Sam Pollock reports on pastoral care initiatives and aims:
Developing empathy and compassion for others is at the heart of our pastoral work at Westbourne and our initiatives throughout the school are designed in order for the children to have an opportunity to enhance these very important soft skills.
Our school focus of the term ‘Be Respectful’ has given the pastoral team lots of opportunities to embrace all things international but also to look at the smaller ways in which we can show respect in our school and towards other people.
International Week was a week for our pupils to learn about other cultures and understand that we are a small part of a much bigger world. The week highlighted the importance of connecting with other cultures and customs as well as experiencing hands on activities from around the world.
This half term we have revisited our 'Girls on Board' programme in each year group and our girls have reflected on issues that have occurred at school within their friendship groups. We have found these sessions to be informal, fun and an opportunity to speak openly with the girls about any problems that maybe worrying them at school. We have found that on reflection and with consideration and guidance; the girls are empowered to sort out some of their own problems themselves. A very important life skill! The pastoral team are currently devising a ‘Boys on Board’ programme and Year 7 have experienced a similar style session which allows the opportunity for the boys to consider their behaviour towards each other in some situations.
Some of our Year 8 girls were selected to peer mentor a group of Year 4 girls under the guidance of Miss Tilling. They have proved to be invaluable role models meeting up with the younger children each week to listen and guide.
On a similar vein, our buddy programme in Year 6, our Happy Helpers in Year 7 and our Leading by Reading Year 8 children are showing themselves to be reliable and respected pupils amongst our community.
One role which is highly valued at Westbourne House is that of our ‘Year 8 Friends’. These children are selected based on their high levels of empathy and willingness to help those who may be feeling troubled. They base themselves in the Year 5/6 Chill Out room at break time and are trained in basic counselling skills. The other pupils around the school know that they can pop in and see them if they are feeling lost, lonely or sad and chat or simply play a game.