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The Importance Of Pastoral Care In Boarding Schools

Vincent Paget

November 12, 2018

While all schools have a responsibility to take care of their students, it's especially important in boarding schools. For the students that attend them, boarding schools are a home away from home, a place where their parents aren't and they spend a lot of their time developing into young adults. Thanks to the latest developments, pastoral care can be improved with technology, giving you more time to focus on your students rather than the admin around it.So, what is pastoral care, what does it involve and how can Boardingware help you improve and manage it in your school?

What Is Pastoral Care?

There are many definitions of pastoral care out there, but in general it can be understood as the looking after and cultivating of student's emotional and social well-being. It's helping them to grow into responsible citizens, reach their full potential and become the best versions of themselves they can be. This might sound vague and idealistic, and in a way it is, but the point is that pastoral care is a broad and holistic approach to looking after and developing students.

Pastoral care involves supporting your students' mental and social wellbeing.

Pastoral care involves supporting your students' mental and social well-being.

What's Involved In Pastoral Care?

If pastoral care is all those things described above, what goes into making them happen? While there are too many things to list, some of the main pastoral care activities are as follows.1. Promoting And Supporting Physical And Mental HealthOne of the most prominent elements of pastoral care is promoting and supporting students' mental health. The school years are some of the toughest for mental health, so it's important that school staff are able to support their students when they need it. It's difficult to learn when you're not in good health, so for students to get the most out of their school experience they need to be supported adequately.This support can come from teachers and boarding staff, but also from counsellors or other health professionals too.2. Building CharacterPastoral care is not only concerned with keeping students of healthy body and mind - it's also there to help them grow as people. Building resilience and respect requires teaching students the right thing to do, as well as correcting their behaviour through discipline when they stray from this. The things learnt at school are not limited to the classroom.3. Making Sure The Environment Is SafeStudents need to feel safe in their boarding school environment. This requires the campus to be adequately secured but also for the atmosphere inside the gates to be positive. Keeping students safe from bullying, and teaching those that engage in the behaviour why it's harmful, is a big part of pastoral care.

How Does Boardingware Help With Pastoral Care?

While successful pastoral care is always going to come down to the hard work and compassion of your school staff, technology solutions can make things a little easier to manage. Boardingware has a number of features that minimise the admin you need to do and maximise the time you can spend with your students.Pastoral care notes can be made on individual student's profiles. Because Boardingware is cloud-based, relevant staff can see all the updates from everyone else. This makes it much easier for everybody to be on the same page about what kind of support each student might be needing at any given time. You can assign each note a customisable pastoral type (e.g. medical, merit, discipline etc). There are also fields for a description, the action any staff need to take (or have taken), as well as any further notes. These notes can be marked as sensitive, so only authorised users are able to see them.

Boardingware allows you to record pastoral notes for students.
Boardingware allows you to record pastoral notes for students.

Another handy feature of Boardingware is the ability to create watchlists. When making a pastoral note, you can choose to add the relevant student to a watchlist. Students that are constantly behaving badly, experiencing mental health problems or need to be under further staff attention for whatever reason. Every student that's placed on a watchlist is displayed in the same place, so staff can quickly see at a glance who might need to be watched closely, without having to dig into every student's profile. The software is flexible, with options for adding and viewing notes on both desktop and the mobile app.Boardingware makes the administrative side of pastoral care easier to manage so you can focus on the important aspect - caring for your students. To learn more about how Boardingware can improve your school, watch a demo video of the software or book a time to talk with a member of the team.

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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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