All parents want their daughters to be happy, successful, well-rounded individuals. It goes without saying that excellent pastoral care is a vital ingredient in this. Whilst no school can provide a magic wand for “happiness,” at Oxford High School we foster a girl’s secure sense of self, her confidence to face challenges with a smile and a deep breath, and her understanding of whom to turn to, secure in the knowledge that discreet support will always be available.

We believe that it is artificial to separate pastoral from academic care. In our experience, the two are very closely linked. In our work on unhelpful perfectionism, girls come to understand how rigorous learning involves welcoming error in the process of moving forward and that there is so much more to developing healthy self-esteem than simply striving for achievement and 10/10 success.

Our pastoral team has a detailed overview, understanding and appreciation of each girl in the school and the progress that she is making in all aspects of her development. We are here to walk alongside her; our expertise empowers her to navigate the issues, choices, challenges and opportunities that she encounters, whether it be in her subject lessons or in her friendships. Of course, we want to celebrate her successes and to support her when times are tough, but we also know it’s important just to be there for a friendly chat on an ordinary day, to ask her how the essay’s going, how her new pet is, how the match went, or how the chocolate brownies turned out! Girls touch base with their form tutors during the day, so there is plenty of opportunity for this sort of light touch, but important, conversation that fosters supportive relationships. This personalised approach also facilitates prompt intervention when it’s needed.