Passed by the Board of Management on: 23rd May, 2007
Mission Statement of Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine
1. Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine aims to provide high quality comprehensive education, open to all the children of the greater Kenmare area.
We are committed to the care and development of each individual and to fostering a positive attitude towards life long learning.
It is a school where students, teachers and parents work together to contribute to a safe, caring and happy environment.
2. Pastoral approach in our school.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine realises its core aims and goals through a variety of means, none more important than our pastoral care approach.
We understand Pastoral Care as a holistic approach to education which takes into account the entire needs of the student at their particular stage of development. It aims at creating a caring and supportive environment within which the student can achieve their full potential. It recognises the complex interweaving of factors that impinge on human life and endeavours to address these with sensitivity.
Each member of the school community has access to the relevant pastoral structures and procedures. Each is also invited to contribute to the pastoral ethos of the school community.
We seek to nurture positive and respectful relationships as the core resource in creating a cohesive and caring school community.
Our Pastoral Care Policy endeavours to create a framework which would underpin and support our pastoral approach.
The policy will address the following areas:
Pastoral Role: definitions and responsibilities.
Pastoral programmes (to be attached to this document)
Linking with guidance counselling, chaplaincy, learning support, SENO, NEPS and other experts, as needed.
Linking with SPHE
Resources and Professional Development
Monitoring and evaluation.
3. Pastoral Roles: definitions and responsibilities.
At the centre of our pastoral framework are the pastoral roles, each of which contributes to the up-building of the school community- Class Tutor, Year Head, Chaplain, Guidance Counsellor.
We recognise and affirm the pastoral care offered by subject teachers who are often the first to perceive and attend to a pastoral need in the student.
Other key roles in the school carry significant pastoral dimensions and responsibilities – such as the role of Principal, Deputy Principal, Learning Support Teachers, Special Needs assistants.
Non-teaching staff also provide pastoral care through key contact moments with students (e.g. in cases of illness, injury etc). Their observation of students in a non-classroom context can also be a significant resource in identifying needy students.
Process and Time Frame for Pastoral Care Policy
A consultative process has been employed to draw up the role description of Year Head and Class Tutor.
While staff in-put is at the core of this process, consultations with parents and students will be held.
The role descriptions will be approved by staff and ratified as part of the pastoral policy by the Board of Management.
As with other policy areas the Board of Management have the right to initiate, contribute to, amend and finally approve this policy.
The role descriptions will be reviewed at least once a year.
Role of Year Head
The Year Head has general responsibility for the observance of the school regulations by the year group. Duties involved are as follows:
Facilitating meetings between tutors and year heads to plan and review.
Co-ordinating all information given to and received from subject teachers and tutors and checking that action has been taken.
Reporting to and liaising with the Deputy Principal, Principal and Pastoral Team regarding the year group.
Keeping and overseeing records concerning students.
Checking and dealing with lateness, absenteeism and uniform.
Communicating with parents, in particular those experiencing behavioural difficulties in their child or problems in relation to their child’s progress in school.
Significant role in implementing the Code of Behaviour.
General information regarding a student will be posted on the Year Head Notice Board in the Staff Room (student on holiday, death in the family, illness involving student/parent/close relative etc)
Complimentary and Incident Sheets to be left in Year Head’s tray in office.
Incident Sheets will be duly dealt with and outcomes of actions taken will be reported back to individual teachers.
Role of Class Tutor.
The tutor has a significant role in the school; the class tutors take a particular interest in the activities and progress of the students in a particular class. They help students to be positive in their behaviour and work. They take care, show care, teach care, and evoke care. They are the first port of call.
The tutor will check individual journals weekly and ensure that parents sign them weekly.
The tutor will liaise with Year Heads regularly to note any individuals who show cause for concern.
The tutor should report to the Year Head or Chaplain any concerns s/he has with regard to personal problems a student may have or if s/he thinks a particular student needs counselling, guidance or pastoral care.
The tutor advises students on homework and/or study skills.
The tutor works in close co-operation with other parts of the pastoral care structure to ensure the best situation is found to any difficulties that may arise.
The tutor organises the SPHE Class which covers issues of concern to students. Tutors of each year group will meet regularly to plan and review the SPHE programme.
The tutor provides feedback to students on academic and personal issues and can recommend reward or corrective procedures to the Year Head.
The role definition of the tutor will be formally evaluated at least once each year.
