Pastoral Care – British Curriculum School in Dubai | Hartland International School

pastoral care from the heart

Pastoral care is not merely a complimentary add-on to learning, here at Hartland pastoral care runs central to all we do. Our model focuses on the whole child, their personal, social and emotional development as well as academic success. We believe that happy children are children ready for learning who can exceed their own expectations.

Pastoral care begins with strong relationships across the school and into the wider community. The first building block is the relationship between teacher and pupil. Our teachers give genuine, inquisitive attention to each individual. This ensures each child feels valued, respected and able to seek support during those more difficult moments. Teachers become mentors, role models, and friends. Discussing problems and barriers is actively encouraged. This enables students to get the right support at the right time. We adopt a pro-active model, seeking to explore potential stressors before they become real problems. The school counselling service provides specific support for this purpose. Psychotherapy is available to help children untangle their thoughts and feelings, make sense of social situations or deal with change.

The teaching methods at Hartland encourage self-expression, negotiation and healthy risk-taking, beginning a lifelong journey of self-discovery and enjoyment for learning. The enrichment programme ensures students have a wealth of opportunities to explore new activities and tap into undiscovered skills. Furthermore, through our Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) programme we offer a bespoke package that helps students learn about specific social topics, develop perspective taking and empathy skills as well as become mentors themselves, Secondary students mentor primary students in a number of ways, from reading with them to helping them play. By supporting students to help themselves and others we develop responsible, resilient children and a sense of social cohesion within our community.

Secondary students are well equipped to succeed, aided by learning skills classes to develop a growth mindset. This provides them with the problem solving and thinking skills to strive further and surpass their expectations. Primary students receive specific coaching in positivity and share their opinions through a variety of mediums such as creating positivity videos and giving assemblies.

Students are given leadership roles and responsibilities from an early age. For example, in Foundation stage one child will be the “librarian” each day with responsibility for tracking each book used. In later years there is a Minister for Happiness and a Minister for Tolerance, both performed by students. Further, friendship committees, drop-boxes to highlight kind deeds and friendship books encourage compassion. Students get to share ideas and debate what should be adopted to further happiness, which has led to tangible changes in the school and empowerment for the pupils in shaping the pastoral care model.

The school involves the community through a number of different methods. We have an active parents group and regularly host events and workshops at the school. These sessions span a variety of topics with a central concern towards information sharing and embedding community values. To increase overall wellbeing, activities such as yoga and swimming for parents and children are offered. All parents and staff are also able to access the counselling service for specific support.

Through these methods our pastoral care system nurtures students, raising their self-worth and intrinsic motivation which enhances their overall wellbeing and resiliency.

Amarylis Harris, our School Counsellor has been entrusted the charge of the welfare and day to day wellbeing of each year group at Hartland.

Our Pastoral Care team welcomes, assists and supports new parents to the Junior School at each department level, introducing them to teachers, heads, school life and Dubai – There are “New Parent Coffee Mornings” and to make sure that they meet staff to discuss issues, ask advice or make requests that will help their children quickly settle into school life.

The team also attends all Parent Rep Meetings, where parents representing each year group discuss a range of topics, which are designed to ensure that communication between school and parents is clear, open and a valuable forum for discussion on school matters.

The team also meets with parents and pupils to resolve and advice on pastoral matters – an “open door” or “drop in” policy is encouraged for both concerned parents and pupils.

The team monitors absence and punctuality across the Junior School, encouraging parents to recognise the impact this has on their children’s education through letters, Parent Rep meetings and individual parent meetings where issues are discussed and support is given.

In short the Pastoral Care Team tries to play a full part in the life of the school community of over 56 nationalities, supporting the ethos and standards expected and encouraging pupils, staff and parents to do likewise.