At St Helena School we pride ourselves on the level of care, guidance and support we provide for our students. In Ofsted inspections, the pastoral system has been regularly recognised as a strength of the school.
The Form Tutor is at the heart of our pastoral care, seeing each student at the start of every day and thereby establishing one of the most important relationships a student has in their school experience. Our tutor groups are ‘horizontal’ in structure, with students from the same year group together in their form. This allows us to target our support with age-appropriate activities, and means that we can offer the most relevant experiences to forms in each year group.
Each year group has a designated Year Leader who oversees the support, care and guidance of their students. Our Year Leaders are supported by a team of non-teaching staff who are able to provide instant access for students who are experiencing difficulties, who have concerns or who just need a bit of reassurance. The principle work of this team is to assist students in addressing and removing any barriers to learning which could stand in their way of achieving academic success. The team has a wealth of experience and excellent working relationships with numerous external agencies, all of which can provide students, parents/carers and their families with any required support.
The Medical Room is staffed from 8.30am-3.15pm during the school day by the Health and Welfare Officer (who is First Aid trained) to deal with accidents or incidents that require first aid treatment, or to provide regular medication or care to students with ongoing medical issues. The Medical Room can assist students who become unwell during the school day to help and to identify what action should be taken to obtain the appropriate support and/or treatment. This help will take the form of any necessary immediate first aid treatment and emergency care for onward referral to a suitable trained medical professional if appropriate. Parents will be contacted in this instance. The school is unable to provide medical advice to students. The school is not able to redress wounds that are being treated by a medical professional.
The school will maintain records of those students who have been supported by the Medical Room. This information is purely to assist the school with providing the appropriate support to students. This information will be held on the school’s database which can only be accessed by staff with the appropriate authority to access the system.
For students with long term medical conditions the school will support students to be as independent as possible to manage their condition. The school will work with parents, medical professionals and other outside agencies where appropriate to ensure a Care Plan is put in place to support those student’s individual needs.
The school requires parents to make the school aware at the earliest opportunity concerning their child’s medical support needs in order that a Care Plan can be put in place. This also applies to any changes that may arise as the student progresses through each school year.
The school will not administer any prescription or non-prescription medicines without written parental consent and instructions as to how these medicines need to be administered. The relevant consent form can be found here or in printed form from Reception or The Medical Room. Parents are required to provide non-prescription medicines, such as Paracetamol and Antihistamines in original box or container with a letter of consent if they wish their child to take these – the school will not supply any non-prescription medicines.
The school will not permit students to carry Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other non-prescription medicines with them at School; these can only be accessed via the Medical Room.
Parents are required to provide the school with the medication needed for their child with a letter of consent for those students who are Diabetic, Asthmatic, and Epileptic or who have a similar ongoing medical condition, even in instances where the student normally self-manages their medication. This is to ensure that students can access their medication should they omit to bring their medication into school.
The school will be able to store medicines in the Medical Room in a secure cupboard or fridge as appropriate in line with manufacturers’ guidance. This will be readily available to students during the school day. A record will be kept of all medicines with the name of the student, the medication, dose, and frequency and method of administration. Medicines will be reviewed monthly and parents will be contacted to collect any medicines that have expired and to provide a replacement.
Immunisations are offered to students in school (with parental consent) as directed by the NHS. More details can be found in the NHS Immunisations Schedule.
St Helena School has an allocated school nurse who provides a drop-in at St Helena School once per half-term and 121 appointments where requested by the school or external agencies.
Students in Year 9 are selected as Youth Health Champions to spread positive health and wellbeing messages among their peers. The students get to choose which health campaigns they want to focus on and how they will raise awareness in school. Campaigns have included anti-smoking, healthy eating and sun safety.
Mental Health Links:
At St Helena School we prioritise the well being of our students. If students are not happy or feel safe in our school we cannot possibly expect them to learn or fulfil their academic potential.
We have a highly skilled team who are on hand to support every child and indeed the whole family in times of challenge and crisis. We firmly believe that we have a collective responsibility and moral obligation to look after each other. We will help your child overcome adversity and develop the strength they need to become resilient, independent and most importantly happy.