The Pastoral Care Co-ordinator and Team.
The co-ordinator will be appointed from among the pastoral care team.
As long as this is not a Post of Responsibility, the person will be appointed for a term of one year.
The Pastoral Care Team will usually be made up of the Pastoral Care co-ordinator, the Guidance Counsellor, the Chaplain, one Year Head, one Class Tutor, a Learning Support Teacher, the SPHE co-ordinator and the Deputy Principal/ Principal. Other members may be co-opted at any time. A good gender balance is to be desired in the team.
The team will meet at regular intervals and, in as far as possible, meetings will be scheduled as part of the planned meetings of the school.
The team will have responsibility for supporting Class Tutors and Year Heads, co-ordinating the Pastoral programme, reviewing students with particular difficulties, advising relevant groups within the school community on pastoral issues.
They will present an annual report on the pastoral life of the school to the staff and Board of Management.
Other key pastoral roles are outlined as follows:
A holistic approach to education acknowledges that the individual has physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social needs. This is self-evident and flows from the dynamic of the education process itself. Chaplaincy is part of this process and makes its own unique contribution as part of the wide range of subjects and services offered to the student. The primary role of the Chaplain is to be a faith presence in the school.
The Chaplain’s role spans three broad areas: a) the spiritual and liturgical b) the pastoral and c) the area of community-building.
Sees to the provision of appropriate liturgical services and opportunities for prayer and reflection for the school community. These will include school Masses, whole school prayer services, class prayer services, reconciliation services etc. (c/f Liturgical calendar of the School.)
Arranges retreat opportunities for students.
Is part of the School’s Pastoral Care Team
Contributes to the pastoral care of students and staff, offering a confidential service.
The chaplain is available to all students on a one-to-one basis either by prior appointment or in response to an unforeseen need.
Specifically the chaplain meets with each first year student and each new student to the school in order to make a personal connection, welcome the student to the school and raise awareness of the availability of pastoral care.
Reaches out to connect with students who have a particular need of support. At times of bereavement, family crisis, illness etc the chaplain reaches out to the student (mindful of the delicacies involved).
Offers on-going support to vulnerable students.
Works with the Bereavement Support Team.
Forms part of the Crisis Response Team
Is available to parents during school hours or by arrangement.
Offers referrals to other services within the school or services offered by outside agencies.
Visits parents/families where appropriate.
Pays hospital visits where appropriate.
Contributes to social awareness issues, supports/ organises fund-raising etc.
Facilitates appropriate Parish links. (e.g. the recruitment and training of readers for Church)
Has a teaching role in relation to Religious Education and supports the Religious Education Department.
Supports extra-curricular activities.
Is concerned with the articulation and implementation of the school’s ethos.
Contributes to policy-making where appropriate.
The Role of the Learning Support Teachers.
The principle aim of Learning Support is to optimize the teaching and learning process so as to enable pupils with learning difficulties to achieve adequate levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy and to achieve their maximum potential in the State exams or course followed in Secondary cycle.
Specifically the Learning Support teacher helps the student to
Participate fully in the curriculum
Develop positive self-esteem
Develop positive attitudes to school and learning
Enable students to become independent learners
Involve parents in supporting their children’s learning
Students identified by National School Teachers/ assessment/screening tests – on entry to school
Small groups and/or withdrawal individually or in pairs for teaching
Acknowledged correlation between students with Learning Difficulties and disadvantaged circumstances
In this unique situation issues of concern at school and/or home can surface and be addressed in a safe environment.
Will communicate relevant information to the teachers of students with a particular learning difficulty as early as possible in the year.
Role of Special Needs Assistant
The role of Special Needs assistant is to assist in the support and integration of children who have special needs.
Supporting the Student
Take cognizance of the identified specific and individual needs of the students and to support them to learn effectively by:
Motivating and encouraging the student when required
Ensuring the student has access to materials and equipment and is able to use these
Assisting the student in challenging areas e.g. maths, hand-writing
Help students concentrate and finish exercises
Meeting physical needs as required, whilst also encouraging student’s independence
Liaising with the teacher and LS team.
To establish a supportive relationship with the students concerned
To promote peer acceptance and integration
To devise and develop methods of enhancing and reinforcing student’s self-esteem
Supporting the Teacher
To assist, with the teacher, LS team and other professionals, as appropriate in the development of a suitable programme of support
To contribute to the maintenance of the student’s progress record
To participate in the evaluation of the programme and student’s progress
To provide regular feed-back about the student to the teachers.
