Pastoral care is an umbrella term for the array of opportunities and support available to ensure all our students thrive as part of our SHS community.
At Shrewsbury High we have taken every care to ensure a thoroughly embedded support system for our pupils.
“This is the school that has taught me to believe in myself, be committed, courageous, confident and composed and to believe that I leave here with the capability to make a difference”.
As Headteacher Jo Sharrock emphasises in her blog , “providing expert pastoral care is top of our list.” This is evident all through the High School from Nursery to Sixth Form, with events and activities embedded through our day and with a dedicated team to support all of our students to achieve to the best of their ability. So what does this look like for our SHS students?
Making the transition to a new school, at whatever stage, can be a nerve-wracking experience. New pupils at SHS will always be met by their Form tutor or Head of Year and welcome buddies to help them settle in.
Before your child even joins the school, they will have enjoyed taster and induction days so are already familiar with classmates and teachers ahead of their first day at school. From their initial induction, all our students have a close relationship with their form group and group tutor, the first port of call for parents or carers for any questions or queries. In addition, at seniors, Heads of Year monitor and steer the course of each year group, with many initiatives in place for students for personal development.
A key component of our school as a community is that students have the opportunity to shape how our school operates and to be part of decision making… where appropriate! At both Prep and Seniors our policies and practices are informed through student views via the School Council and Student Learning Council. At the Junior school, student influence can be seen in a variety of projects including the adventure playground, a pop up tuck shop and a talent show. At seniors, girls’ voices are heard across many subjects. From the Eco Committee reporting student feedback on our environmental concerns, to reviewing our catering offer (always a popular discussion point) we firmly believe that our students’ voices can and should be heard.
At seniors, examples of this can also be seen in the fantastic Girls On Board initiative which helps students in managing their friendships and developing emotional resilience.
In addition to this, the GDST wide ‘Positive Project’ gives our pupils the opportunity to understand more about the important topic of Mental Health and how to support our own self-care
and that of our peers.
The house system at SHS is a key part of the social and competitive life in our school. Pupils are allocated one of four houses when they join the school and collaborate in their houses and across all year groups on a range of fantastic events such as House Carols, Sports Day, House Drama performances – house loyalty runs deep with pupils and staff and house events play an important part in school life, nurturing close and lasting relationships between pupils.
Many topics and subject areas are taught across the school that encourage children to build friendships, understand and celebrate themselves and others and be active citizens. Pedestrian training, cycling proficiency, community lunches with Age Concern, form and house captain elections are just a few examples of the experiences our Prep pupils engage in.
For girls joining us in Year 7, Sixth Form “Big Sisters” play an integral role in helping our younger pupils adjust to life at senior school, with regular breakfasts in Years 7 & 8 for airing any worries, asking questions and building relationships with girls higher up the school. Having a peer to peer programme such as this is at the heart of our ethos as a school community. We have expanded this area of the school in recent years, with the ‘Little Miss High’ Project linking our Year 7 students in PSHE with our Junior students in Year 5, and with the SHS Digital Leaders acting as mentors across the school.
Communication is at the heart of all our pastoral care, whether it be between pupils themselves, teachers and pupils or between the school and our parents. Throughout the term, pupils are invited in with their forms for tea and cake with the Head and whilst parents are always able to contact their child’s form tutors and Head of Year, we also host regular parent breakfasts at Juniors and Seniors with members of our Senior Leadership team for parents to come for an informal chat or ask more specific questions.
Our systems for communicating pastoral concerns are robust and our anti-bullying measures ensure that everyone knows what is acceptable and what is not, and who they can turn to if needed.