A high quality of Pastoral Care is central to our ethos at St Christopher’s; it underpins everything that we do and along with a high quality of teaching and learning, it is what our community is all about. We work closely with families to unravel any difficulties, which allows us to work together in the best interest of the child.
The contribution for arrangements for pastoral care is excellent. The school fulfills its aim of creating a caring and secure family environment, with a strong emphasis on manners and good behavior. Pupils feel safe, both physically and emotionally. Relationships throughout the school community are universally positive, and the school provides a high level of personal support and guidance for its pupils.” Independent Schools Inspectorate Inspection report 2016 (to read more click here)
“My son loves to come to school. He is challenged, fulfilled and happy. The staff are delightful and we are very grateful to St Christopher’s for all their hard work – it is a wonderful learning environment.” Year 1 parent 2017
St Christopher’s is enhanced by a traditional House system. This provides four smaller units for pupils to enjoy a sense of belonging and support in addition to experiencing the thrill of competition. We have chosen children’s authors as our Houses and at the beginning of every term the whole school head into their House to hear a chapter by their House author and hear about a range of exciting ways to earn Housepoints.
We have received a visit from Anna Kemp who enjoyed reading her book ‘Dogs don’t do ballet’ to the children and we receive cards and letters from Allan Ahlberg and Julia Donaldson. Occasionally we have a House Day to coincide with our annual celebrations of World Book Day.
We take pastoral care very seriously, understanding that children learn best when their emotional needs are met. Pupils are encouraged to mentor children within their house and once a pupil is assigned to a house any younger siblings automatically become members of that house. Children are motivated by a reward structure and enjoy receiving merit points for behaviour, academic and sporting achievement which are totalled up for weekly comparison and celebration between each house.
Inter-house competitions are a popular way to encourage collaboration and celebrate team achievement. Our annual inter-house sports day in July is a highlight of the year along with other example such as our inter-house thinking skills day and our House Charity Day.
The appointment of House Captains rewards talent or good behaviour and House Captains take their positions of responsibility seriously. Every week they collect the Housepoints from each classroom. Members of staff are assigned to Houses, serving only as advisers and mentors, and are not part of the competitive element (allegedly!).
Play times are only enjoyable when everyone is having a good time. ‘When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do…’ is a line from a well-known song and we use it at St Christopher’s to discuss the meaning and value of our bright blue bench situated in the playground. If a child is feeling lonely or ‘blue’ all the children have to do is to go and sit on the bench and they are promptly swept up and involved in a game by the Blue Bench Monitors, two children especially chosen from Year 2 for their caring, friendly qualities. This is a very successful initiative even though some children just pausing to catch their breath during playtime are lovingly swept along and invited to join a game.
We recognise that it is our job to encourage and secure good manners, respect and kindness from all of the children who will be the good citizens of the future. We do this by emphasising the value of these qualities with positive and original initiatives such as small laminated Kindness Kangaroos or Polite Penguins which are earned and treasured by their keeper as well as being celebrated in the school community. Bringing happiness to others is another talent that we recognise as an important pastoral skill and our ‘Happiness Hamsters’ have helped reinforce this important value
We hold workshop evenings and discussion evenings for different year groups each year during which we communicate more about our approach to a range of issues so that we can all work together to ensure that the home, school, child triangle is working well.