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NAPCE News – February 2021

NAPCE News – February 2021

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

FEATURE ARTICLE: NAPCE Officer John Hunt Compares the Experience of Online Learning with ‘In-School’ Teaching During the Pandemic 

Comparing the Experience of Online Learning with ‘In-School’ Teaching During the Pandemic.

Firstly, on behalf of the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education, I want to pay tribute and offer my heartfelt gratitude to colleagues all over the country who have made such a Herculean collective effort to ensure that our young people are educated, catered for and cared for.

Amidst unhelpful headlines, the total myth of schools being ‘closed’ and the last minute changes inflicted on the profession, teachers and support staff in schools have stepped up and done everything that has been needed and more.

I have seen first hand the pressure on staff, both in and out of school, and I am in awe of the work that has been done and the speed at which we have adapted to an entirely new way of working. Thank you all.

The late, great Ken Robinson said that ‘The real role of leadership is climate control – creating a climate of possibility’.

While I have always agreed with this statement, this last half term as a Pastoral Leader in a large secondary school has made me feel more like an air conditioning unit than ever before!

Attempting to maintain a consistent ‘temperature’ among students, staff and parents, while taking into account the very new and very real challenges in our own (occasionally neglected!) personal lives, has proven to be quite the task.

With so many unknowns, the constant anxiety over the pandemic and the many challenges in schools (that don’t go away just because we’re not on site), I have felt like I have a very different job this half term to the one I usually do, and indeed, the one I signed up for!

The most difficult aspect of this peculiar half term for me has been finding a balance between what we ordinarily do in school and what needs to be done in our new world.

Maintaining this temperature of normality across a school, while dealing with a number of persistent issues in my role, has presented a real challenge for me professionally during this period of remote learning.

Three obvious examples I can think of are:

Scenario 1

An individual student is disengaged from learning in school and simply not doing very much, struggling academically and socially.

I can work with the student, with the staff, with parents/carers, with external agencies if required to support the young person and hopefully get them re-engaged in learning and with friends. I can facilitate face to face meetings, really delving into the issues facing the young person and taking action to support them. This is my way! I rely on the relationships I have built with young people and their families to have an impact.

VS:

An individual student is disengaged from online learning, struggling academically and socially.

When I have a student disengaged from remote learning, I can still do all of the above in theory but I have been struck by the difference that the lack of true face to face communication can have. I have found it much more difficult to involve students in any meaningful communication online, something that I think (hope!) is a strength of mine when we’re in school. As a teacher, I can deliver engaging content within the classroom and this has been hindered considerably through remote teaching. I have also been painfully aware, as many readers will be, that often when a student is appearing to be disengaged it is not that they are avoiding the lesson or their work but simply that they do not have the device to access it! I was very proud of NAPCE’s offer to provide learners with laptops over recent months but wonder how many students could have been positively impacted with a more efficient roll out of devices from the Government.

As a pastoral leader, how can I support students’ social development when it feels like no one is in touch with anyone properly anyway? How will this prolonged period of physical social isolation impact on students in the long term and what difference we may encounter when we are back in school? The barrier that a computer screen or phone has put between me and the young people I serve has felt truly significant to me; I look forward to it being gone!

Scenario 2

Staff come to me with instances of poor student behaviour in school

I would investigate and work with the staff and student to resolve the issue. There are clear systems in place to support this work; we have worked tirelessly on developing a consistent and simple behaviour for learning policy which all staff can use with ease. Again, I rely heavily on direct communication with the people involved; I can read body language, I can respond directly and quickly to questions raised from either side, I can make quick decisions based on what I see, hear and feel as a result of all of this communication.

VS

Staff come to speak to me about poor student behaviour online

Well! We can issue virtual warnings (in place of written ones in school), and we can mute students in the chat function… but what capacity do we really have to do much more than this when the students are working in their own home. Online detentions? I think not! Promise a sanction when students are back in school? No chance.

As always, I have found parents to be a very important ally in these instances but I have no problem admitting that I have found it challenging to deal with student misbehaviour or rudeness to staff online. We are in the age of social media, whereby people can throw out any opinion unchallenged. Is it any wonder that some young people feel emboldened in their comments, now that they spend so much time in a virtual world?

This also links to the first scenario I outlined, in that I want to understand why the young person may be exhibiting these behaviours but I struggle to get to that place with students due to the nature of how we are right now. If I use the chat function, how will what I write be received by the student (and their parents who may be sat with them!). I’m sure we can all think of instances in which something we have typed has perhaps not come across as we’d like and dealing with student behaviour is complex enough without the danger of text speak! Will staff understand the difficulty we face in dealing with incidents compared to when we are in school? Will they feel supported? How can I ensure that they feel like their concerns are taken seriously and dealt with, when the reality may be that a phone call home is the only real action I can take? A staff member may insist an exclusion is appropriate – what am I going to do, send the student home?! While I have found this to be difficult, I must also stress that I have been so impressed by the conduct of the vast, vast majority of the students and their behaviour and attitude to learning has been truly brilliant!

Scenario 3

A staff member is struggling with a particular class in school in terms of their involvement in lessons.

I can easily drop into the lesson. I can observe what is going on and support the staff member with effective teaching and learning strategies which I have developed over years in the classroom, in the hope that these will see an improvement for all concerned. I can speak to any individual students who need this intervention and can ensure that the staff member feels supported throughout. I can continue to be a visible, supportive presence for them and a visible reminder to the class of our school expectations.

VS

A staff member is struggling with a particular class online in terms of their involvement in lessons

I can still easily drop into the online lesson and observe. I can still easily speak to individuals via Teams. Am I truly in a position to offer any coaching or guidance on remote teaching? Absolutely not. I have no more experience of teaching online than any of my colleagues do (and I am truly indebted to colleagues who have shared some great tips!) We have all learnt a great deal over this half term with online provision but I don’t feel like I’ve been nearly as much use to the staff in our school as I would usually be.

There are many, many more examples where I have found things that I usually breeze through to be difficult and I am sure that some readers will recognise this rather frustrating feeling. As I outlined at the beginning, this half term has felt like quite a task. A task which has been challenging, difficult, occasionally tense and utterly exhausting. More than anything though, I have found it to be a task which has brought out the absolute best in so many colleagues; their resilience, kindness, humour and unwavering determination to do the best they can for our young people. It has also reinforced to me the importance of the role that relationships play in schools, be they in person or online. Regardless of any technological advancements we make as a result of this pandemic, of which there will surely be many, pastoral care and the human nature of our relationships must remain a constant driver in our schools.

John Hunt
NEC Officer
NAPCE
February 2021

AWARDS: Entries Coming in for the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021

Entries Come in for The National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021

Nominations are coming in for the second annual National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education since the opening of the entry window in January.

The Awards scheme is the first and only in the UK to recognise great practice of pastoral care providers in the education sector.

The independent judging panel for the 2021 Awards, who will preside over all entries, has also just been announced:

Professor Stan Tucker of Newman University in Birmingham, NAPCE President
Professor Richard Pring, of Oxford University Associate Professor Anne Emerson of Nottingham University
Doctor Noel Purdy of Stranmillis University College in Belfast
Phil Jones Chair of NAPCE. 

We were delighted by the participation and success of the first NAPCE Awards and are so excited about bringing it back, but this year the event will be even bigger and better.

We’ve added a new category in International Contribution to Pastoral Care this year, a worthy addition to the seven existing classifications which proved so popular in 2020.

The closing date for all categories this year will be Monday May 24th, 2021, so don’t hang around, get your entries in now.

Just like last year, the finalists of the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education will be invited to attend the ceremony on Friday, September 24th, 2021 to share the experience with peers and find out who wins each Award.

Speaking about the Awards, Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE, said: “We are delighted to see the quality of entries is so high once again this year. 

“We believe it is even more important this year to recognise the pastoral heroes who have done so much to support our young people through the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Nominations only take a few minutes to complete and we urge all schools, individuals and associated organisations to get involved, recognition for those who make a real difference is so important.” 

Criteria for Each Category
 
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 in pastoral care, for the benefit of young people.

International Contribution to Pastoral Care
An international school, 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.
 
Any school or organisation can make a nomination for one or more of the categories. You do not need to be a member of NAPCE to make a nomination. Self-nominations are accepted.
 
Nominations are supported with information about how they meet the criteria for the category.

Nominations are for pastoral work during the 2020-21 academic year. The finalists and winners are selected by the judging panel of leading academics and practitioners in pastoral care and education. All finalists are invited to attend a presentation event when the winners are announced. 

There is a prize of one hundred pounds for the school, university, or organisation that the winners represent, in each category, to support their future work in pastoral care. There are prizes and plaques for winners and certificates for finalists. 
 
Nominations opened on Monday 18th January, 2021 and it is a good idea to make your nomination as soon as possible so you do not forget. 
 

Activity Date 2021
Nominations Open Monday 18th January
Nominations Close Monday 24th May
Judging Completed Friday 25th June
Finalists informed Monday 28th June
Tickets for Presentation Available Monday 5th July
Invitations to attend Presentation Event sent Monday 5th July
Presentation Event Friday 24th September

To make your nomination

You can enter the NAPCE Awards here  https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/napce-awards-2021-entry-form/

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational establishments and you DO NOT need to currently be a member of NAPCE to take part.

FROM THE CHAIR: An Update on NAPCE Activities from Phil Jones

 

From the Chair with Phil Jones

Despite the latest Lockdown, the start of the year has been a busy time for NAPCE.

NAPCE was pleased to contribute once again to the planning and delivery of the annual conference for pastoral leaders organised by the Association of School and College leaders (ASCL).

I was pleased to work with Maria O’Neill the founder of UK Pastoral Chat, to deliver a workshop on ‘Pastoral Care for Remote Learning’, as NAPCE’s contribution to the Conference.

Although it was a virtual Conference this year, it was very well attended with delegates from schools across the United Kingdom and an impressive list of speakers and workshop leaders who explored many of the current issues facing people working in pastoral roles.

It is exciting times for Maria, whose first book on pastoral care, ‘Proactive Pastoral Care. Nurturing happy, healthy, and successful learners”, is published by Bloomsbury on April 15th.

NAPCE was pleased to be invited to contribute to the planning of Safer Internet Day 2021. This annual event is organised to raise awareness of making the internet a safer place for young people and NAPCE was delighted to be able to support this important initiative.

I attended the virtual event on February 9th on behalf of NAPCE and this included a live streaming on YouTube from the top of the BT Tower and information about the good work that is being done, by many organisations, to help make the use of the internet a safer experience for all young people.

On the same day, I presented a live webinar for ASCL which was attended by headteachers and school leaders from across the United Kingdom, about Leading on Safeguarding.

It is right to see NAPCE continuing to support these important initiatives that will improve the learning experience and lives of young people. 

The Pandemic and the restrictions that have had to be imposed are having an impact on young peoples’ well-being and progress in their learning.

There will be a need in the future to look at how the learning and mental health of young people can be supported, following the experience of the pandemic and NAPCE and its members will want to explore and share ideas about how we can respond to this challenge.

