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NAPCE News – November 2023

NAPCE News – November 2023

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

LEAD ARTICLE: “Is Care Being Taken Out of Education. An article by NAPCE Chair Phil Jones 

Is Care Being Taken Out of Education by Phil Jones

An advert recently appeared on television in the United Kingdom featuring school children calling for people to talk about their mental health.

The advert can be found on YouTube and the school children talk about a world of crisis after crisis with climate change and the cost of living given as examples and their need to talk about these issues for their well-being and mental health.

The advert points out that it is not school subjects that they find the hardest but their own thoughts and concerns.

The children in the video call for people to ask them what is on their mind, to reduce stress and anxiety.

At the end of the film the subtitles point out that mental health has declined by 40 per cent in young people.

In September, at the presentation event for the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education, I had the pleasure of meeting once again the charity ‘Lads Like Us’.

They do a brilliant job raising awareness about the care and support that children and young people need based on their own experiences of growing up in care.

They challenge the role that teachers and other adults have in school and are clear that they are not expecting education professionals to be social workers but encourage them to care about children and young people by asking why they are behaving in negative ways.

They use the term professional curiosity to explain why they believe professionals in schools have a responsibility and opportunity to care and support children and young people.

In recent months there have also been stories in the media of approaches to behaviour management increasing anxiety for children and young people.

The context for this is that schools have faced the challenge of addressing negative behaviour of some learners, possibly brought on by a lack of socialisation during the pandemic.

There have been stories of parents complaining about ‘draconian’ behaviour policies having a negative impact on children wanting to go to school and on their well-being.

Parents have complained about school rules which expect children to walk in school corridors in silence and argue that these rules are breaching human rights.

This emotional response is understandable because parents are going to be concerned about the personal development of their children when they send them to school.

The media has also reported on the view that stricter schools achieve better results.

The Times newspaper on 21st October 2023 reported that schools with traditional education methods dominated the top of the school league tables.

It was implied that schools with rigorous approaches to behaviour management achieve the best outcomes for learners.

However, this depends on what evidence is being made to make these judgements.

Is the definition of a good school one with good examination results or does society have other expectations about the purpose of education.

Does education have a role in developing the human beings of the next generation? Is part of the purpose of education to prepare children and young people to make a positive contribution in the future to the workplace and society?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then any judgements about what a good school is, needs to consider how they care for the needs of the children and young people, in preparing them for life in a rapidly changing technological world of the 21st century.

A study published in the International Journal of Educational Management argued that classrooms return to the stricter disciplined approach that was pushed out by permissive education in the 1970s.

The pastoral systems of a school implement and reinforce the clear boundaries and consistent routines that provide children and young people with a positive and safe learning environment.

Recent research suggests that stricter learning environments can help young people to thrive in the classroom.

Findings published in an online toolkit by the Australian organisation ‘Evidence for Learning’ shows that students perform in better examinations when teachers implement strict guidelines and argues that there is a link between student behaviour, classroom discipline and academic outcomes.

It is reasonable to assume that better examination results could be achieved if pastoral systems in schools prioritise developing complacent, conforming learners who are not distracted by actions to support their well being and socialisation.

If this is the priority, then the question must be asked; what is the cost to their personal development and preparation for their future lives?

Is there a risk that we are going back to approaches to education based on Victorian beliefs that children should be ‘seen and not heard?’.

Is the priority for the modern workplace people who can be compliant and conforming or people who can challenge, question, and suggest innovative and creative answers to difficult problems?

Is the priority for society to have human beings who can discuss concerns, share ideas, empathise with other people, and develop positive relationships?

If the answer to these questions is “yes” then pastoral structures and systems in school a have an important role in supporting children and young people in schools to understand the world they live in and to develop the skills and attitudes needed to be successful in the modern world.

Dr Anna Sullivan, a senior lecturer in Education at the University of South Australia commented in the ‘Educator Australia Journal’ that “rather than having a heavy-handed approach, schools should focus on relational aspects and have a more educational – rather than managerial approach to discipline in the classroom”.

There is a need for more research into the importance of supporting the socialisation of children and young people as part of their educational experience.

Otherwise, we are at risk of ‘experts’ or Multi Academy Trust leaders deciding on important questions about the purpose of education in the 21st century without considering the well-being and personal development of learners.

