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Making a Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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