NAPCE wanted to contribute to supporting young people who are struggling during the Pandemic. Our initiative of ‘Laptops for Learners’ invited members of NAPCE to nominate deserving young people, who would benefit from being funded for a laptop to use for their learning at home.

We were very pleased to provide funding for the laptops and although we can only make a small contribution to a big problem, we hope it will make a huge difference to the learning experience of the young people we have been able to support. 

The nominations have been opened for the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021.

It is more important than ever this academic year that we recognise and value the work and contributions of the pastoral heroes working in pastoral care. 

Nominations can be made in the following categories:

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 issue sand encouraged positive improvements for the benefit of young people.
Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care
person, group or organisation that has made a real difference in pastoral care, for the benefit of young people.
International Contribution to Pastoral Care
An international school, 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.

Nominations can be made by following this link. 

https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/napce-awards-2021-entry-form

Thank you to schools and organisations who have already sent their nominations in. If you would like to nominate yourself or somebody else for an award, put it at the top of your ‘to do’ list.

The judges for the 2021 Awards have been confirmed as, Professor Stan Tucker of Newman University in Birmingham, NAPCE President Professor Richard Pring, of Oxford University, Associate Professor Anne Emerson of Nottingham University, Doctor Noel Purdy of Stranmillis University College in Belfast, and me as Chair of NAPCE.

On March 27th NAPCE will be organising virtual meetings for the National Executive Committee, The Editorial Board, and the Annual General Meeting.

All members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting which will take place on Saturday 27th March at 12-30pm.

Please contact admin@napce.org.uk if you are a member who would like to attend the AGM or if you are interested in becoming a member.

The AGM is a good opportunity to find out more about the work of NAPCE and learn more about future plans.

Looking ahead, 2022 will be the 40th Anniversary year since the Association was formed and the journal, ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ was first published.

The Association is proud of its history and the work it has done since the founder members first formed the Association as a charity to support pastoral care.

In that time, it has shared good practice and research that has made a real impact in supporting young people to reach their full potential from education and to support their personal development, to enable them to make a positive contribution to society.

The Association has plans to celebrate the contribution it has made to educational thinking and practice with events and activities planned for 2022.

A small team have been working on plans for a book, to reflect on developments in pastoral care since the Association was formed in 1982 and the challenges and opportunities pastoral care will face in the future.

Good progress has been made on the ideas for the book, and a proposal is ready to go to publishers.

The hope is that the book will be published during 2022. There are plans to produce a special edition of the journal that will be sent to NAPCE members and subscribers to the journal in the spring or summer of 2022.

We also have exciting news for a ‘live’ conference in September 2022, where members and supporters of NAPCE will be able to meet, following the publication of the NAPCE book and special edition of the journal.

Other events and activities are planned to celebrate the anniversary of the Association during 2022.

Please continue to follow NAPCE on Twitter on @NAPCE1 or facebook.com/napce1 for all the latest news and information.

If you have colleagues or contacts who have an interest in pastoral care and education, please encourage them to contact admin@napce.org.uk to register for the monthly NAPCE newsletter.

It is free and will be sent to the email address provided, but we need a request to be registered for data protection purposes. Thank you for your continued support for NAPCE.

Phil Jones
National Chair
NAPCE

MEET THE TEAM: Introducing New NAPCE Team Member Susana Cervera

 

Introducing NAPCE’s Newest Team Member, Susana Cervera

Susana grew up in Spain but continued her education in the UK, where she completed a MChem Hons at Kingston University.

Following a seven year stint at a global organisation in London, Susana finally listened to her inner call and completed her PGCE at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, in 2010.

She then went on to gain Qualified Teacher Status and taught at several schools in Essex.

“What I enjoyed most during my time as a teacher was establishing that special teacher-student relationship that is so closely interweaved with pastoral care,” she revealed.

“As a teacher and tutor, I viewed myself as having a responsibility not only to help young people to develop academically, but also to help them develop as a person.

“Many recent studies link health and wellbeing to academic performance but to me, having had to overcome quite a few difficulties whilst growing up, there was never any doubt about the importance of feeling safe and how closely health and wellbeing are linked to your idea of self-worth and how that can translate, not only into academic achievement, but also to function as a person in later life.

“The schools I had the fortune to worth with took pastoral care seriously. As a teacher, I was in a position where I could help. I wanted my students to be safe and I saw my job as key in the mechanism to ensuring their physical and emotional welfare.

“I no longer teach but I continue to be involved with education and now through collaborating with NAPCE I hope to continue to contribute to the work that has been so important to me.”

Effective pastoral care can improve students’ attendance and retention rates; foster an orderly atmosphere where all students can access opportunities, and enhance their academic achievements; promote tolerance, especially in students and teachers with due regard for protected characteristics; and subdue racism and inequality, and teach respect for self and others (Benard, 1995, pp. 3–4).

NAPCE News – January 2021

NAPCE News – January 2021

Making a positive difference to young people through pastoral care

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Twelve Months of Pastoral Care” – NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Shares a Calendar of Focus Areas in Pastoral Care for 2021

Twelve Months for Pastoral Care

One of the challenges for staff in pastoral roles is that you can often feel like there is no time to respond to all the challenges that you face. It is impossible to solve every problem and meet all the demands that are made on pastoral staff. It might help to have a different focus for every month in the year. The ideas in this article could be used as a stimulus for monthly pastoral team meetings to provide inspiration for sharing positive ideas and plans.

JANUARY
New Resolutions
An opportunity to think about what personal qualities could be improved

One of the positive things about working in schools is that there is always an opportunity to make a fresh start and to take advantage of lessons learnt form previous experiences. There is a new academic year, a new calendar year, a new term, a new timetable, a new week, a new class, and these are all opportunities to respond positively and with new energy to challenges. For pastoral staff, the new calendar year can be a time to think about what worked well in the first term and how practice could be adjusted to be more effective.  It is also a good opportunity to encourage learners to think about the personal qualities they would like to improve and the actions they could take to become better people.

FEBRUARY
Building Resilience
Making a commitment to not give up on achieving ambitious goals

This is a time of year when pastoral staff must summon up all their strength to maintain their determination to achieve their pastoral goals and to provide a positive culture for learning. A smile can make a huge difference, to motivating other people. The winter months can seem never ending. In the middle of lockdowns and a global pandemic this is even more likely to be true. The focus for pastoral staff, is on ‘keeping everybody going’, with the belief that investing time and effort now will bring rewards in the future. It is an opportunity to build resilience, through tutor time activities and assemblies. A clear message from pastoral staff, that effort now will achieve success in the future, provides a sense of purpose for each day. This will encourage young people to become more effective learners and support their personal development, in preparation for the challenges they will face in the world of work.

MARCH
Using Resources
Making the most of available support and opportunities 

The spring is the time for pastoral leaders to review the resources that they have available to achieve their goals.  Budget planning, is an opportunity to identify where investment, could have the biggest impact and make a real difference for learners. The most valuable resource for pastoral work is staff. Time should be given to considering whether they are being deployed, so they can use their skills and expertise to support learners effectively. What opportunities can be provided for improving their pastoral skills and expertise, through good quality, continuous professional development? Pastoral leaders should review the pastoral support they are providing and how it is making a difference, in supporting young people to achieve their full potential. Is there effective support from counselling available? What additional support is provided to support learners’ academic progress and personal development? How are parents involved as active partners in the education of their children? How does the school form effective relationships with external agencies? It is important to make sure that learners and parents are aware of the support that is available.

APRIL
Student Voice
Listen to feedback from learners about their experience

This month there is a focus on the opportunities provided for young people to contribute to their learning and to participate in the activities of the school. Review what opportunities are provided for young people, to feedback about their learning experience and the support provided for their personal development. This can inform future planning and ensure that time and effort are directed where they can be most effective. What systems and structures such as, school councils, can be used to ensure that this process is effective? How can young people, be given opportunities, to contribute to the work of the school, for example, as peer educators or peer mentors. Giving young people responsibility, helps to develop positive attitudes and social skills. If pastoral work can encourage young people, to feel that they belong to the school, they are more likely to be positive in their approach to learning and more ambitious about what they can achieve from education and in later life.

MAY
Raising Aspirations
Ensuring a positive response to any challenges.

This is the time of year when learners must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through tests and examinations. For many young people this can be an experience where they feel under pressure and isolated from support. The pastoral structures and systems of the school need to encourage learners, to understand their feelings and to be positive about what they can achieve. In preparing for tests and examinations, young people will benefit from a positive pastoral message, that they are not on their own, and that the school is there to support them in facing the challenges. This can include providing guidance about time management, revision techniques and looking after their health and well-being. A positive pastoral strategy is to encourage learners to see tests and examinations as challenges they have prepared for and not as experiences to expose their weaknesses and lack of effort.

JUNE
Long term targets and goals
Using recent experiences to inform decisions about future plans.

With a new academic year on the horizon, now is the time for pastoral leaders and pastoral staff to start planning. A new academic year will provide opportunities to change structures and to adapt pastoral systems, in a way that is not always possible during term time. This needs planning and needs to use recent experiences to inform decisions, to ensure that the focus is on the right priorities. Allowing time for planning, enables pastoral teams to be ambitious about what they believe they can achieve for the young people in their care. It provides time to research different options and to make preparations, to ensure that new initiatives are implemented effectively. Decision making can be informed by the views of staff, parents, and learners. Learners can be encouraged to think about their long-term goals for their education and for their later lives.

JULY
Recognising Achievement
Value progress and success to inspire future achievements. 

As the summer holidays approach, it is important to not miss the opportunity to identify and recognise achievements. Recording and celebrating, where progress has been made, ensures that those achievements are not lost and can be used as foundations for further success in the future. Pastoral leaders and pastoral staff can take the opportunity to record and share the achievements and success from the previous year. Pastoral staff should identify where their work has had a positive impact, in making a difference in the progress and achievements of learners and share this information with the school community. It is even more important for young people, that their achievements are recognised and celebrated, before they are forgotten over the summer and the opportunity to provide motivation is missed.

AUGUST
Reflection
Taking time to think about priorities and to be clear about what is important.

For staff in pastoral roles, it is often difficult during a busy working week to find time to reflect on the goals we are trying to achieve for the benefit of the young people in our care. In term time pastoral staff rely on the structures and systems that have been established, to meet the different demands of young people, for support with their learning and personal development. The summer provides an opportunity to think about the values and beliefs that drive the work of pastoral staff. What are the priorities to be achieved from the resources available and how can they be used effectively to support young people? What are the challenges that pastoral staff and the pastoral systems in the school are likely to face in the future?  Are the current pastoral structures and systems appropriate for changing circumstances and demands being made on them? A period of reflection provides clarity about priorities and the motivation to approach challenges with confidence.

