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NAPCE News – June 2021

NAPCE News – June 2021

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Will Pastoral Care Mean Business as Usual? by NAPCE’s Journal Editor Professor Stan Tucker

Will Pastoral Care Mean Business as Usual? by Stan Tucker

Recently I have been busy thinking about the possible content of a new book I am involved in producing.

The provisional title for the book is: ‘Pastoral Care in Education – Time for Change?’.

As part of my contribution to the book,  I want to consider whether, following the return of children and young people to their respective schools and colleges, the practice of pastoral care is in a transitional state. Or is it in fact ‘business as usual’?

The impetus for my questioning of current pastoral care practices is centred around some of my recent published research, where I argued that we need to develop a deeper understanding of terms such as ‘vulnerability‘ and ‘risk’ (Trotman and Tucker, 2018).

Why then might such an examination of pastoral care practices prove to be important?

Well, one of the massive pressures impacting on schools and colleges is directly concerned with their perceived effectiveness to respond to government policies and guidance.

However, a scarcity of resources often means that pastoral practices are severely restricted to meeting ‘safeguarding’ requirements.

Yet, following on from their COVID-19-related experiences and the consequences of ‘lock down’,  many children and young people are returning to education feeling confused, lost, isolated and disengaged. While at the same time the need for catch-up tutoring and an extended school day are the main plasters being applied to what in fact may be gaping wounds!

Of course I recognise that the availability of resources will, to a significant degree, determine the kind of work that is undertaken in the name of pastoral care.

Yet at the same time, while previously those who were seen as the most vulnerable and ‘at risk’ where often defined also by matters of class, ethnic, disability etc., it seems to me at least that we are now faced with issues, problems and dilemmas that do not sit easily within such narrow definitional boundaries.

If, as I believe, times have changed for all children and young people, then we have to reflect on how those changed circumstances are to be effectively responded to.

Professor Stan Tucker
Editor, Pastoral Care in Education


Trotman, D. and Tucker, S. (2018) ‘Multi-agency Working and Pastoral Care in Behavioural Management: Discourse, Policy and Practice’, in Deakin, J., Taylor, E. and Kupchik, A. The Palgrave International Handbook of School Discipline, Surveillance and Social Control. Palgrave Macmillan: Switzerland.​

CONFERENCE: An Update on NAPCE Annual National Conference 2021 – Does Every Child Still Matter?

Annual National Conference – Does Every Child Still Matter? – A New Approach to Education

Tickets for this important online conference being organised by NAPCE in July are being reserved and it is good to see so much interest in what will be an interesting and stimulating event. It takes place over three days on Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th July.

On the Wednesday and Friday there will be presentations from leading experts in pastoral care.

On the Thursday evening an invited panel of educational experts will answer questions about the challenges and opportunities for education following the global pandemic.

To register for tickets, go to

Tickets for this conference are FREE but delegates are encouraged to register early to avoid disappointmentThe conference will explore if it is time to revisit the ‘every child matters’ agenda as a starting point to reset thinking about education.


Wednesday 7th July 
2-00pm Welcome to the Conference – Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE.
2-10pm Presentation One Combatting Online Sexual Harassment – Why we need RSE More Than Ever – Professor Kaitlyn Mendes, Leicester University.
2-45pm Presentation Two – Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being. The Thrive Approach
3-20pm Presentation Three Pastoral Care post COVID – Connor Acton.
3-55pm Close – Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE.
Thursday 8th July 
7-00pm to 8-00pm NAPCE QUESTION TIME – The Challenges and Opportunities for Education Following the Experience of the Global Pandemic. 
Chaired by Phil Jones – Chair of NAPCE.
On panel
Professor Stan Tucker – Editor of Pastoral Care in Education.
Margaret Mulholland  – ASCL SEND and Inclusion Specialist.
Nigel Murray – Paralympic Gold Medalist.
Mark Diacopoulos, Assistant Professor, Pittsburg State University.
Daniel Sobel, Author and Founder of ‘Inclusion Expert’.
Other guests to be confirmed
Friday 9th July 
10-00am Welcome – Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE.
10-10am Presentation 4 Building Positive Relationships for Learning – Helen Peter.
10-45am Presentation 5  – Proactive Pastoral Care – Maria O’ Neill Founder UK Chat Care.
11-20am Presentation 6  Engaging Learners – Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE.
11-55am Close – Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE.


Presentation title – Pastoral Care Post COVID
Connor Acton 

Details about presentation:
What have we learned from the tests, trials and tribulations brought about by COVID and how will they impact Pastoral Care as we move into the future? A discussion of the challenges we may face in the future and how we can take the lessons learned and ensure that Pastoral Care in our schools is effective.

