focusing on Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap, following the societal social distancing restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last Friday afternoon (5th June 2020) 369 educators from across Northern Ireland took part in a ground-breaking
webinar on the theme of ‘Charting the Way: Conversations on education in NI ahead of September 2020’.

It was by far the largest and most relevant-to-practice webinar on which I have ever had the privilege of being a panellist, and is a remarkable testament to the innovation of the @Blended_NI team who organised it in less than a week. In its sheer scale, it was also a clear sign of the thirst among dedicated classroom teachers for practical guidance, support and reassurance as they face the challenge of an educational earthquake (revolutions are planned after all) that no one could have predicted even six months ago.

The webinar discussion was wide-ranging but one of the key issues to emerge was the likelihood of a ‘lockdown learning gap’ arising from the current pandemic crisis during which the vast majority of children are not being educated at school.

In response I would suggest that there are three key questions to consider: (1) Is there a lockdown learning gap? (2) What does the lockdown learning gap look like? and (3) What steps can we take to bridge the lockdown learning gap?  In the first instalment of this blog I will address questions 1 and 2.  In the second instalment I will consider question 3.

IS THERE A LOCKDOWN LEARNING GAP?

The short answer to this is that we can’t know yet for sure, as we don’t have reliable evidence from large-scale assessment tests to tell us the long-term impact. That will doubtless come over the coming months.

In the meantime, we can however look at likely indicators from a number of recent studies: for instance, the pre-lockdown Ofcom survey revealed that online access is mediated by family background and that children in working class homes are less likely than those in middle class homes to access the internet via either a tablet (59% vs. 72%) or a mobile phone (49% vs. 62%); the early-lockdown Sutton Trust Report in April confirmed what I had predicted in an earlier blog that the lockdown has exacerbated existing inequalities in our education system with children from poorer backgrounds having less access to online resources and parental support, spending less time learning, and submitting less work than their less disadvantaged peers and those attending private schools. A month later, a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that children from better-off families are spending 30% more time on home learning each week (amounting to more than two additional school weeks in total, assuming schools re-open here in late August/September) and have more access to individualised online resources than those from poorer families.

On 20 May our own Stranmillis report on Home-Schooling in Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 Crisisreported on a survey of over 2000 parents and found wide disparities in parental experiences of home-schooling, often mediated by their level of education and employment status.

Experiences ranged from, on the one hand, confident, highly educated parents relishing the opportunity to spend more time learning alongside their children, safely cocooned from the pandemic threat, to, on the other hand, highly stressed working parents struggling to access resources, lacking confidence in their own abilities and battling to motivate their children to engage in learning during the ‘nightmare’ of lockdown.

Based on these robust research reports, it is clear that there will undoubtedly be a lockdown learning gap. I would further suggest that the gap is likely to be wider than the traditional loss of learning experienced during the summer months, because unlike the normal two-month summer vacation, there will not have been such widely divergent experiences between children who have effectively been home-tutored by degree-educated parents and children who, through no fault of their own, have engaged in little or no learning at all.

WHAT DOES THE LOCKDOWN LEARNING GAP LOOK LIKE?

report published earlier this month by the Education Endowment Foundation has attempted to predict the impact of school closures on the attainment gap, based on a rapid evidence assessment of a total of 11 previous studies of learning loss carried out since 1995.

The EEF predictions suggest that the current closures will widen the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers by a median estimate of 36% (with a range between 11% and 75%). The authors acknowledge the limitations of their review which (inevitably) is based on studies of summer learning gaps rather than the experiences of previous current pandemic crises. The report notes that sustained effort will be required over the coming months to help disadvantaged pupils catch up.

There has been much general discussion of learning needs but little specific about the particular learning needs of pupils on their return to school. Consequently, I have developed a typology of learning needs (see below), beginning with the need for teachers to address pre-lockdown learning which may be lost (and needs reteaching) or rusty (and needs refreshing) as might be expected after a lengthy break from traditional schooling of 5 months.

This experience is similar to what might normally be expected following the summer vacation, and teachers are already skilled at recapping and refreshing knowledge and skills in September before moving on to new learning material.

