Anyone visiting Minchinhampton Academy for the first time always comments on the positive atmosphere. This is down, in no small part, to the engaging, enthusiastic pupils we borrow, each day, from yourselves. It is also down to the quality of relationships between adults and children throughout the school- that atmosphere people talk about comes from hearing and seeing interactions around the school that are friendly, considerate and trusting. Visitors talk about well-behaved children but it is the spirit of the school that people all feel very strongly about. This has grown over the past few years, and is because the school has a clear conviction about its culture and what it means to be a part of Minchinhampton Academy. As part of this, we have a strong commitment to pastoral care throughout the teaching team.
We aim to be proactive about children\’s needs; to predict when children might have worries and respond before they develop into something bigger. We want to be there to provide children with direction at play time, a guiding hand in class and a safe haven at any time during the school day. Children always pick up on change, they feel the vibes when the lives of the people around them shift or move in a direction that feels wrong or not familiar. This affects them and they bring their feelings to school – albeit they might not be immediately obvious. But the staff know what to look for and how to handle these feelings. This is the essence of what Minchinhampton is about. The school puts the children’s needs first: all of them just need space and time to be themselves and to be understood.
There have had to be subtle changes to the way we operate pastorally over the last few months and I thought now would be a good moment to update you. All pastoral concerns should be referred first and foremost through the class teachers and teaching assistants and/or myself. If you cannot contact us directly, we will come back to you as soon as possible and at least within 24 hours. We will then keep you informed about what action we have taken and how things are going and parents must also keep us informed. Sometimes there is no easy ‘click of the fingers’ to solve an issue but usually constant communication and feedback between ourselves and yourselves goes along way. We do also have a Pastoral Team who operate across the school: they are myself, Sara Jones, Ronald Jansen, Paula Hough and Rob Bradshaw. The team are on hand to support pupils during lunchtimes but also to offer more in depth support where it is necessary at other times of the day. Staff will regularly refer on pupils or ‘situations’ to the pastoral team who then have at their disposal a whole range of strategies including giving children responsibilities, signposting them to particular clubs or offering them guidance and support. They can also refer on again to an outside agency if more specialist advice is needed. Last year the Buddy Room became a good base for the team and a safe place for children to sit, draw or talk. Unfortunately it has been a music room for the majority of this year but we will definitely have it in back in action at some point.
Please, please, if you have any concerns about your child, their happiness and well-being, don’t hesitate to contact your class teacher or myself. We will always listen and are very committed, as a school, to helping your child to feel happy and settled. Every child goes through difficult times at some point in their school life but, as I have already said, if we work together, we can find solutions.