Connor is a Pastoral Leader and Teacher in a Leicester secondary school – he has held a variety of roles linked to pastoral care (including Head of Year, Assistant Head of Year and Mentor) in a variety of disadvantaged contexts. Connor is Chair of Trustees at Brookvale Groby Learning Campus, Chair of Trustees for the RSPCA in Leicestershire and sits on the National Executive Board for NAPCE.

Presentation title – Building Positive Relationships for Learning
Helen Peter

Details about presentation:
Helen will outline some ideas for building sound relationships within staff and student groups by using techniques, activities, and games to engage them.
She was a fan of SEAL and believes that Every Child does still matter!
“If we were meeting in person, I would ask for a class to come in to demonstrate a lesson, but as it is I will have to try on Zoom. I hope that everyone will go away energised, with at least one new idea to use next week”.

Helen Peter is a teacher, trainer, published writer and author, and inspirational presenter.
She has worked in over 400 schools and organisations, in all phases, training staff in pastoral care, circle time and mental and emotional health.
She is the author of “Making the Most of Tutor Time” – Speechmark 2013- a whole school, practical handbook on emotional literacy and positive behaviour management, designed to promote emotional and social intelligence and positive mental health. The handbook guides tutors and teachers to develop their communication and social skills, to support students to resolve conflict and to build self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-management. She is also the co-author of “Circles, PSHE and Citizenship” for secondary teachers to guide them in setting up a pedagogy for emotional support via circle time. She has 40 years’ teaching experience and still retains the enthusiasm, energy, and vocation she had at the start of her career.

Presentation title – Combatting Online Sexual Harassment – Why we need RSE More Than Ever with Dr Kaitlyn Mendes, Amelia Jenkinson, Dr Tanya Horeck, Professor Jessica Ringrose.

Kaitlyn Mendes

Tanya Horeck

Amelia Jenkinson

Details about presentation:
The presentation will focus on why Relationship and Sexual Education is needed now more than ever. The recent events, including over 18K disclosures of sexual violence via the website and Instagram Account Everyone’s Invited has brought these issues to public attention. Although schools are understandably focused on ensuring pupils are caught up with the curriculum, we argue that schools must equally spend time ensuring young people’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We argue that RSE plays an important role here. In this talk, we will share findings from our research with British teens showcasing the high rates of sexual abuse and violence, often facilitated through digital devices, and the very low rates of reporting. We will also discuss the importance of having language that recognizes practices like sending or receiving unwanted nudes as a form of abuse. The talk will finish by outlining some resources, guidance, and policies we have co-created with the School of Sexuality Education, which can help schools navigate these challenging issues.

Amelia Jenkinson (she/her) is the CEO and co-founder of the School of Sexuality Education. School of Sex Ed is an award-winning charity which provides comprehensive and inclusive RSE workshops for UK schools and training for teachers. School of Sex Ed’s programme covers all topics, including consent, sexuality, porn, and pleasure. Our approach is LGBTQIA+ inclusive and evidence based.

Kaitlynn Mendes is Professor of Gender, Media and Sociology at the University of Leicester, UK. She is an expert on feminist activism, and has written over fifty publications around this topic, including the books SlutWalk: Feminism, Activism & Media (2015), and Digital Feminist Activism: Girls and Women Fight Back Against Rape Culture (2019, with Jessica Ringrose and Jessalynn Keller). She is currently leading two projects with young people in schools, exploring online gendered harms and risks, and how we can teach young people to safely navigate digital spaces and speak out about issues that matter to them.

Tanya Horeck is an Associate Professor in Film, Media & Culture at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. She writes on binge-watching, celebrity culture, crime, internet memes, social justice, and social media, and is the author of Public Rape: Representing Violation in Fiction and Film and Justice on Demand: True Crime in the Digital Streaming Era. Her current research projects include an AHRC funded study on online sexual risks for young people during Covid-19, and a British Academy funded study on the rise of consent culture and intimacy coordination.

Presentation title – Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing.

Lee Prichard, Head of UK Development, The Thrive Approach

Details about presentation:

Why are some people able to bounce back from the everyday knocks life throws at us – while for others it can seem like the end of the world? Lee will explain more about what resilience is and why it is so important. She will explore how our brains and bodies work together (or not); what we can do to build our own robust self-regulation systems and then help the children and young people we work with to do the same; and how this will ensure that they are then in a much better place to access learning and thrive!