SEPTEMBER
High Expectations and clear routines
A fresh start with the opportunity to establish clear routines

The start of the academic year is the opportunity for pastoral staff to reinforce the values and beliefs of the school. This is the opportunity to adapt systems and routines, to ensure that they are appropriate for meeting the needs of all learners. There is a short ‘honeymoon’ period at the start of the academic year, when learners will accept changes and new initiatives, before they start to test them, to expose their weaknesses. It is important that during the first few weeks, that pastoral staff allocate time, to explain the reasons for any changes in routines or procedures and how learners will benefit from them being implemented. This achieves clarity about the high expectations, the school has for its learners and its determination to support them in achieving their full potential. It highlights the school’s determination to support all learners in developing the skills and positive attitudes that will enable them to achieve success. The challenge is to gain the support of the majority, so there is a clear understanding and support for the values and ethos of the school. This helps to create a culture where there is a focus each day on achieving academic goals and personal development.

OCTOBER
Developing Potential
Looking for opportunities to improve talents and skills
A challenge for pastoral leaders is to look for opportunities, where a small amount of effort will achieve maximum impact. A new initiative implemented now could be a real boost to raising achievement and supporting the personal development of young people. Including discussions about pastoral roles, in the performance management process for teachers and support staff, demonstrates that this work is important to the school and values the contribution that staff make. It is an opportunity to consider how the work of staff could be more effective in supporting the young people in their care. This is a good time to encourage learners to think about what additional efforts they could make to help them to make more progress in their learning and personal development. This places responsibility on individual learners to explore all options, for helping themselves to achieve their full potential and to prepare themselves for the challenges they will face in their later lives. Effective form tutoring can provide motivation for learners. This involves asking challenging questions about what they want to achieve and what actions they need to take to be successful.

NOVEMBER
Motivation and Well being
Encouragement that recognises opportunities to succeed and the different needs of individuals

In my experience, it is often this month when positive beliefs and ambitious goals start to be tested. The weather is getting worse, dark evenings make it more difficult to enjoy leisure time, more time is spent inside, and it will be several months before this gets better! This is the time for pastoral staff, who will have the same negative feelings as everybody else, to summon all their energy to focus on motivating and encouraging other people. Simple words of encouragement can have a huge impact on motivating young people and staff and make a difference in supporting well-being. At this time of year, it is even more important to remember the values and priorities agreed in September, so there is a sense of purpose for the daily work of staff in pastoral roles. It is important to keep the belief in the pastoral structures and systems, and to be confident that work done now will bring success later in the academic year.  Having empathy is important, to understand the different feelings and challenges for individuals and to ensure that well-being is a priority for staff and the young people they are working with. Thinking about each learner as an individual enables the school to provide appropriate support in response to their different needs.

DECEMBER
Celebration and recognition
Recognising progress made and success achieved. 

As the end of the calendar year approaches, when from my experience all staff and especially pastoral staff are tired and motivation is in short supply, it is a good time to focus on what progress has been made in the first term and to recognise and reward success. Recognising where success has been achieved is a real motivator for achieving more success in the future. Having your own achievements recognised or celebrating the achievements of other people, encourages a positive and ambitious response from individuals. This is true for both adults and young people. A celebration assembly or positive letter home to parents demonstrates what the school values and reinforces high expectations. Rewards need to be awarded, with clarity about the reasons why they are being given. They will then have a positive impact on raising self-esteem and the aspirations of individuals. Pastoral care and support for learners will be more effective, if the people in the process are recognised for the contribution and effort they make.

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education
January 2021

AWARDS: Entry Opens for National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021

The National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2021 Launched

Following the huge success of the first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education last year, we are delighted to announce that entry for 2021 is now open.

The Awards scheme is the first and only in the UK to recognise great practice of pastoral care providers in the education sector.

We were blown away by the success of the first NAPCE Awards and it was never in doubt that we were going to return even bigger and better.

We’ve added a new category in International Contribution to Pastoral Care this year, a worthy addition to the seven existing classifications which proved so popular in 2020.

Even COVID-19 didn’t stop us last year as we hosted a very busy and exciting Presentation Evening on Zoom in September and with the vaccine roll-out in full swing we’ll be taking a call on whether to hold a physical or virtual event a bit later this year.

The closing date for all categories this year will be Monday May 24th, 2021, so don’t hang around, get your entries in now.

Just like last year, the finalists of the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education will be selected by an independent judging panel and invited to attend the ceremony on Friday, September 24th, 2021 to share the experience with peers and find out who wins each Award.

Speaking about the Awards, Phil Jones, Chair of NAPCE, said: “It is even more important in 2021 to recognise the pastoral heroes who have done so much to support the pastoral care of young people through the challenges presented by the global pandemic.

“Please take a few minutes to make a nomination to recognise people who have made a real difference.” 

Criteria for Each Category

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 in pastoral care, for the benefit of young people.

International Contribution to Pastoral Care
An international school, 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.

Any school or organisation can make a nomination for one or more of the categories. You do not need to be a member of NAPCE to make a nomination. Self-nominations are accepted.

Nominations are supported with information about how they meet the criteria for the category.

Nominations are for pastoral work during the 2020-21 academic year. The finalists and winners are selected by the judging panel of leading academics and practitioners in pastoral care and education. All finalists are invited to attend a presentation event when the winners are announced.

There is a prize of one hundred pounds for the school, university, or organisation that the winners represent, in each category, to support their future work in pastoral care. There are prizes and plaques for winners and certificates for finalists.

Nominations open on Monday 18th January and it is a good idea to make your nomination as soon as possible so you do not forget.

Activity Date 2021
Nominations Open Monday 18th January
Nominations Close Monday 24th May
Judging Completed Friday 25th June
Finalists informed Monday 28th June
Tickets for Presentation Available Monday 5th July
Invitations to attend Presentation Event sent Monday 5th July
Presentation Event Friday 24th September

To make your nomination

You can enter the NAPCE Awards here  https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/napce-awards-2021-entry-form/

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational establishments and you DO NOT need to currently be a member of NAPCE to take part.

FROM THE CHAIR: An update from NAPCE Chief Phil Jones

 

From the Chair with Phil Jones

“The start of a new year is an opportunity to look ahead and NAPCE has some exciting plans”.

That was what I wrote in my New Year message for the NAPCE newsletter in January 2020.

That article had pictures and information about NAPCE’s active involvement in conferences and other pastoral events in the previous year.

There were many plans to provide opportunities for our members to meet up at conferences and plans for other activities to raise NAPCE’s profile and involvement in the educational world.

What we had not planned for was a global pandemic and restrictions that prevented people from meeting up with each other.

Despite this unexpected situation NAPCE has continued to be active and to promote the importance of pastoral care as part of a young person’s education.

In many ways it has taken a pandemic to highlight that schools make a significant contribution to the socialisation, personal development and well-being of young people as well as supporting their academic progress to enable them to be successful in their future lives.

In 2020 NAPCE organised, for the first time, the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education, which recognised the hard work and achievements of people contributing to pastoral care.

The presentation event in the autumn was the first time that NAPCE had organised a virtual event, which was a huge success.

Our academic journal continues to be well respected around the world, with articles that share good practice and the latest thinking about pastoral care.

Despite the restrictions imposed on us all because of the pandemic NAPCE has seen an increase in its membership, more people are engaging with the Association through social media and there has been increased interest in contributing to the work of the NAPCE as a member of the national executive.

There is every reason to be confident that NAPCE will continue to make a valuable contribution to educational thinking and practice. With the arrival of vaccines, there is hope of people being able to meet up again soon.

In January NAPCE will be involved in the planning and delivery of ASCL’s annual conference for Pastoral Leaders. I will be delivering a virtual workshop, along with Maria O’Neil the founder of UK Pastoral Chat at 11-30 on Monday 25th January as part of this conference.

NAPCE has been involved in the planning and will be supporting Safer Internet Day, which this year takes place online on Tuesday, 9th February.

The Annual General Meeting takes place on Saturday, 27th March, which with the lockdown currently in place is likely to be an online event.

All NAPCE members are welcome to attend and details will be available soon.

The 2021 National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education has just been launched and will be important for recognising the ‘pastoral heroes’, during the pandemic. There are plans for a conference and awards presentation event and even if these must be virtual events, they will bring people together and celebrate good practice and new ideas.

I am pleased to welcome Anne and Susana who joined our administrative team in January. They will be working along with Mel to support the Association in working with its members to promote the importance of pastoral care and the difference it can make to a young person’s learning experience and future life chances.

They can be contacted on the following e-mail addresses.

I am also pleased to welcome the new members of the national executive.

  • Connor Acton
  • Dominic Riste
  • Luke Myer
  • Nadine Huseyin

I look forward to them being actively involved in the work of NAPCE as a member of the National Executive Committee and being able to meet them in person soon.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all members of the NEC, the editorial board for the Journal and the team who provide the Association with administrative support for all your contributions and support for the work of NAPCE, through what has been a challenging time for everybody.

On behalf of NAPCE I would like to send my best wishes for a Happy New Year, which I hope will be a time when we can meet with people again and value the importance of that human contact.

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education. 

MEET THE TEAM: Introducing New NAPCE Team Member Anne Jones

 

Introducing NAPCE’s Newest Team Member, Anne Jones

I wanted to introduce myself as I settle into my new role as the NAPCE administrator.

I am delighted to be part of NAPCE, having been on its periphery for so long and hearing about it from my husband Phil Jones!

I have just retired from teaching after 26 years in the job.

Before I went into teaching, I was a research Scientist and worked for The Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain, based at Bangor University and previously as a Molecular Biologist at Heidelberg University in Germany. I have two degrees – a BSc in Biochemistry and a BA with the Open University (which I did for fun when I first started teaching!)

I obtained my PGCE at Mansfield College Oxford and had a great time completing my training in a behavioural school in Oxford.

I will never forget the camping trip I went on with this school and the characters I met and supported. It was a real eye opener into the Pastoral needs of vulnerable young people.

My first school as a qualified teacher was in Basildon, where alongside Phil, I worked on the ‘2 Smart 4 Drugs’ and ‘Youth Voice’ projects.

These were truly inspirational and led me to a career in the Pastoral side of education. The students and colleagues I worked with in Basildon made me realise that teaching was the career for me and I made life-long friends there, who were incredible in their support and concern for the young people at the school.

I was a Head of Year for many years, following a year group throughout their time at The Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh. I enjoyed leading projects such as the BP Business and School Partnership Award, which we won alongside our Ford Partners.

I then worked in two schools in Brentwood where I worked on helping vulnerable students with vocational education, careers and work experience. This opened an avenue of making businesses aware of the help that they could give young people in supporting their education and I was lucky enough to speak at Rotary meetings and set up business partnerships.

I have always loved the Pastoral side of teaching and have been a form tutor for many different year groups and for Vertical Tutor groups. I delivered courses on ‘Being a Good Form Tutor’. However, it saddens me that Tutoring these days is veering more on the side of qualifications than on Pastoral care. I believe that children really need the support of Pastoral care, now more than ever!

I finished my teaching career as a Head of Physics. I retired from teaching this Christmas and am looking forward to being a part of the NAPCE team.

NAPCE Awards 2021 – Entry Now Open!

Following the huge success of the first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education last year, we are delighted to announce that entry for 2021 is now open.

The Awards scheme is the first and only in the UK to recognise great practice of pastoral care providers in the education sector.

We were blown away by the success of the first NAPCE Awards and it was never in doubt that we were going to return even bigger and better.