National Studies suggest that in the UK, about 1 in 10 of all young people may experience a mental health problem or disorder. Without the right support a student’s mental ill-health may impact on their safety and happiness both in and out of school. Some examples of mental health issues include:
Topics covering mental health and wellbeing issues are also regularly covered in all years through our Opening Minds programme which includes assemblies and form programme activities.
To supplement our provision we work collectively with a broad range of organisations and charities. This hybrid approach ensures we are not only supporting all our students but have the adaptability to enhance our provision in this rapidly developing world.
We are proud to be partnered with this charity. This partnership helps our students access; our on site counselling service, speech and language therapy and our families can source additional support through an experienced parent support worker.
To ensure we can support all students and their universal needs St Helena we work closely with the School Chaplaincy service who have highly skilled youth workers on their team who offer young people a listening ear and support.
We have received the Bronze Award from Essex Young Carers in recognition of our support of young carers and we work with the organisation to identify and target support for our young carers where it is needed.
We also have a Nurture Dog (from Pets as Therapy) who comes into school to spend time with selected students.
Mental Health Links:
More detail about the potential symptoms or possible causes of mental health problems can be found in the ‘worried about your child‘ section of the Young minds website.
St Helena School take matters of bullying seriously. Bullying is not the same as poor behaviour (as dealt with by the School’s Behaviour Policy). It is also important to make the distinction between bullying and falling out with friends. Falling out is part of everyday life, bullying is not.
When bullying is reported, Pastoral Managers gather information from students involved and witnesses to ensure the facts of the situation are established and to look at how to address the situation (including sanctions and support as appropriate).
Full details on how we prevent and address bullying can be found in the school’s Anti-bullying Policy. Support for students is offered by the Student Pastoral teams. This topic is covered in the Opening Minds curriculum across all year groups and throughout the year.
We are proud to be part of the Anti-Bullying Project and have achieved an anti-bullying Silver Award. Our Anti-bullying project is very important to us as we continually strive to be a school where all students can feel nurtured and this includes an LGBT+ Forum group which helps us to plan events highlighting the need for tolerance and inclusivity. We have anti-bullying ambassadors who help us to shape our Anti-bullying policy and the strategies we use to identify, tackle and prevent bullying.
Anti Bullying Links:
St Helena School is a fully inclusive school providing a quality education and experience for all its learners. The school promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination and has created a culture of respect for the diversity and breadth of its community enabling everyone to participate in the life of the school.
The Equality Act (2010) means it is unlawful to discriminate against someone by treating them less favourably because of their:
religion or belief
pregnancy or maternity
St Helena School will not tolerate any behaviour or language that could be considered to be discriminatory. The situation will be investigated and addressed where discrimination is seen, heard or reported to a member of staff. Parents of students with a specific concern or issue are encouraged to contact the school as soon as possible so it can be addressed as appropriate.
St Helena School is a fully inclusive school providing a quality education and experience for all its learners. Our Pastoral team works closely with parents and students to ensure that appropriate provision is made for those who may require support around LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) issues. This includes support for individuals who may identify as being LGBTQ+ or support and education for individuals who are voicing homophobic or anti-LGBT views which are impacting on other students. The school has created a culture of respect for the diversity and breadth of its community enabling everyone to participate in the life of the school. Parents of students with specific needs are encouraged to contact their child’s Year Leader or form tutor to talk through their child’s individual needs, should they have any issues, questions or concerns.
At St Helena School we have an LGBTQ+ student forum which meets regularly and gives students a chance to talk about issues affecting them and help to shape our Anti-bullying policy and procedures and contribute to the Opening Mind Programme.
Under the Equalities Act any young person has a right to be addressed as whichever gender they identify as regardless of any diagnosis or medical intervention and irrespective of age.
Equality & Diversity Links:
Students experiencing a family bereavement or loss of someone close to them (or their parent, on the student’s behalf) can talk to a Pastoral Manager or Form Tutor if they feel they need support.
Where appropriate, teachers of the student are informed of the bereavement so they are aware that the student may be behaving differently than usual (e.g. emotional, angry or distracted). Some students are issued with temporary exit cards to offer them time out if they are finding it difficult to cope with their emotions. They can then seek support from staff in Pastoral.
The school can refer individuals or families to St Helena Hospice for bereavement support (if they are unable to refer themselves). There is also access to the school chaplain for an opportunity to talk through issues or for mentoring as appropriate and our Child First onsite Counsellors.
