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NAPCE News – November 2019

NAPCE News – November 2019
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: Statutory Relationships and Sex Education: What should we make of school protests? Asks NAPCE’s Dr Max Biddulph

Statutory Relationships and Sex Education: What should we make of school protests? By Dr Max Biddulph

In the first major policy shift in the field for almost twenty years, in England and Wales the Department for Education (DfE) is introducing compulsory Relationships Education for primary pupils and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for secondary pupils from September 2020.

In the detailing of their intention, the DfE (2019) states that:-

“Through these subjects, we want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe – we want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society”.

The last time Sex and Relationships Education was given an overhaul was in the early 2000s, so this is a long overdue revision given the shifts in societal values and impact that technology is having on many dimensions of daily life. In explaining the process of consultation, the DfE go on to say that:

“A thorough engagement process, involving a public call for evidence and discussions with over 90 organisations, as well as the public consultation on the draft regulations and guidance, has informed the key decisions on these subjects. The consultation received over 11,000 responses from teachers, schools, expert organisations, young people and parents – these responses have helped finalise the statutory guidance as well as the regulations that have been laid in Parliament”.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the new proposals contained in the legislation received support from the majority of MPs in its passage through parliament in April 2019, this curriculum change is proving controversial in some quarters as evidenced by the high volume of correspondence sent to parliamentarians and the protests outside school gates in Birmingham and Nottingham during 2019.

So although this scenario is predictable as historically researchers have conceptualised the field of RSE as a “contested area”, what should we make of this latest turn of events?

Firstly, it’s helpful to scrutinise the objections that underpin the protests which seem to centre on three key issues namely: the feeling that ‘control’ over what is taught has been taken away from parents, fears that RSE will sexualise ‘innocent children and young people’ and objections to the inclusion of LGBT content.

A second characteristic of the school protest phenomenon seems to be that there is a strong presence of individuals from certain faith groups e.g. Muslim community, and that although some parents and children can be found amongst those protesting, there are a significant number of ‘activists’ for whom faith is strongly aligned with identity.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that in the Nottingham protest, there was a counter protest of parents supporting the inclusion of LGBT content. Given the presence of persons of different ethnicities and faith over an issue that has sexualities at its core, I think it is important to examine at a deeper what is in process here.

The expression of identity through “what I am not?” Conservative Islam versus white secular liberalism? The assertion of deeply held values when they seem to under attack? Homophobia and transphobia?

As a former teacher of Sex and Relationships Education myself, I am supportive of statutory RSE as I see it’s potential to empower and don’t see it as contaminating knowledge, rather as a vehicle for learning protective behaviours.

I am speaking from a fairly privileged position of having researched in the field and delivered considerable amounts of professional development on the subject. I state this not because I want to patronise people with the opposing view but to point out that I have developed a nuanced over view and I think this is key to understanding the current impasse.

Writing in The Guardian (6.8.19), Colin Diamond, Professor of Educational Leadership in the University of Birmingham, raises questions about the way that the government has gone about the introduction of this curriculum change pointing out that ‘the DfE was unwilling to discuss how the guidance would play out in complex multi-faith, multi-ethnic schools and communities.

This was a dereliction of duty by ministers’. Historically the agents of dialogue and engagement with faith schools and communities were professionals in former LEAs or sexual health charities such as fpa, who developed considerable expertise and good practice in this area. Sadly both mechanisms are now gone, the former being replaced by academyisation and the latter a victim of austerity.

Diamond goes on to observe that ‘the protests are wrong and have been almost universally condemned for the use of homophobic slogans and harassment outside schools.

Yet some of the language used to describe the situation has also not been helpful. Those who ask questions about the teaching of LGBT awareness in primary schools are not all “homophobic”, or behaving as “bigots” or “extremists” – just some of the labels being thrown around. And neither is this solely a “Muslim issue”. The protests reflect wider concerns from some Christians and Jews too.

Digging deeper, we find communities who feel they have been backed into a corner and judged as not compatible with 21st century British values. Some mainstream Muslim school leaders in Birmingham (also) feel marginalised’.

So, the battle lines are drawn and in October 2019, the government  issued new advice to local authorities on dealing with protests outside schools over LGBT-inclusive teaching.

There is a lot at stake here including the wider project of pastoral care in education. RSE is part of the wider reform of PSHE and includes an important new initiative to support the mental well-being of children and young people.