We’ve added a new category in International Contribution to Pastoral Care this year, a worthy addition to the seven existing classifications which proved so popular in 2020.

Even COVID-19 didn’t stop us last year as we hosted a very busy and exciting Presentation Evening on Zoom in September and with the vaccine roll-out in full swing we’ll be taking a call on whether to hold a physical or virtual event a bit later this year.

The closing date for all categories this year will be Monday May 24th, 2021, so don’t hang around, get your entries in now.

Just like last year, the finalists of the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education will be selected by an independent judging panel and invited to attend the ceremony on Friday, September 24th, 2021 to share the experience with peers and find out who wins each Award.

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
International Contribution to Pastoral Care

You can enter the NAPCE categories here  https://napceawards.wufoo.com/forms/napce-awards-2021-entry-form/

Nominations are encouraged for awards in different categories from schools and educational establishments and you DO NOT need to currently be a member of NAPCE to take part.

NAPCE 2021 is an excellent opportunity to share good practice in pastoral care and through our social media, website and those of our partners, the Awards raises awareness of where pastoral support is making a real difference in the educational experience of young people.

The Awards also encourages 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;

•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

•International Contribution to Pastoral CareAn international school, 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.

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

NAPCE News – November 2020


FEATURE ARTICLE: “Teaching during COVID-19” – the Challenges of Educating During the Pandemic with NAPCE Officer John Hunt

Educational Challenges During COVID-19 By John Hunt

The challenges of teaching throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have been varied and wide ranging.

With bubbles, online lessons, hybrid lessons, tracking and tracing, social distancing, masks in communal areas and strict teacher zones (or ‘the technical area’ as one colleague called it, which I liked!), it is easy to forget what ‘normal’ was before we were collectively hit by these absolutely necessary but slightly strange measures.

It is not, however, teaching that I wish to continue to focus on in this short article.

It is not the academic progress of our students, the loss of lesson time, the online learning or even the challenges that we as teachers face, all of which I feel have been given significant air time already.

I want to explore an observation I have made over these first ten weeks and would truly welcome any feedback of similar or contradicting experiences.

As a pastoral leader in a school, I still have the benefit and pleasure of seeing every year group, every day, when on playground duty and supporting staff across the school.

Year groups are kept separate, with staggered start times, break times and lunchtimes in order to maintain a safe distance between students.

While this has presented a significant challenge in terms of allocating duties, from a behaviour perspective this structure has had an undeniably positive impact in many ways.

Less students are out at break and lunch time, there is less physical space in school for staff to monitor at any one time due to the limited number of students needing to be supervised, Heads of Year can pick up students knowing exactly where their entire year group will be at one certain time and so on.

However, it has raised a question for me as I have observed our younger students: what impact is the lack of usual socialisation having upon these young people?

In September every year, Year 7 students join schools with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

No matter how great a transition programme they have experienced, these feelings are completely natural and I’m sure most of us remember them!

No longer are they ‘The Year 6’s’, the oldest kids in the school, the kids that know everything, the kids that know how it all works, the big fish in a small pond.

They are on a bigger site, equipped with all of the stationery imaginable, requiring a map to get around, with their new planner, with a much larger number of students and staff, with all kinds of new routines, experiences and issues to navigate.

They meet the older year groups and suddenly realise they are very much the smaller fish in a very big pond! Not this year, though, and it is very noticeable indeed…

In my experience, Year 7’s learn very quickly what is and is not socially acceptable on a secondary school playground!

The initial excitable behaviours of break time play, ticking, chasing etc. stops relatively quickly (often after they have accidentally bumped into a group of Year 10 boys!) Not this year, though…

At the time of writing, I find current Year 7 to be the ‘youngest’ of this year group I have ever seen in terms of their interactions with each other and with staff.

They are certainly a unique Year 7, in that they have not yet come into contact with any older students; they are in a strange limbo of having started secondary school but not yet having the full secondary experience.

They have not gone through the same rites of passage that almost all Year 7/ First year students before them have done and I find this genuinely interesting as I watch and monitor their behaviours during recreational time in school.

It has made me question what it is that sees young people lose this urge to play so publicly once joining secondary; is there anything we could have done differently to allow our youngest students to feel more comfortable in doing so?

Do the social norms in secondary schools prevent our youngest students from expressing themselves in this way? Do they want to behave like this every year but feel unable as a result of the cultural norms developed in schools over the years?

The evidence I’ve seen this term so far would certainly suggest so!

It is probably not unreasonable to think that their entire first secondary school year might be spent like this – separate break times and lunch times to the wider school.

I am keen to see how this develops over time and, when/if we return to ‘normal’ (whatever that was), I’ll be watching very closely to see how their delayed introduction to the wider school population goes… How will they cope? How will our older students respond to these younger students?

In the meantime, I hope that they continue to show the joyful exuberance they have brought with them from primary school. While I am 100% a secondary teacher and not at all used to seeing this behaviour on a secondary school playground, it certainly has its charms.
John Hunt
NAPCE Officer & Pastoral Leader

EVENT: NAPCE Partners with ASCL for Online Conference in January for Pastoral Leaders

 

Conference for Pastoral Leaders 2021 with ASCL

NAPCE is very proud to be partnering again with the Association of School & College Leaders for a new online Conference in January 2021.

The ASCL Conference For Pastoral Leaders 2021 – entitled “Reaching Out” – will take place on the internet across three days and will address the key issue of breaking barriers for disadvantaged learners.

Speakers at the event – on January 19th, 25th and 26th – include ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton, CEO of Bite Back 2030 James Toop and the Alliance Director of Bite Back 2030 Melanie Renowden.

Additional speakers will be announced soon.

About the Event

In a year that has brought extraordinary challenges for everyone, the support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people continues to grow in complexity.With a great deal of uncertainty about what the months ahead may hold, the number of students facing barriers which impact their learning and development will grow.

Suitable for leaders across all phases, our 2021 Conference for Pastoral Leaders will focus on a range of issues, including wellbeing, safeguarding, the disadvantage gap, RSHE plus pastoral care and remote provision.

How it works

This conference will be delivered completely online through keynotes and interactive workshops. All sessions will be available to watch live or later via recordings.

Keynotes will take place on Tuesday 19 January from 10am – 12noon

There will be five workshops delivered across Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 January.

Webinar Requirements 

To attend this webinar live, you will need to ensure  you have access to a computer or device that meets the system requirements available here.

If you cannot attend live you will receive a copy of the recording, links to any resources discussed, and the opportunity to submit questions.

Fee

£125 +VAT per delegate
£250 +VAT for a school licence

Multi-academy trusts and other institutions with multiple sites should email pd@ascl.org.uk for a quote.

To book tickets click this link https://www.ascl.org.uk/pastoral

FROM THE CHAIR: NAPCE Chief Phil Jones Looks Ahead to an Educational ‘Reset’ in 2021

The 2021 Education “Reset”

This year in education has been an exhausting challenge to cope with the unexpected.

The focus in schools has been on operational responses to the challenges presented by the pandemic, alongside all the usual challenges that schools face in any normal year.

Schools have had to adapt their practice to ensure that they are providing a safe learning environment for staff and learners.

The daily priority has been to teach young people as much as possible, as well as possible, in the middle of a global pandemic.

There has not been time for the luxury of creative thinking or developing new initiatives, to find exciting ways to improve the learning experience, which is often what gives educationalists working in schools such job satisfaction.

Old Moore’s Almanac has been published since 1697 and it uses astrology to make predictions for the coming year.

It may seem strange to be, ‘looking to the stars’ for inspiration and hope at this difficult time.

I have been reading the latest edition and it does encourage you the reflect on our experiences this year and to start looking forward to the opportunities that 2021 may bring for education.

Old Moore’s Almanac calls 2021 the year of ‘the reset’.

This is a term that I have heard in the last few weeks following the declaration that Joe Biden is the winner of the US presidential election even though that is still contested by the current resident of the White House.

It also seems relevant with the encouraging news emerging about the search for a vaccine. Published in June 2020 Old Moore’s Almanac commented.

“This is the right time to change the ways that the world has been working for everybody’s sake. The reset is upon us and there is no turning back”.

The concept of ‘the reset’ is useful for reflecting on the future of pastoral care and support for learners in our schools.

The pandemic has seen an increase in online learning, especially in higher education but also in schools. It is likely that this trend will continue and we will see an increasing use of technology to support learning.

Pastoral systems are likely to be under increased pressure to support young people, to become effective as independent learners, to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities provided by the developments in technology.

At the same time, the sharing of ideas and the need for collaborative approaches to problem solving will require pastoral systems, to encourage the personal development of young people to enable them to be successful at working in teams.

A new book, published recently, “Forget School. Why young people are succeeding on their own terms and what schools can do to avoid being left behind “, encourages educationalists to consider the relevance of how schools are currently organised for meeting the needs of young people in the modern world.

One review of the book comments.
Forget School argues that education for the 21st century must focus on the road ahead of us and not to teach through the rear-view mirror”.

(Mick Cannell, PGDE English Tutor, School of Education, University of Sheffield)

Thinking about the relevance of education in the future encourages professionals working in pastoral roles to consider the purpose of pastoral care and support for learners in the modern school.

It could be argued that currently pastoral care structures and systems in schools focus on encouraging compliance and conformity, to enable the school to achieve good results.

Schools have been left behind because they are operating with a crowd control mentality” 
(Illingworth 2020)

The question is, does this approach provide young people with the skills and attitudes they will need to be successful, in response to the challenges they will face in their future lives in the 21st century.

Pastoral systems that value the passive learner, are not going to make it a priority, to develop the skills and positive attitudes, needed to achieve success in the modern workplace.

Perhaps what is more relevant is an approach to pastoral care and support for learners, that encourages young people to question and challenge ideas and to be confident about working independently and as a member of a team, to find creative solutions to difficult problems.

This requires a change in beliefs about what is the purpose of pastoral care and support for learners in schools. Good results and academic achievement are important for a young person’s future live chances but if developing confidence and self-belief are a priority for pastoral systems, then learners are more likely to achieve their full potential.

The skills of problem solving, creative thinking and effective communication are likely to be more important in the workplace of the future and this requires ‘a reset’ in the approach to pastoral care and support for learners in our schools.

Please share your thoughts and ideas by visiting the NAPCE Twitter page at NAPCE@NAPCE1

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

References
Illingworth, Martin. (2020) Forget School. Why young people are succeeding on their own terms and what schools can do to avoid being left behind. Independent thinking press. Carmarthen, Wales.
Moore,Francis, (2020) Old Moore’s Almanac 2021, W Foulsham and Co Ltd , Croydon

GOOD PRACTICE: The Latest Instalment in our New Series Focusing on Success Stories in Pastoral Care from NAPCE Award Contestants

 

Welcome to the latest in a series of “Good Practice” reports from finalists and winners of the NAPCE Awards 2020.

Every month we share examples of some of the greatest work within pastoral care in the UK education sector, following the first NAPCE Awards.

In this new edition, we are featuring Eileen Pavey of Litcham School, a mixed all-through school in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.

Eileen was a finalist in the Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care category at the NAPCE Awards 2020.

The following information was submitted to NAPCE by the school and we are very keen to share it with you.

