Pastoral Care Policy

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The pastoral care policy encompasses the whole school community. Pastoral Care should permeate all areas of school life. In Elphin Community College we facilitate the development of all members of our school community. In our school community we foster relationships based on respect. We engender a sense of belonging to our school community where each individual is valued and her/his uniqueness is recognised. We promote a school community that is caring and positive. This work will be carried out in an environment that is both safe and secure for all in our school community. We believe Pastoral Care is the responsibility of the entire school community.

Relationship to school ethos/mission

Through the implementation of this Policy we strive to enact the stated Mission, Vision and Aims of Elphin Community College. We value all in the school community and endeavour to develop each member of the school community. The rationale for Pastoral Care is an integral part of our mission in Elphin Community College and as such it needs a formal structure to ensure its effectiveness in our school community on a day to day basis and particularly at critical times. In Elphin Community College we believe Pastoral Care permeates all aspects of school life.

Goals of the Policy

That each member of the school community will

  • Feel valued and cared for
  • Be developed to his/her full potential – spiritually, morally, intellectually, physically, socially and personally
  • Have a sense of belonging to our school community

Roles and Responsibilities

The Pastoral Care Task Team has the responsibility to draft this Policy in consultation with the staff, students, parents and management of the school. The Draft Policy will then be presented to the staff, Student Council, Parents Association, The Board of Management & the Board of Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board.

Implementation of Policy

  • Board of Management – The BOM will ensure that the ethos and values of the founding partners are reflected in the formulation and implementation of this policy.
  • Principal and Deputy Principal – The Principal and Deputy Principal will work to ensure that our school is primarily a caring community. The management is committed to supporting all those involved in the pastoral care programme in Elphin Community College. The management makes time available to meet parents, staff and students in a supportive atmosphere. The management facilitates in-house staff development and encourages participation in external associations, programmes and courses particularly when those programmes/courses have a direct influence on student learning.
  • Whole School Staff – Due care and respect will form the basis of all dealings the staff may have with all members of the school community and visitors to the school.
  • Class Teacher Teachers conduct classes in a structured and ordered environment. The relationship fostered in the class is based on mutual respect. The classroom teacher deals with situations that arise in class and in more serious situations s/he refers the student to the Deputy Principal, Principal or Counsellor depending on the given situation and in consultation with the Code of Behaviour, Children first guidelines and any other relevant policy.
  • Critical Incident – Team The Critical Incident Team is made up of the Principal, Deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellor and members of staff. The Team will meet on a regular basis.
  • Guidance Counsellor – The Guidance Department provides a wide range of services including Vocational/Educational Guidance, Personal Development/Counselling, Aptitude/Interest Inventory testing. The Guidance Counsellors are available to meet students in class groups and for individual consultation with students and/or parents on matters relating to career advice and possible personal difficulties.
  • Parents Association – As a partner in Elphin Community College the Parents Association contributes significantly to policy making. Through their involvement in the association parents show their commitment to student welfare and development. The Parents Association contributes to various programmes in the school.
  • The Student Council & Student Council Liaison Teacher – The Student Council is a representative structure for all the students in the school. It provides students with the opportunity to become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management, staff and parents. It should always work for the benefit of the school and its students. The Student Council will always work in consultation with the school management and with reference to the “Student Council Constitution” for that relevant year.
  • Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Programme – The SPHE teachers deliver the SPHE Programme (one class period per week) to the junior cycle students. The aims of the SPHE programme are:
  • To enable the students to develop skills for self-fulfilment and living in communities • To promote self-esteem and self-confidence
  • To enable the students to develop a framework for responsible decision-making
  • To provide opportunities for reflection and discussion
  • Learning Support/Resource Teachers – The learning support teachers support students academically as well as socially and personally to facilitate their holistic education. The work is carried out in conjunction with the mainstream teachers and in collaboration with home and external agencies.
  • Special Needs Assistants – Special Needs Assistants provide care and assistance to the students allocated to their care.
  • Students – Relationships in the school will be based on respect and courtesy. Students should at all times be supportive to all in the school community. Students should respect school property and the environment and take responsibility for keeping it in good order.