With over 20 years’ experience as a teacher with specific roles as SENCo, Leader for Learning and Foundation Phase Leader, Lee has also worked as a Behaviour Support Coordinator for a local authority. In 2014 Lee was part of the first cohort of Thrive Licensed Practitioners in Wales, achieving her Thrive Trainer license in 2016 prior to joining Thrive and helping others embed the Thrive Approach in their settings.

Presentation title – Proactive Pastoral Care by Maria O’ Neill

Details about presentation:

Maria will use the ideas and research from her book published in April 2021, Proactive Pastoral Care.  Nurturing happy, healthy, and successful learners. The presentation will explain why there is a need for a proactive approach to pastoral care in schools. It will explore how pastoral care in schools can empower students to make healthy life choices, take care of their wellbeing and reach their full potential in school and beyond. The presentation will share essential information to enable teachers and leaders in schools to enhance their pastoral support to boost student progress and personal development. It will share practical research-based strategies and activities perfect for tutor time, assemblies and PSHE lessons.

Maria O’Neill is an experienced pastoral leader, researcher, and advanced skills teacher. She is the founder of Pastoral Support UK and currently works as a pastoral leader in a school as well as various key roles to provide sustainable pastoral training and raise the profile of pastoral leadership nationwide.

Presentation title – Engaging Learners with Phil Jones

Details about the presentation:
The presentation will explore the opportunities and challenges schools will face after the pandemic to engage children and young people in education. He will argue that the response to the pandemic needs to be more than simply providing learners with more English, Maths, and a focus on delivering the content in the curriculum. There is a need to rethink how education meets the needs of children and young people and supports them to achieve their full potential from their learning and prepares them for their future lives in society. The pandemic has prevented children and young people from experiencing the learning opportunities and activities that support their socialisation. Evidence is suggesting that schools will need to consider how to support young people in their personal development and to overcome barriers caused by poor mental health and well being for some time after there is a return to something like normality following the pandemic. This presentation will consider how professionals working in schools can respond positively to this challenge.


Phil has been an active member of NAPCE both regionally and nationally, since his first year in teaching in 1982. He is the current Chairperson of the National Executive Committee and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal. Phil has written articles for publication on pastoral issues and is a peer reviewer for the Journal. His recent publications include guidance on effective pastoral support and developing social and emotional skills Phil retired from leadership roles in schools in 2017 and now works as an educational consultant supporting schools with developing pastoral support systems, leadership, and school improvement. His experience of leadership in secondary schools, includes roles as Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher. He has experience of supporting schools as a Specialist Leader of Education specialising in pastoral care, behaviour and improving attendance. He is an Educational Performance Coach and an experienced trainer.
He has been a governor in both primary and secondary schools for over thirty years.


Assistant Professor Mark Diacopoulos. Pittsburg State University USA
Mark is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Leadership at Pittsburg State University, KS. He researches diverse topics such as meaningful integration of social emotional learning into the curriculum, educational technology in social studies, social studies preservice education, teacher candidate dispositions, and the ever-evolving identities of teachers and educators. Mark has over 25 years’ experience – ten as a high school teacher in England, with rest earned the US as a social studies teacher, technology specialist, and teacher educator.  He describes himself as a dad, Arsenal fan, sometime travel soccer coach, and semi-retired broken Aikidoka. Not necessarily in that order.

Nigel Patrick Murray MBE

Nigel Patrick Murray
 MBE is a retired British Paralympic athlete. He is a thirteen time English National Champion and seven time British Champion and multiple Paralympic medal winner in the sport of boccia, having competed at 5 Paralympic Games as well as numerous World and European Championships during his distinguished playing career.
Murray was born and lives in Leamington Spa. He won gold in the BC2 class during the 2000 Summer Paralympics in SydneyAustralia. Although he only reached the quarter finals in Athens four years later he followed this up with a silver medal in the same event, and a gold medal in the team event, during the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.
After Beijing, Nigel continued to win numerous medals on the world stage before captaining the GB Boccia team at the London 2012 Paralympics, winning Bronze in the Team BC1–2 event in front of home family and friends at the Excel Arena.
Nigel retired from competitive Boccia after the 2016 Rio Paralympics after a career spanning 20 years and as the most successful British Boccia player of all time.  On finishing his playing career Nigel returned to his former profession, that of supporting adults with physical and learning disability in the local community.  Nigel is currently manager of a day service for people with disabilities in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.
Since his retirement, Nigel has continued to remain involved in the sport of Boccia, coaching and mentoring athletes at a national level, though it is still Nigel’s ambition to be one day involved with coaching at an international level.
Nigel was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boccia.
Nigel’s other passions are musical theatre, as well as supporting his beloved Leeds United and Leamington Football Clubs who have caused him much heartache over the years!!!

