Pastoral care is one of the most important duties a teacher can have within a school. As form tutors, we are given the most amount of time in which we can make a personal difference to a pupil without having to worry about the demands of the subject we teach. So, what does good pastoral care looks like, and what can we as educators do in order to ensure all pupils receive an above-standard level of care across the board?

There is a lot of media attention on the mental health of young people. Barely a week goes past without a new article about the mental health crisis. The issue of child and adolescent mental health is of major concern for three reasons. Firstly, although we know that about 10% of young people have a mental health disorder, it is by no means obvious which young people are in that 10%, much less who the 15% who are at higher risk of developing a mental disorder in future (Ibid).

I often remind people that recovery from loss can be compared to recovery from say a stroke - where it really is a case of one step at a time. Schools can play a vital role in helping a student’s recovery and bereavement journey in encouraging them to take those first difficult steps.

Surely being a teacher has never required a greater skill-set? We’re not just knowledgeable about our subjects, but we’re motivators, evaluators and occasional counselors. We need to teach resilience and grit alongside quadratic equations. That’s why having a good pastoral care provision in place is, in my opinion, a necessary requirement of any school. Student wellbeing should be high on any school’s agenda, as happy students lead to increased learning opportunities and improved performance.

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