The importance of pastoral care: how a focus on well-being benefits students

PUBLISHED: 12:32 03 August 2020

'It is key that every student in a school has someone they can talk to.' Picture: Kent College Canterbury

'It is key that every student in a school has someone they can talk to.' Picture: Kent College Canterbury

Archant

Phil Wise, Head of the Senior School at Kent College Canterbury (KC), shares the benefits of pastoral care and why student welfare should be the number one priority for any school.

What is pastoral care?

Pastoral care is the provision put in place at schools to provide students with emotional support and ensure their physical wellbeing.

Why is pastoral care important in schools?

“It’s key that every student in a school has someone they can talk to,” says Phil. “Whether that’s a teacher, Form Tutor or even another student they feel comfortable with.”

Students in schools with a strong welfare system are supported to ensure their time in education is fulfilling and as stress-free as possible.

Phil Wise, Head of the Senior School at KC, is passionate about the importance of pastoral care in schools. Picture: Kent College CanterburyPhil Wise, Head of the Senior School at KC, is passionate about the importance of pastoral care in schools. Picture: Kent College Canterbury

“Taking on new educational challenges is a lot harder if you’re lacking confidence and aren’t happy in yourself.”

“When you experience a bump in the road, you need someone who knows you well to give you that boost to say ‘I’ll overcome this,” Phil explains.

Not only does effective pastoral care support students in their natural progression but also facilitates the development of their self-esteem, social skills and ability to cope with stress.

It’s important that students feel safe and valued in their school environment and pastoral care can help ensure this.

'Taking on new educational challenges is a lot harder if you are lacking confidence and are not happy in yourself.' Picture: Kent College Canterbury'Taking on new educational challenges is a lot harder if you are lacking confidence and are not happy in yourself.' Picture: Kent College Canterbury

What schools have good pastoral care?

Most schools have some pastoral care in place, but naturally, some are better than others.

Phil says: “Our students are supported by a ‘pastoral pyramid’ made up of approachable representatives including Heads of Year and confidential counsellors.”

“We’ve really demonstrated how much we care about the students with our check-ins during the lockdown. Tutors held sessions every morning and we offered a structured home-learning schedule so students could keep to their normal routine as much as possible.”

KC also made sure that students took plenty of breaks during their home lessons and organised good mental health and keep-fit sessions, as well as virtual chapel services.

“Our boarding houses are overseen by House Managers, who are more like second mothers to the students, acting as confidants and friends.”

At KC, all staff and teachers get to know every student individually and the college is known for being one big family. As a non-selective, friendly, independent school, KC is rightly proud of its outstanding academic success across the IB, A Levels and GSCE’s. The school welcomes students from all over the world, boasts extensive facilities and is proud to be classed as a leading independent school by the HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference).

Visit kentcollege.com for more information or to arrange a bespoke tour of the Junior School or Senior School.

Register for the Senior School Open Morning on October 3 here.

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