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – NAPCE Awards 2020 Finalists

My aspiration to support others feels innate.

I have helped to establish the pastoral culture which is deeply embedded into our school and is fundamental in allowing our students to thrive.

Our ethos is built on trusted relationships; with students, families and the wider community and is something that I am extremely proud of.

Alongside Head of Year 7 and 8, I am the transition lead at Litcham School. I offer an array of student support whilst effectively coordinating the pastoral team, outside agency input, and our students who run groups and offer fantastic peer support.

We encourage our young people to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

As a Mental Health First Aider, I cascade training so that everyone can offer the quality care needed for our pupils to develop resilience, flourish, succeed and aspire.

Our students leave as well-rounded citizens and are aware that it’s natural to seek support; we offer a pastoral toolbox for life.

The success of our pastoral teamwork has been recognised by inspectors who reported that the ‘care and support for pupils are outstanding’.

Young people can witness our own struggles. Four years ago my 25 year old son Sam passed away; I have been blessed with such genuine, kind, whole school support.

In Sam’s memory I have set up a charity called ‘Sam’s Fund’ and the generosity has been overwhelming-over £100k has been raised towards a new school pavilion!

We end the year with the entire school taking part in Sam’s Run. A time to remember everyone we have loved and lost.

The atmosphere of togetherness and care is incredible.
I dedicate my wonderful NAPCE nomination to all at Litcham School – staff, students, parents and the wider community; our special Litcham family which I am so incredibly proud to be a part of.

I have added a quote from one of my wonderful Year 7 tutors Josh, who joined Litcham in September 2019:

‘Eileen is an extremely positive and supportive Head of Year who always offers her ear to students and staff alike.

“Her office door is always open and Eileen always makes you feel welcome; whatever else she has going on is put on pause so that she can advise and support.

“As an NQT and Form Tutor, Eileen’s encouragement and assistance has been invaluable to myself and the students this year’.

Eileen Pavey
Litcham School
Head of Year 7 & 8, Senior Pastoral Care Manager and Deputy safeguarding Lead

This picture shows a pull from Litcham School overcoming fears and achieving a zip line drop.

NAPCE News – September 2020

NAPCE News – September 2020

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. 

AWARDS: The First Ever NAPCE Awards Takes Place in September 2020, Here’s the Programme & Ticket Link for the Online Ceremony

NAPCE AWARDS PRESENTATION 2020

Ahead of the first NAPCE Awards 2020 ceremony, which is taking place online because of social distancing needs, we’re delighted to share the programme for the event.

We’re also pleased to share the ticket link (below).

A large number of tickets have already been snapped up and the remaining spaces are now available to the general public on a first-come-first-served basis.

For general information about the Awards click here https://www.napce.org.uk/napce-awards-2020-finalists-announced/

Thursday 24th September – 7.00pm (via Zoom)

6-45 pm Guests gather on video conference for pre event drinks

7-00pm Introduction and Arrangements for the Evening – Victoria Bownes, National Executive Member and Host for the Evening presented from Lambrook School in Berkshire. 
Highlights Video of Pastoral Care in 2020

Welcome Phil Jones, The National Association for Pastoral Care, National Chair, Address – Recognising Achievement in Pastoral Care

Guest Speaker, Geoff Barton, Association of School and College Leaders, General Secretary  – Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a 11-18 school of 1650 students. He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and patron of the English & Media Centre. He was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, founding chair of its Pedagogy Committee, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He was elected as General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017 and is a regular guest on BBC News, speaking on a range of education matters.

Awards – Nominations for each category and Announcement of Winners, Victoria Bownes

Closing Remarks, Professor Stan Tucker, Editor Pastoral Care in Education

Vote of Thanks – On behalf of NAPCE – Victoria Bownes
Good Luck in the new academic and we look forward to hearing of your successes in pastoral care over the course of the year.
 
Invitation to the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education
On Thursday 24th September 2020
Starting at 7-00 pm. Please join us for pre event drinks from 6-45pm
Where: Zoom

Topic: NAPCE AWARDS PRESENTATION 2020
Time: Sep 24, 2020 06:00 PM London
 
To book tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/presentation-of-the-national-awards-for-pastoral-care-in-education-tickets-113448278856?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch

INSPIRATION: “Thoughts on Pastoral Research” by NAPCE’s Journal Editor Stan Tucker

 

Some Thoughts on Pastoral Research

Like me, you have probably been listening to and watching various news broadcasts concerning the return of children and young people to school for the new academic year.

One of the major themes of the broadcasts has focused on how the return will impact on the health and wellbeing of those concerned.

For it is fair to say that COVID19 has radically changed the lives of many school-aged children. Even if we consider for a moment the way in which space in school is now being utilised, how different if must feel to sit apart from friends, be continually mindful of the need for social distancing, as well as observing the behaviour of teaching staff as they try and avoid close contact with their students.

Regular readers of Pastoral Care in Education will know that many of our research articles take as their specific focus the wellbeing and mental  health of children and young people in schools.

However, in watching the story of COVID19 unfold, I have become increasingly conscious that research on the impact of the virus is something that is being promised for the future.

It also concerns me that we are likely to only hear about data gathered through large quantitative studies.

So, here is my question: Is there value in those working in schools undertaking their own research into the experiences of children and young people returning to school post-COVID19? I am not talking about a large scale study, but the construction of a number of case studies at the level of the individual school (or of course you could work in partnership with other schools to compare and contrast experiences).

There are all kinds of ways that these studies could be produced – text, video, photographs etc. The voices of young people and staff could be captured, or the diary entries of a member of staff might prove to be illuminating.

NAPCE would be interested in facilitating the production of such materials. Don’t forget also that Pastoral Care in Education has space for the publication of ‘thinking pieces’ where staff, or children, or both, can express their views and talk about their experiences. Or of course you could write something for this newsletter.

If you are interested in discussing your ideas contact me on: s.a.tucker@newman.ac.uk

Stan Tucker
Editor, Pastoral Care In Education Journal

September 2020

 

BOOK REVIEW: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones on “Beyond Wiping Noses” by Stephen Lane, a New Book on Pastoral Leadership in Schools.

Beyond Wiping Noses – An informed approach to pastoral leadership in schools. Book review. 

This new pastoral book written by Stephen Lane (also known as #SputnikSteve on Twitter) was published this month by Crown House Publishing Limited.

It is good to see that a growing interest in pastoral care is resulting in an increased discussion about pastoral issues on social media; more articles and research being presented for publication in journals, including NAPCE’s journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ and more books on pastoral topics being published.

The author comments in the book that with the increased focus on mental health and well-being, along with the increase in concerns over cyberbullying and the negative effects of social media, that pastoral care is arguably more important than ever.

This book makes a significant contribution to raising awareness about the contribution effective pastoral care can make to a young person’s educational experience.

It increases understanding about how the pastoral work of the school helps young people to make sense of their education and lives as a member of society.

At the heart of the book is a call for a more informed and evidence-based approach to the organisation and delivery of pastoral care in schools.

It has always been a belief of NAPCE that research informs good practice. In the days before Twitter and the internet, NAPCE was an important forum for members to share good practice and a meeting point for research and debate about good practice.

The book encourages the view that this process is still important even if NAPCE like many other organisations has had to adapt in response to new technology and ways of working.

In many ways the book is a breath of fresh air for NAPCE members and supporters who for many years it seems have been fighting an uphill battle to ensure that pastoral work in schools is valued and recognised for the impact it can have on a young person’s achievement at school and in later life.

The foreword by Mary Myatt recognises the contribution made by the late Michael Marland, who was a founder member of the NAPCE, in raising awareness about the impact of effective pastoral care.

I can remember sitting next to Michael Marland in NAPCE meetings and being aware of his passion and deep-rooted belief that pastoral care was an important part of education.

Unfortunately, that has been challenged in recent years by a focus on examination results and accountability and it is encouraging now that there is a growing awareness about the contribution pastoral work can make to the achievement of young people and this book contributes to this process by developing the readers’ understanding of pastoral issues in schools.

There is a clear structure and organisation to the book with different topics being explored in each chapter in a sensible and balanced way taking advantage of available literature and evidence for each area.

The book provides the reader with guidance on sources of information and resources that can be used to support the planning and delivery of pastoral care in schools.

Each chapter includes a conclusion with a summary of the issues and gives suggestions on how schools and staff working in pastoral roles should respond.

Stephen includes his own thoughts and experience in what he describes as “a reflection of the journey I have taken towards a more informed response to pastoral matters”. (Lane, S. 2020, p5)

There is a focus on secondary schools in the book, which is the author’s own experience, but the issues explored are relevant to professionals working in primary, tertiary and higher education and will develop their understanding and encourage them to reflect on their own policy and practice.

In the introduction the author makes a case for a research-based approach using evidence for the planning and delivery of pastoral care. Stephen comments on how he discovered the NAPCE journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’.

“immediately I began to see ways to improve my practice in relation to pastoral issues and by extension to improve the experience of the students in my care” (Lane S 2020 p 5.)

In chapter one the book focuses on pastoral roles in schools. It recognises that there can be a lack of clarity about pastoral roles and that they can become reactive and instinctive. He examines the role of the Form Tutor, Head of Year or Middle leader, School Chaplain, School Counsellor and Pastoral Leader in a context where he makes it clear that all adults in a school  have a pastoral duty and that pastoral work is not “wiping noses and kicking butts”.

“Napce does a decent job in encapsulating the plethora of particulars involved. It also succeeds I think in traversing the potential false dichotomy between the pastoral and the academic” (Lane S 2020 p 12.)

He recognises that the NAPCE guidance places a strong emphasis on personal development, which is one of the four key areas in the current inspection framework.

He supports the NAPCE guidelines, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of the skills, knowledge and understanding of staff including the suggested requirement that staff;
“Take responsibility for remaining fully informed about developments in pastoral care and in education that have an impact on the support of learners in schools” (Lane S 2020 p13.)

He examines the plans for a designated Senior Lead for Mental Health in Schools and points out the importance of this being properly resourced and given a high status, which is something that all areas of pastoral work in schools would benefit from. The book argues that it is important for schools to have a clear vision for pastoral roles and that this should be used to inform job descriptions.

In chapter two the book asks the question what research can inform the development of pastoral structures and systems and the delivery of effective pastoral care.

 “In order to achieve effective pastoral care for the welfare, well-being and overall success of our students and enable them to participate -pastoral leaders must embrace and engage with the current movement in educational discourse towards a research and evidence informed practice”. (Lane, S, 2020 p21).

The author argues the case for policies and procedures and daily practice to be based upon and informed by ongoing critical engagement with research and evidence.

He informs the reader about the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research in pastoral care. In examining the difficult task of defining pastoral care the book uses contributions form NAPCE members.

