ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Explores the Difference NAPCE has Made for Almost 40 years
Making a Difference for 40 Years – NAPCE Raises Awareness about the Importance of Pastoral Care in Education.
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education, (NAPCE), raises awareness about the important contribution pastoral care makes to the learning experience of young people.
This article will explain how NAPCE was formed nearly 40 years ago and since then has been supporting research into pastoral care and good practice in schools, colleges, and universities, for the benefit of learners.
It will explore how NAPCE, as a charity, with the support of its members has made a positive contribution, to improving the educational experience of generations of learners, by encouraging developments and the effective delivery of pastoral care.
In the time since NAPCE was formed in 1982 there have been many changes in education and many challenges to face, including a global pandemic.
What has not changed is that young people need support and encouragement to achieve their full potential.
The aims of the Association in its Constitution are.
- To support all who have a professional concern for pastoral care whether general or specific.
- To promote the theoretical study of pastoral care in education.
- To disseminate good practice in pastoral care in education.
- To promote the education, training, and development of those engaged in pastoral care in education.
- To liaise with other organisations having similar objects.
The work and activities of the Association is organised by members elected to the National Executive Committee.
This delegates powers as required, to sub- committees, including the Editorial Board, which manages the publication of the Association’s, respected international academic journal, ‘Pastoral Care in Education’. This has been published four times each year since February 1983 and the current publishers are Taylor and Francis.
The Association will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022.
In 1982 when the Association was first formed, I was in my first year of teaching.
I had studied for my degree and teaching qualification in the Midlands but when I qualified, teaching posts were hard to find. I applied to schools across the country.
When I had an invitation for an interview from a school in Romford, in Essex, I had to look it up on a map to find where it was, which is a little embarrassing as I went on to teach Geography!
I remember that I shocked many of my new colleagues, by asking to be a form tutor.
I was passionate about making a difference for the young people in my care, but they just thought I was naïve wanting extra work.
It might be hard for younger readers to imagine, but there was no internet at this time and the only way to keep up to date with the latest news and developments was to meet people ‘face to face’.
That is why I joined the Havering branch of NAPCE, as a founder member and along with other teachers and professionals, interested in pastoral care attended the regular meetings, to keep myself informed and aware of new ideas.
The first publication of ‘Pastoral Care in Education’, announced in February 1983 that, “The curse of those who have responsibility for pastoral care provision is that they have always ‘lived in interesting times’, and until last October, have done so without the support of a professional association to which they could turn for assistance, advice or the exchange of ideas and information. In October, long overdue but at last, the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education was born”.
A West Midlands Association for Pastoral Care had been formed on the initiative of Peter Lang and Michael Marland was invited to be the keynote speaker at its second conference.
The success of this conference encouraged ideas of a national association. Michael Marland was approached, and he enthusiastically took up the idea and became the Association ‘s first Chairperson.
The need for a national association for pastoral care had been seen, when over 300 delegates had attended the inaugural conference, in Dudley, in October 1982.
The membership of the Association quickly grew to nearly 1,000. The founder Chairperson was Michael Marland, and he spoke at the conference about the plight of many thousands of teachers who carry special responsibility for pastoral care, with little training and with very limited support given to the support of the development of pastoral care in schools by the local or national government or by many of the institutions, with responsibility for training teachers.
He argued, that as most teachers would have some pastoral responsibilities that they should have training and support to enable them to be effective in that role.
It can easily be argued that these words are as relevant today with schools and education often being focused on academic outcomes.
This demonstrates that there is a need for a national association to make the case for education, supporting the personal development of young people as well as achieving good examination results.
Michael Marland and the other founder members of NAPCE inspired educationalists to understand the huge impact schools and education can have on supporting young people to achieve their full potential from their education and to prepare them for their future roles in society.
Since those early days of the Association, it has been responsible for bringing together professionals who share an interest in pastoral care and the positive contribution it can make to a young person’s education.
Professionals would meet in local associations around the United Kingdom, at conferences and at training events. Meetings have taken place at different venues including, Warwick University, the Institute of Education and recently Kings College in London, until the pandemic forced NAPCE to join the world of virtual events.
One of my memories of a NAPCE event was as a young teacher, being the partner for Michael Marland in a training event for pastoral staff. I remember that he was as interested in my views and experiences as I was in learning from him. The Times reported, after Michael Marland’s death in 2008 that he was:
”A passionate believer in education being a major force for good and that regardless of race, belief, social background or attitude, education helps us to understand ourselves and each other. Education he said is not about systems and strategies and structures. His craft was the classroom, but his passion was people and unlocking their potential”.
The words and work of the founder members of NAPCE, such as Michael Marland, have inspired generations of educationalists, to become members of NAPCE and to share ideas and good practice about how young people can benefit from effective pastoral care.
The activities of NAPCE have changed over the years, in response to changes in education and the arrival of new technology and the internet.
The activities of NAPCE have included developing training resources, providing guidance on good practice, being asked to provide advice for government and other policy makers and organising conferences and opportunities for members to meet.
Evidence of how the work of NAPCE has evolved has been seen during the global pandemic, with the first ever online event, for the first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education.
In July, the Association will be organising its first online conference, with the title, ‘Does Every Child Still Matter? A New Approach to Education’.
This will explore how education will change, following the experience of the global pandemic and the role that pastoral care has in supporting the development of education in the future.
NAPCE continues to develop partnerships, as its constitution encourages, with other organisations that share similar interest in supporting the education of young people.
In recent years NAPCE has developed a positive partnership with the Association of Schools and College Leaders (ASCL) and has for example contributed to the planning and delivery of their annual conference for Pastoral Leaders.
A positive partnership has been developed with BlueSky Education, who were one of the sponsors of the first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education and will once again be sponsors in 2021.
It was a pleasure to be invited by BlueSky Education, to represent NAPCE by leading a webinar at the excellent ‘Festival of Learning’ in 2020 and to have recently contributed to the BlueSky Learning platform by developing a module on pastoral leadership.
There have been many changes in education since NAPCE was formed 40 years ago, but inspired by the founder members, it continues to look for opportunities to support the learning experience and future life chances of young people.
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE)
Editorial, Pastoral Care in Education, Volume 1, Number 1, February 1983
Michael Marland Obituary, Times Newspaper, July 7th, 2008.
Michael Marland CBE, MA. A Tribute. Pastoral Care in Education, Volume 26, Number4, December 2008.
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