Pastoral Care Programmes

The following policies/programmes will contribute to the Pastoral Care Programme in a positive and caring manner.

  • Anti-Bullying Policy – ‘Cool School’ Programme The purpose of the ‘Cool School’ programme is:
  • To raise the awareness of bullying
  • To have procedures in place to deal with incidents of bullying.
  • Care of new students who join during the school year – The Principal, Deputy Principal & Pastoral Care coordinator will provide advice and assistance to new students who join Elphin Community College during the academic year. The Pastoral Care Coordinator will monitor the performance and integration of the relevant students in Elphin Community College, over the first month by consulting with the student’s teachers.
  • Code of Behaviour – The Code of Behaviour is in place to facilitate learning and teaching in a positive, safe and secure atmosphere. The Code has been developed in partnership with the staff, students, parents and management. Refer to Code of Behaviour.
  • Critical Incident Policy The Critical Incident policy should be referred to in the event of an unprecedented event happening within the school or to a member of our school community outside of the school.
  • Extra-Curricular Activities – Teachers A wide range of activities including sporting, cultural, dramatic and artistic events facilitate the personal development of students, assists the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.
  • Health and Safety Policy – Refer to policy.
  • Homework Policy To promote in the student body the value of homework and study in the learning process and to promote independent learning and creativity. Refer to policy.
  • Induction Programme for First Year students – Principal, Deputy Principal, Pastoral Care Coordinator, Guidance Counsellor. An induction programme for incoming first year students is held prior to the students entering the school. This is held over two afternoons between March and May of the year prior to entering the school. When the students begin in 1st Year, the Principal & Deputy Principal advise the first year students of the code of behaviour expected in Elphin Community College. Timetables are distributed to the new students and the class teachers introduce themselves in their base classrooms.
  • Induction Programme for Parents of incoming First Year students – Principal, Deputy Principal, IT Coordinator and the Pastoral Care Coordinator. The parents of the incoming First Year students are invited to the school in September for an information evening. The aim of the evening is to help the parents and the incoming students with a smooth transition from primary to post-primary school.
  • An Awards Ceremony is organised by the Principal and held at the end of each academic year. Awards are given for:
  • Achievement in each subject departments
  • The ‘student of the year’ in each year group
  • Attendance
  • Extra-curricular awards

Each subject teacher nominates a student from his/her class based on performance, improvement and effort made throughout the year. The selection of the ‘student of the year’ is based on performance, participation, co-operation and effort made during the year.

  • Every teacher may give a student a Comment or Stamp in the student journal and place a merit on eportal to recognise good organisation, participation, performance, effort etc in school activities.
  • Substance Misuse Policy – Refer to the policy.

Pastoral Procedures

  • Key Pastoral Care personnel meetings (Principal, Deputy Principal, Pastoral Care Coordinator & Guidance Counsellor)
  • Whole School Assembly
  • Critical Incident Policy Procedure
  • Individual Counselling
  • Special Occasions – Bereavement Allegations of violence, bullying, abuse Suspicion of violence, bullying, abuse, pregnancy, suicide tendencies, self-harm, cult involvement.

Monitoring the Implementation of this Policy

The monitoring and implementation of this policy will keep in mind that Pastoral Care should permeate all areas of school life.

  • Principal/Deputy Principal/Pastoral Care Coordinator/Guidance Counsellor will meet with class teachers regularly to monitor the Pastoral Care Programme.
  • Teachers will discuss academic and pastoral development of each student at Parent/Teacher Meetings.
  • The Pastoral Care Team (Principal, Deputy Principal, Pastoral Care Coordinator, Guidance Counsellor, SPHE Co-Ordinator and other members of staff) will meet regularly to monitor the Policy.