The Pastoral System
In September 2021 we moved to a year group system named after famous ships (Endeavour, Invincible, Triumph, Valiant and Victory) one attached to each year group. Each year group is associated with a colour tie. The tie colour moves with each year group as they make their way through to Year 11. Each year group is led by a Senior Pastoral Manager and an Assistant Pastoral Manager, with a Senior Leader linked to each year group. There are ten tutor groups in each year group, and the tutor groups work closely together to develop their own ethos and learning environment. Each tutor group has their own tutor, and every year team has support staff, who are available to work more closely with students and to support tutors.
Why we believe in the system
The Pastoral Vision
“To achieve a creative community of staff and students working together to support and develop everyone on their journey to OUTSTANDING achievement.”
In essence, the Pastoral Team’s ambition is to support every single student, no matter what their age, ability or circumstances, to be the best that they can be. The idea of community is important to us, whether it be the form community, the year community, the academy community or our contributions to our local community and beyond.
The benefits of this system are too numerous to mention, but they include:
- Allowing students of the same age group to become a team and their own community
- Developing leadership skills in students, by expecting them to act as a guide and role model for our younger students as they move up to Year 11
- Giving tutors more focused, meaningful one-to-one time with students at crucial times of the year; for PRE or Options choices.
- Year 7 get additional support during the transition phase with a Progress Leader
- Year 10 and Year 11 can undertake some intervention work with specialised tutors.
- Year 11 students get much more support with revision techniques and planning with a dedicated Progress Leader
- Students of all ages can receive mentors in the years above them; for example, Year 9 students naturally consult Year 10 and 11 students for advice when choosing their options
As a team, we spend a huge amount of time putting students into tutor groups to ensure that every child is allowed to flourish in the right environment for them.
What Tutor time looks like and feels like
We have a carefully planned and structured programme of activities during tutor time, aimed at encouraging the development of personal skills and qualities, as well as building a sense of community. Nunthorpe News outlines the theme for the week, main notices, safeguarding update, activities related to the assembly, quiz/Newsround and literacy. There is a timetable of activities for each year group for each day of the week.
All students will have a Year assembly once a week, which will normally be led by either the Senior Pastoral Manager, Pastoral Manager, a member of the Senior Leadership Team or a visitor. Assemblies provide us with the opportunity to:
- Create and communicate our vision for the Year Group and our expectations of the students
- Develop a clearer understanding of the wider academy, local, national and international communities and look at some of the issues faced by those communities
- Give students the opportunity to reflect on moral, ethical and spiritual issues and achieve a sense of true British Values
- Celebrate the successes of the Year group, tutor groups and individual students
Students are given opportunities to reflect on a weekly Theme or a current issue; they are also given time to reflect on their own week to assess things that went well and targets for improving in the next week. A one minute silence is undertaken for reflection each day.
As part of our commitment to considering community issues with our students, we have introduced a weekly activity based on the local, national and international community. Some weeks, this will involve students taking part in a discussion about an issue which is currently affecting our society, for example bullying, terrorism or poverty. There will also be work on chosen charities, perhaps taking part in fundraising planning or learning more about the work of the charity. We will also use some of these sessions to contribute to our local community, perhaps by supporting a local initiative or organisation.
Weekly community builders are games or activities specifically aimed at building the relationships between students, as well as developing important cross-curricular skills such as listening, communication, teamwork and leadership.
Three times a year subject teachers report on the progress of every student in the academy. In addition to updating parents on their child’s progress in every subject, this gives tutors the opportunity to consider how their tutees are doing and what steps need to be taken to ensure that every student reaches their potential.
Following the publishing of these results, tutors take time during tutor time to have intensive one-to-one conversations with each member of their tutor group. This allows students to spend time reflecting on:
- their progress against the targets they set last time
- what they have done well and what they need to improve
- setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed) targets
The process is formally recorded on the student’s planner, together with a copy of the report data.
The time invested in this process reflects the pastoral team’s commitment to ensuring that every student is able to achieve their potential across the curriculum.
Supporting every student during the five years with us is at the heart of what the Pastoral Team stands for. Clearly the level and type of support which is appropriate varies according to each individual, but some of the people who may be involved in supporting your child are as follows:
Year 7 Progress Leader
At Nunthorpe we have a dedicated member of staff to oversee the tranisition from Primary school to Secondary School. They will meet students and famililies before the start of the acadmeic year and organise activities during transition week(s). They collate information from Primary school and create tutor groups. A Year 7 settling in evening is available for parents to come into the acadmey and meet the Year 7 pastoral team, tutors and the Year 7 Progress Leader.
Senior Pastoral Managers (SPMs)
There are four SPM’s, one for year 7-10. They are responsible for the welfare of every child in their year group, both academically and socially. They are the leaders and visionaries for each year group and work closely together to develop the whole academy ethos and vision for the pastoral system.