Supporting the School
Where appropriate to develop an effective relationship that fosters links between home and school
To liaise, advise and consult with the teachers, Principal, LS Team and other professionals in supporting the students
To attend in-service courses
To be aware of the school regulations, Health and Safety policies, Equality policies and procedures
To assist in implementing programmes of instruction and evaluation
To follow instructions and direction from the relevant teachers
To work with students in individual, group or class situations
To participate in supervising students at lunch and break time
To use initiative at all times
To assist on out-of-school visits, activities etc
To assist students to board and alight from buses as appropriate.
The assistant will be sitting in some classes beside the student in order to carry out the duties as specified above but in a non-teaching role.
The guidance counsellor cares for the student in an all-encompassing holistic manner in keeping with the ethos of the school. Striving to increase the students’ self-esteem, confidence and achievement in all areas of school life is the philosophy on which their work is based.
The school Guidance Counsellor has a responsibility in the First Year Transition Programme. This includes co-ordinating the recruitment and training of mentors and ensuring the first half term of second level runs smoothly for first years. This involves arranging meetings between first years and mentors. Also working with Class Tutors, Year Head and linking with KDYS in connection with First Year Transition Programme.
As the student prepares for the choices at Senior Level the Guidance Counsellor organises and administers Differential Aptitude Tests (D.A.T.S.). The Guidance Counsellor delivers classes to Third Year students on choices available after Junior Certificate, as well as subject choice for senior cycle. The Guidance Counsellor will also give a presentation to parents at a special evening organised to explain to parents choices available at this level to their children, i.e. the transition year option and subject choice for Fifth Year, LCA and LCVP. The Guidance Counsellor is available to meet students and parents on a one-to-one level to discuss individual cases.
In Transition Year the Guidance Counsellor works with students in the preparation, carrying out and evaluation of work experience. Options for post-transition year are also covered.
During careers classes at Senior Level a programme of talks by experts in various fields is organised. Each senior cycle class group has one Careers Class per week. The Guidance Counsellor will also give a presentation to parents at special evenings organised to explain to parents the choices available at this level to their children, e.g. C.A.O., P.L.C. etc.
There is openness and a commitment to accept all students and a warm invitation is extended to any parent to talk to and work with the Guidance Counsellor for the well-being and healthy development of the student.
4. Pastoral Care Programme.
Social, Personal and Health Education.
Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) is a core area of school life and its link to Pastoral Care is clear. This school has a commitment to SPHE and demonstrates this in its provision on the curriculum which adheres to the official Department guidelines. It is provided to all classes from JC1 to LC1 inclusive.
As a back-up to the SPHE Programme (Junior Cert Level) and the Life-skills programme (Leaving Cert 1 level) students are offered a series of talks from outside agencies. The RSE programme is also an integral part of SPHE and life-skills in this school.
We recognise SPHE as a whole school concern and therefore ensure that there are opportunities for whole staff consideration of the SPHE in school. Opportunities are also provided for communication with parents. SPHE in-services are offered to staff on an on-going basis. Priority is given to staff members who are engaging with the SPHE programme for the first time.
In addition to and in concert with the SPHE curricular programme, this school has its own pastoral programme that is facilitated by the Pastoral Care Team in conjunction with Class Tutors and Year Heads. The Pastoral Care Programme of Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine includes the following:
Induction to the school and its ethos.
A mentoring programme to train students in assisting the integration of new members of the school community.
Activities for class and year groups (to build up a sense of class spirit)
Study skills and approaches.
Justice and voluntary projects (e.g. fund-raisers in support of Development work)
Guest speakers on relevant issues e.g. alcohol and drug abuse, understanding the culture of the travelling community and ethnic minorities etc.
Spectrum Programme: bereavement support.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine recognises the importance of times of beginning and ending. Thus it is our policy to offer a good induction experience to new students arriving in the school and to mark the departure of the Leaving Cert group appropriately. The Graduation Evening is a significant event for the School, marking the contribution of the students and sending them with the good wishes and blessing of the school community.
It is also the policy of the school that each student have access to designated pastoral support personnel during the course of their stay in the school.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine has a number of procedures with pastoral implications.
