Pastoral care and wellbeing

Senior School

Exceptional pastoral support

Everyone in our school community shares a responsibility for developing a positive, caring and nurturing environment to help every girl achieve their full potential. Through groups like School Council and Changemakers, student voice is promoted, heard and implemented.

Our pastoral aims are: Know yourself; Look after yourself; Make it happen.

Our outstanding pastoral programme supports students’ academic achievements and actively promotes happy, well-balanced, aspirational individuals who show compassion and have an inner resilience. In the Senior School, our dedicated spaces for students include Common Rooms, our Wellbeing Lodge and our Wellbeing Decking area within our Jubilee Garden.

PSHE programme

Areas covered within our PSHE programme include online safety, British values, human rights, relationships and study skills taught through a spiral curriculum – a revisiting of the same topics with greater complexity as students get older.

Our pastoral care and wellbeing programme is built with three themes and is tailored to the way girls learn, grow and develop:

1. Know yourself
Accepting their unique ways and being happy with who they are. Understanding how they can get the best out of themselves. Know themselves, be happy with who they are. Flourish and grow.

2. Look after yourself
Learning and understanding tools which equip students to have the knowledge and resources to support their wellbeing and positive mental health.

3. Make it happen
So that students have the confidence and a positive mind-set, we encourage them to explore horizons and go make it happen with the additional support of our careers department, leadership opportunities and alumnae connections. We encourage our students to set their bar high, be bold and follow their dreams.

A dedicated team

Our pastoral programme is led by Mrs Dolding, our Deputy Head (Pastoral), our Heads of Year, Director of Sixth Form, Form Tutors, and our School Nurse and Counsellor, and is strongly reinforced by girls who volunteer their time in mentoring and support roles.

We also have a dedicated Learning Support Team, offering one-to-one, small group and in class support. Maths Teacher Mr Bull is the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Lead, and Director of Marketing and Communications Amy Beck is the Sustainability Lead.

During periods of illness, the school’s pastoral system acts as a safety net, supported by an excellent safeguarding system to look after students’ health, welfare and safety.

Find out more about our School Nurse and Counsellor

“I’ve found the immense amount of support from the teachers and pastoral really encouraging. In my opinion, there has been a perfect mix of external support and independent learning.”

Senior School Student

Peer to peer support

Research shows that students will most often turn to a friend or older peer to seek support. We have developed a “Big Sister” programme – a buddy system for lower school pupils to be supported by a Sixth Former. This programme is led by a team of Sixth Formers who meet regularly to ensure that they have essential training, including an understanding of safeguarding issues. In the 2020-21 academic year 40% of Year 7 girls were regularly accessing the programme and in a recent survey, when asked what has been the best thing about settling into Senior School, the highest response said ‘having a Big Sister’.

Positive programme

Norwich High School for Girls and the GDST have long recognised the importance of taking a proactive approach to psychological health, building emotional intelligence and resilience in teachers and pupils and giving them a sense of their own agency. Since 2016, this has included working with The Positive Group to develop and roll out the Positive Programme using a range of tools and app-based technology to create a culture of emotional literacy.

“My eldest daughter has blossomed at the school in every way a person could (academically, socially and emotionally) and we love the genuinely open, aspirational and supportive atmosphere; it’s like a family to her.”

Senior School parent

Girls on Board programme

We have adopted the Girls on Board approach to help students between the ages of 7 and 18 navigate the often troubled waters of friendship problems. The language, methods and ideas empower girls to solve their own friendship problems and recognises that they are usually the only ones who can. By empowering girls to find their own solutions, parents need worry less, we can focus more on the curriculum and students learn more effectively – because they are happier.

Opportunities beyond the classroom

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Careers support

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