Pastoral care is an absolute priority and we deliver it by building a strong foundation in Year 7 based on mentoring, positive role modelling and the excellent relationships between tutors and tutees.
As per the mantra, Every Girl, Every Day, pastoral care is not a one size fits all approach. At Croydon High, we have a variety of support structures which pupils might use to varying degrees in their time at the school.
Dedicated staff in all roles get to know pupils well, and of course such friendly and open relationships are central to the enjoyment of the school for pupils and teachers alike.
Tutors see groups twice a day, and have more dedicated time at least twice a week to deepen discussion on issues, share understanding about each other, learn skills relevant to all subjects. Through these tutor periods, staff can often pre-empt a smaller friendship dispute or class work issue, as well as support pupils through more challenging organisational or social learning experiences should they arise.
Experienced Heads of Year support tutors in this role, and liaise with parents, classroom teachers, the school, nurse/counselling provision if necessary to ensure that the holistic needs of pupils’ are well communicated.
In September 2021 we also launched our Period Project, and in September 2022 we launched new ‘Period Pods’ in our Wellbeing Hub.
Adolescence has always had bumps in the road, and the landscape for youngsters changes frequently. When such tougher moments come along, the school has a dedicated counsellor of our own, as well as a Place2Be counselling service which can offer drop in or one-one sessions housed in the Wellbeing Hub. The Place2Be office sits on the main teaching corridor, adorned with advice and invitations to chat, signposting to all pupils that mental wellbeing is important. Alongside the timetabled PSHE sessions on wellbeing tools, tutor-time focus sessions on relevant issues and a genuine offer of speaking to any trusted adult in the school, the counsellor and Place2Be offer a listening ear.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions…
Before she arrives in September, each girl is invited to Taster Days and the Induction day. They will know many faces before day one, therefore. Girls will have met their “Big Sister” in Year 10 who they will continue to touch base with on a regular basis throughout the year to compete in fun challenges, or discuss timely topics, ask questions, or just chat to in the corridor. And of course, there is SKERN! Within a week the year group are carried off for a week long residential course where mixing and ice breaking is the order of day. Generations of girls and alumnae recall SKERN fondly and it begins their journey of forming strong bonds, not just with each other, but with those in the older years too.
The Form Tutor sees pupils twice a day. They are best placed to answer questions on logistics, small concerns or direct your query to the right colleague.
In short, whoever she feels most comfortable with. We know our girls well, and staff appreciate that for every girl there will be the best option. Subject teacher, Form Tutor, Head of Year, School nurse, School counsellor, Prefect, Peer listener, The Headmistress – all are happy and willing to listen. Form Tutor and Head of Year would normally co-ordinate any longer term assistance required and contact home to liaise.
Navigating on and offline friendships defines teenage life. Celebrating diversity and fostering an active altruism outside the bubble of school, encourages girls to have perspective and find common ground. PSHEE lessons and tutor time sessions address such issues, as do fundraising/awareness raising initiatives throughout the school.
On the occasions when common sense has not prevailed, caring and supportive staff lead girls through practical steps they can take to repair relationships. This may involve mediation, or enlisting the help of older girls to empathise and act as role models, delivering key messages. Parents are involved too, with Tutor or Head of Year making contact home to keep parents in the loop.
We ask every girl, every day to challenge herself. This may be as simple as offering an answer in class, through to leading a house assembly, pitching an idea to staff or performing on her chosen stage. A school needs to be a place where girls can try something out, and not know exactly how it will turn out. Engendering a philosophy of having a go, and providing opportunities to do so, means that while adolescence develops, girls get feedback on what they enjoy and what works for them.
Very quickly, Croydon High School girls develop an understanding that they are not competing with each other, but they are competing with the world. The support they are then able to offer each other is immensely powerful – encouragement, understanding, advice, motivation. It is a powerful combination.
We take the mental wellbeing of our girls very seriously and aim to buck the national trend of a rise in mental health issues in girls. Every girl in our Senior School has been given tools to keep track of her mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and body-confidence have long been a feature at Croydon High and this initiative aims to bring a shared language, knowledge and set of tools among girls and staff when discussing mental wellbeing. Age appropriate techniques have been deployed to help girls to recognise their mood, keep expectations appropriate and take positive steps to improve their mental health.
We have two counselling routes available to support pupils. The School Counsellor is joined by the Place2Be service. This allows the school a range of options to suit the needs of various pupils.
We have pioneered our own school Period Project. The project, initially launched by Mrs Pattison in September 2021, is now being passionately led by Mrs Webb, and aims to offer a safe environment for pupils to learn more about their menstrual cycle and how it affects their mental and physical wellbeing. Most importantly, the school encourages open discussion and conversation – both in school and at home. At the heart of this plan is our ambition to create a safe space for pupils to rehearse the challenges of the real world, and carrying on with day-to-day life while on your period is just one such challenge. You can read more about the support we offer and our ‘Period Pods’ here.
Anti-Bullying at Croydon High
For Anti-Bullying Week 2022, our pupils created an amazing video on the theme: Reach Out! Featuring a brilliant performance from our Sixth Form Drama pupils, inspiring pledges from Senior School pupils, and a poem written and performed by two talented Year 8 pupils. It’s a wonderful testament to the supportive and inclusive community of our school.