These include Michael Marland and the ideas presented in his 1974 book That introduced the concept of pastoral care being about the ‘crisis of identity faced by adolescents; what do I want to make of myself and what do I have to work with’. (Marland 1974). The book uses the article by a former NAPCE president Ron Best in 2014 which argues that Marland’s book had a significant and long-term impact upon ideas about pastoral care. (Best R 2014.)
“As the founding chair of NAPCE, Marland’s influence should not be underestimated” (Lane, S, 2020p p30)

To explore definitions of Pastoral, the book  uses the work of another member of NAPCE’s National Executive Committee , Mike Calvert, who in 2009 pointed out a shift away from the term Pastoral due to its ecclesiastical or agricultural roots and associations with outdated notions of power dependence and models of schooling.

The author points out that even within the pages of the journal – Pastoral Care in Education, it is difficult to locate a clearly recognisable definition. This is a fair comment and reflects the challenges of finding a definition which, from my experience, have been a feature of many discussions and debates at NAPCE’s National Executive and Editorial Board Meetings.

Stephen does respond to the readers’ need for a definition by referring to the first edition of the journal and an article from HMI Eric Lord who provided the following definition;
“the bridge between education and life is best made by those who can help the young to find their way among the exhilarating interests, the satisfactions and the baffling ambiguity of human existence”. (Lord 1983 p 11)

The book also uses a definition from Mike Calvert which he summarises as, “the structures practices and approaches to support the welfare, well-being and development of children and young people”. (Calvert, M, 2009, p267).

It is good to see it recognised in the book, that all the discussions at National Executive, Editorial Board and in the Journal have enabled NAPCE to contribute to developing understanding about pastoral care.

“The NAPCE has its own journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ which includes a range of papers on various topics and also publishes special themed issues” (Lane S, 2020, p35)

In chapter three the author argues for the need for a ‘knowledge rich pastoral curriculum’. The book provides examples of organisations and sources for resources that can support schools in planning and delivering a pastoral curriculum.

The chapter explores the various approaches to delivering a pastoral curriculum and questions the messages that are really passed on to young people. An approach is encouraged where schools are clear about what they include in their pastoral curriculum and about the key messages that it gives to learners.

This is important if pastoral leaders are not going to leave it to chance which good habits, moral values, and personal characteristics that the learners in their care pick up.

It is seen a part of the pastoral leaders’ role to make decisions about what should be incorporated into a coherent pastoral curriculum and to be clear about the messages that are given by the hidden curriculum which is defined as the unwritten values, perspectives and beliefs that are transmitted in the classroom and around the school.

The focus in chapter four is on the challenges of preventing bullying. The reader is provided with an overview of literature about bullying in school and recognises the important contribution made by the Journal ‘Pastoral Care in Education’ in developing understanding about this issue to inform policies and practice.

The teacher’s role is explored along with the impact of new technology and in particular social media. The reader is provided with a useful summary of intervention strategies and approaches to prevent bullying in a school setting.

Well-being, and mental health are current concerns for schools and the potential cause of the apparent rise in mental health issues and the role of the school is examined.

The impact the school may have, by the pressure it places on learners to succeed because of the schools need to be accountable for their examination results is highlighted. Once again, the reader is provided with resources and sources of information for raising awareness about mental health issues and planning interventions and support.

The writer suggests that schools can improve learners’ self-esteem and their mental health by ensuring that they have experience of success. This has important implications for how the school provides a positive culture and ethos for learning and supports the personal development of its learners.

In chapter six the book explores different approaches to managing behaviour including controversial topics such as isolation booths. There is a well balanced and sensible discussion about the use of restorative practice to and other strategies that can be used to manage behaviour in schools such as ‘warmstrict’, which is described as a modern manifestation of tough love.

By examining different theoretical and ideological perspectives the writer, makes comments and suggestions that will develop the understanding of pastoral staff and encourage them to reflect on their own procedures and practice.

The reader who is looking for practical guidance is not forgotten and the writer shares ideas about practical steps that can be taken to improve behaviour.

The focus in chapter seven is on the recent interest in what has been called Character Education. Definitions of Character Education are explained and different approaches to implementing it as part of the curriculum are shared with the reader.

The literature is used to explore different approaches to Character Education and the reader is signposted to resources and information There is a recognition that Character Education is a contentious topic and this is highlighted by the writer in exploring the available literature. One suggestion highlighted is that character education is needed in schools because the current school system with its focus on examination results does not fully prepare young people for their future lives.

“They suggest that the current schooling system focused as it is on examination results leaves young people with insufficient resilience and fewer coping strategies that they will need in later life” (Lane S, 2020, p111)

In the next chapter the writer, bravely in my view, tackles the current issue about remote learning during the pandemic. The challenges for schools in the short term are difficult to predict and It is not clear what impact the pandemic will have on learning in the future.

The chapter provides the reader with an opportunity to reflect on the recent experience of schools and what implications this might have in both the short term and long term for young people’s education. There has been increased awareness of the work schools do through their pastoral structures and systems to support young people and look after their well-being.

It is frustrating that a global pandemic was needed before the huge difference pastoral staff make, every day by supporting young people and motivating them to achieve their full potential, was recognised and valued.  The writer reports on how schools have continued to take their pastoral obligations seriously and how quickly they have adapted to find new ways to support the learning and well-being of the young people in their care.

The book makes an important contribution to developing understanding about the important impact the pastoral work of the school has on supporting learners on their journey through school and in preparing them for their future roles in society. It makes a clear case for a cohesive pastoral curriculum that is planned, using available evidence and research.

“Teachers must be encouraged to engage in the theoretical and philosophical debate around teaching in order to continually test their practice and so move it towards daily praxis” (Lane, S, 2020, p.126)

This has been the goal for NAPCE since it was first formed in 1982 and this book highlights the important link between research, policy making and practice which has been at the heart of NAPCE’s work for nearly 40 years.

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

References 
Best, R. (2014) Forty years of pastoral care: an appraisal of Michael Marland’s seminal book and its significance for pastoral care in schools. Pastoral Care in Education, 32(3): 173-185
Calvert, M. (2009) From ‘pastoral care ‘to ’care’: meanings and practices. Pastoral Care in Education,27(4): 267-277.
Jones, P. (2019) National guidance for pastoral support in schools. NAPCE (3 April). Available at https://www.napce.org.uk/national-guidance-for-pastoral-support-in-schools/.
Lane, S. (2020) Beyond Wiping Noses. Building an informed approach to pastoral leadership in schools, Carmarthen: Crown House Publishing.
Lord, E. (1983) Pastoral care in education: principles and practice. Pastoral Care in Education,1(1):6-11.
Marland, M. (1974) Pastoral Care. London: Heinemann

ARTICLE: NAPCE Chair Phil Jones Responds to Guardian Headline “Children in the UK are the Unhappiest in Europe”

 

“Children in the UK are the unhappiest in Europe”

This was the headline in The Guardian newspaper on Friday 28th August 2020.

Although decisions in education are not normally driven by whether young people are happy or not this report being published, as it was just before schools returned for a new academic year, in the middle of a pandemic, encourages pastoral staff to reflect on the experience of young people in school.

It was reported that more than a third of 15-year olds scored low on life satisfaction in the annual ‘Good Childhood Report’, from the Children’s Society.

Children in the UK have the lowest levels of life satisfaction across Europe with a particularly British fear of failure partly to blame, according to the report.

The UK children fared badly across happiness measurements, including satisfaction with schools, friends, and sense of purpose, when compared with children from other European countries.

The rise in UK child poverty and school pressures were cited alongside the fear of failure as reasons why only 64% of UK children experienced high life satisfaction, the lowest figure of 24 countries surveyed by the OECD.

This situation is not just the responsibility of schools and there are implications in these findings for society and how it supports the development of children in preparation for their future lives.

The well-being concerns about young people cannot be solved by pastoral systems and structures on their own, but by taking time to think about the purpose of pastoral support in school, they can make an important contribution.

One of the most important findings is that young people in the UK today feel that they have no sense of purpose.

Is this perhaps because in many schools today, the role of the Form Tutor is not valued as it should be as being important for supporting young people to make sense of their learning experiences and to raise their aspirations for their future roles in society?

Is it because far too often tutor time is a wasted opportunity?

Time is allocated to administrative tasks and activities such as revision and not to the important interaction, between a Form Tutor and a learner, to provide guidance and motivation.

I would suggest that these findings support the argument that schools, if they are going to meet the needs of the young people they care for, need to invest and value their pastoral structures and systems more.

The pastoral work of the school can sometimes be focused on solving problems to enable the ‘more important’ work to take place, of delivering the curriculum and achieving improved percentages in measurable outcomes.

This is not the schools’ fault, but a result of the emphasis placed on academic outcomes in holding them accountable.

The findings reported by the Guardian suggest that this approach is contributing to the negative feelings of young people, by placing more pressure on them to achieve better results.

In this situation, is it not even more important to ensure, that all young people have access to guidance and effective pastoral support?

The role of pastoral systems. in supporting personal development, is not just about improving outcomes but it is important for encouraging positive attitudes and the personal skills that will enable young people to take full advantage of their education and prepare themselves, for their future lives and roles in society.

The data for the report was collected before the pandemic, so I would argue that the need for the pastoral work of the school to be given the value and status that is deserves is urgent, as it is likely that the challenges schools will face in supporting young people are likely to increase.

Pastoral systems have a vital role, by developing cultures in schools that raise the aspirations and ambitions of all learners, if these findings are going to change for the benefit of the young people in the UK in the future.

Please share your thoughts and ideas on the challenges being faced by professionals working in pastoral care on the Twitter page NAPCE@NAPCE1

Phil Jones
National Chair
The National Association for Pastoral Care in Education

NAPCE News – July 2020

NAPCE News – July 2020
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: “Keep Calm and Carry On” – Advice for Parents of Early Years Children During Covid-19 from NAPCE Officer Cathy Harwood

It is always the case that the work of schools is most successful when it is delivered in partnership with parents but these unprecedented times have placed a focus on that teamwork which has never been seen before.

In this new article NAPCE NEC Officer and Director of Whole School Wellbeing, Cathy Harwood, explains why the role of parents in a child’s education at this time for early years children is even more important than people may think.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! 

Dear Parents: How are you doing?

However you are managing to keep your children occupied and yourself positive and calm, keep it up. 

You’re doing a really amazing and important job.
 
Here’s a little bit of info about the brain that explains why what you are doing as a parent is so important, no matter how old your little one is.
 
Did you know that in the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood?

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, neuroelasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life. And it does change, it continues to change as we age and develop but the most critical time for building healthy brains is from 0-5. 

Synapse Density Over Time 
Source: Adapted from Corel, JL. The postnatal development of the human cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1975. 
 
At birth, your child already has about all of the neurons they will ever have – but they aren’t wired up. The wiring depends on experience.


It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Amazing!


Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these early years than at any other time.


In fact, the brain creates many more synapses than it needs: at age two or three, the brain has up to twice as many as it will have in adulthood.


These surplus connections are gradually eliminated throughout older childhood and adolescence, a process sometimes referred to as blooming and pruning.

The organisation of a child’s brain is affected by early experiences.

Why would the brain create more synapses than it needs, only to discard the extras? The answer lies in the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in brain development.

The early stages of development are strongly affected by genetic factors; for example, genes direct newly formed neurons to their correct locations in the brain and play a role in how they interact.

However, although they arrange the basic wiring of the brain, genes do not design the brain completely. 

