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Should all your staff have access to pastoral data?

Vincent Paget

June 4, 2019

Pastoral care is about helping students achieve their best, develop their passions and move on from school life with confidence. When students transition to university or work, they should be equipped with the tools they need to live independently and make their own decisions.However, in order to provide pastoral care that's tailored to the individual, staff need access to confidential pastoral data that's accurate and up-to-date. Students come with their own backgrounds or personal situations, and staff need to be aware of these issues in order to ensure their advice and help they provide is relevant and appropriate.

Who should have access to pastoral records?

Not all teachers need to know the details of each student's personal life.

Open access to student data means that every member of the staff team can provide informed care, while being sensitive to the individual needs of all the individuals in their class. Teachers can analyse the data available to them to make links between pastoral care and academic achievement in order to create a culture of excellence that's accessible to all. They can adapt their feedback and behavioural strategies according to what's worked in the past, or what best suits each student in their class.However, the type of information that parents and other parties make available to schools can be very personal, and they may wish it to be kept as confidential as possible. Indeed, it's unlikely that a student interacts regularly with every single member of staff, and so not all teachers need to know the details of each student's personal life. While most teachers are adept at maintaining utmost professionalism, it's arguable that knowing more than they need to about the background of a student allows unconscious bias to creep into their interactions.Recent changes in Europe around confidentiality following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations also serve as a timely reminder for schools around the world to consider how they protect the data entrusted to them.

Teachers with access to a single source of truth to provide outstanding pastoral care.
With access to pupil data via a single source of truth, staff can analyse appropriate information to provide the best possible pastoral care.

Controlling Access To Pastoral Records With A Single Source Of Truth

Working with a single source of truth makes it easy to control access to pastoral data, without having to replicate permissions across multiple documents. Central databases allow staff to be added to groups and given permission to view different types of information about individual students or classes.Flexible database permission means that the pastoral head is no longer required to be the gatekeeper of all information, responsible for sharing it amongst the staff they deem appropriate. All student data, whether confidential or not, is maintained within one central source, and permissions can be altered as required. Schools can choose to keep student records largely private, or share them fully amongst the staff body.

With a single source of truth, staff don't need to rely on gaining access to records maintained by colleagues.

This approach also means that staff changes or absences won't affect the quality of care given to pupils, and crucial knowledge is never lost. With a single source of truth, staff don't need to rely on gaining access to records maintained by colleagues, or wait until weekends or school holidays have finished to provide the care their students need.Where schools choose to make much of their information available to staff, best practice around how teachers are expected to protect student interests should be dealt with in the pastoral and student data privacy policies. Staff must also be properly educated around appropriate privacy - understanding that student data must not be stored on personal devices, or accessible without password protection.

Boardingware as a Single Source Of Truth

Boardingware provides a single source of truth your staff can rely on. We pride ourselves on providing an easy-to-update system that can be accessed on the move or away from a desk with the staff app. Student data can be managed in graphs and tables to help staff identify patterns and trends. It can also be exported by individuals or according to groups of student cared for by one member of staff.Pastoral heads can create student watchlists that help them keep an eye on those they are most concerned about, and view student events in a chronological timeline. Everyone involved can update and access records varying from pastoral and medical events, to disciplinary issues or achievement awards.To learn more about how Boardingware supports your staff in creating a culture of excellence, watch our free demo video now.

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Vincent Paget

Vincent Paget is an Operations Manager at Orah based in Auckland, New Zealand. He loves technology, organisation, nature and adventure sports, not necessarily in that order.

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