School Named Finalist In Pastoral Care Awards

3rd July 2023

The ongoing dedication to the health and wellbeing of children at Highfield and Brookham School has been recognised.

The independent nursery, pre-prep and prep school has been named a finalist in the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education.

Highfield and Brookham is one of four hopefuls in line for the award in the Raising Awareness About Pastoral Care category and the winners will be unveiled at an awards ceremony in Worcester in September.

“Our key objective for pastoral care centres on the emotional and physical welfare of our children,” said Head, Suzannah Cryer.

“In order to raise awareness of pastoral care, we take a whole-school strategic and operational approach to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and promotes tolerance, resilience, fairness and equal opportunities among our children.”

During this past academic year, the school has carved space out of the children’s busy days to allow time dedicated to their pastoral care – in the form of a new ‘Weekly Wellbeing’ initiative.

Across the nursery, pre-prep and prep school there is a full programme of activities such as ‘Journaling and Scrapbooking’ on Tuesdays, ‘Cards and Board Games’ on Thursdays and ‘Lego and Chill’ on Fridays. ‘Be With the Boys’ and ‘Go With the Girls’ are run by our Peer Listeners – a group of trained and compassionate Year 8 children who offer our younger children a friendly face or a kindly listening ear in times of trouble or upset.

Other events in the Weekly Wellbeing calendar include ‘Listening Club’ where children can chat or share worries with a trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistant.

Without doubt the most successful activity in raising awareness is the weekly lunchtime wellbeing walk. All children and staff are invited to head outside into the school’s 175 acre grounds to enjoy the simple pleasure of a stroll and a natter.

The pinnacle of these weekly walks came in February when the pre-prep and prep school children came together to mark the culmination of Children’s Mental Health Week. Children of all ages joined the thought-provoking walk; chatting, laughing and playing along the route as they discovered strategically placed topics for discussion such as ‘what helps you cope when things are difficult?’. The younger children spending quality time in the company of their older peers was a huge benefit and a learning curve for both.

Highfield and Brookham being named a finalist in the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education comes hard on the heels of the school being commended in the Environmental Practice category of this year Education Business Awards. Mrs Cryer said: “We were delighted to have had our environmental work recognised recently, so to now have our work on such a vital element of school life as pastoral care recognised too is the icing the cake and tells us that we are moving in the right direction.”