A TYPOLOGY OF LOCKDOWN LEARNING NEEDS

While this might represent relatively familiar ground for teachers, the particular features of lockdown learning loss are different: based on the studies cited above, we can also expect many children to have missedlockdown learning where there was little or no engagement at all with learning activities since March (through no fault of their own) and where catch-up teaching is required; shaky lockdown learning (requiring consolidation) where lockdown learning has been partial, incomplete or insecure, the result of a range of possible factors including poor or miscomprehension, lack of pupil motivation, inadequate parental support, and limited opportunities for individualised teaching and/or feedback; and minimal lockdown learning (needing extension) where learning has been rudimentary, covering minimum content but falling short of the wealth of differentiated extension activities that would normally have been provided in school.

Typology of Lockdown Learning Needs

The fundamental consequence of this is that additional time and investment will undoubtedly be required to identify and address the various learning needs of individual pupils over the coming months. So let’s not imagine for a moment that this is going to be ‘business as usual’ in August/September.  With the prospect of widely divergent attainment levels following more than three months of widely divergent home learning experiences, teachers will need to draw on all of their professional expertise to meet the challenges ahead.

So, I would argue that there will undoubtedly be a lockdown learning gap come August/September, and that it will be wider than what might be experienced after the customary two-month summer vacation.

Furthermore, I would contend that the nature of the learning deficit will be more varied and differentiated than ever before, including lost, rusty, missed, shaky and minimal learning, all of which need to be addressed by professional, dedicated and compassionate teachers. In the second instalment of this blog, I will consider the third and most significant key question: what steps can we take to bridge the lockdown learning gap?

JOURNAL: Stan Tucker, the Editor of NAPCE’s globally renowned publication shares an excerpt from a recent edition – “Lost time

 

Lost Time

It has been almost impossible to miss the debate over the recent on/off opening up of  schools in the United Kingdom.

Debates about social distancing, classroom size and children’s safety are clearly very important.

Yet for all children and young people their return to school will be marked by a significant loss of educational time.

For me, one of the major concerns now revolves around the impact that ‘lockdown’ will have on the personal, social and emotional development of the young.

I have noted with interest the protestations of the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, concerning  the potentially uneven and detrimental impact of Covid-19 on particular children and their families.

I have written in the recent past a short piece, for this newsletter, about homeless children and their families living in hotel accommodation; of course I still remain concerned about the educational, social and health outcomes for this group of young people.

However, the passage of time has greatly increased the likelihood of more young people experiencing significant problems on their return to school.

For some, loss of friends; contact with teachers; a daily routine; school meals and the prospect of forthcoming public examinations and SATs is likely have a very real impact.

What about significant  transition points between, for example, primary into secondary, or secondary into FE (an issue we have debated extensively in our journal Pastoral Care in Education)?

All of this points to the need for the development of a robust and resourced strategic plan for when children and young people return to school. Children will need space to talk about and reflect on their experiences.

Catch up programmes of study may well be required. Some may need targeted interventions. Whatever the need, a failure to think carefully and plan appropriately will only serve to cause further damage to the lives of many children and young people.

Stan Tucker
Emeritus Professor of Education
Editor of Pastoral Care in Education

AWARDS: First NAPCE Awards ceremony moved online because of Covid-19 Social Distancing measures 

 

The first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education Awards presentation event is now to take place online later this year.

Despite plans for a winners ceremony in Birmingham, organisers of the NAPCE Awards 2020 have confirmed that the September celebration is now happening virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The online presentation is expected to take place on September 24th at 7pm.

Finalists for the inaugural Awards were announced in May but, sadly, the winners will no longer be invited to a physical event because of potential risks and restrictions around social distancing.

It is fully expected that an in-person event will be held in 2021 and beyond.

Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE, said: “The recent announcement that schools will not return fully until September at the earliest led us thinking very carefully about the planned presentation event for the Awards which was due to take place in Birmingham on September 26th.“We now think that this means that it is unlikely that school staff will be in a position to travel for an event in September with the current Government advice that all off site activities should not take place.

“We feel that it would not be responsible for NAPCE, as an respected organisation, to go ahead with a physical event in 2020 and we are now putting all of our efforts into organising a quality virtual event to announce the winner of the 2020 awards.”