Instead, genes allow the brain to fine-tune itself according to the input it receives from the environment.

A child’s senses report to the brain about his/her environment and experiences, and this input stimulates neural activity.

Speech sounds, for example, stimulate activity in language-related brain regions. If the amount of input increases (if more speech is heard) synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often. 

Repeated use strengthens a synapse. Synapses that are rarely used remain weak and are more likely to be eliminated in the pruning process. Synapse strength contributes to the connectivity and efficiency of the networks that support learning, memory, and other cognitive abilities.

Therefore, a child’s experiences not only determine what information enters his/her brain, but also influence how the brain processes information. 

Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction.

Therefore, well done! Parenting is perhaps the most important job in the world.

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

There’s so much to worry about right now: the news, our jobs, our families and loved ones.

Sometimes it can be really hard to keep our cool. And I’m not saying that feeling anxious is wrong – our bodies signals of stress is an important message – “This is a difficult situation right now. I need to take care of myself and those I care about.”

Some of us will also be noticing positives, like bird song, more time to bake if that’s our thing, connecting with family and friends in new ways… Maybe you’ve heard of the saying ‘When I was a small boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”’

It’s completely normal to notice all of the negative and worrisome news right now, but it might also help to keep in mind that our brains are actually hard-wired to take notice of the negative. We scan continuously for danger. It’s what enabled our ancestors to survive.

It impacts our nervous system, it’s deep in our brain and we can’t change that. It’s the result of 60 million years of evolution. But this negativity bias is a challenge because all of the positive qualities that we want like compassion, generosity, and feeling safe need to be laid down in our neural structure if they are to become part of us in a lasting way.

It takes effort to notice and take in the good. But the good news is that we can intentionally use our attention to decondition our negativity bias and gradually grow the good stuff.

Here’s how

1.            Look for positive facts (see below for ideas), and let them become positive experiences.
2.            Savour the positive experience. 
Sustain it for 10-20-30 seconds. See if you can
feel it in your body, feel it in your face.
Open to the positive emotions. Intensify your experience. Let it grow as big as you dare.
Notice any inhibition (many people can access the negatives more easily)
3.            Sense and intend/visualize that the positive experience is soaking into your brain and your body – registering deeply in emotional memory – allowing yourself to become different in a small and incremental but lasting way .
–  Feeling safe
–  Feeling accomplished
–  Feeling strong
–  A kind / safe person/pet
–  A favourite place
–  Something you love to do
–  A delicious meal
–  An uplifting or comforting smell
–  A smile

I wanted to remind us all that this small skill can be really helpful – especially if we can’t sleep, or get very caught up in anxieties.

It is uncertain right now, there are a lot of things to worry about, and there is also bird song, more time to bake, creative ways of connecting with friends. And there are also lots and lots of helpers. Look for them. You will always find people who are helping.

For more info you might like to explore www.rickhanson.net
 

Cathy Harwood
NAPCE Officer

ARTICLE: Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap for Children (Part 2) by NAPCE Officer Noel Purdy

Dr Noel Purdy is a member of the NAPCE National Executive Committee and Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

This article, written by Mr Purdy, is the second in a two-part series focusing on Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap, following the societal social distancing restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bridging the Lockdown Learning Gap (Part Two)

In the first instalment of this blog, I considered two initial questions around the lockdown learning gap: (1) Is there a lockdown learning gap? and (2) What does the lockdown learning gap look like?

In this second instalment, we turn to the third key question: what steps can we take to bridge the lockdown learning gap?

Dr Noel Purdy is Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

BRIDGING THE LEARNING GAP

Over half a century ago, in Education and the Working Class Jackson and Marsden (1966) highlighted a system of educational apartheid in England which benefitted the elite and disadvantaged working class children.

More recently Diane Reay has argued that, despite a common curriculum and many other changes to the educational landscape, ‘educational success is still restricted to a few’ (2017, p.177) and that the winners are predominantly those from families with wealth, influential social networks and a history of educational success.

Reay argues that the upper classes and most of the middle classes have been ‘insulated’ from the last decade of austerity and its consequences, while the working classes have struggled.

Reading the emerging research studies of lockdown learning experiences across the UK (Sutton Trust, 2020IFS, 2020Walsh et al., 2020) leaves little doubt that once again children from working class backgrounds with less educated parents are struggling most, with less access to online resources, less time spent learning at home, and less support from their parents.

Once again, it seems, there is no ‘insulation’ for those already disadvantaged in our education system and society at large.

Instead, the social injustice of the lockdown learning gap is striking, and as we consider practical blended strategies to adopt over the coming months of (at best) part-time schooling supported by further home-schooling, we must be mindful that the gap will not be bridged easily or quickly.

In the figure below, based on a reading of the most recent research, supplemented by my own convictions, and adapted for a new, untested educational landscape, I set out what I see as the seven key ways to bridge the lockdown learning gap, followed by seven underpinning foundations:

PASTORAL SUPPORT FOR PUPILS

The first practical consideration has to be effective pastoral support for pupils all of whom, at the very least, have lived through the crisis of a global pandemic that none of us (as adults) have ever experienced in our lifetimes.

Many will have experienced the uncertainty of their parents being furloughed or losing their jobs, some will have felt the hunger of reduced family incomes and lived off food banks, others will have seen at first hand the devastating effects of COVID-19 and lost loved ones, especially grandparents, and will be experiencing the pain of bereavement.

It must be recognised that many pupils will need emotional reassurance and support, and will feel anxious about leaving home to enter a strangely different, socially distanced school environment.

Schools already have highly-skilled pastoral teams, but they should be prepared to encounter many more emotional health and wellbeing needs in the months to follow, and should adopt a child-centred approach of whole-school understanding and trauma-sensitive ‘flexible consistency’ to ensure that all children feel physically, socially, emotionally and academically safe.

Pastoral care is a feature of every classroom, and all teachers must be encouraged and empowered to show compassion, understanding and sensitivity to children whose experience of lockdown may have been completely at odds with their own.

QUALITY BLENDED TEACHING AND LEARNING

The second priority has to be quality blended teaching and learning. In September it is likely that pupils will be in school at most 50% of the time, so there will still be a need for effective provision of remote learning.

Some teachers naturally feel out of their comfort zones, but I would reassure them that the key elements of effective pedagogy remain the same as before, irrespective of the teaching medium: clear learning intentions, engaging content, differentiated tasks, opportunities for a range of meaningful pupil activities, and timely formative feedback on work submitted.

Our recent report of parents’ experiences of home-schooling in Northern Ireland also revealed that almost a quarter of homes did not have access to a printer.  Others were struggling to afford the cost of printer paper and ink. As a result, some schools have already signalled their intention to offer printed hand-outs which is welcome.

Creating online quizzes rather than asking pupils to print pdfs to complete, scan and submit is also something that can reduce inequalities as well as helping to reduce a teacher’s marking load.

CURRICULAR INNOVATION

As my colleagues Dr Sharon Jones and Dr Glenda Walsh have suggested in their recent CREU blogs, there are, thirdly, opportunities for curricular innovation in the post-lockdown learning environment.

While formal changes to the curriculum will take time, teachers can immediately explore the flexibility of the existing curriculum to integrate more outdoor learning play opportunities, to focus on the positive elements of character education within Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (Primary) and Learning for Life and Work (Post-Primary) and, I would argue, to make opportunities to discuss and process children’s experiences of the past six months.

Moreover, there have been some wonderful examples in the past of how school communities have come together in the wake of natural disasters (e.g. Carol Mutch’s work following the 2010-11 New Zealand earthquakes) through creative projects to recount, illustrate or commemorate their own experiences and stories.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS

Fourth, teachers have worked hard in challenging circumstances to upskill themselves, but ground-up initiatives like @BlendED_NI illustrate that there remains a skills gap across the profession and an urgent need for Professional Learning Opportunities for Teachers.

The key considerations here are the availability and affordability of such learning opportunities. Stranmillis has recently provided free CPD to over 300 teachers on its Remote Teaching and Learning course (see website for details of all Stranmillis professional development courses).

The other obvious concerns here are teachers’ own access to the internet, availability of appropriate hardware and software, and teachers’ own need to maintain a work-life balance. While there is much to learn from online courses, recent experiences have also illustrated the potential from emerging online ‘communities of practice’ where materials are increasingly shared openly, and much-needed guidance offered by peers.

FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORT

Fifth, there will be a need for focused learning support for pupils in September. Although pupils are likely to be in school only part-time, it will be important to use some of that time to quickly assess what exactly are the learning needs of the different children in each class, and to consider approaches to support.

For those children on the SEN register, the additional learning and therapeutic support which was often partially or completely absent during lockdown, can be restored but it is important to note that budgets are already incredibly tight in schools and as the 2019 Northern Ireland Affairs Committee inquiry on educational funding highlighted, SEN spending and classroom assistant support are often among the first cuts to be made as school leaders struggle to balance their budgets.

Providing additional focused learning support without additional funding will simply not be possible.

CATCH-UP TUTORING

Sixth, and returning to the opening discussion of the social injustice of lockdown learning, the widest learning gaps to be bridged will require more than skillfully differentiated classroom teaching.

For those children who have been engaged in little or no home learning since 23 March, the challenges of re-entering the educational system cannot be overestimated. In response, there are several options for catch-up tutoring.

One is the summer school model which has been adopted by schools across Harlem Children’s Zone and which endeavours to use vacation time to fast-track the recovery process. Another model is to enlist community volunteers or university students to offer free tutoring to disadvantaged pupils.

The recent EEF report notes that a pre-COVID evaluation of low-cost tutoring provided by third-level students generated a positive impact on pupil learning of three additional months’ progress.

As ever, there are significant challenges in meeting the learning needs of the most disadvantaged children, including demands on teacher time, affordability, safeguarding, and ongoing digital access inequity.

ENHANCED PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT

Finally, enhanced parental engagement: the Stranmillis report on homeschooling during the COVID-19 crisis revealed harrowing experiences by some parents and high levels of stress and exhaustion among others, especially those on the front line employed as Essential or Key Workers.

However, many parents also used the survey to comment on how much they had enjoyed spending time home-schooling with their children, and had felt closer than ever before to their learning. This report should make essential reading for schools as they seek to capitalize on some of the positives from the lockdown.

While parents often requested more guidance on how to support their children’s learning and how to navigate the complex range of learning platforms available, this shouldn’t disguise the fact that they want to be involved and, coming out of lockdown, I would contend that this is an opportunity for schools to build on, improving communication with home, welcoming dialogue and embracing the notion of parents as learning partners.

A FURTHER SEVEN FOUNDATIONS TO BRIDGE THE LOCKDOWN LEARNING GAP

While these are important practical steps to be taken, the figure illustrates a further seven foundations upon which the bridge must be built.

Of foremost importance, of course, is the health and safety of the entire school community (pupils, all staff, parents, visitors) and it goes without saying that schools must follow the most recent government guidance on social distancing, PPE, hand sanitizing etc. as there are very real and justifiable concerns that a return to school as part of a broader easement of lockdown restrictions could lead to a rise in the R number, as was briefly the case in Denmark following the re-opening of schools there on 15 April.

