Pupil Pastoral Support
Downland School promotes a positive, nurturing approach which emphasises tolerance, understanding and listening to pupils.
Ofsted Report, 2019
At Downland School we are first and foremost a family environment and we want each and every one of our pupils to feel safe, secure, included and well supported. We believe that good pastoral support focuses on nurturing the specific individual needs of each child and we aim to build trusting and empathic relationships with all of our young people and their families including parents/carers. All pupils are encouraged to feel that they belong, we offer a high level of care and support with a strong focus on developing self-regulation, worth and self-esteem.
Our collective whole school approach is developed to encourage pupils to seek help and support, recognising their individual needs and regulating their own behaviour in response to social situations. We offer an array of additional help and support in respect of managing emotions, improving emotional wellbeing and developing emotional intelligence. All of our focus is on preparing our pupils to form healthy, functioning secure attachments and positive relationships with others whilst at school and in their adult lives.
We pride ourselves on knowing each pupil incredibly well, understanding their needs both within the school and home environments. All staff have a thorough understanding of the pupil’s special educational needs and the ‘barriers’ that have existed restricting their success in their previous settings and history. We work very closely with parents/carers and a wide range of other professionals promoting a united approach to support, address and meet individual needs.
All staff at Downland School promote and provide an exceptionally warm, nurturing, friendly, and caring environment in which pupils can achieve their very best academically, personally, and socially. We have an over-arching approach called ‘The Downland Way’ that underpins the way we interact with each other.
One of the fundamental driving forces behind this aim and approach is the school’s Support Team. Our Support Managers, alongside all staff, prioritise the personal and social wellbeing of our pupils, encompassing a wide variety of needs and strategies, including: health, social and moral education; behaviour management and emotional support. All of our pupils know that staff are available to support them beyond the classroom; they are encouraged to seek this support rather that ignore an escalating issue or concern. The school leadership team also strengthen this team further and often work within the department throughout the day.
The personal development of each of our pupils is monitored and supported regularly by our Support team, made up of Mr Andrew Mauree and Ms Sarah Gittins (Support Managers). The team are highly experienced at working in collaboration with all staff to ensure we support our pupils in their emotional difficulties, as well as their triumphs, joys and victories.
The Role of the Tutor
Each Tutor Group has a between 6 and 10 pupils and is run by a tutor and someone else supporting the group.
The Tutor will register the pupils twice a day (am and pm) and are the first port of call for parents/carers; you can choose to do this by phone or e-mail. We also welcome regular face to face meetings.
During registration there is time for the teachers to discuss the day before or morning ahead with the pupils, with an extended tutor time once a week. All of our pupils are aware that the tutor is there to help them both academically but also socially and emotionally.
The tutor regularly speaks to parents and carers to support our young people, and they are available every day after school to discuss any requirements. They will speak to parents and carers should any information need to be shared throughout the day, when possible, along with the Support Managers.
Each pupil has a weekly ‘Point Sheet’, on which, engagement in every lesson is recorded, they are awarded a letter which indicates how well they have performed in class, they are (O – Outstanding – where the pupil has gone over and above, G – where the pupil has received a Good, V for variable, meaning the child did not meet expectations and a P in case of a Poor lesson). Teachers grade the lesson but the tutor has the responsibility of collating the points and sending them home every week. This enables parents/carers to share in and celebrate their child’s achievements each week but also helps to identify any subjects or times of the day the pupil may be experiencing difficulties. Any ‘poor’ awarded is explained on the reverse of the monitoring sheet to enable a meaningful discussion to be held when things have not gone so well. Each Friday morning, we hold a whole school assembly that only focuses on the positive achievements to date that week.
The Support Managers meet with all staff at the start and end of every day to discuss the pupil’s structured and unstructured times and pass any information to the Tutor in order for them to make phone calls home; either to share success or to discuss any problems throughout the school day. Parents/carers are encouraged to report any issues, difficulties or concerns being experienced at home as this also strengthens our ability to support our young people and the whole family.
Tutors create and send an overview of each term’s points for each pupil; we call it ‘The Live Pupil Profile’. This report collates the terms points and highlights the areas pupils are both excelling in and where things are less positive. They will suggest a target to work upon the following term, this target could be linked to an outcome identified in their Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Bullying & Racism
The school takes ALL incidents of bullying or racism very seriously and will not condone either under any circumstance.
Bullying and racism are always recorded, follow-up action taken, and we aim to deal with any reports swiftly and fairly. This may involve restorative work with the pupils and meetings involving parents/ carers. The aim is to resolve any issues, working together for a positive outcome. This will often be carried out by exploring feelings, as well as what has happened or has been said. Serious incidents of bullying or racism are dealt with through the disciplinary procedure and, where necessary, further counselling is given or action is taken.