The start of 2016 brings with it the final piece to our new House-based, vertical pastoral system, with the Deans’ structure also changing to a vertical, House-based model.
Through having a Dean allocated to each House, we believe the pastoral care of each and every girl will be further strengthened. Just as with our new homeroom structure, the House Dean will remain with the House for the time the girls are at school.
Three years ago we started this change process when as a school we enquired into what it is that we value most about the pastoral care of our girls? Feedback then told us that students with a developed sense of belonging are more likely to thrive and achieve their academic goals. This then led to investigating ways to ensure our girls have a sense of belonging and connection to school, thus the new homeroom structure was developed.
The impact of these changes is not easy to measure, with no clear correlation between improved learning outcomes and our changed actions with pastoral care. However, we need to ask ourselves: do our girls have a strengthened sense of belonging? Are our academic results continuing to improve without impacting upon student wellbeing? One of the more powerful exercises teaching staff have used to track progress is mapping our changed actions against the desired outcomes outlined in the Wellbeing for Success (Education Review Office, 2013) document. Staff worked in groups examining the individual outcomes, then back mapped identifying the specific actions we use which support this. Examples of what this looks like at Woodford were added as supporting evidence. This process highlighted for staff just how comprehensive and valuable our new system is.
Observations and feedback from those involved would suggest relationships have strengthened across the school community: staff to staff, staff to student, staff to caregiver, student to student. With the final ‘touches’ to be added next year, we are very excited about where we are heading…
Mrs Catherine Bentley, DP – Director of Students