Daniel Sobel 

Daniel Sobel is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Inclusion Expert. An internationally respected leader in inclusive education, he has advised the Department for Education, the European Union, governments abroad and led various large scale initiatives involving thousands of schools. Daniel has an enormous following, particularly on LinkedIn and is a highly regarded and sought-after speaker for his thought provocative and often hilarious presentations and refreshingly original approach to Education and Inclusion Leadership. He is the author of several works, including The Pupil Premium Handbook and The SEN Code of Practice Pack. His best-selling books Narrowing the Attainment Gap, Leading on Pastoral Care are available now and The Inclusive Classroom just released in January 2021, all published by Bloomsbury Press. He has written over 50 articles in publications around the world, a series for the Guardian on Inclusive Schools and a regular column in the UK’s leading Principal’s periodical Headteacher Update. Under Daniel’s leadership, Inclusion Expert has grown into one of the country’s most respected education organisations, which has worked with over 10,000 schools in the UK and abroad and launched programs at the Houses of Parliament. His training has been used in more than 40 countries and translated into numerous languages. Daniel has a vision of a new era in Inclusion: beyond labels where we all share both a common humanity and a unique individuality.

Professor Stan Tucker

Stan is Emeritus Professor at Newman University in Birmingham. He is the Executive Editor of NAPCE’s academic journal ‘Pastoral care in education’.   Stan has spent the last 8 years actively researching matters of inclusion, alienation, school structures and educational underachievement. He has interviewed more than 500 children and young people as well as local authority and school leaders, governors’, and pastoral support staff. He has undertaken consultancy work on behalf of local authorities and schools. His most recent publication along with Professor Dave Trotman, entitled ‘Youth Global Perspectives, Challenges and Issues of the 21st Century’ was published in the United States in 2018. They are currently planning a new book that will focus on reforming current pastoral policies and practices. Stan is the current editor of the journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’.

Margaret Mulholland 

Margaret is the Inclusion Policy Advisor for the Association of School and College leaders (ASCL). ASCL represents 20,000 school leaders and acts on behalf of pupils in their schools. Her extensive teaching and leadership experience spans both mainstream and special schools. Margaret is an Honorary Norham Fellow of the University of Oxford. She also writes a column on research and inclusivity, for the Times Educational Supplement. A leading advocate for the role SEND settings play in improving understanding of inclusive teaching and learning, Margaret brings over 20 years’ experience in ITT innovation and practice. She spent seven years as Director of Development and Research at a leading special school and thirteen years at the Institute of Education, where she was responsible for innovative employment-based routes to QTS, PGCE secondary partnerships.
Margaret sits on the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, is an advisor to the UK Government on ITT curriculum development and works with local authorities as an external advisor for NQTs, ITT and leadership development.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of this important educational event. Please send your questions for the Conference Question Time panel to Visit the NAPCE page at Eventbrite to register and secure tickets for the free conference by following this link.

More updates about the conference will be included in future newsletters.

FESTIVAL: Tickets for International Festival of Inclusion Now Available and NAPCE is Offering an Exclusive 50% Discount

Tickets are available now for the International Festival of Inclusion which starts online on June 19th and NAPCE is proud to exclusively offer a 50% discount on the ticket price!

Both NAPCE Chair Phil Jones and Vice Chair Matt Silver will be speaking at the event which focuses on wellbeing, social, emotional and mental health and special needs across schools.

The Festival – which runs from June 19th-25th – takes place over 7 days, 70 countries and there will be 70+ talks and resources for delegates to benefit from.

Founder Inclusion expert Daniel Sobel said: “If you have anything to do with inclusion, then you won’t want to miss out on being part of this event. Join us, be part of the change.”

Tickets are priced at £100, but you can benefit from a 50% discount by entering a discount code which has been created especially for this edition of NAPCE News. Enter the code PROMO50621PJ

You can book tickets here:

For the full festival programme check out the pinned post on

ARTICLE: The Role of “Advocate for the Vulnerable” by Inclusion Expert Daniel Sobel

The Role of “Advocate for the Vulnerable” by Daniel Sobel

“It is the complex, contested, and multi-faceted nature of vulnerability – in addition to the complexity of attendant bureaucracy – that creates the need for a school pastoral leader to act as advocate, especially since a great many vulnerable children will not have anyone else to advocate for them: the only agents of the state who are regularly involved in their life are their teachers.” Someone quoted me as saying that but I genuinely don’t remember doing so. I’ll take it though and I figured this is a good starting point for my article on the role of the ‘advocate for the vulnerable’.

