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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.

NAPCE News – April 2020

NAPCE News – April 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 Vice Chair Matt Silver on the Value of Respite During the Pandemic

STOP

School leaders have just faced one of the largest changes in its history within the space of a few weeks.

Coronavirus has picked up education and turned it on its head. It has been tested to new boundaries of leadership resilience, resourcefulness and responsibility.

Yet we are seeing new leadership. Leadership across the school, in every role, from students and staff alike is thriving. Digital experts our educating our more traditional hierarchy in educational settings. They are coming from in and out of school settings.

With Easter come and gone, despite some schools remaining open to support key workers, there is an essential need for leaders to stop.

Without stopping, we are instantly facing burnout.

The overload of stimulus has flooded our minds. Whether this is the emotional outpouring of fear and panic, or the streams of data coming through our devices. Our processors have been tested to their limits. We are no doubt nearing a place of burnout. In a time of crisis, we must maintain our leadership, key decision making, and our ability to see the bigger picture, beyond the school gates and the key stakeholders facing this wicked problem.

Take a moment to take stock, but also to ensure your body and mind are in the right place to continue. Learning to work from distance or in a much quieter school means building a new routine- build in some breaks.

From a physiological place, with stress comes cortisol. Cortisol reduces the efficiency of our immune system and can become a downward spiral of anxiety leading to ill health, leading to more anxiety and so on. So, the first objective of taking a break is to be well enough to even be there for those we serve, physically or digitally.

When present, the emotional state then has to be considered and this is the second objective. There have been numerous initiatives taken on by the global community to promote this. From rainbows in our window, to Joe Wicks running daily workouts, we have seen the digital network share best practice to staying in a positive, high energy state.

When we are in a good emotional state we can maintain and even grow the capacity of our pre-frontal lobe and therefore our rationale and creative minds. We can think about the wellbeing of others and this is an essential for managing change. The role of the leader is to be asking the same questions of the staff, students and parents. We are building infrastructures for learning, but pastoral care must be equally supported.

If we can maintain a positive physiological and psychological state, we can ensure others are finding the same and to see the changes to learning as an opportunity to move education forward. So, the oxygen mask on a plane metaphor is essential. Ask yourself, how much are you giving yourself time for you each day?

Matt Silver
NAPCE, Vice Chair

Matt Silver is Headteacher of Shaftesbury High School, Harrow, an outstanding special needs school.  He is also Vice Chair of the National Association of Pastoral Care in Education, a Director of the National College of Education’s MBA internship, and a trainee executive coach with business based group, Complete, focusing on vertical leadership development. 

His school has implemented a Deeper Learning, Deeper Living curriculum based in Positive Psychology, specifically Self-Determination Theory.  It is built around wellbeing, core and Meaningful Mastery Project Based Learning that is having profound impact across typical school measures, as well as offering entrepreneurial career pathways to address the 6% employment rate of young adults with SEND.  His findings are being written up as part of his Education Doctorate at the IOE, UCL.

ARTICLE: NAPCE Officer Eileen Donnelly reflects on her role in the successful use of the ‘Pupil Attitude to Self and Schools’ (PASS) Survey in NI Schools    

Using ‘Pupil Attitude to Self and Schools’ (PASS) Survey in Northern Ireland – the game changer.

Schools in NI keep student’s wellbeing and pastoral care at the heart of what they do. This is clearly reflected in our students’ academic achievements. Nevertheless, there appears to have been a recent awakening as to the futility of discussing the struggle between supporting students’ educational achievement and their personal health and wellbeing in isolation.

The two are inextricably linked and it is clear from the use of data that students cannot become the best version of themselves without self-belief, and they cannot have self-belief without feelings of academic success.

Measuring academic success has always been relatively easy through teacher assessment and external examinations, having an insight into and ability to measure student’ perceptions of their self-worth and ability to succeed in life is a very different matter.

The game changer for schools in NI has been the growing use of GL Assessment’s ‘Pupil Attitudes to Self and School’ (PASS) survey.

A Head Teacher described it as “the most insightful and enlightening tool available to schools this decade“.

In my role as the NI Consultant for GL I have been instrumental in supporting schools in successfully administering PASS testing to ensure accuracy of results, correct analysis and interpretation of scores to build a profile of students’ perceptions of themselves as learners, and providing intervention strategies which target specific identified needs. The latter has involved both whole school strategies and a comprehensive personalized mentoring programme for individual students.

PASS is the only psychometric assessment specifically designed to spot attitudinal or emotional issues in students before they impact on school performance. It takes 30 minutes to complete and is used in primary and post primary schools to provide an analysis of individual pupils’ perception of themselves and their barriers to learning.

Teachers report that the PASS survey successfully pinpoints students who they have already identified as disaffected and are already moving up the referral ladder. They claim however that, in addition to being a tool to identify such students, PASS also enables a better insight into the students’ feelings of low self-worth, self-confidence and alienation allowing teachers a more empathic understanding of the root cause of the problem.

This alone is revolutionising intervention strategies. The shift of emphasis turns to addressing the identified underlying and causational feelings and attitudes rather than focusing only on the resultant behaviour.

Others report that the data identifies ‘at risk’ students who might otherwise have gone undetected. Low scores for self-perception, self-regard and resilience raise red flags for immediate interventions.

A school counsellor commented: “Following a school based workshop with Eileen on the interpretation of data I identified the need to worked with Student X. The data opened the door enabling the conversation which she would not otherwise have initiated.

Schools’ responses to these findings are usually centered on individual or group mentoring delivering the brain-compatible intervention strategies which form part of the intervention programme PASS: Motivational Mentoring and Classroom Strategies‘.

I have refined and honed the latter over a period of ten years following evaluation reports from teachers and feedback from students. Teachers give it 100% effort and report significant improvements in both PASS scores and class assessments, re-emphasizing that educational achievement and students’ personal health and wellbeing go hand in hand.

One teacher commented: “(The) Increase in PASS scores are mirrored in class assessment in the short term and in the long term in PTE and PTM scores, they go up together and all too often go down together.

A Head teacher, also reflecting on years of experience analyzing PASS scores said: “Transition periods are critical, our students do not have the resilience to cope with change, we are putting a greater emphasis on induction programmes and team building exercises at these crucial times“.

Whilst the benefit and results of using the PASS programme has quickly become invaluable, we must, however, also be aware of the irrefutable link between parental engagement and their young peoples’ attitudes and behaviours.

The teachers’ plea, aren’t parents best placed to address these issues? Do parents have the knowledge and skills to prevent these underlying feelings and attitudes from arising in the first place? How can we best support them to support us’?

The response has been the introduction of the ‘PASS Parenting Programme’ which has been shown to successfully build the capacity of parents to address more specifically Factors 1, 5 and 8 in the report. In the delivery of the workshops I help parents gain an insight into their young peoples’ attitudes and feelings and, perhaps most significantly, ensure they feel empowered to help them. Follow up support activities are also arranged through the school.

The school / home partnership ensures we keep wellbeing at the heart of what we do and sharing the PASS report with Parents enriches the support given to students. In partnership with schools and their parent groups I will continue to make a significant contribution to the health and well being and academic progress of young people, and in NI, this will be primarily through delivery of GL’s PASS survey and targeted intervention strategies.