In addition to line managing the team of tutors and support tutors and planning the weekly activities and assemblies, SPM’s are involved in monitoring the behaviour and attendance of all of their students. This may include putting students on report, doing some one to one mentoring with them (or referring them to someone else to mentor), initiating PSP procedures (Pastoral Support Programme) or liaising with other agencies involved with that child, such as social services, CAMHS or medical staff.
Assistant Pastoral Managers (APMs)
The Senior Pastoral Managers are supported by Assistant Pastoral Managers. The PMs role is to support the students in their wellbeing, development and social development, as well as ensuring that the Academy’s high standards of behaviour, attendance and organisation are met. They are also responsible for attendance of some groups of students within their year group, both praising and rewarding students with good attendance, as well as following up on any absences to make sure that every child in their year group is given the very best chance to succeed at Nunthorpe Academy and beyond.
The form tutor is at the very centre of every student’s academy life and should always be the first port of call for any concerns or queries. As well as running the daily activities and encouraging students to develop their skill set, they are also crucial in the academic monitoring process, analysing data to spot trends and patterns and helping students (and where necessary parents) to take appropriate action. Form tutors provide a strong link with parents and will often contact home to see how things are going or to discuss a specific incident. In effect, the form tutors act in loco parentis during the academy day, and they should always be kept informed of any developments in a child’s life which may be affecting their progress or behaviour in the academy.
Attendance Officer (AO)
The Attendance Officer monitors attendance across the academy (11-19) and works closely with the Pastoral teams, families, students and the Local Authority to ensure all students are attending the academy and receiving the best opportunities possible for them. Any absence from the academy requires parents/carers to report none attendance on a daily basis.
Many of our students go through periods of unrest at the academy, whether caused by family circumstances, adolescence, medical issues, friendship issues or other reasons. During these times of high pressure, we often see students crying out for attention by behaving inappropriately or being unusually emotional. We therefore make internal referrals to The Junction our on-site counselling service. Sessions on self-esteem issues, friendship problems, bullying, bereavement, behaviour or anger management. It gives students some calm, uninterrupted time working one to one with an adult who is not a teacher, and it is often all these students need to get them through a difficult period.
Our Inclusion Officer role is to conduct and record investigations into any incidents which happen in the academy, which are deemed to be serious for whatever reason. They interviews all of the students and staff concerned, including any witnesses, and recommend appropriate action based on the advice of the Senior Leadership Team. Students can refer issues to the Inclusion Officer directly, for example if they are concerned about being bullied, or incidents may be referred by the pastoral team.
In April/ May of every year, all Year 10 students are given the opportunity to apply to become prefects. Following a letter of application, SPMs/APMs/Year 11 Progress Leader invite candidates to interview and appoint the team of around 12 prefects
The role of Prefect is quite demanding, but at the same time very rewarding. Prefects are expected to do one morning and one break and duty per week, and are a very visible and calmly reassuring presence at whole academy events. Prefects are a positive role model for younger students and ambassadors for the academy.
In addition to the whole academy rewards, the Year Group regularly recognise the achievements of individuals and groups of students in various ways. This is outlined on the Positive Behaviour Pathway. Using the rewards assembly each half term to celebrate student success and award achievement points, allows students to ‘cash in’ their spendable achievement points using Reward Store in Class Charts.
Each tutor nominates a “Star Student” on a specific theme; these students are recognised with achievement points and one is selected as the overall winner each half term. Categories as varied as Most Improved Student, Commitment to Fundraising and Sports Achievement.
In addition, each Year group chooses one student every term to be recognised at the Governors’ Commendation Evening. The reasons for being nominated might include all-round positive attitude to academy, commitment to Year activities, mentoring younger students or improvements in behaviour, attendance and achievement.
Our Behaviour policy is outlined on the academy website and the Behaviour Ethos and Negative Behaviour Pathway is displayed in every classroom and communal areas. Our students are given clear guidelines on what we expect from them.
Should students fail to meet our expectations, action will be taken by subject teachers initially. However, for serious incidents, issues around the academy campus (for example at break or lunchtime) or for problems which are occurring across the curriculum, action is sometimes needed from the Pastoral Team.
Students may be put on report, either to their form tutor or to their SPM/APM. They then have two weeks to prove that they have improved, otherwise it will move up a gear (from form tutor to SPM/APM, or from SPM/APM to a member of the Senior Leadership Team). Detentions may be issued for failing to engage with the report process or failing to meet the Academy standards, or there may be time in Isolated Learning. Parents will often be invited in to meet with the form tutor and/or SPM/APM to discuss the issues and the resulting actions. Ultimately, a small number of students prove to need more support from us and they may be placed on a Pastoral Support Programme (PSP). This involves an initial, formal meeting between the SPM/APM, the student, the parents/carers and a representative of the Local Authority, at which the issues are discussed and targets set. There will then be review meetings until the issues have been resolved.