The Finalists

Pastoral Development of the Year – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A pastoral initiative or idea that has achieved positive outcomes and has improved the learning experience and future life chances, for young people)

ACS International School, Boarding – Cobham, Surrey

Anneliese Walker, Nidderdale High School – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dan Midgley, Malet Lambert School – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Malet Lambert , Peer Mentoring Scheme – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Mr Shaun Easton, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, Essex

Pastoral Leader Of The Year – Sponsored by Taylor and Francis 

(Has a passion for pastoral care that is shared with colleagues to inspire and motivate them to make a real difference in the lives of the young people they work with)

Rebecca Finn, Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Dave Richardson, Kingdown School – Warminster, Wiltshire

Lena Dhrona, North London Grammar School – Hendon, London

Sarah Freeman, The Park Community School – Barnstaple, Devon

Laura Howieson, St Michael’s Middle School –Colehill, Dorset

Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year – Sponsored by TES

(A member of staff who works in pastoral care and who always makes the extra effort to support young people to enable them to become effective learners and achieve success)

Ms Ceri Ellis, Rhyl High School –North Wales

Sunita Mall, Morecambe Road School – Lancashire

Mr Dominic Riste, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

Melanie Ennis, Archway Learning Trust- Nottingham

Deborah Mason, Silver Spring Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Greater Manchester

Pastoral School of The Year – Sponsored by BlueSky Education

(A school that can demonstrate a commitment to pastoral care and support for learners that makes a real difference in the progress and personal development of young people in the school)

The Grove School – Tottenham, London

Shaftesbury High School – Harrow, Middlesex

The Stanway School – Colchester Essex

All Saints Catholic School and Technology College- Dagenham Essex

Brighton Hill Community School – Hampshire

Pastoral Team of the Year – Sponsored by The Thrive Approach

(A team that works in pastoral care and can demonstrate a determination to support young people to achieve their full potential and a positive impact on the young people they work with)

Moor End Academy – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Pastoral Support Team – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Guidance Team –  Churchill Community College – Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

Pastoral Managers- Julie Ayres, Hannah Jolly, Gieves La Fosse and Lauren Koster, – The Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

Silver Springs Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Cheshire

Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care – Sponsored by Association of School and College Leaders

(An individual, group or organisation who through their actions have raised awareness about pastoral care or pastoral issues and encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people)

Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby

Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls – Handsworth, Birmingham

Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor , Northern Ireland

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care)

Glenlola Collegiate School – Bangor, Northern Ireland

Jackie O’Hanlon, Shaftesbury High School –Harrow, Middlesex

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Tor Bank School, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ann Armstrong, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

The Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in July but has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE has made tentative plans to host an event in September 2020, but is also looking at back up plans to announce the winners online if a physical event is not feasible within the chosen timeframe.

There will be a prize of £100 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

NAPCE News – May 2020

NAPCE News – May 2020
Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

Pastoral care in schools across the UK and further afield is proven to be critically linked to the academic and personal-social development of young people. NAPCE continues to support education providers in the process of pastoral care implementation and development. It is here that we share important news of our latest activities, events and best practice guidance. 

FEATURE ARTICLE: NAPCE Officer Julianne Brown Examines the Impact of Social Distancing & Lockdown

Social Distancing and Strengthening Our Inner ‘HUG’ Circle

In Autumn of 2019, I typed this short observation from the train on my way to work:

“It’s fascinating to see the birds as they fly in unison across the water on their path to warmer climates, each bird rises up to meet the shapeshifting mass as it continues in its onward momentum”.

I have seen the same mesmerizing phenomenon where hundreds of birds seem to be connected and move in unison. There’s a name for this, it’s called a murmuration. There are some beautiful examples captured on the internet, often referred to as a ‘Bird Ballet’ (see for example: https://vimeo.com/58291553).

This phenomenon reminds me of our extraordinary human connection. In the metro for instance when there is something slightly out of the ordinary, a sound, a movement, even a feeling, there is a simultaneous shift in movement. It’s not an overt spectacle as in the murmuration of the birds but a near invisible sign of our strong human connectedness, nonetheless.

