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I have been given a pastoral role at a secondary school...(27 Posts)
...and I have no experience in this field. An admin role came up in the department and I applied. I already work at the school in a completely different admin role/department. Whilst I was going through the process, one of the welfare offices resigned. I have been persuaded to take on his role and they are going to continue recruiting for the admin person. This is an expected promotion for me. I have gone up a grade and the work will be more interesting and challenging. I will be given some training but I would like to educate myself as much as I can because I will also have to do a lot of learning 'on the job' and I don't want to mess this up. Is there any literature I could read on supporting secondary aged students (I will be placed to support 11 and 12 year old boys and girls to begin with), also websites, ted talks, anything at all I can get my hands on? This is for a very large secondary school in a leafy London suburb with a very wide and diverse catchment area. Thank you all.
Think you need to look up
Smoking and anti smoking coarses
Fire and fire safety
Agencies in the area for referral CAHMS school nurse Listening service etc
What can you pass on to the experts?
Please please also have a look into Sen especially autism. And especially in girls.
Congratulations on your new role. Make sure you ask the school about training.
have a snoop on other schools' websites for internet safety policy etc.
my son has something called online citizenship which is all about how you behave online and your footprint etc. this stuff is highly likely to come up !
I imagine you will need to do Safeguarding training immediately. I would ask for training to be provided for you. Who are you reporting to? Is it a Deputy Head/Assistant Head. I am slightly surprised a school takes on staff in this role without relevant experience. However you must familiarise yourself with the behaviour, SEND policies, bullying policies, pp strategy and Safeguarding policies immediately but do ask for training. I wish you well. I actually think common sense goes a long way but within a framework.
Sounds like your position is head of year or something similar. Talk to the other HOYs about their role and how to manage things. If it is a HOY position (or even a support role within this) you'll need to know the school policies on exclusions and PRU referrals, and how to do the paperwork for this. All my HOY friends always say this is something they weren't prepared for when they took the job. Good luck!
Thank you, all great advice, many many thanks. I know what you mean Bubbles but I will be part of a team and trained on the job as it were. I have been approached to take on this role for good reason, I have worked at the school for nearly 6 years and know the students well. I tick pretty much all the boxes apart from the fact that I haven't sat down with students face to face to discuss anything. I will be reporting directly to the Designated Safeguarding Lead who is also the Deputy Head. I am soaking up all of our policies, the local council's, the government's, I am quite used to dealing with early help and counsellors that come in, agency referral, etc. It is the actual face to face interaction with the kids that I don't want to mess up and I feel less confident in.
Autism in girls. We have a lovely pastoral leader who has full understanding. Makes a big difference
If it's interaction, I'd set your stall out early on. Clear, consistent boundaries, do what you say you will, high expectations, get to the root of any issues and avoid escalation where possible. It's always easier to go in stricter and then reduce than be seen as a push over and try and get respect back. Not to say be unbending, but if you're consistent and keep promises then you'll be fine.
Watch some of the educating series and see the issues the pastoral staff are dealing with.
I’d focus on resilience. It’s important for you to know your own weak spots too and what your boundaries will be. I used to be a childline counsellor and you’re trained to identify when you’re projecting how you would deal with a situation onto the young person.
You should look into counselling skills as they come in useful in any role of this ilk. Also look into legal guidelines in the event that a young person discloses abuse to you: it is very important not to ask 'leading questions' as this can risk future prosecutions.
Perhaps a look at nspcc website would be useful too. If you have been offered the job, you obviously have a natural rapport so it's really just about making sure you are up to date with non-discriminatory language, relevant legislation and current issues. Best of luck
I would recommend a book called listening helpfully
also worth doing some short counselling skills, stress, bereavement, addictions courses.