This could lead to approaches being implemented that prioritise certain goals at the expense of others and are justified with evidence based on examination results and not on evidence that demonstrates how education is meeting the needs of children and young people in the modern world.

At a time when schools are facing challenges such as:

  • Concerns about the mental health of children and young people.
  • Growing concerns about absence form school since the pandemic.
  • An educational funding crisis.
  • Many school buildings not being fit for purpose.
  • An increasing number of parents considering educating their children at home.
  • Concerns from young people that their educational experience is not relevant to their needs in the modern world.

There has been little response from policy makers to these important issues.

Thinking has focused on school structures and whether academies and free schools provide a better learning experience.

What is needed, is a response that focuses on the role and purpose of schools in the modern world in meeting the needs of children and young people.

The call for stricter schools is in many ways a distraction from the real challenge of making school relevant for meeting the educational priorities of children and young people.

One recent response from policy makers has been the suggestion of a national ban of mobile phones in schools.

Any educational professional with a pastoral role will be able to tell you how technological advances with mobile phones has presented challenges for schools.

However, we have to accept whether we like it or not, that smart mobile phones with access to the world wide web are a reality in modern life and despite the difficulties they can cause they are an essential tool in the workplace and in everyday life.

Is it not more sensible for pastoral systems in schools to have a vital role in supporting children and young people to understand the appropriate use of new technology than to simply ban them.

This is just one example of how schools need to address the issues that are important to children and young people as part of their learning experience if school is going to continue to be relevant to their lives in the modern world.

Schools should not become the luddites of the 21stcentury to prioritise examination results ahead of developing well adjusted children and young people who can make positive contributions to the rapidly changing technological world of the 21st century.

NAPCE was formed in 1982 by leading educationalists who were concerned that education was not supporting the welfare and personal development of children and young people.

Since then, the Association has been supporting the view that the care and support provided in schools by pastoral structures and systems encourages academic achievement and personal development.

This concern by the founders of NAPCE is still relevant today and if there is going to be a clear understanding of the purpose of education and how it meets the needs of the economy, society and future generations of children and young people.

Faced with the strong arguments of ‘stricter schools get better results’, it is challenging to be an advocate for education having a broader role of supporting children and young people to achieve their full potential as human beings.

There is a need for parents, employers, educationalists, and young people to debate what does a relevant education look like in the 21st century.

NAPCE is planning a conference in 2024 to provide an opportunity to discuss the issues that are important in deciding how pastoral care in schools is relevant to meeting the needs of children and young people in the modern world.

You can become an advocate of effective pastoral care and support in being an important part of children and young people’s learning experience by becoming a member of NAPCE and joining the discussion.

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education (NAPCE)

Any comments or views please respond to

Bauman, Chris. Krskova, Hana. (2016.) ‘School Discipline, school uniforms, and academic performance’. International Journal of Educational Management. Vol 30, no6, pp1003-1029
The Educator Australia Online. (2018). ‘Do stricter rules help students?’. Found at
Link Do stricter school rules help students? | The Educator K/12 (
Times Newspaper. (2023). Sit Down and Pay Attention! The evidence is clear – stricter schools get better results, October 21st 2023.
U Tube (2023) ‘Britain get talking. The hardest subject’. found at

AWARDS: Great Practice from the NAPCE Awards 2023


The National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2023 – Sharing Good Practice 

The NAPCE Awards 2023 was an amazing success, bigger than ever with a record number of entries and a sold-out event.

Every year we should a huge number of great examples of excellent practice in pastoral care and we’re proud to share some of these with you on NAPCE News which may help guide and inspire your own work.

For this first episode we’re focussing on the category Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year.

Pastoral Member of Staff of the YearThis award is for 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.

In 2023 it was sponsored by North London Collegiate School, Jeju, South Korea.

This school is situated on the UNESCO World heritage Island of Jeju, in South Korea.

Their proud history began in North London over 170 years ago at NLCS UK. Students combine academic excellence and a deep love of learning with a wealth of co-curricular opportunities to develop into exceptional individuals, who believe that anything is possible.

The winner for 2023, announced at the grand presentation event in Worcester, in September was Liz Tzouliou, from East Barnet School.

Liz was nominated by Nicole Cara who is a member of NAPCE’s National Executive Committee.

Theses were some of the comments that were made about the 2023 winner of this award in her nomination.