Moving to May 2020 and the world has changed. I haven’t been on the train for over 5 weeks now, working in the isolation of my home. I have taken my walk once a day but keep away from other people and seem to have developed a knee-jerk reaction of moving against rather than with any humans who come within 2 metres of me! It’s hardly surprising as we are bombarded by health and safety messages to keep our distance.

It makes sense in times of a global epidemic to keep ourselves, our loved ones and everyone safer through limiting contact but it touches our very ‘humanness’. Social distancing works both on us and in us. We despise it and make fun of it whilst at the same time become willing accomplices in an effort to be safe.

Being ‘locked down’ and ‘distanced’ over time is proving to be a challenge. The effects of isolation and the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, cannot be underestimated. Alarm bells have been sounded on the affects this situation may have on our mental health. The loss of many lives is a distressing factor of this formally unknown virus. For some, the isolation is proving intolerable, for others living and being with others in the same household, 24 hours a day, has created tension. Many of us have had to adapt to the merging of home and work and master the skills of multitasking.

For our children, at home and school, the mixed messages will be confusing at the least; “stay away from strangers” has become “stay away from everyone”. We no longer talk of ‘limiting’ the use of technology, but fully embrace it as a way to connect with others, while away the hours, and endorse its use through online learning.

Nonetheless, being at home has given us a period for personal reflection. It has raised questions about the purpose of education, how we live our lives, the importance of our relationships with others, the effects of our behaviour on the environment, and the economic and political structures with which we have created our social world. These are ‘big ideas’ and can overwhelm us.

Many children are already returning to school. Some people are going back to work. But this will not be the case for everyone, and it is hard to think that we will not be affected by such dramatic and in some instances, traumatic, experiences.

For many, social distancing will have become internalised as an everyday practice; for the elderly, the vulnerable and others, this new behavioural code will need to be respected by us all long into the future.

We are social beings and contact is primordial. Perhaps this is why we are turning to our creativity and imagination to help us cope. The public displays of solidarity with songs and clapping that we have witnessed all over the world are signs that humans actively seek out the comfort of others and goes some way to explain why we need to find positive ways to release these ‘pent-up’ emotions.

A particularly powerful encounter for me was shared by a friend. It featured a policeman in Finland, (who also happens to be an opera singer, even though I am not an opera fan), Petrus Schroderus, who wanted to sing something from himself for all the people who were alone at this time. “I love you, life!”: (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAvr7fcVJBE). I was working on my computer, alone in the house. I clicked the link, and the room was instantly filled with the powerful tones of Mr. Schroderus, it touched deep into my soul and released a fountain of tears even though I couldn’t understand the words! That humans can create such sound is extraordinary to me.

Technology fills the gap in some incredible ways through ‘virtual meets’ and innovations such as a well-known film provider’s ‘party’ where films can be shared and watched together from different places and the many online boardgames that look just like the ‘real’ thing. The problem is that these experiences are sensory limited, they focus on what we can see and hear. They initiate an instantaneous emotion but it’s short lived. A ‘virtual hug’ tries to get the ‘feeling’ through vibration when a mobile is placed near to the heart.

Of course, a real hug, is a physical all-senses experience of touch, smell, sight, sound that leaves its imprint. The other problem is that many of us, including our children, are beginning to experience the effects of excessive screen time which has been shown to be negative for our wellbeing and may in itself lead to anxiety and exhaustion.

Current suggestions for improving our mental health are often based on an individualist behaviour change approach; leading a healthier lifestyle, incorporating healthy eating, daily activity, providing structure to our day and practicing purposeful mindfulness (UK Gov 2020a, 2020b). Whilst this advice is undoubtedly important, it is possible to think of wellbeing in alternative ways, using a relational approach (White 2010, 2015). If we accept that wellbeing is socially and culturally constructed, we are then able to view wellbeing as emerging from our relationships with others. In this way, it is possible to see that creating and making for others would be both good for our own wellbeing and for others.

I suggest, therefore, we need to turn our attention away from the wider perspective, in which we have little control, towards our inner circle of relationships, that I will refer to as our ‘hug’ circle.