Eileen C Donnelly 
Educational Consultant & NAPCE NEC Officer

ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Offers a Fresh Approach to School Management During the Crisis

An Educational Response to a Crisis

The crisis that we find ourselves in, has meant that in education we have had to think about how we support teaching and learning.

Teachers have been working hard to continue teaching and engaging learners in a situation where there was very little time to prepare for the challenges that would be faced.

It has encouraged new approaches to leadership and management in education. The structured hierarchy approach to leadership and management does not seem relevant in the current circumstances.

This model which focuses on scrutiny of individuals work and compliance to consistent expectations does not seem to be appropriate.

What seems to have emerged is an innovative approach to respond to different needs which is based on sharing initiatives and ideas.

This process involves educational professionals inspiring each other across a school without the constraints of departments or structures.

The available technology is being used to cross school boundaries and enable collaboration and a drive to find new ways of supporting learning. Educationalists are working together in fluid teams motivated by the desire to solve a common challenge.

Educationalists are exploring new approaches to accountability.  It may have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago but educationalists are being innovative and exploring new approaches to teaching and learning, without the threat of unexpected visitors or measuring how much progress has been made in percentages, to motivate them.

Teachers are being motivated in the current circumstances by professional pride, to make a positive difference to the learning experience of young people.

Does this suggest that teachers can be more creative and develop more effective learning for their students, when they are not constantly monitored and measured? That teachers can be inspired by an expectation, that they will at an appropriate point be asked, to demonstrate the impact they have had on the learning experience of the young people they work with. Motivation is provided by the opportunity to take risks and to try something different in their teaching.

Limited face to face time with learners has encouraged educationalists to think carefully about the educational process.

What is the priority for the limited face to face time available through video conferencing and other technology?

  • Delivery of content and knowledge.
  • Tasks to develop understanding and relevant skills.
  • Activities to apply the knowledge and understanding.
  • Providing feedback and opportunities for reflection.

With face to face time rationed in the current circumstances, teaching can be adapted to quickly provide learners with the information and activities they need to enable them to make progress.

It becomes more of a priority, to support the young people with making sense of their learning experience and this becomes an important use of the limited face to face time available.

Pastoral care in this context becomes a proactive activity to support and motivate young people to become confident and effective learners. Investing teacher time, in this process ensures that young people have a purpose to the effort they are making with their learning and encourages their personal development and well- being. Old fashioned tutoring suddenly becomes a valued part of the learning process again.

It provides opportunities for a new partnership approach to learning between the tutor and the learner.

The Tutor becomes a key person in the learning experience of the young person, and they work together to find the most effective approach to using available resources and activities to support their learning.

The priority becomes finding the most effective approach, to developing an understanding of ideas and the skills needed, to be able to apply them effectively.

This approach to teaching and learning does not require strict timetables, that learners have to comply with but the focus is on supporting the learner with the organisation of their learning experience and the support they need to make effective progress in developing their understanding and skills.

The learner has some choice and responsibility for which activities they do first and for finding the resources they need to complete them.

Educationalists should use the opportunity provided by the crisis to explore positive changes, in our approach to teaching and learning, that use technology to enhance the learning process and make a real difference in preparing young people for life in the modern world.

The crisis has shown us, how important human interaction is in education and when we have the opportunity, pastoral support and tutoring needs to be placed at the heart of the learning process, for young people in the future. Please send your thoughts and ideas to NAPCE about how we can use our current experience, to enhance the education of future generations and make their learning experience relevant for the 21st century.

Phil Jones, National Chair, NAPCE
April 2020

TEACHING RESOURCES: Island Adventure – A Cross-Curriculum Learning Activity 

 

Island Adventure – A Learning Resource for Parents & TeachersGuidance Notes

This is a cross curricular resource that develops a wide range of learning and personal skills.

It can be used with learners from different ages. How much help and guidance are needed will depend on the age of the participants.

The activities can be completed individually, in a pair, or a small team. There are some activities where it is suggested that ideas are shared, and this discussion could be in person or using some form of technology.

There are some activities that require research online, but it has been developed so that learners do not have to spend all their time on a computer screen.

The resources could be used as a competition between different participants, pairs or teams with somebody marking and awarding points.  It will work best if learners can be given one activity at a time.

The activities could be completed in a short period of time or completed over a longer period. Guidance support and clues can be given as appropriate to keep the learners motivated and engaged.

The resources could be used by learners working in the same location or working on their own at home. I have suggested some extension activities.

Once learners are familiar with the resources there are, I am sure many opportunities for extension activities especially if they can interact in person or online with other learners. If they do interact online with other learners, please be aware of safeguarding and be aware of who they are communicating with.

The resources develop the following learning skills and personal attitudes.

  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Reflection
  • Resilience
  • Organisational skills
  • Creative skills
  • Evaluation
  • Research
  • Planning
  • Self-awareness

I hope the resources are useful and would welcome any feedback or suggestions to philjoneseducation@gmail.com

1. Find the location of the Island. The island is ten miles off the coast of a country. Break the code to find out the name of the country.

14, 1, 4, 1, 7, 1,19 ,3, 1, 18

2. Research about the country? Are these Facts True or False?

  • The country is in the Pacific Ocean
  • It is the worlds 4th largest island country
  • There are several small islands close by that are part of the country
  • Its flag is red white and blue
  • One of its official languages is German
  • It is ruled by a king
  • It became independent from Spain in 1960
  • It has a population of 26 million
  • People drive on the right
  • It is a member of the united nations.

Find ten more facts about this country

3. Your Application to go on the adventure What skills positive attitudes and personal qualities do you think you have that would make you a good person to be invited to go on this adventure. Write a letter of application to explain why you would be a good person to choose to go on the adventure

4. The Adventure Team

You will need a boat to travel the ten miles from the mainland to the island. There will be room in the boat for your and four more people with enough fuel to make one journey back to the mainland. Who will you choose from the applicants? Who will be the most useful on the Island? You might like to discuss your choices with somebody else in person, by e mail or some other form of communication.
Put the people into an order of priority and give reasons why you would choose the first four.

Person Order Comments
A Carpenter
B Cook
C Bank manager
D Soldier
E Keep fit trainer
F IT and computer expert
G Builder
H Scientist
I Nurse
J Zookeeper
K Film star
L Photographer
O Comedian
M News Reporter
N Geography Teacher
O Car mechanic

Your four choices
1
2
3
4
Reasons

5. Draw a map of the Adventure Island

There is nobody living on the island and no shops. You must include

  • A harbour
  • Four emergency telephone boxes
  • A beach
  • A cave
  • A wooden shelter
  • A river
  • Fruit trees
  • A zip wire
  • A waterfall

What else will you include on the island? Add as many places as you think are appropriate.

6. Supplies

You will be going to the island for 7 days. Make a list of what you need to take with you. There is enough room on the boat for five boxes of supplies. You could discuss your choices with somebody else to share ideas.
Work out how much you think the supplies that you will need will cost.

7. Radio Interview

A local radio station has heard about your adventure and wants to interview you. Work out what questions they could ask and what your responses might be. You could practice this with somebody else to get more ideas. Write out you interview as a script.
Interviewer – So what do you think will be your biggest challenge when you go to the island?
Adventurer – making sure that we do not get attacked by any wild animals

8. Preparations

In making your preparations you need to research which animals you might find on the island and which ones might be dangerous. The following animals will be on the Island, but which ones are most dangerous.

