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NAPCE News – June 2023

NAPCE News – June 2023

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

LEAD ARTICLE: NAPCE’s Dr Nicole Cara Explores the Role of the Form Tutor in 2023

The role of the Form Tutor: some insights from research on good practice by Dr Nicole Cara

What does a Form Tutor actually do? Do we need them? Why are they important? What does good practice look like?

This article provides a summary of some of the findings of a large-scale research study undertaken to investigate the role of the Form Tutor, Form Time and Tutor Groups by researchers from the Department for Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education, University College London.

The study is based on a large sample of over 1,200 Form Tutors, representing 27% of secondary schools in the country, collecting data by a survey and interviews.

What is a Form Tutor?

In the intricate web of the pastoral secondary school education system in the UK, one essential element stands out—the Form Tutor.

A Form Tutor is a member of school staff, typically a teacher, though not always, who occupies a vital role in the academic and personal development of children.

They are the adult who has regular (usually daily) contact with the group of children in their care, commonly known as a ‘Tutor Group’.

A Form Tutor and their Tutor Group usually share Form Time together, though our research found Form Time does not take place in all secondary schools in the country.

Why is a Form Tutor Important?

The Form Tutor is the only person able to have a direct oversight of the children within a secondary school given children have multiple adults teaching them across their day.

The Form Tutor is the main adult a child will build a solid relationship with at secondary school. The Form Tutor-tutee relationship has potential to be a protective factor for children, promoting a sense of school belonging (Allen & Kern, 2017, 2020; Hobfoll, 2011), helping them feel secure and safe.

This in turn has a positive impact young people’s motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000) and as a result, facilitates their academic, social and emotional success (Cook et al., 2005; Heilbronn, 2004).

Therefore, Form Tutors are the cornerstone of pastoral care, being in a position to have a relationship that differs from that of a subject teacher and student.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence to suggest that positive mental health and wellbeing of children and educational attainment are not synergistic goals.

Form Tutors providing pastoral support helps children develop their resilience and emotional wellbeing, which, in turn, has a positive impact on learning and attainment, supporting and motivating children to achieve their full potential.

What Should a Form Tutor Do?

Form Tutors wear multiple hats, undertaking a range of responsibilities to cater to the holistic needs of their tutees.

They act as mentors, advocates, and facilitators, ensuring the overall wellbeing of their Tutor Group.

However, both our review of the existing literature and our study highlighted ambivalent feelings regarding the role of the Form Tutor- what should they do? What is within their role? There was a lack of clarity.

Based on our findings, the authors of the research present the following characterisation of an ‘ideal’ Form Tutor, as encompassing these five key areas that Form Tutors felt were the most important and valued aspects of their role.

This provides a much needed update to the current research in this area, and addresses the lack of clarity round the role.

An ‘ideal’ Form Tutor:

  • is relational and supportive. They hold their tutees in an unconditional positive regard, motivating, listening to and containing their tutees.
  • advocates for tutees and challenges negative narratives.
  • has an oversight of tutees, monitoring pastoral needs and intervenes, where necessary.
  • upholds standards (checking equipment and uniform, monitoring behaviour and academic attainment) and intervenes where necessary.
  • is a conduit (connector) or ‘first port of call’ between their tutees, their tutees parents/carers and the wider school system.

The description of an ‘ideal’ Form Tutor also allows for the potential of the role to be realised by clarifying and raising expectations of staff in this role and putting the Form Tutor at the heart of children’s relationship with school.

Naturally there will be variation in practice, but this provides a guide to support staff to develop and guide their practice.

How Can You Be a Better Form Tutor?

Being an effective Form Tutor, or leading/managing effective Form Tutors requires commitment, ongoing professional development, and a genuine passion for realising the potential of the role in supporting children.

Here are some tips to enhance your skills as a Form Tutor:

  1. Build a relationship and trust with your tutees and Tutor Group as a whole.
    • Ask them about the weekend, make a note of something happening in their lives and ask about it at a later date.
    • Build a positive narrative about being part of your Tutor Group: “In this Tutor Group, we are kind and help each other out”.
    • Find (or make!) time for individual conversations with the children, where you can. 30 seconds asking about their best bit of their day goes a long way.
    • Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you say you’ll do something (email about their ID card, get them a new planner etc), then follow it up.
    • Listen to them- all people want to feel heard. “xx, I can hear your frustrated. Lets talk about it at the end of Form Time”.
  2. Champion your children.
    • Celebrate their achievements to others. If they do something well/good/positive, tell other adults.
    • You are the person that can change a negative narrative to a positive one. A simple ‘”Hi [name], lovely to see you today. Thanks for [having your shirt tucked in, being on time, having your equipment etc]” can repair a tricky last interaction.
    • You are the person in school that should hold each child in your Tutor Group in an unconditional positive regard. Don’t judge them, be supportive, be kind and hold in mind that they are teenagers whose brains are still growing and developing, even if they look like adults! Name their positive skills and attributes, even if you think they know them.
  3. Consistency is key. Have high standards, and help the children meet them.
    • Praise, praise, praise! “Well done to xx for coming in and sitting straight down”.
    • All humans thrive on certainty, clear boundaries and consistency. Keep helping the children stick to the school rules, but you can do this with compassion and a smile. It’s our job as adults to shape the people they become. If you say silence, insist on it.
    • Keep an eye on their behaviour data, where you can. Praise any small but positive changes. Catch any slips towards the negative quickly and have a chat with them.
  4. Be the first port of call.
    • Where you can, build a relationship with the families of your tutees. A positive phone call home takes 90 seconds, but makes a world of difference.
    • You are the person that typically conveys school messages and makes children part of school life, beyond their academics/lessons. Read the notices, even if they seem not relevant to everyone. Encourage them to attend clubs.
    • Communicate that you are the person that can listen, help them solve problems and support them at school. The best predictor of positive wellbeing is knowing that you can access support, even if you don’t always need it.

