Pastoral care at Fairfield Park Lower School is at the heart of all our practices and our curriculum provision; it is about celebrating children’s interests and personalities, this is done via class activities, ensuring that learning is stimulating, purposeful and engaging at all times. Our pupils are involved in planning their topic learning with their teachers and the children’s curiosity is the driver for deepening learning opportunities. The teachers are expert and skilled to then ensure this then meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum. Our team of dedicated staff listen to pupils and consider their next steps thoughtfully, through monitoring their progress with the leadership team.
We celebrate each child as individual learners with their own qualities and talents, ensuring that we have a wide breath of extracurricular activities on offer on a daily basis. Through the school year we encourage and empower pupils to take part in a range of activities: Fairfield Park’s Talent Show, Sporting Festivals, Poetry Recitals, Handwriting Competitions, Performances, Discovery Days, as well as having access to the Inspiring Music Hub (singing, rhythm and learning a musical instrument) and much more.
We thread three project weeks through the curriculum year which involve working in vertical groups enabling pupils from our youngest to our oldest pupils to apply their key skills of working as a team. This creates a family ethos where the application of core skills including speaking and listening can be extended; pastoral care and values are the essence of these sessions as pupils demonstrate cooperation and support for each other.
Central to our holistic practices is that ‘Every Child’ is an individual with unique talents and experiences. All school staff treat pupils inclusively and all model our Values Education ethos, ensuring that all behaviour management is in a positive nurturing and caring manner. For example we use a common whole school signal for silence that ensures no raised or loud voices are used.
In our unstructured times of the day such as playtimes and lunchtimes we have a high ratio of staff to ensure these sessions are happy and successful times for all of our pupils. The outside spaces are well resourced, sport coaches and staff assist with team and skills games. Lunchtimes are staggered to ensure that all spaces are age appropriate from our youngest to our oldest pupils. Mid Day Supervisors support and guide pupils to eat and socialise; we eat around round tables and we promote a social environment of conversations with others. Hot meals and packed lunches are mixed so that friendship relationships can be embedded.
In our community life we encourage pastoral citizenship through our KS2 Community Helpers and we celebrate in whole school assemblies (Good News and Special Assemblies), nominate Values Champions and select children to attend a weekly ‘Afternoon Tea’ with the Head through our Super Citizen Award.
If families and pupils need additional bespoke support we work closely with different external agencies and can offer a quiet space called ‘Our Snug’. This might be speaking and language support, counselling, play therapy, behaviour support, school nurse advice etc. We also have dedicated staff ‘Champions’ in school that track and ensure all pupils are well cared for to ensure there are no barriers to learning; ‘Silver SEAL’ and circle time can complement this provision and is run by our Pastoral Leaders. All our structures are set up to signpost parents and families to a wide breadth of services.
Transition is embedded into all of our school practices and this is a particular focus at the end and beginning of the school year. It is multi layered and consists of: a transition day and evening events getting to know new staff and pupils; introduction lunches for our Reception children; Home/school welcome meetings; coffee mornings for our Early Years parents; liaison dialogues are held between classes and teachers. Plus liaison events with Poppyfields and our Middle Schools on exit transition points. Our ethos is to ensure that all pupils succeed and have smooth transitions to continue their learning and be successful confident independent learner’s on the whole educational journey.
Key to our success at Fairfield Park is the high profile of emotional intelligence and wellbeing of our pupils in our pastoral care. We see this as paramount to their academic success and achievement in our school; please see our Ofsted Outstanding report May 2012.