The school has adopted the official Child Protection Guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Science.
In the area of information we are committed to respectfully and sensitively dealing with how information is received, shared, stored and accessed.
Another area of relevance is the relationship of the school to the parent. Our policy commitment in this area is to constantly work in partnership with parents to achieve the optimum quality of relationship. This will require respect, listening, patience, willingness to reach consensus, creativity, cooperation and generosity.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine is concerned that procedures operating around the communication of sensitive information about students be discreet, respectful and effective. The privacy of student and family is of utmost importance. At the same time it is crucial that signals of distress are picked up and effectively transmitted to whoever is in the best position to respond pastorally and appropriately.
The following procedure is proposed:
Any staff member who has concerns about the welfare of a student should inform a member of the Pastoral Care Team of their concern.
The person to whom the concern is relayed documents it in their diary.
If that person feels in a position to attend to the need of the student, they take that initiative; if not, they refer it to another member of the Pastoral Care Team.
In the context of a pastoral care team meeting discussion may take place to ensure that someone is attending to the needy student or that the student is referred to an outside agent.
We recognise that there may be situations that call for a different procedure depending on its urgency and the availability of certain school personnel.
Should there be situations where a greater degree of therapeutic intervention is required, the Principal and Pastoral Care coordinator will enter into dialogue to see how this might be progressed with the family and outside agencies.
Critical Response Policy.
Dealing with sensitive issues such as sudden death or suicide requires careful consideration. The Critical Response Policy of Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine addresses the pertinent issues. This area will be reviewed as part of the annual Pastoral review offered to the Board of Management.
Resources and Professional Development.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine is committed to providing the necessary resources to underpin this pastoral policy. In particular we are committed to providing reasonable, tailored development programmes for Class Tutors and Year Heads. There will also be annual opportunities for the full staff to review the effectiveness of these roles and other pastoral issues.
The implementation of this policy will be reviewed periodically. An implementation plan is outlined below for a few key areas:
By March 2006 a consultative process with staff will be concluded.
The Pastoral Care Policy will be presented to the Board of Management by the end of May 2006.
The Pastoral Programme will be prepared for adoption by June 2006.
Meetings of Class Tutors and their Year Head will occur at dates agreed at the beginning of each school year.
The Year Heads will meet once every week at an appointed time.
The Pastoral Care Team will present an annual report to the Staff and Board of Management in May of each year.
The Pastoral Care co-ordinator will meet with the Parents’ Council at least once a year to take part in a discussion on pastoral care.
The Students’ Council will have at least one meeting with the Pastoral Care Team each year – the date will be set before mid-term in the first term.
A budget for pastoral care will be proposed by the Pastoral Care Team by mid-May of each year. An initial budget of €500 is proposed. The team will have been given guidelines on realistic budgeting before Easter.
Policy Monitoring and Evaluation.
An effective policy requires constant monitoring and evaluation to ensure successful implementation and to review what adjustments may be necessary from time to time. Consideration of the following may be helpful in order that the task of monitoring and evaluation be effective:
The Pastoral Care Co-ordinator will monitor policy implementation. The terms of reference are as follows: prepare a short written report for the Board of Management and Staff on the implementation of the policy at key stages – in addition, be prepared to give an oral report. The report should examine the meeting of specific targets and timelines. It should also gather some qualitative reactions to the policy during implementation. At the reporting stage the Board and in its turn the staff should discuss any reactions, concerns, suggestions that may arise during the course of implementation. A procedure for follow up on reactions to the interim reports needs to be established- one form may be that the Pastoral Care Team with the school management will set time aside to discuss the feed-back and propose any necessary adjustments. Apart from the usual on-going informal monitoring that would occur with every area of policy, formal monitoring would be appropriate at least twice in the first year and at least once during every subsequent year.
At specified times during the life of the policy, an evaluation of its effectiveness is required. The review will have the following elements:
The Pastoral Care Team are charged with leading the evaluation of the Pastoral Care Policy.
Reviewing the monitoring reports that were gathered during the life of the policy.
Surveying staff, students and parents as to its effectiveness in meeting its stated aims.
Collating these responses and presenting a report to BOM and staff with recommendations for further phases of Pastoral Care Policy (following consultation with School Management).
Leading a process to articulate and implement new developments in the pastoral care area with particular reference to Pastoral Care Policy.
Such a review would be appropriate at least every two years.