In conclusion, the role of a Form Tutor is indispensable in the pastoral secondary school education system in the UK.

By providing pastoral support, and fostering personal development, Form Tutor help shape confident, resilient, and well-rounded individuals.

To be a better Form Tutor, focus on your relationship with the children, championing and advocating for them, be consistent and a first port of call for the children. Children who feel supported and cared for will do well in their education and become resilient adults who achieve their potential.

Dr Nicole Cara, Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychologist and lead researcher. Nicole works as an Educational and Child Psychologist in a Central London Local Authority and teaches in a North London Secondary School.

Allen, K.-A., & Kern, M. L. (2017). School belonging in adolescents: Theory, research and practice. Singapore: Springer Singapore.
Allen, K.-A., & Kern, P. (2020). Boosting School Belonging: Practical Strategies to Help Adolescents Feel Like They Belong at School. Routledge.
Cook, A., Spinazzola, J., Ford, J., Lanktree, C., Blaustein, M., Cloitre, M., DeRosa, R., Hubbard, R., Kagan, R., Liautaud, J., Mallah, K., Olafson, E., & Van Der Kolk, B. (2005). Complex trauma in children and adolescents. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 390–398.
Hobfoll, S. E. (2011). Conservation of resources theory: Its implication for stress, health, and resilience. The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Coping., 127–147.
Heilbronn, R. (2004). Tutoring and personal, social and health education. In In S. Capel, M. Leask, & T. Turner (Eds). Starting to Teach in the Secondary School: A Companion for the Newly Qualified Teacher (pp. 45–59). Routledge.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. The American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.

AWARDS: National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2023 – FINALISTS ANNOUNCED


The finalists of the National Awards For Pastoral Care In Education 2023 have been revealed.

Now in its fourth year, the NAPCE Awards is a firm fixture on the education calendar and nominees have been selected in eight categories by an independent panel of judges made up of educational experts.

NAPCE National Chair Phil Jones announced that the standard of entries was once again “phenomenally high” and all entrants should be “very proud” of their work.

The Awards was launched by NAPCE in 2019 and for the first time last year an busy in-person presentation ceremony took place.

The NAPCE Awards is the first UK-wide scheme to recognise outstanding achievements across pastoral care in education settings.

It was created to highlight excellent practice in pastoral care and to celebrate the people 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.

Mr Jones said: “The NAPCE Awards continues to go from strength to strength and I am so pleased to announce that we received a record high number of entries this year.

“I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to all finalists and to thank them for their work in the field of pastoral care over the past year.

“We had quite a number of returning nominees but also so many new schools and institutions taking part for the first time, it is very exciting indeed.

“I have to say that the standard of entry was phenomenally high and so reaching the final stages is a big achievement in itself.

“We are thrilled to be returning to Worcestershire County Cricket Ground, in Worcester for a big celebration evening in September and tickets for all finalists are FREE.

“Finally I’d like to send my very best wishes to all finalists and we look forward to meeting you later this year.”

Details about how to book tickets will be sent to finalists directly, before being made available to people from across the education sector.

To book FREE tickets for the showpiece Presentation Evening on September 29th at Worcestershire County Cricket Ground, Worcester, click here:

The Finalists

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)

Up Holland High School, Lancashire

Richard Cloudesley School

St Patrick’s College, Dungiven

RGS The Grange

Holy Trinity Primary 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 Team at Shireland Collegiate Academy

SENDi Team Tudor Grange Academy, Worcester

Pastoral Team, Stockport Academy

Institute of Policing’s Work Based Education Officers Team

Team of Student Managers, Preston College

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)

Matt Pont Beck Primary School

Raymond Kelly, St Patrick’s College Dungiven

Thomas Carter Stead, NLCS Jeju

Liz Tzouliou, East Barnet School

Aine Deane, Sacred Heart PS, Derry

Pastoral Leader of Staff 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)

Donna Merry, Southend YMCA Community School

Liz Weddle, JCoSS, Barnet

Aine Deane, Sacred Heart PS, Derry

Kathryn Bates, Shireland Collegiate Academy, Smethwick

Andrew Keep, St Bees School

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)

