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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

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.


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.


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.


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.

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