A great benefit of being a small school is that each pupil is known and valued within a caring, stimulating and disciplined environment.
The happy, family friendly nature of our school community is underpinned by excellent pastoral care. Pupils, parents and staff have strong relationships of mutual understanding and a commitment to the traditional values of honesty, respect and integrity. All aspects of personal development are fostered, and pastoral care and support which is consistently acknowledged to be outstanding (ISI Report 2012) contributes greatly to personal development and achievement of potential.
The School considers the welfare and safety of its students to be of primary importance - at all times and in all areas of school life. For this reason, all teaching staff are directly involved in the pastoral care programme. Furthermore, most full-time members of staff, and many part-time members of staff, are directly involved as tutors. The Heads of Year team co-ordinates pastoral care and regular meetings are held of this and other groups to monitor and develop good practice. Parent Seminars or Information Evenings are held occasionally.
The Tutor System
Each pupil in the Preparatory School is assigned a form teacher, in the Senior School a form tutor, and this member of staff is responsible for monitoring the pupils’ progress and welfare throughout the year. It is hoped that pupils and their form teachers/tutors will develop a relationship with each other so that successes can be celebrated together and problems or concerns that arise can be resolved. Form teacher/tutor comments on reports will reflect a close understanding of how a pupil is faring.
Form/tutor groups meet daily at morning registration. Each pupil is a member of one of four Houses named after local castles (Arundel, Bodiam, Carisbrooke and Dover) and there are regular House and inter-House activities and competitions. A pupil transferring from the Preparatory School into the Senior School will remain in the same House, as will siblings where possible. House competition is principally of a sporting nature; however Chess, Music, Drama and Debating currently flourish. House meetings are held fortnightly. All members of teaching staff are assigned to a House, and offer support to the Head of House with House activities.
As a school we recognise the importance of mental health, particularly during the teenage years, and therefore offer pupils the opportunity for individual counselling with a qualified counsellor. The service is led by Mrs Carolyn Varney and can be initiated by a pupil self-referring, at the enquiry of a parent or because a member of staff has identified that it would be beneficial.
In today’s culture it is not unusual during the teenage years for a period of counselling to be helpful. The counselling provides a place where the pupil can talk about whatever is on their mind and causing them stress. For example, relationships with their family or friends, worrying feelings and emotions or upsetting memories. It is now much better understood how emotional issues can impact a pupil’s ability to focus on their work and get the most out of life.
The counselling service is discrete and endeavours to minimise any impact on the pupil’s learning by working (as far as possible) around their academic timetable, providing confidentiality (within safeguarding limits) between the pupil and the counsellor. This confidentiality is important to create a safe place for the pupil to talk about whatever is on their mind. The School covers the cost of the first six counselling sessions, after which the parents are usually asked to contribute.
For more information about the counselling service please contact Carolyn Varney firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindfulness at Ewell Castle School
At Ewell Castle School, Mr Bader-Clynes, our Mindfulness Lead and Director of Drama is a certified Mindfulness teacher of classroom-based mindfulness techniques. Having trained with the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MISP), he currently teaches various MISP courses to pupils throughout the School.
Pre-Prep and Prep School
In the Prep and Pre-prep, we have just introduced an exciting new course called ‘dots’ to Year 1 and Year 2 and are teaching Paws b to Year 5. In the Summer term, we will be introducing ‘.breathe’ to Year 6.
In the Senior School, Year 7 are all taking the ‘Paws b’ course, in Form Time and Year 10 pupils are doing the ‘.b’ course as part of a dedicated Mindfulness class. All these courses are part of the rich tapestry of Mindfulness courses from MISP. All are intended to enrich the pupils’ lives and improve emotional resilience, wellbeing, and self-awareness.
As the School continues its wellbeing journey, we are investigating other mindfulness courses and initiatives as part of the curriculum and as part of the co-curricular timetable. Years 10 and 11 will get a 16 week Mindfulness course in their GCSE year. For this year there is no Year 11 Mindfulness teaching. However next year the .b course will be taught to Years 10 and 11.
You may have heard of mindfulness or read some of the recent media coverage about it. A great deal of this media interest has arisen because of the growing body of rigorous research evidence regarding the potential benefits of mindfulness for young people. These include randomised control trials and neuroscientific studies.
According to Professor Katherine Weare, (Emeritus Professor, University of Southampton and Honorary Visiting Professor, University of Exeter) schools who engage in mindfulness are likely to see ‘beneficial results on the emotional wellbeing, mental health, ability to learn and even the physical health of their students. Such interventions are relatively cheap to introduce, have an impact fairly quickly, can fit into a wide range of contexts and above all are enjoyable and civilising, for pupils and staff.’
The benefits of Mindfulness
The classroom-based mindfulness curriculums we teach are an awareness-raising exercise to give all pupils a taste of mindfulness so that they know about it and can return to it later in life if they choose to do so.