All parents want their daughters to be happy, successful, well-rounded individuals. It goes without saying that excellent pastoral care is one of the cornerstones upon which such security depends. At OHS, we work tirelessly to equip our girls with the secure sense of self and the confidence to face challenges with a smile and a deep breath.
Our pastoral team, including Heads of Year, tutors and dedicated support staff, has a detailed understanding of each girl in the school and the progress that she is making in all aspects of her development. That means we are there to celebrate her successes, support her when times are tough, but also just be there for a friendly chat on an ordinary day – whether to ask how her pet is, how the match went, or how those chocolate brownies turned out!
Girls touch base with their form tutors at the start of each day, so there is plenty of opportunity for the sort of light-touch conversation which enables regular check-ins on student welfare and fosters supportive relationships. This personalised approach also facilitates prompt intervention when it’s needed.
Sir Ian McKellen visits the school, at the invitation of alumna Charlotte Harris (2018), to discuss his history with Stonewall and express his support for the LGBTQ community at OHS.
At its heart, all of our most effective work with young people and their families combines both academic and pastoral strands – it’s impossible to separate them fully. We believe students flourish most when the care is tailored to her specific strengths, needs and interests. This includes an awareness of how we empower students with opportunities to cultivate leadership skills, resolve conflict, overcome obstacles and even fail so that, when it comes time to leave school, students feel confident, excited and prepared for their next steps.
Of course, schools are only one aspect of a child’s environment, and for school initiatives to have maximum impact, a strong “triangular” student-staff-parent relationship, with ongoing open communication, is crucial. Our tutors phone parents in the first few weeks of the academic year and the dialogue continues with a programme of events for parents, providing information and opportunity for conversations, alongside regular one-to-one tutor-student mentoring.
This triangular principle of pastoral care has also driven some of our most successful initiatives, including those relating to Equality, Unhealthy Perfectionism, the Positive Programme, Digital Awareness and even a Digital Detox. A communal sense of fun and “being in it together” cannot be underestimated!