Our hug circle includes all the people who are closest to us, who we miss the most, or those who are with us every day, and who we may take for granted. These are the people who, in our old normality, would have come close and been encircled in our embrace. It is these relationships we need to nurture and take care of during these difficult times. But what can we do when we are physically separated? How can we try to limit the effects of isolation and loneliness and the effects of separation for our children and ourselves?

One way may be through artistic expression. It has the potential to produce positive, lasting, memories for both the giver and receiver. We need to be more imaginative and create experiences that are tangible. Creative activities that take us away from the screen and connect us in fundamental ways to our families and close friends. The ‘cuddle curtain’, which was just reported on the news, is one such example, taking us a step nearer to the real thing and giving a very satisfying feeling of joy!

When considering what we might do to maintain and strengthen our relationships in our hug circle, it is helpful to think ‘pre-internet’, for those of us who are able! Personal letter writing, ‘sealed with a kiss’ ,  on scented paper, will make this simple act more meaningful and arouse our sense of sight, smell and touch.

In the past, postcards were ornately decorated with pressed flowers, embroidery or ribbons.

This postcard, sent to my grandmother, is an example of how beautiful and special these could be. Another fun activity that never fails to connect people are hand and foot prints.

The new words of ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ are an assault on our senses and reach deep down into our core. Our human togetherness is being challenged and it will be a while before we can experience anything akin to the murmuration of the birds in flight. Meanwhile, if we can nurture our close relationships and bring as many senses to our hug circle as possible through making and creating, to fill the void, to help us and others ‘feel good by doing good’ (White 2010) we will build the solid foundations needed to move forward into the following months.

White, S.C., 2010. Analysing wellbeing: a framework for development practice.
Development in Practice, 20(2), pp.158-172.

White, S., 2015. Relational wellbeing: A theoretical and operational approach. Bath Papers in international development and wellbeing. University of Bath. 43.
UK Gov., March 2020a. Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) (Accessed 17th May): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

UK Gov., April 2020b. Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Accessed 17th May 2020): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

AWARDS: Finalists Announced for first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education

The finalists of the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education have been announced.

A total of five deserving nominees have been unveiled in each category following decisions by an independent judging panel of educational experts and a tranche of impressive entries for the inaugural event.

The Awards was launched by NAPCE in 2019 and is the first UK-wide scheme to recognise outstanding achievements across pastoral care in education settings.

A host of influential organisations have lined up to support the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education by sponsoring categories including TESAssociation of School and College Leaders (ASCL), BlueSky EducationThe Thrive Approach and Taylor and Francis.

This is the first time ever an event has been organised to recognise the fantastic achievements across schools in the UK on pastoral care.

It has been created to provide much deserved recognition for the people and schools who are doing great work and to shine a light on good practice in pastoral care.

The Awards is an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and to raise awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

It also encourages new initiatives and ideas in pastoral care and recognises the contributions being made to developing policy and practice in pastoral support.

Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE and a member of the independent judging panel said: “We received so many brilliant entries for the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education and I want to thank everyone who took part.

“The Awards has become established very quickly and we hope to now be able to offer it for many years to come.

“Thank you again to all of our fantastic sponsors and, of course, huge congratulations to the finalists in each category.

“Standards of entry were extremely high which underlines the achievement you have made in making the finals.

“I wish you all luck for the big event later in the year, whether that’s able to take place in person or online.”

The Finalists

Pastoral Development of the Year – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A pastoral initiative or idea that has achieved positive outcomes and has improved the learning experience and future life chances, for young people)

ACS International School, Boarding – Cobham, Surrey

Anneliese Walker, Nidderdale High School – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dan Midgley, Malet Lambert School – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Malet Lambert , Peer Mentoring Scheme – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Mr Shaun Easton, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, Essex

Pastoral Leader Of The Year – Sponsored by Taylor and Francis 

(Has a passion for pastoral care that is shared with colleagues to inspire and motivate them to make a real difference in the lives of the young people they work with)

Rebecca Finn, Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Dave Richardson, Kingdown School – Warminster, Wiltshire