Simultaneously, pastoral leaders have to confront an unpleasant reality, which is the conflict between their role as representatives of the local community (parents and children) and their role as agents of the state (which pays their wages).

It is the state that sets overall funding levels for the availability of services and it is the state that pays educational professionals to act as gatekeepers and rationers of those services, while nonetheless disclaiming responsibility and insisting that teachers act on behalf of children. In other words, we practitioners of pastoral care in school settings sometimes feel very conflicted about how we priorities our allegiances.

So what is advocacy anyway? Well, despite this being a common practice in every school in England on a daily basis, there is a surprising lacuna when it comes to the research. Look at this question from a different angle: if you’ve done the advocacy well, what can you describe were the results? I asked this question to my Masters students who all said something like this: successfully navigated through the quagmire of ignorance and misconceptions held by the adults surrounding the child. Well, according to that, the pastoral role then is less about the child and more about helping the adults. I can buy that, mostly.

The research (the little that there is) suggests that many pastoral leaders – and especially SENCOs tend to evaluate their success by how well they navigate the (for example EHCP) bureaucracy. A couple of choice quotes to buttress my assertion: (Gore, 2016) “the SENCOs role in writing that education section is crucial to whether something will be approved or not”(SENCO 4, line 441-442)
“…why I’m going to get as much information from you as possible because we want to make sure it’s all there so that they can’t say no…SENCO 2, line 316-317)

In some other professional public sector jobs, the advocate role is more firmly defined and better researched in the literature. Social work is an obvious example, where the legal system envisages a clear role for social workers to advocate on behalf of vulnerable children (Dalyrmple and Bolan, 2013), although even social workers are not immune from some of the same conflicting incentives that teachers also suffer from. Social workers, like teachers, are also paid by the state, and some Serious Case Reviews highlight the dangers of social workers becoming uncritical advocates of parents, over and against the interests of children.(Ferguson, 2016).

In theory, teachers could be aided by the idea that they are obliged to act in “loco parentis”, but in the “loco parentis” concept has itself been criticized as blurring the boundaries between the role of parents and the professional responsibilities of teachers, especially when conflicts between parents and teachers arise.

Legal dispute between parents and teachers have arisen not just in the field of safeguarding vulnerable children but also in the more mundane but no less fraught domains of school trips and playground accidents, where teachers have to evaluate risk as parents hypothetically would if they were present (Thomson, 2002). In loco parentis, therefore, may not be as straightforward a guide as it appears, particularly given its historic application as enabling teachers to exert far greater force over students than we would tolerate today (Burchell, 2018).

The ‘advocacy conflict’ exists for pastoral leaders in that they are directly employed by a local bureaucracy (the school) and its interest may not directly align with those of vulnerable children and/or their parents. In recent years, scandals over unofficial exclusions and managed years – generally concentrated around the key exam years – have brought this conflict to the fore (Nye, 2017).

More generally, schools have a strong natural incentive to maintain internal cohesion and discipline, an incentive created by Ofsted, parents, and teachers. Although important, behaviour management systems can become an end in themselves and begin to override the needs of vulnerable children who do not easily fit inside such systems.

It should be noted, however, that Ofsted can also serve as a spur to improve inclusive practice and pastoral leadership, since Ofsted can and does note when levels of exclusions appear unacceptably high, and motivate schools to improve their practice in this area (Tucker, 2013).

Conclusion: well, despite the fact that this is a major aspect of the pastoral roles, the research is scant, the job is conflicted and the legal ramifications are dangerous. Let’s just all give up and go home.

Daniel Sobel CEO, Inclusion Expert
++44 (0)333 301 0178

Dalrymple J & Bolan J. (2013).Chapter in “Effective Advocacy in Social Work”. Sage.