Christ the King Sixth Forms

Inclusion Hub, Friern Barnet School

Leighton Park School

Louis Grammar School, Ballymena

Raymond Herron, St. Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School

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)

Girls on Board

Heather Tuffs, Nidderdale High School

Lads Like Us

Sacred Heart PS, Derry

Mohammed Adam, Manchester Academy

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)

Stephen Page, All Saints Catholic College

Ellie Costello, Team Square Peg

Pastoral Care Department, Glenlola Collegiate School

Highfield and Brookham Schools

International Contribution to Pastoral Care

(An international school or organisation outside of the UK or an individual working in research or in an international school outside of the UK, that has promoted or delivered high quality pastoral care)

Bromsgrove International School Thailand


Charlene Secondary School Kiryandongo Uganda

University of Malta

International School Ikast-Brande

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.

EVENT: Major Online Pastoral Care Conference – Claim Discounted Tickets Here

Delivering Outstanding Pastoral Care Conference 2023

We’re delighted to announce that NAPCE leader Phil Jones will chair an important online pastoral care conference in October.

The Delivering Outstanding Pastoral Care 2023 event, on October 5th, is the latest in an exciting programme of events for NAPCE this year.

It is run by Education Conferences UK.

As a reader of NAPCE News we’re delighted to offer you a 20% discount on tickets for the event which is available for booking now.

About the Online Conference & How to Claim Your 20% Discount

Covering the newest pastoral challenges affecting pupils including cost of living crisis, poor mental health and cyber-bullying

The direct link to the conference & tickets is

20% Discount code: hcuk20spkr

Thursday 5th October 2023, Virtual Conference

The role of the Pastoral Lead is broad, complex and one of the most difficult jobs in school – not only because of how varied the challenges are but how often they change – new ones are appearing all the time.

But demanding roles often don’t allow individuals to keep abreast of updates – from legal requirements to best practice, it’s crucial you stay on top of it all.

Your invitation to attend the Pastoral Care Conference

Chaired by Phil Jones, National Chair, National Association for Pastoral Care in Education this full day conference will look at recent changes to guidance on behaviour, exclusions, attendance and safeguarding so that you are able to remain compliant and understand the impact that these will have on your day-to-day work.

Our experts will also be delivering sessions on some of the biggest challenges facing pastoral leads in schools, including; responding to the cost of living crisis, supporting student mental health and wellbeing and addressing the difficulties arising out of cyber bullying.

Learning Outcomes:

    Get essential updates on key topics for pastoral leads in schools
•    Understand how the cost of living crisis might impact your pupils
•    Come away with practical ideas to support children and families facing poverty
•    Improve how you work with hard to reach and disengaged families
•    Gain a deeper understanding of how to work with children facing mental health challenges
•    Improve how you respond to incidents of cyber bullying to ensure pupils are effectively supported
•    Update your knowledge on school attendance and the changes to guidance and proposed changes in the Schools Bill
•    Go back to your school with practical ideas to improve your behaviour management strategy
•    Hear practical case studies from pastoral leads in schools about changes they have implemented
•    Supports CPD professional development

Your speakers

Phil Jones
National Chair
National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

Sam Garner
Mental Health & Inclusion Consultant & Director
Garner Education Services

Joanne Sierzega
Senior Attendance and Welfare

Deborah Innes-Turnill
Child Protection Lecturer & Safeguarding Consultant

Who are Education Conferences UK?

We provide conferences and training aimed at senior leaders, teachers, SENCOs, safeguarding leads and support staff working in early years, primary and secondary education.

You can pre-purchase conference places in bulk at discounted rates, for your organisation to use throughout the year. Email for more information. 

REPORT: NAPCE’S Sell-Out Northern Ireland Symposium Hailed a Huge Success

NAPCE’s First Northern Ireland Pastoral Care Event – A SELL OUT SUCCESS!

The first ever NAPCE pastoral care event in Northern Ireland has been hailed a huge success.

“Who Cares About Pastoral Care?” was the theme for the Symposium event led by NAPCE’s Journal Editor Professor Noel Purdy.

It took place at Stranmillis University College on June 21st and was SOLD OUT in advance.

Inspirational pastoral leaders led a packed three and a half hour programme of presentations with plenty of opportunity for questions, discussion and networking.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event and to Stranmillis University College and our very own Prof. Purdy for their dedication and hard work in making this such a big success.

We will be publishing a full report on the event in the July edition of NAPCE News.


OFFER: 20% Off New Book  for People Concerned with Pastoral Care in Education

We are very pleased to offer readers of NAPCE News a 20 per cent discount on an important new book which focusses on pastoral care.

Square Pegs by Fran Morgan in collaboration with Ellie Costello is available now.

The book is priced at £19,99 and you can claim a 20 per cent discount by using the offer code ‘SQUAREPEG20’ via or by scanning the above QR code.

For more information about the book visit

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