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Pastoral Care In St. Dominic's

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In St. Dominic’s, pastoral care permeates all aspects of school life and all members of staff take responsibility for the care and welfare of our students. St. Dominic’s provides a holistic education which combines academic excellence with the development of the whole person. Our aim is to develop students spiritually, academically, morally, emotionally, culturally and socially so that they are well-developed and well-equipped to face the many challenges of the 21st century. Fundamental to our pastoral approach is the promotion of a caring ethos and good quality relationships throughout the entire school community.

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The Pastoral Care Structure

While all staff contribute to the caring ethos of our school, there are a number of specialised roles within the Pastoral Care structure.

A Vice Principal co-ordinates the Pastoral Care system.

Each Class Tutor has daily contact with their class, delivers the Pastoral Care programme and has an overview of each student's progress. He/she liaises regularly with subject teachers and monitors the students' progress, behaviour and well-being.

The Year Head has overall responsibility for the Pastoral Care of the pupils in the year group, working closely with Class Tutors and preparing a programme relevant to the needs of the pupils in that year.

In addition, a Senior Teacher oversees one section of the school - Junior (Years 8-10), Middle (Years 11-12) and Senior (Years 13-14). This role involves primarily support for Year Heads and Tutors within the section and general monitoring of attendance, punctuality, behaviour and academic progress.

Each class in Years 8 - 11 has Prefects who act as role models for younger pupils, provide another channel of communication between pupils and school staff. They are an invaluable asset in the care of the pupils and they give practical assistance throughout the school year.

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The PSHE Programme

PSHE is Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education. The PSHE programme has been designed to ensure that our students grow in their self-esteem, resilience, confidence and independence of thought.

Our PSHE programme places personal development and the acquisition of personal, learning and thinking skills at the heart of the curriculum. There is a dedicated 30 minute PSHE class once a week as well as immersion days when students are taken off timetable for retreats, Love for Life workshops (which focus on sex education and healthy relationships) and workshops on resilience. Speakers and outside agencies also deliver workshops and talks to all year groups on important issues such as safe social networking, road safety, relationships, drugs and alcohol education.

Supporting & Guiding

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Prefects

Every Year 14 student is eligible to apply to become a prefect. This is a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills and personal capabilities in a number of different ways.

Pupils may apply to be a class prefect, a library prefect or a subject prefect.

Class Prefects

Class prefects are in the privileged position of being mentors to younger pupils. In a very special way they help Year 8 students settle in, advising them on how to organise themselves to cope with the move to secondary school and the variety of subjects they are faced with, as well as physically conducting them around the school until they become familiar with the geography of the building.

They work closely with the class tutor and year head, helping anyone who needs a word of encouragement or a bit of advice. They keep a special eye out for anyone who appears to be isolated and help to solve minor relationship problems.

With the older year groups their advice is often sought when making subject choices or on study and revision techniques at exam time.

Library & Subject Prefects

Library and subject prefects help with the necessary administration and develop their own skills and interests in these areas.

All prefects involve themselves in the day to day running of the school under the leadership of the elected Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl.

Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl

The Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl positions are highly prized by the senior pupils. Candidates are nominated from within the prefect body by fellow prefects and seconded by other members of the year group. They are required to produce a C.V. and to address an assembly of their peers and members of staff, outlining their reasons for standing for election and their vision and aspirations for the position. The Head Girl and her Deputy are then elected by secret ballot by their year group and members of staff.

The Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl are the leaders of the prefects, their year group and the entire pupil community. They represent the school at various functions both inside and outside the school throughout the year. They liaise closely with the Principal and members of the senior staff and are an indispensable part of the pastoral structure within St Dominic's.

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Mentoring

Our Tutors and Year Heads are given time to provide academic and pastoral mentoring to students in their classes throughout the year.

All our Key Stage 3 and 4 classes are assigned two Year 14 prefects. The Year 8 prefects work very closely with their tutor groups throughout the year. At the beginning of Term 1, they attend registration with their assigned classes, lead PHSE lessons and assemblies, focusing on issues or challenges that are particular to Year 8. The senior students are also given the opportunity to mentor younger students. All Year 8 students are also assigned a Year 14 ‘Buddy’ to help with their transition to secondary school. This also provides all our Year 14 students with a leadership role working with young people to develop their social and interpersonal skills.

Additional Educational Needs

Every child has the right to achieve their full potential and here in St. Dominic’s, we provide the necessary support for every individual’s needs. The school SENCo leads a team of dedicated learning support assistants and together with all staff in the school they enhance the learning of every child in the school. When necessary, additional literacy and numeracy support is provided by teachers as well as access arrangements for public exams.

We have a state-of-the-art building with modern facilities which include lifts, ramp access, disability-access facilities and a medical room. Other facilities include a Hub area where pupils with additional needs can meet and relax in a quiet, comfortable area.

Pastoral Care Policies

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