Animal Dangerous and a risk to your life
Lemurs
Tomato frog
Comet moth
Fossa
Nile Crocodiles
Aye Aye
Black Widow Spider
Fossa

9. Dairy

A newspaper contacts you just before you are about to leave on the adventure. They agree to pay you if you will write a diary each day and send it back by e mail to be published in their newspaper. Start your diary from Day One when you travel form the mainland to the island and describe what happens. Write your diary for the other six days to describe your adventure and what happens to you each day. You must stay on the island for seven days or the newspaper will not pay you the money they agreed in the contract.

10. Finding Treasure

You and your team have arrived on the island. Write the following numbers next to each of the telephone boxes. You might like to share your thoughts and ideas with another person.

9874082              8243587                    1113112                    9874082

The treasure is hidden in one of the telephone boxes. The clue is playing cards.
Can you find where the treasure is?

11. Newspaper

Using your diary write the front page of a newspaper report about your adventure. You can include any pictures maps or drawings that help the reader to understand you experience.

12. Extension – Write a plot for a film about your adventure

You need to decide
What the main story will be
What characters will be in the story
What will you need to be able to make the film and show it to other people?

Design a poster to advertise your film

ANSWERS and CLUES

  1. Give a clue – Think of numbers as letters

The code is
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,13,14,.15,16,17,18,19.20.21.22.23,24,25.26
A B  C D  E F  G H  I   J    K    L   O   M   N  P  Q   R   S   T U   V  W  X  Y    Z

The correct country is Madagascar. The Island is situated off the coast of Madagascar.
If you are giving marks it could be for how long it takes them or for how well, they kept going to find the answer.

  1. Research about the country? Are these Facts True or False?
  • The country is in the Pacific Ocean – FALSE Indian Ocean
  • It is the world’s 4th largest island country – TRUE
  • There are several small islands close by that are part of the country – TRUE
  • Its flag is red white and blue FALSE red, white and green
  • One of its official languages is German. False French and Malagasy
  • It is ruled by a king. FALSE President
  • It became independent from Spain in 1960. FALSE from France in 1960
  • It has a population of 26 million. TRUE
  • People drive on the right TRUE
  • It is a member of the United Nations. TRUE

You can award marks for how many they get correct. They could be given the answers to mark themselves or somebody can award marks. You can give marks for how well they work. You could make it more challenging by having a time limit.

  1. Award marks for the quality of the letter and the ideas included. It could be peer marked by another learner giving it marks out of ten for example. 
  2. The Adventure Team

There is no right or wrong answer, but it is the quality of the reasons presented that is important. If you are awarding marks, then they could be given for the reasons presented for the 4 people and how sensible their choices have been. 

  1. Draw a Map of the Adventure Island.

Marks can be awarded for the quality of the map and the ideas about which places to include in addition to those requested.

  1. Supplies

Award marks for the reasons for their decisions and how well they can do the research and calculations to work out the costs

  1. Radio Interview 

Marks could be awarded for the quality of the script that is produced; they could be asked to conduct the interview and marks given for how well they present it.

  1. Preparations

In making your preparations you need to research which animals you might find on the island and which ones might be dangerous. The following animals will be on the Island, but which ones are most dangerous.

Animal Dangerous and a risk to your life
Lemurs
Tomato frog
Comet moth
Fossa
Nile Crocodiles YES
Aye Aye
Black Widow Spider YES
Fossa

All these animals are found in Madagascar. The ones that are most dangerous to humans and pose the biggest threat to life are the Nile Crocodiles and Black Widow Spider. 

  1. Diary

Marks could be awarded for the quality of the communication and the creativity and ideas included. It could be marked as one activity or marked as a diary each day

  1. Finding Treasure

You and your team have arrived on the island. Write the following numbers next to each of the telephone boxes. You might like to share your thoughts and ideas with another person.
9874082              8243587                    1113112                    9874082
The treasure is hidden in one of the telephone boxes. The clue is playing cards.
A further clue could be to think of the numbers on the picture cards in a pack of cards. The correct answer is Jack (11), King (13) Ace (1) Queen (12)
So, the treasure is hidden in the telephone box with the number 1113112

  1. Newspaper

Using your diary write the front page of a newspaper report about your adventure. You can include any pictures maps or drawings that help the reader to understand you experience.
Marks could be given for the quality of the writing. The ideas included, and presentation. 

12 EXTENSION – Write the plot for a film about your adventure.
You need to decide
What the main story will be
What characters will be in the story
What will you need to be able to make the film and show it to other people?

Design a poster to advertise your film
Marks could be given for the thinking about the project, sensible and realistic ideas, how well they are explained and presentation of the poster. You can give marks for how creative and imaginative they have been.

MEETING REPORT: Chair & Secretary’s Report from NAPCE’s March 2020 Meeting & AGM

 
NAPCE Chair/Secretary Report 2019/20

The Association through the National Executive Committee (NEC) continues to maintain strong financial management and governance. The National Executive Committee at its meetings and through the work of its members ensures sound strategic planning and internal accountability for the activities of the Association. The strategic priorities for the NEC this year have been;

  1. Planning events and conferences, where appropriate in partnership with other organisations to ensure that NAPCE is active in the educational world.
  2. To expand the activities of the NAPCE to enable the Association to interact with an increasing number of people with an interest in pastoral care in education.
  3. To develop the role of NAPCE as a provider of training and professional development, to share theory and good practice in pastoral care
  4. To continue to develop the structure and organisation of the Association to meet the current and future needs of its members.
  5. To raise the profile of NAPCE and the Journal in the educational world

Members of the NEC have been working on different aspects of the strategic plan, in between the face to face Committee meetings. The NEC continues to work closely with the Editorial Board to support their work in developing the journal and to maintain its excellent reputation. The Association has a positive relationship with the publishers of the journal, Taylor Francis.

They continue to be an important partner in the future development of NAPCE and by providing a regular income to provide financial stability. In May 2019 the Association organised its own National Conference for the first time for many years. The conference explored important issues about Mental Health and Wellbeing.

It was an opportunity to continue the discussion, following the publication of a special edition of the journal in 2018 about mental health and well – being. The speakers at the conference included, Tim Boyes, Chief Executive Officer for Birmingham Educational Partnership, Professor Stan Tucker and Professor Dave Trotman, from Newman University. Speakers from OFSTED, ASCL and MIND also made contributions to the conference. Workshop leaders included Celina Bennett from Squirrel Learning, Melanie Glass from Newman Health and Well-being and Catherine Harwood from NAPCE. Delegates were able to visit displays from The BBC Starting School Campaign, Compassion Matters, The Thrive Approach, Aston Villa Foundation, Services for Education and NAPCE. There were 85 delegates attending the conference and some of the comments that they made about the day included.

  • “It was really informative and lots of ideas to take back to school”
  • Great update on national picture and progression and hurdles with mental health in schools and wider society.”
  • Very informative, thought provoking and inspiring.”
  • The information given today can only help me and the staff I work with to support the young people in the school and each other.”

NAPCE continues to form partnerships with organisations with similar interest and values. The Association was once again actively involved in the planning and delivery of the Association of School and College Leaders, (ASCL) annual conference for Pastoral Leaders in January which took place in Birmingham. The Chair was invited to deliver a workshop on a new model for pastoral care in schools and NAPCE had a stand in the market – place which was organised by the Secretary.