Ferguson, Harry (2016). How Children Become Invisible in Child Protection Work: Findings from Research into Day-to-Day Social Work Practice. British Journal of Social Work, (), bcw065–. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcw065

Burchell, A. (2018). In Loco Parentis, Corporal Punishment and the Moral Economy of Discipline in English Schools, 1945–1986. Cultural and Social History, 1–20. doi:10.1080/14780038.2018.1518562

Thomson, S. (2002). Harmless Fun Can Kill Someone. The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 1(1), 7. DOI:

DUNCAN, N. (2003). Awkward Customers? Parents and Provision for Special Educational Needs. Disability & Society, 18(3), 341–356. doi:10.1080/0968759032000052905 url to share this paper:

Gore, H (2016.) “Working together…it doesn’t go far enough actually for what the relationship becomes” – An IPA study exploring the experiences of primary school SENCOs working with parents/carers through the EHCP process. A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Retrieved from

Tucker, S. (2013). Pupil vulnerability and school exclusion: developing responsive pastoral policies and practices in secondary education in the UK. Pastoral Care in Education, 31(4), 279–291. doi:10.1080/02643944.2013.842312
url to share this paper:

Nye, P. (2017). Who’s left: three questions for the Department for Education from our work. Blog for Education data Lab, retrieved from

AWARDS: An update on the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021

The National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021 – UPDATE

The nomination period for the 2021 National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education, has now closed.

We are pleased to have had more nominations this year than for the first year of the Awards, especially because of the additional pressures that managing the impact of the pandemic has had on schools and professionals working in pastoral roles.

We are pleased that despite these challenges it was important to find time to make nominations, to recognise the difference that is being made by people working in pastoral roles.

Pastoral work in schools, colleges and universities is going to be even more important for some time in the future to respond to the impact of the pandemic.

The nominations are now with the judges and NAPCE will soon be ready to announce the finalists of the 2021 Awards.

Make sure you look out for information in the monthly newsletter and follow NAPCE on Twitter for the latest news and information.

The Judging Panel

Phil Jones, National Chair, NAPCE 
Phil has experience of working in leadership roles in different secondary schools including as Headteacher. He is the current Chair of the National Executive Committee for NAPCE and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal, ‘Pastoral Care in Education’. Phil has over 30 years’ experience as a School Governor including being a Chair of Governors in secondary, middle and primary schools. He is an experienced trainer and regular speaker at educational conferences. He is currently working as an educational consultant which includes a role as pastoral consultant for ASCL.

Stan Tucker, Emeritus Professor Newman University Birmingham, Editor, Pastoral Care in Education
Stan has spent the last 8 years actively researching matters of inclusion, alienation, school structures and educational underachievement. He has interviewed more than 500 children and young people as well as local authority and school leaders, governors and pastoral support staff. He has undertaken consultancy work on behalf of local authorities and schools. His most recent publication along with Professor Dave Trotman, entitled ‘Youth Global Perspectives, Challenges and Issues of the 21stCentury’ was published in the United States in 2018. They are currently planning a new book that will focus on reforming current pastoral policies and practices. Stan is the current editor of the journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’.

Anne Emerson, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham
Anne started her career working as a speech and language therapist with children with a range of communication impairments. Over the past 30 years Anne has worked in special and mainstream schools in the UK and India, worked as a Family Services Coordinator for Mencap, and with adults with disabilities in a large residential service. Anne also has teaching experience in FE and HE. For 7 years Anne worked as a psychology lecturer specialising in the fields of communication, disability and inclusive education. Anne continues to work directly with children with special needs and provide training to teachers, teaching assistants, parents and carers. Anne is a member of the Editorial Board for the journal, ‘Pastoral Care in Education’.

Richard Pring, Emeritus Professor Oxford University
Richard is the Current president of NAPCE. He retired after 14 years as Director of the Department of Educational Studies at Oxford University in May 2003. Since 2003, he was Lead Director of the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training. This was a six – year project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Since retiring Professor Pring has completed the following research projects in addition to the Nuffield Review: the evaluation of the Oxford Bursary Scheme with John Fox, and an evaluation of quality assurance in 11 Arab Universities. Since retiring his publications include.

  • 2020   Challenges for Religious Education: is there a disconnect between faith and reason? Routledge, March 2020.
  • 2013    The Life and Death of Secondary Education for All, London: Routledge

Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, Stranmillis University, Belfast
Noel is the Independent Chair of Expert Panel on Educational Underachievement, appointed by Minister of Education, Peter Weir MLA, September 2020 – May 2021.  He has been the Northern Chair, of the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) from 2016. He is the Deputy Editor, of Pastoral Care in Education – An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development. He is an External Examiner PGCE Primary, Durham University (2017-2021). He is the UCETNI representative on the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum from 2011 (Chair 2013-2016).  He was the President of Northern Ireland branch of NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs) 2014-2016.  He is a Parent representative on Board of Governors of Tor Bank Special School, Dundonald. He has published many articles on educational issues and his book Purdy, N. (ed.) Pastoral Care in Schools 11-16: A Critical Introduction, was published by Bloomsbury in 2013.