Perhaps this is the avenue to find the common ground to begin a dialogue and Diamond helpfully steers us to UNICEFs ‘Rights of the Child’. This is an important moment in the story of RSE that is proving painful and damaging for people on all sides.

I hope some dialogue and reconciliation can begin soon.

Dr Max Biddulph
NEC Officer
National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE)

ENTER NOW: NAPCE launches awards event to celebrate pastoral care work in schools

NAPCE is delighted to have joined forces with UK Pastoral Chat to launch an exciting new awards scheme for pastoral care providers in the education sector.

This is the first time ever an event has being organised to recognise the fantastic achievements across schools in the UK on pastoral care.

It has been created to provide much deserved recognition to the people and schools who are doing great work and to shine a light on good practice in pastoral care.

There are seven categories to enter in the NAPCE Awards and 11 under the UK Pastoral Chat scheme.

Entry for both sets of awards is separate, although the closing date for both is Monday 2nd March, 2020.

Both organisations will work in partnership to organise the first ever National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education under one awards ceremony which will take place in 2020.

You can enter the NAPCE awards now here:

NAPCE is inviting nominations in the following categories;

  • Pastoral School of the Year
  • Pastoral Team of the Year
  • Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year
  • Pastoral Leader of the Year
  • Pastoral Development of the Year
  • Raising Awareness about Pastoral Care
  • Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational institutions.

UK Pastoral Chat is inviting nominations for awards in the following categories;

  • SLT
  • Head of Year (Including Head of 6thForm)
  • Head of House/Head of Boarding
  • PSHE Lead
  • Nurse/ Counsellor
  • Pastoral Support Staff (including Learning Mentor)
  • Tutor/Classroom teacher
  • Unsung Hero
  • Guidance teacher
  • DSL/CP Co-ordinator
  • Governor

Details about how to make nominations can be found on the UK Pastoral Chat Twitter pages.

The Awards will be an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and through the social media and websites of both organisations to raise awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

The awards will encourage new initiatives and ideas in pastoral care and will recognise the contributions being made to developing policy and practice in pastoral support.

This is an opportunity to recognise the impact the work of pastoral staff is having on the achievement and well being of young people. The decisions about prize winners in each category will be made by a panel of invited professionals who work in pastoral care.

There will be a prize of £100.00 for the school or institution for the winners of each category and individuals will also be recognised for their achievements.

The criteria for the NAPCE awards are;
Award Criteria

  • 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

  • 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 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.

  • Pastoral Leader 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.Nominations for the NAPCE Awards are welcome from member schools and institutions and from schools and institutions that are not currently members of NAPCE.

Nominations can be made online via this link:

You can also enter by e-mail to NAPCE Base at or they can be sent by post to National Association for Pastoral Care in Education, (NAPCE), PO BOX 60005, Nuneaton, CV11 9GY, with the following information:

Award                          __________________________________________

Nomination                  __________________________________________
Support for nomination (maximum 100 words)

Nominated by _______________________________________________

Email contact _______________________________________________

The Awards Programme and partnership with UK Pastoral Chat is an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of Pastoral Care and give hard working pastoral staff and schools with positive approaches to supporting learners the recognition that they deserve.

Please be part of this process by sending your nominations.

Phil Jones
National Chair
National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

ARTICLE: In the aftermath of Anti-Bullying Week 2019, NAPCE have shared a practical classroom exercise to engage students in this difficult subject


As part of NAPCE’s support for Anti-Bullying Week 2019 (November 11-15, 2019) our Chair, Phil Jones, shared a collection of practical in-school activities to help students and staff explore and understand the line between bullying and banter.

Each of these scenarios have been created to engage young people in the thought process behind activities which could cross the line with an overall view to encourage contemplation and adjusted behaviour outcomes.

We encourage educators to adopt this practice session within a classroom environment and would very much welcome any reported outcomes send to

Bullying or Banter? Classroom activities to make a difference by Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE

  • Organise the class into groups of 5 or 6 students.
  • Ask students to organise themselves into roles for example:
  • Chair (who organises the meeting)
  • Secretary (who records any decisions made)
  • Timekeeper (who makes sure that the team are on task to meet the deadline)
  • Ask the team to agree three rules for their discussion
  • Hand out the scenarios.
  • To add challenge and pace to the activity give the teams a deadline for completing each scenario.
  • Ask for feedback from each team on the decisions they have made when the deadline is reached for each scenario.
  • Give points to the team depending on the quality of their response and how well they explain their views. Perhaps a prize for the best team.
  • Extension activity would be to come up with five rules for preventing misunderstandings between bullying and banter.
  • Team can evaluate how well they worked together and how well they considered all the issues.