This was an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of NAPCE with delegates mainly in leadership roles in primary and secondary schools, with pastoral responsibilities attending the conference, from all around the country.  There were many visits to the NAPCE stand during the conference with delegates interested in finding out about the work of NAPCE and how they could be involved. ASCL have said that they want NAPCE to be a partner in the planning and the delivery of the 2021 conference for pastoral leaders. Another organisation that NAPCE has developed positive links with is UK Pastoral Chat, which shares ideas and good practice in pastoral care.

In June 2019 NAPCE were partners with UK Pastoral Chat in organising a conference in Coventry with the title ‘Pastoral Care That Makes a Difference’.  The Chair was the co-host for the conference and four members of the NAPCE NEC, gave Keynote presentations on different topics. Some of the delegates comments about the conference included,

  • “Lots of great information to take back to my school.”
  • “Great conference. Great to hear from speakers who have so much knowledge.” 
  • “It was great to connect with other pastoral colleagues and be inspired by some great speakers.”

Other educational organisations that NAPCE has had contact with this year include MIND, Blue Sky Education, The Thrive Approach, Safeguarding Network and Ofsted.

The National Executive have taken positive action to enable the NAPCE to interact more effectively with other people who share an interest in education.

NAPCE is pleased to continue working with Iain Johnson from Noise PR. Iain is managing our social media and supporting the Association with its publicity and marketing. Iain has made a huge contribution to raising awareness about the work of NAPCE and is making a real impact in helping us to achieve our aim of interacting with more people who share our interest in pastoral care. The impact of his support can be seen in increased followers on social media and contacting NAPCE.  Iain produces a monthly newsletter for the Association, which has seen a growing number of people requesting a copy and an increase in the number of people opening and reading the newsletter each month. Members of the Executive Committee write articles for the Newsletter and there have also been contributions from other organisations. The newsletter enables the Association to keep members informed about current developments and events with a pastoral care focus. This increased interaction has seen more interest, for the first time in many years in membership of the Association. Although there has only been a small increase in membership, it demonstrates that the work to increase awareness about the work of NAPCE is having an impact.

NAPCE continues to work with Taylor and Francis to develop the Association’s web site. The Association’s Twitter feed on the website provides the latest news and information and there are links to planned events and activities.  This ensures that the Association is providing its members with current news from the world of education and information to support them in their pastoral roles.

The increased contact with the Association through the website, social media and contact with Base has continued this year.

There have been requests for advice and guidance on a wide range of pastoral issues that members of the National Executive have responded to. Many of the contacts have been about advice on good practice in pastoral care and guidance about the roles of pastoral leaders, pastoral staff and designated safeguarding leads.

NAPCE has produced national guidance on pastoral care and a review process to support members and schools in the development of their pastoral structures and systems. NAPCE through its Twitter page provided support and inspiration for developing the role of the form tutor with the, ‘Twelve Positive Approaches to the Effective use of Tutor Time.’ These are examples of how NAPCE is stimulating discussion and ideas about good practice in pastoral care.

A new initiative developed by NAPCE this year has been the National Awards for Pastoral Care. This has been developed in partnership with UK Pastoral Chat who are inviting nominations through Twitter for their awards, for good practice in pastoral care. The hard work of Iain in promoting the awards has raised the profile of NAPCE across the country and we were very pleased to have had many nominations in the 7 NAPCE categories. An independent panel of judges will now select the finalists and winners and it is hoped to organise a presentation event to announce the results in the future.

Plans and discussions were taking place about the 2020 national conference. Following on from the success of the conference in 2019, delegates will be invited to explore the question, ‘Does Every Child Still Matter’?  Even though it was some time ago, the most requests for downloads from our ‘Journal Pastoral Care in Education’ are for articles about the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda, in the 1990s.

The plan is that the conference will develop ideas about good practice in pastoral care that are relevant for the next decade. The programme has an impressive list of presentations and workshops and includes contributions form NAPCE’s National Executive and Editorial Board. The conference once again takes place at the Studio Conference Centre in Birmingham. This event has now been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE is working in partnership with UK Pastoral Chat to support a Pastoral Conference in Coventry on Saturday 27thJune. Details are available on the UK Pastoral Chat Eventbrite page.

NAPCE continues to work with Newman University in Birmingham to develop a Certificate in Pastoral Care Course and is exploring options for other accredited professional development programmes. Unfortunately changes in staffing at the university have meant that the launch of these courses has had to be delayed.

Members of NEC this year have contributed their energy, skills and expertise to the Association to enable it to continue to expand its activities for its members and raise its profile in the educational world. The Base has continued to be the point of contact for the Association Contact is made through the telephone, email, the website and social media. The activities of the Base support the organisation of the Association and the work of the NEC and Editorial Board.

The National Executive Committee welcomes suggestions about how to raise awareness, of the work of NAPCE, and any suggestions about how our members can contribute to discussions about future developments in policy and practice in Pastoral Care and participate in activities to raise awareness about important issues in this area of education.  Thank you to all members of the National Executive Committee, Editorial Board, Melissa O’Grady, NAPCE Administrator at Base, Iain Johnson at Noise PR, Lyndsey Upex, at the Pastoral Care in Education Editorial Office and Abi Amey and her colleagues at Taylor and Francis, for your support, contributions, energy and ideas this year. Following the hard work over the last few years, NAPCE has now established the foundations to enable it to make a significant contribution to encouraging positive approaches to pastoral care in the future.

Phil Jones, Chair, NAPCE
Jill Robson, Secretary, Chair

NAPCE News – February 2020

NAPCE News – February 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 & teacher Victoria Bownes explores how sport & physical fitness can support young peoples’ mental health

With mental health issues in young people soaring, we look at how sport and physical fitness can keep mental health issues in check by providing focus, fitness, and opportunities to socialise.

The benefits of boosting your self-esteem through Sport & Physical Activity 

As we enter a new decade with great enthusiasm to achieve our own personal goals in schools, colleges and universities it is easy to focus ourselves fully on studying and not take time to engage in physical activity.

The benefits that sport can bring to us all has been of great discussion in schools over recent years with organisations making headway with interventions to enable sporting opportunities to be more accessible to young people.

By participating in sport, children are exposed to various mental, social, emotional, physical and educational benefits.

This can lead to benefits of better sleep patterns, reduce anxiety and promote healthier and happier students who have a much greater self-esteem enabling a positive learning environment for all.

With examinations on the horizon for many, we at NAPCE would like to encourage both students and professionals to embrace in physical activity as we strive to raise the profile that having greater self-esteem can reduce stress and enable everyone to reach their true potential.

There are several links below of physical activity suggestions that you might like to access:-

https://www.parkrun.org.uk/
https://www.yourschoolgames.com/taking-part/our-sports/
https://findarace.com/
https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/marathon/a29188825/london-marathon-2020/
https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities/sports-and-activities

Good Luck in reaching your own personal goal!

Victoria Bownes
NAPCE Officer

AWARDS: TES Sponsors “Member of Staff” Category at National Awards for Pastoral Care In Education 

The UK’s leading publication for the education sector has sponsored the first ever National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education.

The media organisation – once known as Times Educational Supplement – has sponsored the Pastoral Member of Staff Award and entries have been pouring in ahead of the closing date on March 2nd.

