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Pastoral Care Policy

Mission Statement:

The core value of Our Lady of Mercy College, Beaumont is respect for all and the nurturing of individual potential academically, spiritually and culturally as a member of the school community and in the spirit of the Mercy Ethos.

The ethos of the school is characterised by the quality of relationships within the school. Individuals are cherished and their contribution to the life of the school community is valued and appreciated. Rights and responsibilities are exercised in a spirit of respect. Pastoral care is recognised as central. The values of forgiveness and reconciliation, justice and tolerance are promoted within and beyond the school community.

Definition

School pastoral care is a systematic approach to education, which seeks to cherish, support, respect, nurture and encourage every member of the school community.

Relevance

Inspired by the teaching of Catherine McAuley, Our Lady of Mercy College is committed to holistic development and to the achievement of the full potential of each student, particularly those who are disadvantaged or marginalised. It is a process informed and influenced by the teaching and example of Jesus Christ and is conducted in an atmosphere of care, respect and joy. Our school is committed to ongoing whole school development in collaboration and partnership with the Board of Management, Staff, Parents and the wider community. 

Rationale

To fulfil the legal requirements of the Education Act.

To complement our school mission statement.

Aims

Through our pastoral care policy we aim:

  1. To ensure that all aspects of school life are firmly rooted in Christian principals.
  2. To create and maintain an atmosphere where all members of the school community feel that they are known safe, valued, respected and happy.
  3. To support the ideals enshrined in the school mission statement.
  4. To implement our Code of Behaviour which show due consideration for all members of the school community.
  5. To maintain the highest standards of teaching and learning.
  6. To build an atmosphere of trust.
  7. To respond in a sympathetic way to the concerns and fears, worries of our pupils.
  8. To promote the pupils’ physical, mental and emotional health and well being through the teaching of Social, Personal and Health Education and other subjects.
  9. To promote the pupils’ spiritual and moral development through Religious Education and faith formation.
  10. To provide opportunities for reflection and discussion thus enabling students to develop a framework for responsible decision making.

Content:

1. Ethos

The ethos of the school will be reflected in the moral, intellectual, spiritual, personal and social development of our students. It does not happen by chance. To this end the principal, senior management team and staff will promote an atmosphere of care and respect within the formal and informal life of the school community.

2. Relationships

A good relationship between pupils and staff is paramount to generating a positive climate within the school community where every individual feels valued and cared for at all times. Good relationships will be nurtured between:

  • Staff and pupils
  • Pupils and their peers
  • Members of Staff
  • Senior management team and staff
  • School and the surrounding community.

Students will also be encouraged to develop and value a respect for themselves.

3. Values

Christian living is central to the ethos of the school. Value Education is a course module in the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme. These values permeate all other school subjects and activities.

4. Self-Esteem/Personal Development

Personal and social development is a pre-requisite for successful learning: a young person who has a high degree of self-worth, a sense of security and a positive self image will be more predisposed to school life and to the variety of learning situations it offers.  Therefore Social, Personal and Health Education is included as a key element in the school curriculum.

The curriculum for SPHE in the Junior Cycle is presented in ten modules, each of which appears in each year of the three-year cycle.  The modules are;

  • Belonging and integrating
  • Self-management; a sense of purpose
  • Communication Skills
  • Physical Health
  • Friendship
  • Relationships and Sexuality
  • Emotional Health
  • Influences and Decisions
  • Substance use
  • Personal Safety.

5. Career Guidance Counselling

The career guidance counsellor has a pivotal role to play in the school. She/He aims to facilitate all students’ career needs and assure them of continuous support and counselling. In the course of their lives people are faced with the need to make significant decisions that affect both themselves and those around them. For second level students these choices are focussed on three key areas:

  • Personal and Social
  • Educational
  • Career

The career guidance counsellor facilitates students’ access to the following services:

(a)        Personal development programmes: Assisting pupils in their personal and social development, decision making and planning; providing counselling, including bereavement counselling; liaison with outside agencies, including Department of Education and Science Psychologists and Health Boards.

(b)        Educational Development Programmes: providing knowledge and skills relating to studying, exams and choices of subjects and subject levels.

(c)        Career Information: Providing factual information relating to 3rd level study and other career options, while helping students to make informed career decisions by the use of aptitude, career-interest and other tests. Parents are also invited to participate with the Career Guidance Counsellor in the guidance process through consultation and attendance at relevant information evenings relating to subject and career choices.

It is in this regard, care for the total well-being of the student that guidance and counselling form an integral part of what pastoral care is.

6. Special Needs/Learning Support

Our pastoral care policy copper fastens the schools special needs policy which ensures that all students have access to, participate in and gains positive outcomes from schooling, with a view to providing the foundations of a quality life. The special needs policy states that the staff in co-operation with parents and external professionals will cater for students who may experience difficulty in any subject area or who because of special needs may need extra tuition or special arrangements at state exams.

