How do we cater for pastoral needs in KS3?
Tutors in the Lower School [Key Stage 3] deliver instructions and give clear guidelines in tutor time on how to prepare for the school day, how to do homework to the set time, and answer the questions that tutees have for them on a daily basis. Prefects are invited into tutor time to deliver VisionWorks which is a programme of activities designed to develop students in their wellbeing and emotional intelligence.
Tutor time is also seen as a time to mix with other year groups to discuss forthcoming events in our students’ lives. These sessions are called Vertical Tutor Groups. We use these sessions when we feel they are appropriate and students benefit from them greatly. For instance, last year we combined year 7 and 8 groups to inform the younger students about the trips to France/Germany, year 8 and 9 about the changes to their form groups, and one for year 9 girls to learn from year 10s what it was like to choose certain options for GCSE, and to find out about coursework and controlled assessments.
Many tutors, at all Key Stages, meet with students in smaller groups. We are piloting a tutor 1:8 scheme at the moment in Key Stage 3 in which the tutor will meet with eight or so students whilst their tutor group do other activities with older students. This will help develop a picture of our students’ social skills within a small group, enable students to share information about life outside of school, and give the tutor a chance to discuss work/life balance more informally.
PSD lessons tackle certain issues appropriate to each age group. Further information can be found about this on the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum part of the website menu. Click here to view the PSHE and Citizenship page.
All students through their tutor groups are encouraged to partake in at least one charity event a year. The school chooses a number of charities every year and in the summer term, representatives from the charities receive a cheque for the amount raised by the school. Students are immensely keen and proud to be involved in these events and staff are often involved as they draw in the crowds!
These charity events encourage students to be more empathetic.
This was launched last year and aimed to tackle small anxieties and concerns which may be bothering the younger students. It has succeeded in helping students write about niggles or small worries which may have otherwise magnified into larger issues. Several older students volunteered to be confidential receivers of emails and were trained in school in how to respond to such emails. All emails are overseen by Mrs Timperley who steps in to advise when necessary, and alerts the school counsellor or nurse if necessary. This scheme was very successful in 2013/14 and therefore was relaunched in 2014/15.
Many of the older girls in Year 11 want to help others who are concerned about school life or friendships – these are the peer support prefects. They have volunteered to drop into tutor groups to discuss anything which may be awkward with their peers or tutors. They frequently discuss how to approach students with Carolyn Stammers, our Pastoral Deputy Head, or Head of Lower School – Helen Timperley.
We have four senior link prefects in 6th form who are keen to support students with any issues including bullying and are involved in the delivery of the ZT campaign with its zero tolerance of homophobic bullying.
We also have academic mentors who have volunteered to help students in each subject offered at South Wilts or with general organisation. They have referral forms in the LRC which can be filled in by students and posted in a box in the LRC.
Each Year 7 class has four Year 7 6th form prefects who organise tutor activities, help with events such as the year 7/8 disco and generally look out for their tutor group.