Richard Evans, headteacher at Great Ballard School, answers our question on pastoral care
Pastoral care is an essential part of your child’s development. Often smaller schools are more proactive with regards to pastoral care, thanks to a higher staff-to-pupil ratio and personalised support. Using a hands-on approach within small classes enables teachers to really get to know each pupil, and also importantly, their parents, as well as understanding each child’s interests and behaviours in order to get the best from them.
Wraparound care in today’s busy world is vital. Often parents work full time and childcare can be a concern, particularly in school holidays. Look for a school that caters for different family needs as well as a varied provision of care for your child. If the school is local, see what extra support is available both during and outside of school hours. If it is further afield, or your child is boarding, look for a homely environment that offers personalised learning around the clock.
When looking around a school, observe classrooms during teaching hours. Do children look happy? Are older children interacting positively with younger children? Is their learning environment inspiring? How much emphasise does the school put on nutrition, health and exercise? These are all vital for mental and physical wellbeing. Having space to play outdoors, exercise and develop through learning both in and out of the classroom is key to creating a healthy environment for children to reach their full potential.