Students who fall within the Special Needs Category include:

  • Pupils with learning difficulties
  • Pupils with physical and sensory disabilities
  • Pupils with emotional and behavioural disorders
  • Pupils with other special Needs.

7. The Student Council

The student council has a very important role to play in the area of pastoral care. The council gives students a significant voice in the development of policy and affords students the opportunity to play an active and positive part in the life of the school. The council is designed to encourage students to become more self-confident, responsible, caring and independent young women who are prepared to take the challenge of adult life. As a representative body the student council liaises with other partners within the school community.

8. The Parents Council.

The Parents Council offers valued support to the school community in a number of ways:

  • Organising parent nights
  • Catering for school functions
  • Organising fund raising for the school.

9. The Student Prefect System

Prefects are appointed from sixth year in the school. They have an important leadership role within the school. They assist year heads and class teachers with classes and have other duties which help in the running of the school. They often provide a direct link to students in the school.

10. The Chaplain

The Chaplain, as a faith presence, committed to the values of Christ, and on behalf of the Church and School Communities, accompanies each person on the journey through life.

The Chaplain:

  • Animates the spiritual life of the school community
  • Supports the religion faculty of the school
  • Facilitates the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of    Reconciliation
  • Is a resource and spiritual support to the staff
  • Maintains a close link with the local church community.

11. The Class Tutor/Year Head

The tutoring role is in place to promote the best environment for learning at every level of the person.

The class\tutor is the teacher who takes on the task of special care of one class unit.

“It is the class tutor who takes care, shows care, teaches care and evokes care” (Collins 1993).

S/he will have particular concern for each person in the class and is the first “port of call” in matters of student welfare.

(a)                      The class tutor has a responsibility to closely monitor the progress of his/her students in every area of school life.

(b)                     The class tutor works in close co-operation with Year Heads and other parts of the pastoral care structure to ensure the best solution is found to any difficulties that may arise.

(c)                      The relationship established between the student and the class tutor will be of particular benefit when difficulties need to be faced; that is why the class tutor is normally the first point of reference when problems arise. Also, the class tutor would where practicable, remain with the class right throughout their time in the school.

(d)                     It is desirable that from September 2008 all pupils have a dedicated tutor class on a regular basis. The role of the class tutor will be to:

(1)               Issue a student profile

(2)               Promote and encourage positive behaviour

(3)               Promote good learning strategies

(4)               Deal with personal difficulties of pupils as they might arise.

All information of a personal nature is confidential. The class tutor will liaise with the Year Head, Counsellor and or Deputy Principal and Principal. Where it is appropriate the class tutor would alert subject teachers to information of relevance to them in carrying out their tasks in the best interest of their classes and of individual students.

12. Board of Management:

The Board of management will have the responsibility for the care and well being of all students.

 Personal Safety

We will encourage students to be responsible for their own personal safety and help them to acquire skills to be able to do this so that they will be able to make the correct decisions and know where to get help if or when they are confronted with danger. Students are encouraged to speak with the class tutor if they need help or are concerned.  Students will also be aware of the teacher responsible for first aid and what procedures are for dealing with students who need first aid.  

The Principal is the Designated Liaison Person and the Deputy Principal is the Deputy Designated Liaison Person for Child Protection issues.

Implementation

The Board of Management will have the overall responsibility for the School Development Plan. including monitoring the safety of each person in the school. The senior management team will ensure that pastoral care is given a high profile in the school curriculum. The Principal will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the pastoral care policy. They will work with all staff and ensure that they are properly trained. They will make sure that non-teaching staff are familiar with the pastoral care policy and give help when needed. Each member of staff will work to build up the students self esteem and encourage them to be assertive and to resist negative peer pressure.  They will help the students to celebrate success and develop the ability to make moral decisions and to know the difference between right and wrong.

Resources

Resources required to maintain and update the pastoral care policy will be updated as necessary.

Supervision

Students will be supervised from 8:40am, during break times 10:50am -11:05am,  1:05 – 1:50pm and 3:45pm – 4:00pm. Full supervision also continues during all extra curricular activities such as football training, school trips, tours, retreats, liturgies and related activities.  No student may enter the specialist rooms without adult supervision.

Conclusion:

This policy will be reviewed at the end of year 1 and every 3 years (or when appropriate) by the principal, staff members, parents and students.  The effectiveness of this policy will be determined by the quality of care within and beyond the classroom and the effectiveness of the support arrangements for all members of the school community.    

All students will have a dedicated tutor class on a regular basis.

A Care Team will be put in place consisting of Year Heads, Class Tutors, Guidance Counsellor, Chaplain and Special Needs teachers as appropriate.

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