Throughout this crisis we have seen excellent examples of effective school leadership, with gifted principals taking difficult decisions with little guidance to help them, communicating regularly, informing and reassuring the school community.

Given the unique circumstances of each school, school leaders will continue to need to adapt broad-stroke guidance to their individual school circumstances. The underlying principles of pupil voice and inclusion/equality of access remain prime considerations to ensure that pupils are involved meaningfully and have a valuable role to play in their schools, and that no one is left behind or excluded, willfully or by oversight.

Regular, clear and consistent communication at and between all levels has also emerged as a much valued element of a school’s response to a crisis. I would argue that this will be particularly important in the approach to the new academic year, when staff and pupils will naturally be feeling anxious about the return to school, though not to school as they knew it.

With technological support, it will be possible to communicate directly to pupils and parents, showing them (via photos and/or video) what schools and classrooms will look like, thus alleviating some of the understandable anxiety that is already growing. Adopting a research-informed approach is also more important now than ever for educators.

If the current health crisis has shown anything, it is that the scientific community has united as never before, sharing expertise, making research open-access, adapting as new findings emerge and helping to inform those charged with making policy decisions.

There is an onus on those of us who are researchers to work hard to disseminate our findings to policy-makers and to those on the front line in schools. All of this requires generous government funding if it is to become a reality rather than an aspiration, at the very time when budgets look to be tighter than ever before. However, this pandemic has demonstrated that there is the potential for additional spending where the need is deemed to be great enough. So why not now?

Is this not the moment to invest in educational recovery, to facilitate the purchase of the latest technology (hardware, software, internet access, printers) to enable effective blended learning, to support the efforts of schools to upskill staff through high-quality professional development, and to provide learning support to those in danger of being educationally as well as socially ‘left behind’?

There is no quick fix, no silver bullet. Bridging the lockdown learning gap will require vision, courage, tenacity, skill and investment. It is time to get started.

Noel Purdy
Member of the NAPCE National Executive Committee & Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

ARTICLE: “Masked Communication” – NAPCE Officer Julianne Brown Explores one of  the Greatest Challenges for Schools in the “New Normal”

 

Masked Communication

This Autumn, many of us working in education, as well as students and parents, will be hoping for a return to face-to-face teaching and learning at school.

As we move forward to the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19, certain behaviours and ways of being will be changed, at least temporarily.

The last few months have been difficult, and in some cases traumatic, as many of us will have experienced life-threatening illness, loss of loved ones, enforcement of social distancing from our friends and family and confinement indoors for long periods.

When we return to school, we will need to be attentive to the social and emotional needs of those around us.

Effective communication will be key to our response but what happens if we find ourselves ‘masked’ and socially distanced?

What effect might this have on our relationships, our understandings, our ability to provide social and emotional support for those in our care.

In what ways might this special ‘covering’ affect teaching and learning in and outside of the classroom?

Communication is key and being able to communicate effectively with others requires skill and practice. It is therefore timely to reflect on how we communicate to meet the challenges ahead.

What is verbal communication?

Communication is at the heart of excellent pastoral care. It has been described as a complex, two-way process of giving and receiving a message that consists of both verbal and non-verbal clues (Hubley 2004).

Verbal communication is more than just giving a clearly expressed, articulate message, it depends on the ability of the receiver to listen and understand. It is not only in what we say that we are able to communicate.

We use non-verbal clues such as facial expressions, eye and head movements, and body language to convey meaning (Prozesky 2000).

Being able to see people’s lips is often necessary for understanding as I found out from personal experience when shopping the other day. I have to communicate in French.

My French is quite a good level, but the mask muffles the sounds, limits visibility of non-verbal clues and not being able to see the person’s lips results in misunderstanding and anxiety and highly irritated shop assistants!

How we greet people is also a form of communication that has had to be reconsidered for many people across the world. For example, in Switzerland it is customary to shake hands with a colleague or say ‘hi’ to family or friends with three kisses.

Even our body posture and our distance from each other conveys a message. A good communicator uses all these signs in a process of empathetic response to reinforce a message and to read whether the message has been understood.

As educators and specialist professionals in health and social care working within schools, we know how important clear communication is for everyone, particularly for our students.

Whether we are meeting to provide one-to-one emotional or learning support or to facilitate excellence in teaching and learning in the classroom or during extracurricular activities, communication is key.

There are certain contexts where verbal communication is more difficult. Examples are the multilingual classroom, people who have a degree of hearing loss and for students moving to a new school or class where they are unfamiliar with the teaching style and nuances of their teacher. ‘Masked’ communication will present further challenges.

The challenges of ‘masked’ communication in the classroom

Returning to school will present particular issues with social distancing behaviours and the possibility of wearing masks. Certainly, within my area of work, in an international school, wearing a mask in the classroom may be enforced by Government law or will be a voluntary act that some students and staff will want to consider.

This will require some adjustment in how we can communicate effectively. Let’s not forget that wearing a mask sends a message to others, and one message at the moment is “keep away”, because we are wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others.

A first step to meeting the challenge of masked communication is to bring some positivity to the situation.

Acknowledge the difficulties that wearing a mask may have on your ability to communicate and introduce it as a symbol of caring for each other; an opportunity to keep everyone safer rather than a response to a threat. Remember, wearing a mask is a physical barrier to clear communication, it’s going to slow things down!

Verbally, the message given needs to be well articulated and clearly expressed. In the following table I have adapted Prozesky’s (2000) non-verbal communication model to identify areas where ‘masked’ communication may be problematic in the classroom and suggested possible solutions. The arrows  in bold (é) represent non-verbal clues that could be strengthened:

Non-verbal clues Barriers Overcoming the barriers
*Appearance e.g. untidiness Type or design of mask may provoke positive or negative response Agree type/design in advance. Design Competition to encourage Student ownership
⬆️ Personal appearance – make that ‘extra’ effort
Closeness e.g. coming too close to someone Social distancing prevents any form of supportive ‘touch’ Acknowledge change in cultural norms
Appropriate ‘self-hug’ or ‘hand on heart’ to convey meaning
Facial expressions e.g. frown Limited facial expressions visible
Inability to lip read
Increase use of eye and brow movements
Use of pre-recorded video providing overview of learning objectives and an opportunity for students to ‘see’ their teacher
Head movements e.g. nodding ⬆️ Scan the classroom to include everyone and look at people directly when addressing them
Eye movements e.g. winking ⬆️
Posture e.g. slouching ⬆️
Hand movements e.g. waving ⬆️
Body contact e.g. shaking hands Social distancing prevents this Possibility to adopt elbow or feet bump in certain circumstances
Sounds e.g. laughing Muffled
Ways of talking e.g. pauses, stress on words Muffled Check for understanding
Face class when speaking

*Appearance – I included the mask here as it is an important non-verbal form of communication in itself. Schools may choose to consider the type and design of masks that will be acceptable and respectful to others.

Social distancing and the wearing of masks in schools will present us with many challenges. Not everyone will want to comply, increasing fear and anxiety in some members of the community.

Wearing masks will be a barrier to effective communication.

Now, more than ever, we need to raise our awareness and reflect on our own communication skills, be proactive in identifying the barriers of ‘masked’ communication, think creatively and work collaboratively in order to overcome them for the wellbeing of our students and for each other.

References

Prozesky, D. R., 2000. Communication and Effective Teaching. Community Eye Health, 13(35): 44–45. (Available from :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1705977/ [Accessed 7th July 2020]

Hubley, J., 2004. Communicating Health. An Action Guide to Health Education and Health Promotion. Selangor, Malaysia: Macmillan Education.

Julianne Brown
NEC Officer
NAPCE

AWARDS: Update on NAPCE Awards Online Ceremony

 

The first National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education Awards presentation event is now to take place online on September 24th.

The virtual event will be hosted on a video conferencing platform and guests will be invited to attend via an exclusive link.

There will also be a special guest speaker and representatives from sponsors and the education sector will be online to announce the winner in each category.

Despite plans for a physical winners ceremony in Birmingham, organisers of the NAPCE Awards 2020 revealed last month that the celebration had to be moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All finalists will be invited to attend and will need to book FREE tickets via Eventbrite shortly to receive the access link.

It is fully expected that an in-person event will be held in 2021 and beyond.
National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education 2020 – The Finalists

Pastoral Development of the Year – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A pastoral initiative or idea that has achieved positive outcomes and has improved the learning experience and future life chances, for young people)

ACS International School, Boarding – Cobham, Surrey

Anneliese Walker, Nidderdale High School – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dan Midgley, Malet Lambert School – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Malet Lambert , Peer Mentoring Scheme – Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Mr Shaun Easton, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College, Dagenham, Essex

Pastoral Leader Of The Year – Sponsored by Taylor and Francis 

(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)

Rebecca Finn, Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Dave Richardson, Kingdown School – Warminster, Wiltshire

Lena Dhrona, North London Grammar School – Hendon, London

Sarah Freeman, The Park Community School – Barnstaple, Devon

Laura Howieson, St Michael’s Middle School –Colehill, Dorset

Pastoral Member of Staff of the Year – Sponsored by TES

(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)

Ms Ceri Ellis, Rhyl High School –North Wales

Sunita Mall, Morecambe Road School – Lancashire

Mr Dominic Riste, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

Melanie Ennis, Archway Learning Trust- Nottingham

Deborah Mason, Silver Spring Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Greater Manchester

Pastoral School of The Year – Sponsored by BlueSky Education

(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)

The Grove School – Tottenham, London

Shaftesbury High School – Harrow, Middlesex

The Stanway School – Colchester Essex

All Saints Catholic School and Technology College- Dagenham Essex

Brighton Hill Community School – Hampshire

Pastoral Team of the Year – Sponsored by The Thrive Approach

(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)

Moor End Academy – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Pastoral Support Team – Cardinal Newman Catholic High School – Warrington, Cheshire

Guidance Team –  Churchill Community College – Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

Pastoral Managers- Julie Ayres, Hannah Jolly, Gieves La Fosse and Lauren Koster, – The Ramsey Academy, Halstead, Essex

Silver Springs Primary Academy – Stalybridge, Cheshire

Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care – Sponsored by Association of School and College Leaders

(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)

Sean Henn – The Berne Institute – Kegworth, Derby

Pat Sowa – Starfish – Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Dr Bronagh McKee – Stranmillis University College, Belfast, Northern Ireland

King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls – Handsworth, Birmingham

Glenlola Collegiate School Pastoral Care Team – Glenlola Collegiate School, Bangor , Northern Ireland

Outstanding Contribution to Pastoral Care – Sponsored by NAPCE

(A person, group or organisation that has made a real difference for the benefit of young people in the area of pastoral care)

Glenlola Collegiate School – Bangor, Northern Ireland

Jackie O’Hanlon, Shaftesbury High School –Harrow, Middlesex

Eileen Pavey, Litcham School – Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Tor Bank School, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ann Armstrong, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College – Dagenham, Essex

The Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in July but has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

NAPCE has made tentative plans to host an event in September 2020, but is also looking at back up plans to announce the winners online if a physical event is not feasible within the chosen timeframe.

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.

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