“Liz is a whirlwind, a dervish and passionate advocate for all our students with SEMH and importantly those neurodiverse students who struggle to be understood and heard.”

“She continues to go above and beyond the call of duty for our students and makes a real difference to their lives.”

“Liz has created a sensory space in an abandoned office, upcycling rope, old tiles and materials discarded in a skip.”

“Liz encouraged a better use of the space for the pastoral needs of the children.   She has welcomed the school puppy into the space, despite, not liking dogs, because she will always prioritise the children over her own needs.”

“Liz cleans out the school rabbits on a weekly basis in our SEMH hub and  has stood knee deep in horse manure, whilst encouraging students on equine therapy, putting aside her own phobias around germs and dirt.”

“Liz has developed the art of the ‘social story’ winding back time to appreciate where the situation went wrong and what could have been done to not end up in anger, emotional turmoil, or distress, making huge difference to the social and emotional needs of the children.”

“She has perfected the art of allowing a student struggling with sensory overload, to regulate in the safe space she has created.

“She stands guard over those whose needs have led to a ‘melt-down’ in a public space – allowing time to sooth and calm.  Never thinking twice of challenging or educating those who fear the students.

“Liz has gone above and beyond providing clothes, shoes or equipment for students who are not able to have this provided for them by their families, thinking nothing of giving her own families clothes that are no longer needed to those in need.

“She feeds those who are hungry and those who are not hungry, not thinking twice about giving away her own lunch. She uses food to encourage everyone to rest, relax and to practice and model socialising and emotional co-regulation.”

“Liz runs a student voice group for up to 40 neurodiverse children where they celebrate their diversity and facilitates them to learn to embrace themselves and learn ways to manage that work for them.”

“Liz welcomes senior staff to these sessions as CPD, so they listen and understand the children’s needs, providing a reflective space for learning after the session. This is a whole school approach, and she even invites the canteen manager to come and hear their stories of sensory issues around food.”

“She affords them time to listen and time to talk, juggling that with writing lesson plans, support plans, filling in the interminable CAMHs forms, ados and other clinical forms, paperwork, emails, and record keeping.”

“Liz does all of this with the goal of making these students feel safe, safe enough to want to learn and to do the right thing, and she does so with an infectious smile.”

“Good practice was highlighted by the other nominations in this category. The comments that were made in these nominations demonstrate the positive impact being made by staff in pastoral roles.”

Mr Matt Pont, Beck Primary School 
Mr Matt Pont is an absolute inspiration. He has been at Beck Primary School for over 20 years as a Pastoral Manager, nothing is ever too much trouble for him, he is so popular with both past and present pupils, parents, and staff. He has all the time in the world for anyone, he has unique ways of getting kids to open up and the amount of trust they have in him is incredible. The nomination came from a parent who commented.
“I am a single dad and was at breaking point, I can honestly say if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here, I had lack of support from the mental health team and this is where he stepped in to help, even though he was there to support my son, he has brought my mental health on so much, simply  by having a cuppa and a chat with me every week. He has kept me going through dark and difficult times, as well as keeping my son going and lots of other families. He is always on the school gates welcoming children in every morning, always there with a hug and a smile come rain, sun or snow, it’s about time this amazing man was recognised for his achievements in over 20 years of doing pastoral stuff”.

Raymond Kelly, St Patrick’s College Dungiven
Raymond is an exceptional and talented teacher. He inspires staff and students alike as he leads the year 10 and 11 pastoral team and leads Music and Drama department at St Patricks Dungiven. Raymond’s infectious dedication and energy have impacted positively on students’ attainment and progress over the last few years. Students at St Patricks have a lower-than-average ability on entry, a higher-than-average SEN need and over 40 % of students attending are in receipt of FSM. There are a significant number of students who are vulnerable. Their life chances, aspirations and self-belief have increased due to the work of Raymond impacting not only on these individuals but families within the local community. Raymond does whatever is needed to ensure his students achieve their potential, weekly twilights, weekend rehearsals sessions nothing is too much. Raymond has also inspired and motivated students by facilitating experiences such as exposure to inspirational role models, trips and school productions. Raymond’s support of our young people is beyond the call of duty.   In his role as head of year 10 and 11 and Deputy designated safeguarding officer he has been an advocate for vulnerable young people including children in care. Raymond selflessly gives up his own time. Endless hours of contact and follow up before, during and after school with parents, pupils and outside agencies.     Raymond has prioritized pastoral care alongside academic achievement.  He is passionate about the mental health and well-being of the students in his groups. Raymond is an exceptional role model and continues to impact on the lives of many children both directly and indirectly through his leadership and support of other professionals.