TES was founded in 1910 and now publishes a weekly magazine and runs a dynamic website delivering the latest news and insights to the teaching profession.

A spokesperson for TES said: “TES’s mission is to support and connect teachers and schools worldwide, helping them to improve children’s lives through education. It is an international provider of software enabled services to schools and teachers.

“With more than 13 million teachers in our online community and working relationships with 25,000 schools in over 100 countries, it has the scale to make a difference.

“Tes helps schools find the teachers they need; it brings new teachers into the profession through initial teacher training; it provides teachers with continuous professional development and tools to help them succeed in the classroom; it brings educators together online so they can share expertise and it provides them with vital news and information about education.”

A host of other influential organisations have lined up to support the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education which launched last year including the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Blue Sky Education, The Thrive Approach and Taylor and Francis.

About the Awards and How to Enter

This is the first time ever an event has being 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.

There are seven categories to enter in the NAPCE Awards.

Entry closes on Monday 2nd March, 2020.

NAPCE and UK Pastoral Chat are working in partnership to organise the first ever National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education under one awards ceremony which will take place in 2020.

You can enter the NAPCE awards now here: https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/zxzr4y71g2ofzi/

NAPCE is inviting nominations in the following categories;

  • Pastoral School of the Year
  • Pastoral Team of the Year
  • Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year
  • Pastoral Leader of the Year
  • Pastoral Development of the Year
  • Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care
  • Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational institutions.

The Awards will be an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and through the social media and websites of both organisations to raise awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

The awards will encourage new initiatives and ideas in pastoral care and will recognise the contributions being made to developing policy and practice in pastoral support.

This is an opportunity to recognise the impact the work of pastoral staff is having on the achievement and well being of young people. The decisions about prize winners in each category will be made by a panel of invited professionals who work in pastoral care.

There will be a prize of £100.00 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

The criteria for the NAPCE awards are;
Award Criteria

  • Pastoral School of the Year

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

  • Pastoral Team of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Leader of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Development of the Year

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

  • Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care

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.

  • Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care

A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care.Nominations for the NAPCE Awards are welcome from member schools and institutions and from schools and institutions that are not currently members of NAPCE.

The Awards Programme and partnership with UK Pastoral Chat is an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of Pastoral Care and give hard working pastoral staff and schools with positive approaches to supporting learners the recognition that they deserve.

Please be part of this process by sending your nominations.

Phil Jones
National Chair
National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

CONFERENCE: NAPCE’S flagship annual event for Pastoral Care professionals will take place in May 

 
Tickets for the NAPCE Conference 2020 in May are on sale now.

The headline theme for this year’s event – which is for people working in pastoral care roles in the education sector – is “Do all children and young people still matter in 2020? What pastoral care and support do children and young people need in the next decade?”

The Conference takes place on May 5th, 2020 at The Studio in Birmingham and will feature a programme of influential speakers and valuable workshops tuning into the headline theme.

Among the guest speakers already confirmed is Paralympic gold medallist Nigel Murray OBE, who is a legend in the sport of boccia who will deliver an inspirational address.

Feedback from delegates taking to social media at last year’s event included:

“It was really informative and lots of ideas to take back to school”

“Great update on national picture and progression and hurdles with mental health in schools and wider society” 

“It raised awareness about the importance of a whole school approach to mental health issues and well-being in schools” 

“The information given today can only help me and the staff I work with to support the young people we work with and each other” 

“Will be taking a lot away from today. Great to hear from speakers who have good knowledge and to talk to others in the same roles”

About this Event

The Children Act (1989) and the policy document Every Child Matters (2003) were heralded as major landmark legislation and policy initiatives that would transform the nature and delivery of education, social and health services for all children and young people. In thinking about the pressures, dilemmas and challenges currently facing those working with children and young people, this conference will ask all participants to reflect on one key question:

DO ALL CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE STILL MATTER in 2020?

The challenge for those participating in the conference will be to carefully consider evidence from research, practice and experience to develop a clear, concise and reasoned response to the question. To achieve this, we intend to bring together:

Key speakers and skilled workshop facilitators

Participants from different professional and academic backgrounds

Those who play an important role in developing policy and managing services for children and young people

NAPCE is an organisation that has managed to bring together a rich mixture of professional and academic personnel. It also houses its own internationally renowned academic journal – Pastoral Care in Education.

Tickets are priced at £25 for NAPCE members or £45 for non-members. There is an early bird discount offer of £30 for non-members on tickets  booked before 31st March 2020.

To book follow this link: napce2020.eventbrite.co.uk

MEDIA WATCH: A round-up of the latest news stories involving pastoral care in education

At NAPCE we work very hard to stay across the national and international news media to store and share the latest stories involving pastoral care in education on our own platforms.

In this regular feature for NAPCE News, we share with you a selection of the biggest stories hitting the headlines this month with the aim that some of these reported developments may provide useful context within your work as a strategist or practitioner of pastoral support.

Here is a summary for February 2020.

“Number of schools buying in counsellors for children almost doubles in three years” from The Independent

Read here: children-mental-health-schools-counsellors-funding-cuts-wellbeing-naht-a9311276.html

“Parents call for fewer laptops and tablets in classrooms amid concerns over screen time” from The Independent

Read here: school-laptop-tablet-screen-time-class-room-education-children-a9313416.html

“Parents of autistic children face waits of up to three years for diagnosis and support, charity warns” from The Independent

Read here: autism-diagnosis-special-educational-needs-parents-families-charity-a9281951.html

“Children battling mental health issues forced to wait up to 113 DAYS for NHS treatment in shocking postcode lottery” from The Sun

Read here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10995064/children-mental-health-issues-wait-days-nhs/

“English schools buying in mental health support has ‘almost doubled’ in three years” from The Guardian

Read here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/03/english-schools-buying-in-mental-health-support-has-almost-doubled-in-three-years

“Too many hours on social media is impacting learning of Scottish children, claims education expert” from The Scotsman

Read here: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/too-many-hours-on-social-media-is-impacting-learning-of-scottish-children-claims-education-expert-1-5093616

“Education authority provide emergency support in schools over suicide rate” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-51475699?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education&link_location=live-reporting-story

“Girl home-schooled due to lack of disabled toilets in Monmouthshire” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51447435?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education&link_location=live-reporting-story

“Students at Sheffield school benefit from pioneering pastors programme” from Sheffield Star

Read here: https://www.thestar.co.uk/education/students-sheffield-school-benefit-pioneering-pastors-programme-1758141

NAPCE News – January 2020

 

NAPCE News – January 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 & School Counsellor Paula Spencer discusses managing GCSE exam stress & supporting students

GCSE Exam stress and student support It was interesting to read the article by Tim Roome and C.A. Soan; published in the recent edition of NAPCE’S quarterly journal Pastoral Care in Education ‘GCSE exam stress: student’s perceptions of the effects on wellbeing and performance.’

(Vol.37, NO. 4,297-315.  December 2019)

They explored the views of students who had recently taken GCSE exams, how they felt their GCSE experiences affected their wellbeing and performance, factors that contributed to or alleviated their levels of exam stress, and whether theories  relating to exam stress such as Achievement Goal Theory could be used to explain the individual differences in levels of exam stress. (p297)

Since the start of the school year in September, several year 11 students have self-referred to the school’s student counselling service to talk about their thoughts, feelings and concerns about year 11, before moving into further education. Teacher training days have focused on raising year 11 achievement and putting strategies in place to support different students both academically and emotionally.