Lena Dhrona, North London Grammar School – Hendon, London

Sarah Freeman, The Park Community School – Barnstaple, Devon

Laura Howieson, St Michael’s Middle School –Colehill, Dorset

Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year – Sponsored by TES

(A member of staff who works in pastoral care and who always makes the extra effort to support young people to enable them to become effective learners and achieve success)

Ms Ceri Ellis, Rhyl High School –North Wales

Sunita Mall, Morecambe Road School – Lancashire

Mr Dominic Riste, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

Melanie Ennis, Archway Learning Trust- Nottingham

Deborah Mason, Silver Spring Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Greater Manchester

Pastoral School of The Year – Sponsored by BlueSky Education

(A school that can demonstrate a commitment to pastoral care and support for learners that makes a real difference in the progress and personal development of young people in the school)

The Grove School – Tottenham, London

Shaftesbury High School – Harrow, Middlesex

The Stanway School – Colchester Essex

All Saints Catholic School and Technology College- Dagenham Essex

Brighton Hill Community School – Hampshire

Pastoral Team of the Year – Sponsored by The Thrive Approach

(A team that works in pastoral care and can demonstrate a determination to support young people to achieve their full potential and a positive impact on the young people they work with)

Moor End Academy – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Pastoral Support Team – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Guidance Team –  Churchill Community College – Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

Pastoral Managers- Julie Ayres, Hannah Jolly, Gieves La Fosse and Lauren Koster, – The Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

Silver Springs Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Cheshire

Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care – Sponsored by Association of School and College Leaders

(An individual, group or organisation who through their actions have raised awareness about pastoral care or pastoral issues and encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people)

Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby

Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls – Handsworth, Birmingham

Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor , Northern Ireland

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care)

Glenlola Collegiate School – Bangor, Northern Ireland

Jackie O’Hanlon, Shaftesbury High School –Harrow, Middlesex

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Tor Bank School, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ann Armstrong, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

The Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in July but has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE has made tentative plans to host an event in September 2020, but is also looking at back up plans to announce the winners online if a physical event is not feasible within the chosen timeframe.

There will be a prize of £100 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

 

ARTICLE: Learning in a “New Normal” – topical thoughts from NAPCE Chair Phil Jones

Learning in a New Normal – Thoughts from The Chair

Politicians must make decisions about when pupils should return to school. There will be many different pressures on the politicians making the decisions and many different views and opinions about the correct time to take actions.

School leaders, teachers and parents do not have all the scientific and medical information that politicians have access too. It needs to be recognised that schools perform a valuable role for the economy in providing childcare to enable adults to focus on work.

This is not the only role for schools in our society and they have an even more important role in the socialisation and personal development of young people as well as their academic achievement.

School leaders have to implement the decisions that are made by the politicians and it is history with the advantage of hindsight that will make the judgement of the politicians about whether it was the right time and whether actions were taken for the right reasons.

In implementing the decisions made, school leaders will need to think carefully about the priorities for supporting learners and how all members of the school community can feel confident about being safe. Safeguarding has been a priority in schools because it is recognised that there is a strong link between feeling safe and learning.

Safeguarding needs to be a priority when learners return to school because if learning takes place in an environment that doesn’t feel safe for teachers and learners it could have a negative impact on attitudes to school for many learners, for years to come.

This is not simply a matter of rulers and tape, it is about being clear about the needs of young people and adults to feel safe in a school. Time is needed not just for rearranging learning spaces but for planning how to communicate different expectations to young people and their parents and this may take more time than the decision makers are currently proposing.

The most important challenges will be how to enable young people to make sense of the changes to their learning experience and how to manage the role schools have in supporting socialisation and personal development.

It is the interactive experiences that young people will have missed the most while they have not been in school and how they mix with friends and other learners will be challenging for schools to manage.

This needs to be planned with clarity so it can be calmly explained from the first day pupils arrive in school. If this does not happen the confidence of parents, young people and staff will be lost and it will be difficult to gain this trust again.

This is not a time for ‘world war one leadership’ where everybody is encouraged to ‘go over the top’ because with the right spirit everything will be alright! It is a time for calm, clear leadership, where the feelings of all members of the school community are carefully considered and actions taken that build confidence and trust.

