Pastoral

Our counselling services offer students group and personal support throughout their school careers. We offer a range of services with an aim to provide students with all the support possible so they can be successful in their academic as well as personal development.

 

The Head of Year coordinates the work of the tutors and Personal and Social Education teachers. They will also supervise the progress of each pupil in their year group and are responsible for communicating and working together with parents for their wellbeing.

We provide additional support for children with learning disabilities or special needs that may affect their performance when they are studying. As the first point of contact for pupils, the Tutor is responsible for their well being under his care and can offer them guidance.

 

In order to ensure they are given the support they require we alert their tutors to any special needs and suggest how the student can be supported to overcome these and thrive academically. Examples of personalised support given may include additional time during examinations, a separate space which may help their concentration or even the use of computers during this time (for example for dysgraphic students who may benefit from writing in a computer).

 

We regularly consult with specialists for specific student needs or educational requirements and share their suggestions with all staff so they can provide a more supportive environment.

 

When students sit international examinations, we liaise with the examination entities to request special considerations for these students.

 

Parents who are open about their children's special needs can help their child benefit from extra support from the school to help the student succeed in school.

Our PSE programme is provided from Early Years all the way on to secondary 4 and consists of one period each week where the students have the opportunity to discuss everything related to Markham school life. The PSE teachers establish the formative themes implemented throughout the Upper School and for the orientation of pupils. These themes are age-appropriate and are designed to respond to the ever-changing needs in the pupils’ socio-psychological development. 


These sessions are led by counsellors (tutors may also participate) to help them discuss these issues in a safe environment whilst providing guidance and support.

New students: big brother / big sister programme: this initiative is led by students in secondary 5 and 6 who already hold a responsibility role (e.g. prefects). Students who join the school later on in the academic career are assigned a big brother or sister before starting classes who can guide them during this initial period. We also have a buddy system (usually a student from the same tutor group) who will accompany the new student until they are settled in. The buddy can help clarify doubts, explain the school system and also helps the new student feel welcome into their new academic home.

 

Primary 6 students who are starting school in the San Antonio campus are also assigned a big brother or big sister from secondary 5 or 6. The aim of this programme is for the new students to receive support in getting acquainted with the new school system and campus, receive regular sessions with an older peer who can also help them feel safe when interacting with older students.

 

Open communication between parents and staff is encouraged to better meet the emotional needs of each pupil and to monitor their individual development and academic progress.

These meetings held with parents touch on a wide range of issues with which their children may be faced in their lives, considering the needs, situations and social factors which correspond to the age and development of their children.

The school counsellors discuss issues such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, bullying, violence, eating disorders, etc. and provide suggestions on how to provide the support the children may need to handle these issues in a positive manner.

These talks are programmed throughout the academic year with the support of professionals who are specialised in the themes and topics presented.

 

The Pastoral Care team consists of a team of four counsellors and four university counsellors who provide support services for Upper School students and their parents.

We run a Students Teaching Students (STS) Council which is led by the students themselves. These students are interested and enjoy helping fellow students learn and develop academically in the best way possible. There are 10 council members who act as both teachers and coordinators. They work with a network of other 40 students who teach (students range from secondary 2-6).

The benefits of this setup include students being able to share their learning whilst developing friendships with older students in an academic situation. The student seeking support takes ownership over their education and commits to improving their performance.

Though this programme is designed for students by students, parents may contact the council’s captain directly to ask for someone to be assigned to helping their child in whatever subject they may need.

 

The school aims to provide as much internal support as possible so parents don’t require external support to help their children thrive.

Vertical Tutoring means mixed age. The ‘tutoring’ part means taking care of the non-academic aspects of students’ lives, including attendance, values education, personal development and the pupil’s general well-being.

A tutor group is placed under the supervision of a form tutor for the purpose of pastoral care and general administration. Tutors have a daily, short, tutor session, typically first thing in the morning. The tutor groups are organised into Houses within the Middle School. The House Pastoral Leader manages tutors and tutees.
 
Some of the main advantages of vertical tutoring are:
  • develops leadership and teamwork
  • depolarises behaviour in the tutor group
  • creates a supportive atmosphere
  • reduces the amount of rivalry and cliques
  • allows for more varied non-academic learning activities
  • makes younger students more focused and aspirational
  • makes younger students more open-minded
  • promotes prosocial behaviour
  • allows tutors to give personalised support to their tutees