A is a goalkeeper in a football team. A is a good goalkeeper and is respected for making important saves in matches. In one important cup match A makes three big mistakes which all lead to goals for their opponents and they lose the match 3 goals to two. As A come off the pitch some members of the team tell A that they were useless today and that it is their fault that they lost. In the evening A gets a text message saying that the team needs a new goalkeeper. A decides that they will not play football again.

  1. Was this banter or bullying?
  2. Is A being too sensitive?
  3. What could A do about the situation?
  4. What could anybody else do about the situation?


B is asked to go to a gig at a local nightclub by a group of friends from school. When B asks their parents, they say no because they think B is too young and they have heard rumours that there are drugs at this nightclub. B explains this to their friends, but they just respond by saying that B is ‘scared’ of their parents and that they should ignore them and just go anyway. Later, that evening one of the friends posts a picture of a chicken on social media with the question does anybody recognise this person?

  1. Is this bullying or banter?
  2. What could go wrong?
  3. What should B do?
  4. What could anybody else do to help resolve the situation.


C has just started their first job working in an office. They are very nervous on their first day and do not want to do anything wrong. They are not sure what happens at lunchtime, so they take sandwiches in a Tupperware box. At lunchtime everybody in the office agrees to go out for lunch. Everybody starts laughing when they see that C has got their sandwiches out to eat. They make fun of C and say look at ‘Tups’, who cannot afford to buy a lunch and similar comments. They go out and leave C behind. In the afternoon everybody ignores C apart form a note which suddenly appears on their desk which says, “give some money now for starving workers’. C decides that they are going to give the job up.

  1. Is this bullying or banter?
  2. What has caused this situation?
  3. What could C do about the situation?
  4. What could anybody else do about the situation?


D enjoys listening to classical music and does not like modern music. They have just started their first job after leaving school and enjoys having the money to be able to go out for meals. On a visit to a restaurant with their four closest friends form school a local rock band is playing. D makes a comment that the band is rubbish and the restaurant would be better to have a musician playing a violin. The friends laugh and say that he is not living in the real world and make comments about D being boring.  Later that evening D finds out from social media that his four friends are going to a rock concert and he has not been invited. D decides that he is going to tell his friend that they are unable to appreciate good music and he doesn’t want to see them again.

  1. Is this bullying or banter?
  2. How could this situation have been avoided?
  3. What could D do to improve the situation
  4. What could anybody else do about the situation?

The scenarios will encourage teams to consider different perceptions about situations and what is the intent of the people involved. They will need to think about how situations can be prevented form becoming a problem and how people need to use empathy and sensitivity to resolve them. The organisation of the activity will provide opportunities for students to learn how to work in teams, how to contribute their ideas and to develop their listening and communication skills.

MEDIA WATCH: A round-up of the latest news stories involving pastoral care in education

At NAPCE we work very hard to stay across the national and international news media to store and share the latest stories involving pastoral care in education on our own platforms.

In this new feature for NAPCE News, we are sharing with you a selection of the biggest stories hitting the headlines this month with the aim that some of these reported developments may provide useful context within your work as a strategist or practitioner of pastoral support.

Here is a summary for November 2019.

“Self-harm: Girls ‘more likely to end up in hospital'” from BBC News

Read here:

“Councils dealing with more children at risk of gang involvement and trafficking” from The Guardian

Read here:

“Domestic abuse ‘biggest threat to child protection'” from BBC News

Read here:

“Bullying: Fifth of young people in UK have been victims in past year – report” from BBC News

Read here:

“Teen self-harm rates are dramatically down in Denmark – here’s why” from The Independent

Read here:

“Teachers ‘need more training’ to combat sexual abuse” from TES

Read here:

“We are sleepwalking into a student self-esteem crisis” from TES

Read here:

“Children who rarely eat breakfast secure lower GCSE grades than classmates, study finds” from The Independent

Read here:

“One in seven children develop a mental illness, claims new research” from The Independent

Read here:

“Sharp rise in pupil numbers in special schools
DfE figures show special school population has risen by 6 per cent in a year” from TES

Read here:

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