In the primary school it may be possible to create small groups of pupils that can be taught together and although they are socially distanced, they can share experiences and support each other in their personal development and learning. In this context the priority is supporting pupils to learn in a new normal classroom environment and enabling them to share their feelings and thoughts to ensure that school is perceived as being safe and stable.

In secondary schools any attempt to deliver a timetable will be mission impossible, without considerable time being allocated to planning and exploring alternative arrangements. The movement that is required for a normal timetable around a school building and the different groups that learners would be part of would be difficult for school leaders to organise safely with adequate social distancing.

There is an argument that it would be better to use energy and time now on providing the best possible learning experience, through distance learning and to allow more time for planning, how to deliver a timetable in a secondary school for September.

Being realistic about a September expansion of on-site provision for secondary schools would enable teachers to continue to focus on the innovative approaches to distance learning that have been provided to support learners through this crisis.

It will enable clear plans to be made about how to meet safely, the socialisation, personal development and academic needs of all learners that would build the trust and confidence of parents and all members of the school community.

An investment in tutoring to support learners through this process would provide motivation and structure and be important to enable young people to make sense of their learning experience. The needs of learners taking public examinations will need to be a priority for all secondary schools.

A decision to not expand on-site provision in secondary schools until September would create an opportunity to organise small group tutorials for examination students this term. The use of this time could be carefully planned so that learners gain the maximum benefit from this face to face time and to conform to the current expectations for social distancing.

Using the skills of teachers in this way, to support on-line learning with tutoring, would provide the guidance and focus that these learners need. It would not be possible to provide learners with contact with a subject specialist, but it would enable schools to prioritise the care and support of all individual learners.

As learners return to a new normal learning environment the role of pastoral support will be vital to enable young people to have the confidence and trust to make good progress in their academic and personal development and to look after their well-being.

These are my own views about the current situation.

Please send your thoughts and ideas to NAPCE at the e mail address admin@napce.org.uk or by following NAPCE@NAPCE1 on Twitter

Phil Jones, National Chair, NAPCE
May 2020

JOURNAL: Stan Tucker, the Editor of NAPCE’s globally renowned publication shares an excerpt from a recent edition – “Vulnerable Children & Young People”

 

Vulnerable Children and Young People

In the daily bombardment of information about the progress of Covid-19 in terms of both its health and economic impact, it is easy to forget the specific and real difficulties that some children and their families may be facing. I tried recently to raise the subject of vulnerability, as it impacts on children and young people,  in the form of a question for Any Question?
on BBC Radio 4.

Unfortunately my question wasn’t included; no doubt because other questions were deemed more important. Looking across all the media activity of the past month or so, both national and local, it is difficult to locate any significant coverage. Yet, it is worth pausing for a moment to reflect on the potential impact of Covid-19 on the lives of particular children and young people who find themselves in difficult and highly challenging individual, social and economic circumstances.

For my part, my thoughts have continually returned to those children and young people who find themselves living with their homeless parents in Bed and Breakfast accommodation. The most recent figure I could locate (House of Commons Library, 2020) states that 7,110 households in England had been accommodated in Bed and Breakfast accommodation, with 690 of those households staying longer than 6 weeks, for the year ending June 2019.

These are families with children; usually looked after by their mothers. We can hope that the individual children and young people concerned receive a good level of pastoral support when they are attending school, but how well they are supported now can only be a matter for speculation.

Many live in cramped, unhygienic situations, where they may have to share a bathroom or toilet with others. How difficult is it likely to be able to claim a space to study in a cramped bedroom? How possible is it to maintain internet communication with a pastoral support worker at school where the availability and quality of computers may significantly differ? Then there is the matter of the physical and mental stress experienced that is generated from living in a confined space.

My fear is that this group of children and young people, and I can only touch on the needs of one group here, are more likely to feel increasingly  abandoned and isolated – effectively cut off from those people in school, and other areas of their life, that are of vital importance to them.

Vulnerable children and young people often live on the margins of our society. A failure to even acknowledge their difficulties can only exacerbate what is a desperate situation.

Stan Tucker
Editor, Pastoral Care in Education

FREE: A resource to explain staying at home to pre-school children by Liron Marlow-Miron

 
Our thanks to Liron Marlow-Miron for sharing and allowing NAPCE to share this resource with our audience.