The judges will have a difficult job to select the finalists from the excellent work that the nominations have highlighted in pastoral care.

A presentation event is planned for 24th September where the winners in each category will be announced.

The event will be a fantastic opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care in education and to recognise the excellent contribution that is being made by so many people to research and practice in pastoral care and the impact this has on supporting children and young people with the education and improving their life chances.

With uncertainty about the restrictions needed for the pandemic it is not clear at the moment whether it will be possible to organise a ‘live’ event or whether it will once again be an online event.

Further details will be shared in future newsletters and on the NAPCE Twitter account.

Thank you to our sponsors of the 2021 Awards for making it possible to recognise and highlight the work being done in pastoral care in education, that will make a difference in supporting learners to achieve their full potential, especially in these difficult and challenging times.

NAPCE Awards 2021 sponsors are:

BlueSky Education
The Thrive Approach
Inclusion Expert
The Association of School and College Leaders
Taylor and Francis
The Hult International School

Thank you to everybody who made a nominations and congratulations to everybody who has been nominated.

We look forward to celebrating your achievements at the Presentation Event.

ARTICLE: Pastoral Care The Gratitude and the Challenge – UK vs International 

Our social media channels are remarkably busy and we were very pleased to have received this insightful article recently on our Twitter account @napce1

The piece “Pastoral Care, The Gratitude and the Challenge – UK vs International” was written by PE Teacher and Head of Year 12 Annie Finch-Johnson for her blog

Annie has a valuable perspective because she is working at an international school in Lima, Peru.

Pastoral Care, The Gratitude and the Challenge – UK vs International

When I moved internationally I dropped my middle leadership role. I wanted to get some clarity on being a pastoral leader. I was, and still am in no doubt about how much I love working in pastoral care, but I often found it so intense in England that I found myself questioning whether I was right for the role; a role that I had longed for and worked in for so long.

However, when moving internationally I had time to reflect on both the challenges and gratitude of aspects in both situations within pastoral care. So here is an honest reflection piece looking at both these aspects.

Let’s start with the challenges!

Challenges of pastoral care in the UK

The “British” education system is one that is often seen as the gold standard across the globe. Many independent schools take on the system within their own international setting, along with the branches from the UK independent schools, it has infiltrated many continents. Yet, working in the UK it can sometimes seem the opposite, especially when you are in pastoral care.

Let’s look at a few of the challenges we face here,

  1. Results/progress! Oh yes, we are accountable for this along with subjects. Of course, some schools may have the budgets to have solely pastoral focused leaders, but many do not, and therefore as a Head of Year/House, you often monitor and analyse data for each term of your year group/house. This is in addition to you checking in with students pastorally and dealing with any concerns that may have affected results.
  2. Attendance, attendance, attendance! If you work in a school in England (in any role) you hear about attendance, but in a pastoral role you often dream about it. The expectation for students to have 95%+ all year, interventions to improve attendance, rewards and punishments, parents being fined – yep, we as pastoral leaders are accountable for checking, monitoring and chasing this. Of course attendance is a very important part of students ensuring they have the knowledge for the exams, but I often found this exhausting, as the focus was always on the effect on results, rather than the students and possible situations that may be happening. Also, should a child/family be punished for a child having the flu and being off school? I will leave that thought with you.
  3. Groups – Oh the groups! Do not get me wrong, I value the importance of having groups within schools, to be able to check in on how the ‘disadvantaged” (another word I cannot stand), the students with SEN and so on, are doing both pastorally and academically, because we want to give all students the best and equal opportunity. However, I often felt that this was more of a tick box exercise, rather than it coming from a place of genuine care, through no fault of the school.

Please do not misunderstand me here and think I am complaining about schools in the UK, I am not! The schools have to do all this to meet demands from stakeholders, but I often felt that as much as the schools want it to be heartfelt and it genuinely coming from a good place; budgets, deadlines, paperwork, tick boxes (to name but a few), cloud these good natured intentions of teachers and educators.

