Pastoral Care – what is it?

We hear a lot about “Pastoral Care,” but what is it?  What does it mean?  And what should parents look for?

The word “pastoral” originates from Late Middle English from Latin pastoralis ‘relating to a shepherd’, from pastor ‘shepherd’.  In today’s world pastoral care has evolved from a shepherd looking after his/her flock to a “teacher’s responsibility for the general well-being of pupils or students.” (Oxford English Dictionary).   Pastoral care is a vital element of your child’s education; one you should scrutinize.

Meeting pastoral needs

Meeting the pastoral needs of students is a demanding one, particularly in relation to children’s emotional and mental health.  In an ever-complex world, real pastoral care is long term and covers all elements of student life.  It is incorporated into the subjects a school offers, ensuring they are those which a student will actually need to realise opportunities outside the classroom.  It also involves a clear intent to provide activities, opportunities and situations which develop resilience and resourcefulness, a training in good habits and, above all, the values and moral dimension which will sustain an individual’s wellbeing throughout their life.

In other words, pastoral care involves teaching and providing opportunities for young people to grow in their self-esteem, confidence, and independence of thought. This facilitates the development of their personal, social and emotional intelligence.  The quality of pastoral care influences the ethos and tone of the whole school and is therefore, extremely important when creating an atmosphere in which young people can feel secure and achieve. (Yolande Herbst)

Quality pastoral care sits at the heart of Fyling Hall School.  Founded in 1923 by an inspirational teacher called Mab Bradley, she believed that children learn best when they are happy and educated in a family-like atmosphere. She gave us our motto, “The days that make us happy make us wise”. We continue to uphold this, and provide much, much more.

At Fyling Hall, our fundamental understanding is that education – real education – must range beyond syllabuses and set texts, that children come to a school to learn about life as well as quadratic equations. We hold firm to traditional values of integrity, good manners and mutual respect. As one of our founder’s pupils put it, it is ‘the type of education that really counts in the end, and that is an education in learning to live with and respect one another.

How do we do this?

Firstly, we make the most of our location.  Few locations compare with England’s North York Moors National Park in offering a sense of tranquillity.  It is a secure environment in which children can learn best, focus and feel content.  We also take the time to learn about our precious setting, with students regularly taking part in the Park’s Mini Ranger Service.

As our recent inspection recognised, we at Fyling Hall also continue our firm commitment not only to strong academic achievement, but also our enviable sporting tradition and conspicuous success in Music, Art, Drama and other fields.  Pupils also regularly participate in sporting fixtures across a multitude of sports and venues. These fixtures offer the pupils far more than physical benefits. They also allow pupils an intense opportunity of teamwork and camaraderie that is hard to experience in any other facet of school life.  That said, as part of #PEwithaDifference we also offer individual sporting opportunities, which fosters self-confidence and self-belief.  Mixing up hockey and rugby with mountain biking and horse riding is not unusual in our games lessons.

Happy Lunar New Year 2020

As you would expect, Fyling Hall pupils also routinely participate in a variety of cultural events . . .  from staging a local music festival, visiting the local symphony orchestra, experiencing the theatre or visiting a local exhibition . . . pupils have a wide range of choice to expand their horizons and to share their experiences.  Pupils also share their local traditions from hosting an Oktoberfest to Chinese New Year celebrations. 

One big family

Whilst Fyling Hall is large enough to have some top-class facilities, we are sufficiently small for everyone to flourish as part of one big family.  Year group boundaries often disappear.  Whether it be mixed year groups at our lunch tables or six formers acting as mentors to younger pupils, we encourage a supportive and kind atmosphere.  We take a holistic approach for a nurturing environment. 

Pastoral care at Fyling Hall does not lie in one department . . . it is endemic.  Our dedicated, highly qualified teaching staff and our equally dedicated support staff know all the pupils in the school, with relationships built on trust, mutual respect and a determination to succeed.  As you might imagine Fyling Hall staff are involved at every opportunity, consistently leading extracurricular activities which gives the added benefit of bonding outside the classroom.  The science teacher isn’t just a someone in a lab coat, but someone who keeps bees, who runs a bee keeping after school club, teaching bee keeping not simply for the science of it, but to share bee keeping’s relaxing qualities. It is this type of bond that pupils remember for years to come. 

Excellent pastoral care

It may be obvious when pastoral care is lacking, of course, but excellent pastoral care is much more than just being nice: it is putting your child’s needs at the centre.  At Fyling Hall, this is what we do every day.  “The days that make us happy make us wise”. We continue to uphold this, and provide much, much more.