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 three Houses (Castlemaine, Essex and Raleigh) 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. 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.
Victoria Ikwuemesi is our part time Religious Studies teacher and Head of Department at the Senior School she is also our whole School Chaplain. The fundamental role of a School Chaplain is to offer pastoral and spiritual support wherever appropriate, to pupils and staff. The Chaplain can be a valuable independent listening ear, helping staff and pupils. This confidential support helps everyone, of all faiths and beliefs, to share concerns or personal issues that they may not be willing to express to others.
As a school we recognize 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 bears the cost of up to three counselling sessions, after which the parents are asked to contribute.
For more information about the counselling service please contact Carolyn Varney.
Mindfulness at Ewell Castle School
At Ewell Castle School, our Director of Drama, Mr Bader-Clynes is a certified Mindfulness teacher of classroom-based mindfulness techniques. Having trained with the Mindfulness in Schools Project, he currently takes a Year 4 Mindfulness club, teaching the full PAWS Mindfulness course (7 to 11 year olds), and also teaches a 5 week basic introduction to Mindfulness to all Year 11 pupils.
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 as a result 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, 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 classroom-based mindfulness curriculums we teach are an awareness-raising exercise to give all students a taste of mindfulness so that they know about it and can return to it later in life if they choose to do so.