Thomas Carter Stead, NLCS Jeju 
The school pastoral team is applying a whole school, ‘Positive Psychology’ approach to student wellbeing; identifying and celebrating character strengths, kindness, gratitude and positive emotions through tutor and PSD programmes which are delivered weekly. Thom has worked incredibly hard in ensuring our Personal Social Development programme is centred around NLCS Jeju’s approach to Wellbeing and has ensured that our curriculum gives students the knowledge and skills required to live healthy and independent lives.  Over the last few years, he has overseen several campaigns, including ‘Bullying Awareness Week’, which, in collaboration with students and Pastoral Leaders, promoted bullying awareness in our community. Thom ensured that he worked with both the Student Welfare Awareness Group and the Student Council, and all students were asked to make a pledge to stamp out bullying in our school. In the past he has worked with a professional writer to create a bespoke interactive online story game in which students play the character of a robot visiting their school in the future and learn about the impact of bullying behaviour. He has also coordinated a social exclusion experiment, which simulated an experience of exclusion for a few robust student volunteers.

In addition to this, Thom was at the forefront of supporting and overseeing other campaigns in school including Healthy February and a campaign on Mental Health Awareness, which will focus on promoting the importance of self-care, strategies to help with. These campaigns that are anchored around the school PEEC themes of positive relationships, positive emotions, positive health, positive engagement, positive accomplishment, positive purpose and sense of belonging. Thom has also worked with parents to raise awareness of pastoral issues that their children may be facing and has helped support parents in working with their children on these issues. For example, earlier this year he led a ‘Parents as Partners’ workshop on the topic of positive body image, and a workshop that tackled the difficult issue of E-safety and the effect of social media influencers.

Mrs Aine Deane, Sacred Heart Primary School Derry
Sacred Heart PS is a large Primary School in the Waterside area of Derry City. Over 35% of pupils are in receipt of free school meals and the area is classed as one with high levels of social deprivation. In recent times, and especially following on from the COVID-19 pandemic, the school identified a need for the pastoral care team to focus on day-to-day neglect issues that teachers and families were facing. These issues didn’t necessarily meet the threshold for ‘Child Protection’ but they were enough to concern teachers and our wider school community.   Issues that teachers were facing regularly included children coming to school having had no breakfast, children coming to school not adequately prepared for the school day with no homework completed and/or no snack for breaktime, children whose uniforms needed washed, children whose personal hygiene was being neglected etc.

In response to these challenges, Mrs Deane worked closely with colleagues to establish the school’s first ever ‘Pastoral Care Team’ in September 2022. The Pastoral Care Team consists of teachers and classroom assistants from every key stage, and they meet half-termly to discuss new initiatives and ideas to ease the pressures faced by many families, and also to make school a safe haven for our young people.Mrs Deane has worked tirelessly with to make her action plan for pastoral care work in Sacred Heart PS.  Initiatives to date include:

  • Toast Time: whereby every child in the school receives free breakfast 3 times per week.
  • a winter clothing drive in November 2022. Parents and friends of the school donated winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves that they no longer used or needed and used these items to create the school’s very first free pop-up shop.
  • well-being day for all children in the school in February 2023. This day was organised by Mrs Deane and consisted of yoga, mindfulness, Zumba, sporting activities, gymnastics.

Congratulations to everybody nominated for Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year in 2023.

The nominations for the 2024 National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education are now open.

All the details are available here

Follow the link to make a nomination to recognise and value contributions to good practice in Pastoral care in education.

PODCAST: New Chat Channel Launched Named Children’s Friendships Matter  

New Podcast “Children’s Friendships Matter” Launched 

A new podcast has been created by Dr Caron Carter, a researcher and senior lecturer in Early Childhood and Childhood Education is available now.

There are currently six episodes of Children’s Friends Matter which feature discussions with a range of experts and include the themes “Children’s Friendships Through the Lens of Slow Pedagogy” and “The Importance of Children’s Friendships in Early Childhood Education”.