I would say courses in:
-Basic Counselling Skills (not because you'll be "counselling" the children as such but it's a great basis for listening and communication skills, getting children to talk etc)
-Drugs and Alcohol Awareness
Also make sure you understand and are completely up-to-date on the latest social media that young people are using and that you are aware of all the other agencies in the area that you can refer to, call for advice, recommend to children and so on
I would also try and get up to date with all the current social media sites that teenagers use -Snapchat, facebook , Twitter , instagram -there’s also other that they use where people are anonymous and can say anything they want to them with out the teenagers knowing who posted it (hope that makes sense) some of the stuff on there is shocking !! I think it’s called say at me or something -I think social media is 90% of the problems that are caused at secondary school so if it was me I would like to know about these sites
Watch the ‘Educating Manchester ‘ TV programme. The pastoral team at that school were brilliant.
Congratulations on your new post! I agree about autism in girls and some of the other, lesser known, ASD-type conditions, too.
And trans issues...
Also don't preach!
Ask the kids 'what would you like to happen'
'What can I do to help you?'
In the nicest possible way though - why on earth is it up to you to figure it out and research? Will they be giving you any guidance at all?
Teenage mental health is far up on that list too. MIND do some courses. Good luck and congrats. X
Lynn Mcann has a brilliant new book out about supporting children with ASD through secondary school. There's a great bit on transition. You will be able to apply the techniques with many children.
Our pastoral team are great with the pupils but often don't share info with teaching staff. The databases are not updated often enough... hard though as they are rushed off their feet.
Most of the DC at our school have them. The phone that’s being confiscated is rarely their actual phone
threadarick it is not up to me, I am going to be well supported by the team and have already been signed up to go on several courses. However, I want to use the week off I have right now to educate myself and start strong. I do think that the more knowledge I can equip myself with now, the more I'll get out of the courses and the better I'll be able to support our students.
Thank you everyone for the very useful information and your words of encouragement.
I have a very similar job and whilst I had lots of experience working with teenagers it’s very different to any job I have done before. Noone will know exactly what you will be doing as the role varies so much day to day and mostly definitely school to school. I work in a large school that’s in a very poor area which brings some huge challenges. It’s a good school and we get great results/ofsted etc but the area is quite diverse and I work with a small minority of the school.
The women who got the job at the same time as I did working with the Ks3 had very little experience and was just out of uni and she is fantastic at her job. I think you need a certain type of personality to do the job and obviously your HT thinks you fit the bill.
It’s very much a job where you learn as you go however I would say safeguarding, child protection and self harm , teen relationships, teen mental health are and resilience are priorities at my school. I would look at what local agencies there are in your area what support there is for young people so you know where to refer to for more support.Get Social media savvy so much of my job revolves around whats happening on it.
Really listen to what kids say to you and report ANY concerns. You will need a thick skin, the hardest part of my job is parents (and teachers!) so really good communication skills are needed. My job is very full on very busy and I literally go from supporting someone who self harmed last night, to supporting a pupils who’s parent died to supporting pupils facing criminal charges, to dealing with friendship fallings out, dealing with social time and classroom behaviour within one morning. There are things I say now that I never thought would come out of my mouth and I hear things every day that would alarm most people I am shocked at what some pupils live through and yet are still coming to school each day.
However I LOVE my job it’s honestly the best job I have ever had and being a positive influence supporting teens is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done the job satisfaction is great. Working with teens is never boring and the levels of honesty you get from them is refreshing. I get told if I look good and they always comment on any changes I make in my appearance they tell us they love us and that are the only reason they come to school but equally they scream they hate me and that I am shit at my job, also comment on every bad hair day.
You need a good support system for you in school and also a positive way to relax after each day (yoga, running, hot baths etc)
Good luck in your new job I am sure you will love it!
hereagainagain thank you so much for your lovely post. The rest of the pastoral team are a group of people I have been admiring from afar for so long, I feel lucky they have asked me to become part of their team and be involved in what they do, which is pretty much what you have described and more. Are there any books that you would particularly recommend?
By the way, I have bought the book that 0ccamsRazor has recommended so thank you for that!! Would love some reading specifically for this age group.
Check out the Berry Street Education Model. It’s about a trauma informed approach to education. Is based on Australian studies but applicable from early years right through secondary.
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