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NAPCE – the way ahead?

The inaugural meeting of the Association was held in Dudley in 1982 and the first edition of the journal was published in 1983. Also in 1983 the first national conference on the theme “Pastoral Care in the 1980s” was held in Sheffield.

In those early days pastoral care systems were still emerging and developing and the pastoral-curriculum divide was at the forefront of discussion. NAPCE contributed extensively to the debate through the Journal, publications, conferences, briefing papers, and regional meetings and was thus instrumental in shaping the nature of pastoral care in schools. The Association had a clear role and purpose. Pastoral care has continued to evolve and NAPCE has attempted to reflect that in its activities and publications but there is an urgent need to review the provision that the Association offers to its’ members.

NAPCE provides a number of services for its members, including a subscription to the quarterly journal Pastoral Care in Education, an AGM in order to hear what the membership has to say and an interactive website regularly updated with events and useful links. It also used to arrange an annual conference as well as regional events.

The Journal has recently changed its title from the original “Pastoral Care in Education- The Journal for Pastoral Care and Personal and Social Education” to “Pastoral Care in Education – An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development”. The journal is directed at professionals such as teachers, researchers and counsellors who are concerned with the personal, social and emotional development; education and care of all students across the curriculum. It contains articles, papers and up to date information on pastoral care and PSHE issues. It thus continues to influence debate in the field at both a national and increasingly an international level.

The Annual NAPCE conferences used to be the highlight of the year for many delegates. Opportunities were provided for discussion and sharing best practice and teachers felt supported. Lifelong friendships were forged and important networks established. This is certainly a contrast to our more recent experiences where sadly our planned conferences have failed to attract delegates and we therefore need to review their relevance in the current climate. Suggestions from members about the way forward on this issue would be welcome.

The new interactive website has been planned as an important means of disseminating information and generating debate. It is intended that each month a short articles will appear in the “Home” page and to date these have been on topics as diverse as Student Voice, Learners with Medical Needs, the impact of budget cuts, and contrasts in pastoral care provision in schools. These have been contributed by members of the National Executive Committee. The “Reflecting on Pastoral Care Issues” section provides the opportunity for authors to share their “burning issues” with others, and there will be an opportunity for readers to respond to issues raised. Further details about this can be found on the appropriate section of the website.

Mel, the NAPCE Administrator, provides our other main link with the membership. She liaises with Routledge on matters relating to membership and is at the front line for queries about the association and pastoral care concerns. Recent queries have typically included a request for information about training, advice about career routes in pastoral care, advice about appointing a school counsellor, a request to share good practice with regard to vertical pastoral systems etc.

So what else do we need to do to meet the needs of the Association? – please let us know!

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