Students who use the counselling service talk about their fears, anxieties, concerns and how the pressure of GCSEs affect them. One student explained  ‘GCSEs  are scary. Before GCSE year I didn’t have panic attacks, it’s a fear of failure, teachers tell us if we don’t get GCSEs we won’t get this job or that job, it is not okay to fail, this is the message we get a lot from teachers’.

Another student said ‘I can’t stand year 11, everything about it is horrible.  There is one subject that is driving me crazy, I hate this subject and the teacher, and this is the subject that stresses me out the most. The taster lesson made it seem that it was interesting.  In fact, the reality is starting to get to me, I am starting to panic about finishing course work and revision. Each subject comes with its own stresses, I am genuinely scared of failing, and I won’t even have the qualifications to work in McDonalds.  Then there are the constant reminders from teachers and counting down the weeks before the start of exams’.

One student told me that she had no worries about GCSEs for now ‘it just hasn’t hit me yet’. Others describe difficulty sleeping, those who sleep sometime talk about their dreams where they get exam results and have failed. Some put off doing course work and homework because they believe that they have already failed and will not do well, they are revising but not sure what they are revising, or not knowing how to revise.   Some students from different cultural backgrounds describe feeling anxious about parental and cultural expectations, not wanting to let their parents down, while others talk about wanting to do well because failure will impact on their career choices or where they continue their further education and A Level options.  While stress is a normal part of everyday life, the extra pressure caused by GCSEs clearly affects students mental and emotional wellbeing, some more than others.

The research by Roome and Soan highlighted ‘the need for school staff to provide support specifically  for students who have high levels of or are susceptible to exam stress….School staff would benefit from training to increase awareness of how they can contribute to or alleviate stress… Advice for students could be offered by school staff or specialist in mental health, such as educational psychologist…students should have an awareness of their goal mindset orientations and given strategies to cope with exam stress. (P311-312)

The students who use the counselling service often welcome the opportunities to say how and what they are feeling and what they are thinking. I work with each student to develop a range of individual coping strategies to help them deal with their anxieties. Sometimes this can involve working with parents who have their own anxieties, they too often feel helpless, they are not sure what strategies to use to support their child.

Anxiety affects performance and performance affects the future.

The organisations listed below provide information and strategies  to cope exam stress, the NHS site has a page for parents.

www.studentminds.org.uk

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

www.youngminds.org.uk

www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

www.childline.org.uk

www.nhs.uk

Paula Spencer
NAPCE Officer & School Counsellor

AWARDS: Sponsors line up to support first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education

A host of influential organisations have lined up to support the first National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education which launched last year.

Each of the four entities have put their name to one of the Awards for the scheme, which is a collaboration between NAPCE and UK Pastoral Chat.

Staff performance software pioneers Blue Sky Education will sponsor the Pastoral School of the Year category.

The award-winning company is celebrating its 20th anniversary inn 2020 and successfully continues to roll out its universal time saving software solution in schools across the UK.

The Pastoral Team of the Year accolade is being backed by The Thrive Approachwhich offers online and in-school training to help teaching staff to develop an education setting to engender healthy, happy children.

Their training model is supported by neuroscience and focuses on individual child development.

Taylor and Francis, one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, eBooks, text books and reference works, is sponsoring the Pastoral Leader of the Year award.

Taylor & Francis Group publishes more than 2,600 journals and over 5,000 new books each year including NAPCE’s quarterly journal Pastoral Care in Education.

The Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care Award is being supported by ASCL, the Association of School and College Leaders.

ASCL is the leading professional association and trade union for all school and college leaders.

They support and represent more than 19,000 school and college leaders of primary, secondary and post-16 education from across the UK.The team at ASCL works to shape national education policy, provides advice and support to our members and deliver first-class professional development.

Welcoming each of the four sponsors on board Chair of NAPCE Phil Jones said: “We are absolutely delighted that each of these four fantastic organisations is supporting the awards and we are very grateful for their support.

“The reaction to the first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education has be very encouraging and to have such prestigious and credible organisations involved gives the awards even more of a boost.

“We have received some great entries so far but would like to receive many more so please encourage your school or team to get involved if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of these prestigious awards and the one hundred pound prize.”

If you work for an organisation that would be interesting in sponsoring the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education please contact philjoneseducation@gmail.com

About the Awards and How to Enter

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

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

There are seven categories to enter in the NAPCE Awards and 11 under the UK Pastoral Chat scheme.

Entry for both sets of awards is separate, although the closing date for both is Monday 2nd March, 2020.

Both organisations will work in partnership to organise the first ever National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education under one awards ceremony which will take place in 2020.

You can enter the NAPCE awards now here: https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/zxzr4y71g2ofzi/

NAPCE is inviting nominations in the following categories;

  • Pastoral School of the Year
  • Pastoral Team of the Year
  • Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year
  • Pastoral Leader of the Year
  • Pastoral Development of the Year
  • Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care
  • Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational institutions.

UK Pastoral Chat is inviting nominations for awards in the following categories;

  • SLT
  • Head of Year (Including Head of 6thForm)
  • Head of House/Head of Boarding
  • PSHE Lead
  • Nurse/ Counsellor
  • Pastoral Support Staff (including Learning Mentor)
  • Tutor/Classroom teacher
  • Unsung Hero
  • Guidance teacher
  • DSL/CP Co-ordinator
  • Governor

Details about how to make nominations can be found on the UK Pastoral Chat Twitter pages.

The Awards will be an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and through the social media and websites of both organisations to raise awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

The awards will encourage new initiatives and ideas in pastoral care and will recognise the contributions being made to developing policy and practice in pastoral support.

This is an opportunity to recognise the impact the work of pastoral staff is having on the achievement and well being of young people. The decisions about prize winners in each category will be made by a panel of invited professionals who work in pastoral care.

There will be a prize of £100.00 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

The criteria for the NAPCE awards are;
Award Criteria

  • Pastoral School of the Year

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

  • Pastoral Team of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Leader of the Year

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.

  • Pastoral Development of the Year

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

  • Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care

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.

  • Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care

A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care.Nominations for the NAPCE Awards are welcome from member schools and institutions and from schools and institutions that are not currently members of NAPCE.

Nominations can be made online via this link:

https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/zxzr4y71g2ofzi/

You can also enter by e-mail to NAPCE Base at admin@napce.org.uk or they can be sent by post to National Association for Pastoral Care in Education, (NAPCE), PO BOX 60005, Nuneaton, CV11 9GY, with the following information:

Award                          __________________________________________

Nomination                  __________________________________________
Support for nomination (maximum 100 words)

Nominated by _______________________________________________

Email contact _______________________________________________

The Awards Programme and partnership with UK Pastoral Chat is an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of Pastoral Care and give hard working pastoral staff and schools with positive approaches to supporting learners the recognition that they deserve.

Please be part of this process by sending your nominations.

Phil Jones
National Chair
National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

ARTICLE: Fabricated or Induced Illness  – A matter for schools? By Andrew Martin of Safeguarding Network

 

NAPCE recently teamed up with Safeguarding Network to publish a series of articles concerned with keeping children and young people safe in the school environment.

