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.
The layers of support around our girls is the key to our successful pastoral work in school. From our tutors and co-tutors, working as a team with the Head of Stage/Head of Key Stage, the students have support from the moment they walk into school in the morning. This means that all our staff are pastoral staff: our work is about the whole community, from the front office staff on the end of the phone, to the catering team and the teachers, we are all here for the girls.
“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”.
For specialist support, our School Counsellor and School Nurse are on hand throughout the day. Our Heads of Stage have specific training and experience relating to supporting the development of young girls to young women, so that they are able to respond to each year group to the best of our ability.
A seamless transition
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 Stage 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.
Student and Learning Councils – ensuring our pupils have a voice
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! We want every single one of our students to know that they are visible, have a voice and a sense of belonging. Our policies and practices are informed through student views via the School Council, the Student Learning Council or the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
At Juniors and 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.
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 a house 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 Junior pupils engage in.
Sixth Formers and older girls work closely with their younger peers to help support them in their transition to senior school or by building relationship through reading buddies and drama collaborations. Our “Six and Sixth” programme sees our Sixth Formers support year 6 girls as they look ahead to life in year 7 and at the senior school.
Having a peer to peer programme such as this is at the heart of our ethos as a school community.
Communication is key
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 Stage, we also host regular parent breakfasts 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.