It is particularly useful for academics, teachers, early educators and parents and would also be a good teaching resource on some courses.
All episodes are available for free now on Spotify and you can also find out more information and listen here


CAMPAIGN: An Important Call-To-Action from Anti-Bullying Week This Month


NAPCE is proud to support Anti-Bullying Week 2023, an initiative which took place earlier in November to encourage discussions around bullying.

The 2023 theme was “Make A Noise About Bullying” and took place on November 13th-17th around schools and other places.

Anti-Bullying Week is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and included Odd-Socks Day on the Monday, a symbolic activity to encourage discourse about the subject.

Amongst the information made available by the charity to the education sector by the charity are downloadable teaching resources and themed assemblies.

Friends of NAPCE VotesForSchools joined forces with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the Co-op and The Peer Action Collective this year to get children’s voices heard on the issue of bullying and schools’ response to it.

There shared a set of free resources, to encourage an informed, balanced debate, and access to their voting platform where any school could join the 60,000 VotesforSchools’ voices expected to take part.

VotesForSchools are also running a free CPD early next year to support schools with the findings that may come up from such a conversation with their children.

Here below is some further important information about the event shared on anti-bullying

How can you Make A Noise About Bullying?

As usual, schools can download free teaching resources and themed assemblies. These focus on the activities we can take to encourage young people to consider what bullying means to us, how banter can turn into something more hurtful, and what we can do to stop bullying.

Anti-Bullying Alliance patron, CBBC and CBeebies star Andy Day led celebrity support for the campaign, with his band Andy and the Odd Socks. The band recorded and released a toe-tapping song to mark Odd Socks Day on the first day of Anti-Bullying Week. There’s a serious message behind the fun: let’s pull on odd socks to show we’re ALL unique and different, and let’s be kind to each other and respect each other’s individuality.

For older children, the buzz on social media is an important part of Anti-Bullying Week, and a great opportunity for schools to share how they’ve embraced the anti-bullying message. It’s easy to get involved via #AntiBullyingWeek and #MakeANoise on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter.

Please also join us in making a noise to decision makers about our calls to action:

  • Schools should be required to have an anti-bullying lead responsible for coordinating an anti-bullying strategy.
  • Initial teacher training should include anti-bullying training: Currently, teachers are not required to even know what bullying is as part of their initial teacher training.
  • There should be a duty to record bullying in schools in England as there currently is for schools in Northern Ireland.

How you can get involved!

You can keep informed and support the Anti-Bullying Week 2024 by signing up to our mailing list or becoming a member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
And follow us on Twitter via @ABAonline #AntiBullyingWeek

EVENT: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones to Speak at ASCL Conference for Pastoral Leaders 2024

We are delighted to be partnering with ASCL again for the ASCL Conference for Pastoral Leaders 2024.

NAPCE Chair Phil Jones is amongst the panel of expert speakers joining the event at The Birmingham Conference and Events Centre (BCEC) on 29th January, 2024.

The theme for. the new year conference us “Taking a proactive approach to pastoral leadership”

At the ASCL Conference for Pastoral Leaders 2024, they will be looking at how pastoral leaders, DSLs, Inclusion leads in schools and across trusts deal with constantly changing priorities.

This event will support leaders to strengthen systems and processes and enable improvement, adopting a proactive rather than reactive response to competing educational demands.

It is a fantastic opportunity to focus on current whole school priorities of attendance, behaviour and inclusion and how they relate to rising SEND, mental health & wellbeing and disadvantage gaps.

This Conference will enable Pastoral Leaders to strengthen school provision and practice.

Meet the Speakers
Dr Kaitlyn Regehr, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at UCL, who will be identifying the escalating challenges, despite an online safety act, of online misogyny and what schools can be doing to respond effectively.
Victoria Raynor, Safeguarding Consultant will be exploring the practical approaches that schools must adopt to safeguarding and strengthen wellbeing.
ASCL Specialist, Tom Middlehurst will review pastoral priorities for Ofsted inspections.
Panel experts will include Phil Jones NAPCE and ASCL Council leaders.

For more information and tickets follow this link:

The team at NAPCE would like offer to our sincere thanks to all of our readers. You play a key role in the development of NAPCE and the education community at large. A key part of our mission statement is to continue to expand the NAPCE community. If your staff team are not ‘pastoral care aware’ please send on the link below to your colleagues. The more we share, the more we can make a positive difference to young peoples’ wellbeing throughout their school education experience.
Click here: An Introduction to Pastoral Care

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