We are now delighted to bring you the second instalment, which focuses on the subject of Fabricated or Induced Illness.

Safeguarding Network was established in 2017  by John Woodhouse and Andrew Martin,  two social workers with more than 40 years combined experience working with children and young people.

The organisation is concerned with the increasing requirement on schools to fill the void left by decreasing social care budgets and the sparse support available for schools when responding to a matter not deemed to meet the social care thresholds.

Fabricated or induced illness: a matter for schools? By Andrew Martin

Why do I need to know about fabricated or induced illness (in 60 seconds)

Fabricated or induced illness (previously commonly known as Munchausen’s by proxy) is a lesser known form of physical abuse.  Although the illness is primarily a health issue, there are significant implications for schools.  Fabricated or induced illness is considered to cover a spectrum of issues, ranging from over anxious parents to parents who are deliberately harming their children for their own gain.

As professionals working with children and young people daily, staff in schools are in a prime position to identify inconsistencies in what they are being told about the needs of the child versus how the child is presenting.  Numerous Serious Case Reviews tell us that there is also a need for schools to maintain a respectful uncertainty and ensure that they challenge where necessary – including challenging the parent and health professionals, regardless of where they may be on the perceived hierarchy within the health system.

School staff are also best placed to hear the voice of the child – something which is often lost in cases of fabricated or induced illness.

Introduction

Due to the nature and levels of workloads that as professionals we must deal with daily, as soon as we see the word illness there is a natural response to classify that as a health issue and – at most – make a mental note to speak to the school nurse.  Therefore, to be considering fabricated or induced illness as an issue for schools we have to be aware that we may be pushing at a closed mental door. As we will see however it is something that we do need to be aware of.

Indeed, this sense of illness being a health issues is, in  some sense reinforced by the Department for Education.  If you search through Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 for the term, or its shorthand of FII, you will find only one mention in the “Additional advice and support” section of Annex A, simply a link to the 2008 government guidance, Safeguarding children in whom illness is fabricated or induced.  Fabricated or induced illness is also briefly mentioned in Ofsted guidance for inspectors as an area where safeguarding action may be required to protect children and learners, but again little there is substance behind it.

Physical abuse

This lack of emphasis on fabricated or induced illness may be due to research suggesting that FII is a rare form of abuse.  The NHS cites a widely quoted study from 2000 which estimated the number of cases of FII at just 89 per 100,000 over a two year period. When compared to figures from 2016/17 for sexual offences against under 18’s which equate to around 500 per 100,000 in a one year period, this does show why it is considered rare.  However, as the research itself identifies, there are a number of caveats to the 89 per 100,000 figure, and there is consensus that the true figure may be higher.

Although not specifically referenced in the body of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018, all staff should be aware of FII through its inclusion in the definition of physical abuse in Part one of the document:

Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. (para 43, p.14, Part one, Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2018 – emphasis added)

Defining fabricated or induced illness

Most documents on FII do not provide a definition of fabricated or induced illness, instead talking about the ways in which it may occur.  The pan-London child protection procedures do however offer the following definition:

Fabricated or induced illness is a condition whereby a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm through the deliberate action of their parent and which is attributed by the parent to another cause.

The deliberate actions of a parent or parents that tend to centre around them lying about or making up health issues fall into three main groupings:

  • Fabrication of signs and symptoms – this may include making up or altering past medical histories.
  • Fabrication of signs and symptoms along with falsification of hospital records / charts / letters and other documents. In some cases, parents may also go so far as to falsify specimens of bodily fluids.
  • Induction of illness through a variety of means, which may include poisoning and other ways.

You may hear people still refer to Munchausen’s or Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy – this term was replaced with the current fabricated or induced illness as Munchausen’s refers to a psychiatric illness and there was concern that this was meaning that parents who harmed their children in this way were being labelled with a psychiatric illness that they may not have.

EXAMPLE WAY IN WHICH PARENT PRESENTS UNDERLYING FACTORS LEVEL OF PARENTAL INSIGHT LEVEL OF RISK
1. Simple anxiety, lack of knowledge about illness, over interpretation of normal features of childhood that may in some cases be linked to depression in carer. Carer may be affected by issues such as inability to cope with other personal or social stresses, for example mental ill health. Carer can usually be reassured although likely to come back in the future. Seldom reaches level of significant harm
2. Symptoms are misinterpreted by carer or may be perpetuated / reinforced by the carer.  Carer may genuinely believe that their child is ill or have fixed beliefs about illness. The ‘illness’ may be serving a function for the carer and potentially older children (referred to as secondary gains). Carer can be difficult to reassure.  Carer and professionals may not agree on the cause of the symptoms and/or need to investigate further. Some risk of significant harm including emotional harm, impact on education or social isolation.
3. Carer actively promotes sick role by exaggeration, non-treatment of real problems, fabrication (lying) or falsification of signs, and/or induction of illness. There may be a history of frequent use of, or dependence on, health services.  The ‘illness’ may be serving a purpose for the carer or meeting their own mental health needs. Carer cannot be reassured, and their objectives are often diametrically opposed to those of professionals. High risk of harm, always because of over intervention and often severe.
4. Carer suffers from diagnosable psychiatric illness (e.g. delusional disorder) which leads them to believe the child is ill. The carer’s mental health is the primary underlying issue. Carer lacks insight into their involvement in the child’s reported illness. May be a risk of harm.
5. There are genuine unrecognised medical issues which become apparent after initial investigation around possible FII. Carer’s behaviour will usually be appropriate for the signs displayed by the child, although this may change if there are child protection interventions. Risk of harm due to delay in correct diagnosis and following child protection routes.

Whilst most of us can identify parents who fit the detail in example 1 (and not just in relation to medical needs), the greatest risk is presented by those parents who fit the detail in example 3.

Impact on schooling

Whilst research shows that the most severe and dramatic events are usually seen in children under the age of five, FII is seen in children of all ages (NSPCC, 2011).  Arguably, the reason for the greater severity in under 5’s is that FII requires acts to be done to children (either by the parent or by doctors) and therefore as a child gets older they are more likely to ask questions and start to challenge the “perceived wisdom” of the parent.  However, as identified by the NSPCC (ibid.) some children can become so indoctrinated in their “sick” persona that they may go on to simulate their own illnesses or start to act in a way that supports their parents’ position (as seen in this Serious Case Review).  Cases are also seen where the description of the child and their illness does not fit the child that is seen in school.

Any child’s medical needs can have an impact on their day to day schooling, however in cases of fabricated or induced illness, the impact is likely to be significant.  Schools may find themselves having to adjust premises, routines, etc. to ensure that they are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Equality Act 2010, and that they have staff who are trained in various medical procedures.  A child’s attendance at school may be severely disrupted due to medical appointments or having days off due to being unwell.  Cases often identify that the abuser can be highly manipulative and frequently well informed about the different features of the ‘illness’, meaning that they are very hard to challenge.

As a school there is therefore a need to be aware of patterns of absence (does your data manager / business manager regularly report any concerns?), and whether staff asking questions leads to increased absence.  Schools should also be aware of cases where there are multiple moves of school or the suggestion of home schooling for an ill child and should question what the reason for this may be. Evidence suggesting that this is part of the pattern when there are cases of fabricated or induced illness.

Respectful uncertainty

Respectful uncertainty was introduced as a concept by Lord Laming in his enquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié.