Each year the school chaplains carry out a Remembrance Project where students can contribute to remember someone close to them. This is available to all students both during the project and throughout the year as needed.
Bereavement & Loss Links:
Let’s Talk About It (An initiative designed to provide practical help and guidance in order to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism): http://www.ltai.info/
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development;
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
- and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
( DfE, KCSIE September 2020 – Update – January 2021 (Post EU Exit))
Safeguarding is the broad term for keeping children safe from harm – this includes avoiding potential accidents and protecting children from abuse. Abuse can take many different forms including:
For more information on the categories and types of abuse please visit the Essex Safeguarding Children Board website.
All staff members are provided with regular training in Safeguarding and Child Protection and are annually and are issued with the most up to date guidance and policies to ensure they know how to recognise the signs and indicators of abuse and how to respond to and report any concerns. The Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads undertake Level 3 safeguarding training every 2 years. All staff and volunteers are vetted during the recruitment process by seeking satisfactory references and undertaking a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check in line with safeguarding legislation.
If you have concerns about a student (even if they seem minor) please report them to the student’s Pastoral Manager or a Designated Person. If you have any serious or immediate concerns regarding a child’s safety please contact the Police.
“Teenage years are often a time when young people search for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, and look for adventure and excitement. This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers, as well as identity and a strong social network. Schools already help safeguard pupils from the harms they may face such as drugs, gangs and sexual exploitation. Just like these harms, radicalisation can have a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities. Protecting pupils from the influence of extremist ideas is therefore an important part of a school’s safeguarding role.”
(Educate Against Hate website, April 2016)
Radicalisation and extremism is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations. There are extremist groups in a number of religions and social or political groups. Young people can be particularly vulnerable to the influence of these groups.
In March 2015 the Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) placed new statutory duties on schools to prevent young people being drawn into extremism. St Helena School has ensured that all of its policies, procedures and practices are reviewed and updated to take account of the need to safeguard children and young people from radicalisation and extremism. In September all staff members were required to undertake/update their training around understanding radicalisation and extremism. Key staff members within the school have undertaken in-depth training to identify and intervene where appropriate.
The Religious Studies department at St Helena School studies the main world religions and promotes tolerance and understanding of world views in timetabled lessons through both Religious Studies and the Opening Minds curriculum. When appropriate, we discuss current issues in the news that may prompt students to question human behaviour and their motives behind it. We encourage students to use critical thinking skills to identify bias and in doing so develop the skills of analysis and evaluation. Lessons look at ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in terms of religious beliefs and British Law, so it is made clear what is acceptable behaviour in this country.
Issues of concerning language or behaviours are raised with students as and when appropriate to ensure they are able to recognise why it might be a concern, or to allow them to ask someone for help. Students are encouraged to speak to a member of the Pastoral Team (or a member of staff) if they are worried someone might be at risk so that support can be offered to anyone affected by the issue. The school has a PREVENT trained Safeguarding lead who has attended specialist training to be able to refer to specialist services if there are potential radicalisation issues with a student.
If you have concerns about a student (even if they seem minor) please report those concerns to a Year Leader or Pastoral Manager or the Designated Person/Child Protection Officer. If you have any serious or immediate concerns regarding a child’s safety please contact the Police.
E-Safety awareness for all students and their parents/carers is essential to ensure they are aware of the risks they face online and how they can keep themselves safe. Smart phones now make it possible to access the internet and social networking apps/sites at any time – making it more difficult to supervise your child’s access.
Having an open and honest conversation with them so you know what they are accessing and to ensure they can try to keep them safe – advice on how to do this can be found on the website below.
Coerced online child sexual abuse – Help for parents (UK Safer Internet Centre)
The UKSIC report that more than a quarter of girls who took part in their survey have had some kind of experience of receiving a request for nude or semi-nude photos or videos.
Children can be groomed, coerced or encouraged into sexual activities online. Any child with unsupervised access to the internet is potentially at risk.
To help parents understand this difficult topic and talk to their children, the UKSIC has produced a checklist and resources about online sexual abuse.
Find the information here: https://saferinternet.org.uk/online-issue/coerced-online-child-sexualabuse