Challenges of pastoral care internationally

Depending on where you are in the world will depend on the type of education the international school has decided to take, but many will often go down the route of IGCSE’s, MYP, IB or A Levels with a mix of that country’s national curriculum to support and keep the tradition/heritage. This in itself provides many challenges to those in pastoral care roles, here is a few to think over,

  1. The number of roles! This challenge comes with a positive partner, but it’s because of the positive aspect that makes it challenging. Due to generally bigger budgets it means there are opportunities to develop more roles, – GREAT you say! Yes I agree, but this also means confusion on roles. In the UK as a pastoral leader, there are teams you can go to for support but generally you are a lone warrior, overseeing everything. However, internationally all those aspects can often be divided up among many people, and this can cause confusion and mixed messages to both parents, staff and students.
  2. Freedom! As Sadie Hollins mentions in her blog Supporting whilst unsupported: Navigating pastoral provision in international schools, parents have the freedom to choose schools and leave them just as easily. This creates an unwritten pressure that you need to ensure things are completed correctly, in line with the school expectations but also with the parents expectations, because if people are not happy with how the situation is dealt with, they can just move on.
  3. Culture and change! No matter where you go in the UK there can often be a slight shift in societal change but when you move internationally you have a whole new culture to understand, and often this culture is intertwined with many other influences. Liz Cloke explains it perfectly in her blog 5 pastoral care differences in international schools, that what we take as common expectations in the UK e.g. mental health, LGBTQ+, periods and sex education are not always accepted where you end up. You have to be careful in how things are approached and often subjects can be taboo and unwanted!

You may be thinking to yourself, ‘is this not what you expected when you moved internationally’? For me personally yes I did but for my job role, quite frankly the answer is no, I didn’t! Although all of these challenges are exciting, e.g. understanding a new culture, having lots of staff who can take some load, it can make you feel alone and struggling to find your place.

What I miss about working in a UK pastoral role

Since moving Internationally I have recognised many things that I took for granted in the UK within my pastoral care role.

  1. Agencies! Wowzers, we have so many support networks for schools that are amazing! Yes, as pastoral leaders we get annoyed, frustrated, angry when we have long waiting lists for students who desperately need the support, but I never appreciated how readily available it is in the UK. More often than not, you can call the agencies to get advice, support and referrals for students and families. Having these options are priceless!
  2. The mix of students! I have been fortunate to work in varying types of school in England, from single sex state schools to mixed grammar schools and one thing I have always loved is how diverse the students are. No matter what type of school you find yourself working in, the challenges are immense but the clear difference you make is something you cannot replace.
  3. The identity of schools! Of course the schools are held to certain expectations by the stakeholders but because of the vast amount of schools, they can choose their own focus, their own special thing that they want the school to be. It could be sports, art, maths, academic, pastoral focused, but this helps you choose a school that is right for you and your values!
  4. Then the openness of ‘moving with the times’. I love that the UK in general, supports and acknowledges the changes of ALL societies, groups and current affairs. LGBTQ+ is discussed and acknowledged, sex education is more informed and open, the list could go on, but this freedom is something we should not take for granted when working there!

What am I grateful for working internationally in a pastoral role

  1. The opportunities to establish yourself within the school. I appreciate the opportunity to do the things I love and implement the things I feel are beneficial to the students and the school. There is time to monitor and evaluate without you feeling that your teaching will suffer because of it. I do not feel judged or worried that I will all of a sudden be questioned for one thing not going as well as I had hoped.
  2. Although it is a challenge – more job roles within pastoral care is also a benefit. My workload feels lighter, I can seek support and delegate jobs to other areas that may be more suited to that situation. I work a little closer with the coordinators of the areas e.g IB Coordinator ,which makes you feel so much more supported, and it is someone you can talk out your thoughts with.
  3. I have the time to develop myself outside of school! This is a big one for me! Since being international, I have had the time to set up this blog, be more active in research, read journals, engage with people across the world and this does not always have to be in my own time.
  4. There are opportunities to challenge yourself and others’ mindset! This also links with one of the challenges regarding culture and taboos. The students are often forward thinking, inventive and want to be global citizens and therefore want to venture into discussions that are taboo generally in their culture, this provides opportunities to challenge people’s thoughts as well as your own. I do not mean challenge to cause offense, but to challenge to develop understanding globally, which in international education we want these students to be – globally minded.

So there we are, an honest reflection on the differences in a pastoral role between the UK and International working. To summarise my points, here is a table of the key points:-

Challenges Grateful for
UK Attendance
AgenciesMix of students
School identity
Forward thinking
International Number of roles
Opportunities to establish yourself
Job roles
Opportunities to challenge yourself and others

Whether you are thinking of heading to work internationally or choosing to stay in the UK, pastoral care is an incredible role to work in. Both opportunities will have its challenges (probably many more than I have labelled) but they will also have their positives. I hope this helps anyone on the border to decide whether to take the leap abroad or the leap into pastoral care! Whatever you decide, enjoy the opportunity to find what is right for you!

Annie Finch-Johnson, June 2021

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