NAPCE Awards 2020 – Finalists Announced

The finalists of the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education have been announced.

A total of five deserving nominees have been unveiled in each category following decisions by an independent judging panel of educational experts and a tranche of impressive entries for the inaugural event.

The Awards was launched by NAPCE in 2019 and is the first UK-wide scheme to recognise outstanding achievements across pastoral care in education settings.

A host of influential organisations have lined up to support the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education by sponsoring categories including TES, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Blue Sky EducationThe Thrive Approach and Taylor and Francis.

This is the first time ever an event has been organised to recognise the fantastic achievements across schools in the UK on pastoral care.

It has been created to provide much deserved recognition for the people and schools who are doing great work and to shine a light on good practice in pastoral care.

The Awards is an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and to raise awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

It also encourages new initiatives and ideas in pastoral care and recognises the contributions being made to developing policy and practice in pastoral support.

Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE and a member of the independent judging panel said: “We received so many brilliant entries for the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education and I want to thank everyone who took part.

“The Awards has become established very quickly and we hope to now be able to offer it for many years to come.

“Thank you again to all of our fantastic sponsors and, of course, huge congratulations to the finalists in each category.

“Standards of entry were extremely high which underlines the achievement you have made in making the finals.

“I wish you all luck for the big event later in the year, whether that’s able to take place in person or online.”

The Finalists

Pastoral Development of the Year – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A pastoral initiative or idea that has achieved positive outcomes and has improved the learning experience and future life chances, for young people)

ACS International School, Boarding – Cobham, Surrey

Anneliese Walker, Nidderdale High School – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dan Midgley, Malet Lambert School – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Malet Lambert , Peer Mentoring Scheme – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Mr Shaun Easton, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, Essex

Pastoral Leader Of The Year – Sponsored by Taylor and Francis

(Has a passion for pastoral care that is shared with colleagues to inspire and motivate them to make a real difference in the lives of the young people they work with)

Rebecca Finn, Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Dave Richardson, Kingdown School – Warminster, Wiltshire

Lena Dhrona, North London Grammar School – Hendon, London

Sarah Freeman, The Park Community School – Barnstaple, Devon

Laura Howieson, St Michael’s Middle School –Colehill, Dorset

Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year – Sponsored by TES

(A member of staff who works in pastoral care and who always makes the extra effort to support young people to enable them to become effective learners and achieve success)

Ms Ceri Ellis, Rhyl High School –North Wales

Sunita Mall, Morecambe Road School – Lancashire

Mr Dominic Riste, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

Melanie Ennis, Archway Learning Trust- Nottingham

Deborah Mason, Silver Spring Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Greater Manchester

Pastoral School of The Year – Sponsored by Blue Sky Education

(A school that can demonstrate a commitment to pastoral care and support for learners that makes a real difference in the progress and personal development of young people in the school)

The Grove School – Tottenham, London

Shaftesbury High School – Harrow, Middlesex

The Stanway School – Colchester Essex

All Saints Catholic School and Technology College- Dagenham Essex

Brighton Hill Community School – Hampshire

Pastoral Team of the Year – Sponsored by The Thrive Approach

(A team that works in pastoral care and can demonstrate a determination to support young people to achieve their full potential and a positive impact on the young people they work with)

Moor End Academy – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Pastoral Support Team – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Guidance Team –  Churchill Community College – Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

Pastoral Managers- Julie Ayres, Hannah Jolly, Gieves La Fosse and Lauren Koster, – The Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

 Silver Springs Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Cheshire

Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care – Sponsored by Association of School and College Leaders

(An individual, group or organisation who through their actions have raised awareness about pastoral care or pastoral issues and encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people)

Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby

Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland

 King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls – Handsworth, Birmingham

Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor , Northern Ireland

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care)

Glenlola Collegiate School – Bangor, Northern Ireland

Jackie O’Hanlon, Shaftesbury High School –Harrow, Middlesex

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Tor Bank School, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ann Armstrong, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

The Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in July but has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE has made tentative plans to host an event in September 2020, but is also looking at back up plans to announce the winners online if a physical event is not feasible within the chosen timeframe.

There will be a prize of £100 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

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