Girls’ Pastoral Care

Pastoral care is central to all we do at Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School as we believe that wellness is a vital part of a girl’s education. Indeed, we believe that when girls are happy and inspired they are more effective learners and more confident participators.

For us, pastoral care is about understanding and supporting each individual girl to achieve her full potential. We are delighted that a parent added the following comment to a Cappco Report: “The staff are a delight and look after the girls beautifully.”

Form teachers are the first point of contact for both pupil and parent. They take the time to get to know each girl from the week that she joins. Kindness towards others along with developing the character of each girl is an important aspect of our pastoral care. Each girl is treated as an individual so that she can blossom academically, socially and behaviourally, and we strive to help every pupil to build her own toolkit of techniques to help ensure future success and happiness. To help develop these shared values, we have introduced a focus around seven character traits that we feel will help girls respond positively to challenging situations. They include discernment, optimism, grit, self-control, empathy, adaptability and trust. These attributes are frequently discussed in assemblies, in the classrooms and on the sports field and girls are periodically asked to record when and how they have demonstrated these attributes. Over the course of the last academic year this initiative has had a huge effect on the student body as a whole, helping to improve the girls’ resilience, well-being and self-awareness.

Building confidence and self-belief

Building confidence and the self-belief to achieve one’s goals, with an emphasis on positive feedback and rewards, is intrinsic in all we do at Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School. The welfare and development of every pupil is paramount and every girl excels at something. Beyond the class teacher, a well-established house system provides the overarching structure for effective and consistent wrap-around pastoral care within the school.

During their first days at school, all the Kindergarten girls will be helped to settle in by their ‘big sisters’. They help them at lunchtimes and become someone very special. The staff take an interest in the girls’ extracurricular activities and you can often hear them sharing stories. The headmaster and SMT shake the hands of the girls each morning and again in the afternoon so that they quickly build a relationship of trust in the first few weeks.

We maintain an open-door policy. Parents are welcome to drop in and discuss their daughter’s progress at any time. Working as a team for the benefit of the girls is key to all we do here at Eaton House. Testament to what a special place our school is, is that our leavers request to return year on year to share their experiences, catch up with their housemates and see those teachers who made them feel special and valued!

Form Teacher

Form teachers are the first point of contact for both pupil and parent. They will take the time to get to know each girl from the week she joins, so that they are in the best possible position to help with the personal and social development of every girl.

One of the form teacher’s main roles is to ensure that all the girls are fulfilling their true potential in all areas of the curriculum.

A girl’s form teacher is there to help oversee the girl’s progress, encourage success and recognise her individual achievements. She or he is also there to guide the children into making the correct choices and help them to learn from their mistakes.

If for whatever reason a girl is struggling at any point with academic or pastoral matters, it is the form teacher’s role to put a plan in place involving both the child and her parents, to overcome the problem as effectively as possible. The open-door policy we have at the Girls’ School is a key factor in ensuring that communication between parents and teachers is tight. As a result any concerns about your child can be resolved quickly and efficiently.

House System

At Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School, the housemistress plays a pivotal role in the life of each girl at school. She champions each girl and encourages her to be part of the wider team.

As the house system spans the seven years from KG to Year 6, the girls gain a real sense of belonging and make many special friendships.

The housemistress praises the girls in her house, rewarding their many successes and offering a helping hand or a steer in the right direction when it is needed.

From the beginning the KG girls are allocated their big sisters via the house system and overseen by the head of house, who plays an important role in ensuring that every girl is on track and supporting her house with passion and pride.

There are many house competitions from poetry to netball, general knowledge to Easter bonnets! The housemistress is the constant, always there to help organise them and cheer from the sidelines!

Teachers and housemistresses support each other’s work in and out of the classroom through the house point system – ensuring there is close communication between them at all times, and this just adds another layer to our excellent wrap-around pastoral care.

Big Sisters

Pastoral care plays an essential role in ensuring that your daughter settles into life in the Girls’ School from the moment she joins us in Kindergarten.

We first meet the girls in the summer term before they are due to start with us, at our new girls’ tea party. The new girls’ tea provides a fun-filled afternoon where the girls meet one another as well as meeting their class teacher and teacher assistant. The afternoon allows the girls to familiarise themselves with the school and their new classrooms, to aid the coming transition and excite them about the adventure ahead. It also provides an opportunity for parents to meet before the start of term.

To ensure a smooth transition once term starts, we allocate each of our Kindergarten (KG) girls a ‘big sister’. The big sister is always a girl in our most senior year, Form 6, and is often in the same house as her younger ‘sibling’. During the summer holidays prior to the KG girls’ arrival at Eaton House, each KG girl receives a welcoming letter or postcard from her big sister. This is a wonderful way of easing any nerves that the KG girls may have and immediately gives them a friendly face to look out for on their very first day.

Bonding

When the academic year begins in September, the bond between the KG girls and their big sisters forms almost instantly. The Year 6 girls very much enjoy the sense of responsibility of having a KG to play with at break time, sit with at lunchtime, and introduce to aspects of school life. For the KGs, their big sisters are role models who provide the type of friendship and reassurance that enables the new girls to feel both fully integrated into the school and also highly valued.

The strong relationship between the oldest and youngest girls is crucial in establishing the notion of respect for all. As the years pass, and the big sisters leave Eaton House for their senior schools, it is lovely to hear how many remain in contact with their younger buddy. Cards and presents are often exchanged but, more importantly, the mutual respect that has been established from the outset often leads to both girls following the progress of the other with genuine interest.

Well-being

At a time when societal pressures are impacting negatively on the mental and physical health of children across the country, we take the issue of well-being seriously.

Our aim is not only to encourage the girls, but also enable them to include various elements in their lives that will ultimately provide the bedrock for a healthy body and mind.

Thus, whether it be in form time, assemblies, PSHEE lessons or on the sports field, we discuss the importance of regular exercise, sleep, hydration and a balanced diet. With technology, and particularly screen time, becoming an increasingly common feature in girls’ lives, we are very proactive in our delivery of e-safety guidance to girls and parents alike. Forming positive, healthy habits at a young age is vital, and as many of these habits will be carried out at home as much as at school, our ethos is very much to share information and suggestions with parents whenever possible.

Nurturing self-esteem

By celebrating each girl’s individual triumphs we nurture self-esteem, for example by awarding house points or by displaying work on classroom walls. The confidence boost that comes from being recognised in public is something we never underestimate. Courtesy, kindness and effort are also very much rewarded, thereby enabling all girls to feel the benefits of success rather than simply those who are the best in any given discipline.

Through our school rules, our global awareness and our contact with the local community, we teach the girls to conduct themselves in a way which fills their lives with purpose. We believe that it is by giving time to others that the girls form a sense of contentment in themselves – a contentment which which provides emotional resilience when challenges are faced.

The quality of the relationship between each girl and both her peers and her teachers is at the very heart of the well-being process. Developing these relationships requires commitment, patience, empathy and humour, elements that are modelled by the staff and emulated by the pupils. Visitors to the school frequently comment on the vibrant, warm atmosphere, and we are extremely proud of our community spirit. When difficulties do arise, our desire is to resolve any issues in a speedy and effective manner. The pastoral care demonstrated by all our staff means that the girls can feel secure in the knowledge they will be listened to, supported and treated fairly.

The final aspect of promoting positive mental health comes from assisting each girl to find her own personal area of interest. Being deeply engaged by an academic subject, an extracurricular club or a particular school-based event allows the girls to lose themselves in their favoured activity, and these feelings of excitement and enthusiasm can very much strengthen an individual’s sense of well-being.