The concept of “respectful uncertainty” should lie at the heart of the relationship between the social worker and the family. It does not require social workers constantly to interrogate their clients, but it does involve the critical evaluation of information that they are given. People who abuse their children are unlikely to inform social workers of the fact. For this reason at least, social workers must keep an open mind. (para 6.602, p.205, The Victoria Climbie Enquiry)

For our purposes, the term “social workers” can be replaced by “professionals”.  This approach is key when considering cases of suspected fabricated or induced illness.

Serious Case Reviews demonstrate that often there is a mismatch between information being presented to one agency and information being presented to another.  Schools see the children for prolonged periods of time throughout the year.  During this time there can be significant differences between what the parents report as happening whilst the children are in their care and what the staff see daily.

Another term that can be applied here is professional dangerousness. The term is attributed to Tony Morrison (1990) and describes the process where the behaviour of professionals involved in child protection work means that they inadvertently collude with the family they are working with or act in a way that increases the dangerous dynamics that are present.  In cases of fabricated illness there is a risk that human nature will mean that subconsciously we do not want to countenance the idea that parents, and particularly mothers, would want to seek medical assistance that would harm their child.  For most parents, the natural response would be to only agree to what can be highly invasive procedures if they were convinced that they were absolutely necessary. Therefore if a procedure is being recommended and the parents are agreeing to it, it is natural to think it must be necessary.

Daniel Pelka

A lack of respectful uncertainty was seen in the case of Daniel Pelka.  Whilst the case is more commonly known for the alcohol misuse and domestic abuse in his mother’s relationships and the physical abuse of Daniel, there was also a lesser identified element of fabricated or induced illness present.

The Serious Case Review identified that although Daniel was only at school for two terms before he died, in that time there were concerns that he was scavenging for food in bins and craving for food (he was stealing food from other children’s lunchboxes and eating secretively).  When the mother was challenged about this she stated that he had a health condition and requested that the school supported her in making sure that he only ate what was in his lunchbox.  However, Daniel’s reported obsession with food did not match up to what staff were seeing in relation to his appearance – one member of staff telling the subsequent criminal trial that he appeared to be “wasting away”.  The Serious Case Review found that assumptions were “too readily made that his problems were medically based”.  The suggestion is that the mother was falsifying the health condition to cover up the abuse that was happening at home, and that she and her partner were inducing medical problems by force feeding him salt, with this being planned as a punishment if he was considered to have been eating too much.

Disguised compliance

Common themes which potentially evidence disguised compliance include the focus on improving one issue to deflect attention from other areas, being critical of professionals, and not engaging with services or avoiding contact with professionals.  In cases of fabricated or induced illness one or more of these traits is often seen, for example:

  • Parents will pick up prescriptions but then not give the medication to the child.
  • Telling health professionals that the child’s school is not supporting the care plan, whilst telling school that none of he health professionals are able to attend meetings.
  • Parents not agreeing to referrals being made or services being provided or agreeing and then withdrawing their consent / not attending.
  • Parents blocking access to the child or making sure that they are always present when the child is seen.

It is therefore important that we focus on the question “what does this mean for the child?”, and if we are concerned about something the parent is doing, are we concerned about significant harm?

Challenge

Alongside questioning what a parent’s behaviour means for a child, we also the need to feel able to challenge fellow professionals.  Within many systems there are hierarchies; however  safeguarding network are strongly of the view that there is no such thing as a hierarchy in safeguarding and child protection.  Very often it is the person who perceives themselves to be at the bottom of the hierarchy and believes that they have the least knowledge who has the most contact with the child and is best placed to know if there is something happening that is concerning.

In relation to fabricated or induced illness the power associated with the hierarchy within health can go across agencies, with other agencies deferring to the power and knowledge of others deemed to be “more experienced in these matters”.  For example, one Serious Case Review found that because the child was receiving medical care from a “centre of excellence” everyone involved relied on their skills to manage the treatment and concerns that were present in education and other health sectors were not flagged up because the involvement of the specialist service added a confirmation bias (e.g. when we want something to be true we will look for things that confirm it is true).  In this case the bias was that professionals did not want to believe that the mother was harming her children and the involvement of a specialist centre meant that the child must genuinely be ill.  No-one involved was questioning what they were being told and the situation had been manipulated by the mother.  This case review also found that the school had not made a referral to Children’s Social Care because they felt that on the basis of their concerns alone, the threshold for involvement of a social worker would not be met.  The review argued that the referral should have been made and then a discussion held.

Voice of the child

As with many other forms of abuse, evidence suggests that the voice of the child is often lost in cases of FII.  In one case that went to review the children stated:

  • Health professionals appeared very reliant on what their mother was saying, and they felt they “were not an important part of the conversation”.
  • One child knew they were having unnecessary treatment but did not feel that they had the opportunity to tell anyone.
  • Another child spoke of not wanting the treatment and being scared, but then feeling that it was OK because their mother was there.

Whilst some of these comments can be levelled arguably at health professionals, the child who did not feel that they had the opportunity to tell anyone was a school-age child and did attend school on a frequent basis.  Did he not feel able to approach school staff?  Perhaps he felt / believed he should not talk to school staff about his health issues?

In summary

Fabricated or induced illness is not as common a form of abuse as others we may see; however, there is often a significant impact for the child and their family and, in some cases the risk of harm is significant.  As non-medical professionals we may not feel able to challenge consultants and other medical professionals about specific health issues. However, as with other forms of abuse school staff will know the children they work with and will be able to identify if what they are told and what they see are not adding up.  This inconsistent information then needs to be followed up in the same way as other concerns are – and escalated if necessary.

A common message from Serious Case Reviews on this matter (including those mentioned in this article) is that where there are significant, ongoing medical issues the school should be in direct contact with the relevant health professionals to talk through the issues and any concerns, and professionals should not rely on the parents to convey messages.

For further information and advice on what do you do next, visit Safeguarding Network here: https://safeguarding.network/fabricated-or-induced-illness/

MEDIA WATCH: A round-up of the latest news stories involving pastoral care in education

At NAPCE we work very hard to stay across the national and international news media to store and share the latest stories involving pastoral care in education on our own platforms.

In this new feature for NAPCE News, we are sharing with you a selection of the biggest stories hitting the headlines this month with the aim that some of these reported developments may provide useful context within your work as a strategist or practitioner of pastoral support.

Here is a summary for January 2020.

“A school looking after its children – and their families” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-50843474

“Teenage girls self-harm three times as much as boys ‘because they tend to internalise problems and blame themselves more often'” from Mail Online

Read here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7807867/Nearly-three-four-14-year-olds-admitted-self-harming-girls-study.html

“‘I was angry I couldn’t even say the word’: UK teens refuse to be silent about periods” from The Guardian

Read here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jan/07/uk-teens-refuse-silent-about-periods

“Putting pupils in isolation ‘drives poor behaviour'” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51034121

“Schools in deprived areas become ‘dumping grounds’ for struggling children, Ofsted report suggests” from The Independent

Read here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/ofsted-report-underperforming-schools-pupils-dumping-ground-deprived-areas-research-a9274091.html

“Social media data needed for ‘harm’ research, say doctors” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51134545

“Period poverty: Schools urged to order free menstrual products”” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51167487

“Exclusions for racism in primary schools in England up more than 40%” from BBC News

Read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-50331687

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