We feel very strongly at Bancroft’s that everyone is a piece in the pastoral jigsaw, not just the immediate members of the Pastoral Team; every conversation, lesson, tutor period, assembly, sports practice, music or play rehearsal is an opportunity for pastoral support and development. If a child is not happy, he or she is unlikely to flourish, be it academically or socially and for this reason, pastoral care lies at the core of everything that we do as a school.
By its very nature, the pastoral role is sometimes a reactive one; problems and upsets can occur suddenly and this is especially true during the turbulent adolescent years, but we are embracing a holistic and proactive overarching approach with the House staff and tutors at its heart and some exciting new initiatives to help them.
Our core values of kindness, curiosity, integrity and courage, balance and excellence, guide our practice with a view to making our pupils the best version of themselves that they can be, ready to approach with confidence their lives after school.
A Well-Being Week held in September 2019 included a huge variety of activities, talks and projects to show our pupils that well-being is multi-faceted and best achieved by a balance in one’s life.
The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme has been introduced in the last year and those pupils who have been trained have already made real changes, most notably to the Anti-Bullying Policy, which they have reworded to make it more accessible to the pupil body.
We aim to engage parents as much as possible and our termly Pastoral Evenings, on themes such as mental well-being, academic pressure and co-curricular balance have proved very popular. The workshop format enables parents to meet each other and to share common concerns, both with each other and with the School.
From September 2019, AS Tracking will be in use with four out of seven year groups in the Senior School and in every year group in the Prep School. It is a tool that captures the ‘hidden’ student voice, highlighting the potential for hidden vulnerability and enabling House staff and tutors to make targeted interventions and to support children in the most appropriate way. To find out more about AS tracking, follow the link below.
From September 2019, the new Assistant Head Pastoral, James Barr, will be working to help deliver a broader well-being agenda and to spot trends across year groups while our new Head of Learning For Life, Julia Whitbread, will be ensuring that the life skills delivered to our pupils are rooted in our core values and that pupils are equipped to face life beyond school with a proper understanding of the world around them and their role in it along with the importance of forging and maintaining healthy friendships.
Tributes to the teaching staff, overall friendliness, care and attention given to individuals pour in from everyone and are a delight to hear.Good Schools Guide
Finally, when pupils need a neutral adult to speak to, we have a male and a female counsellor who between them operate on four days of the week. Pupils can self-refer or approach their Housemaster / mistress or tutor to receive an appointment.
There is so much more to say about pastoral life at Bancroft’s, but the best way to see for yourself what we do here is to come to our next Open Day. We very much look forward to seeing you.
Elizabeth Channer, Deputy Head (Pastoral)