Pastoral Structure

Supportive and Caring Ethos in School


The Curriculum and Pastoral Care provisions in St Mary’s High School aims to support all pupils prepare them to cope with the demands of school and adult life thus enabling them to achieve their full potential. These provisions include measures to help meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs and aspirations of all learners within an inclusive learning environment.  We acknowledge the importance of our pastoral role in the welfare of all young people and through our mission statement and ethos every member of our school community is treated with respect.  Through our Pastoral Programme and Counselling Service we offer a supportive environment to pupils.  The Personal Development Programme allows pupils to explore key issues within their personal development including Self Concepts, Self Esteem, Health and Well-being, Relationships and Personal Safety.  

The following structures and procedures operate in St Mary’s:

  • Staff promote and reward positive and respectful behaviour;

  • Staff promote a caring environment where all pupils feel accepted, valued and respected;

  • Staff lead by example in promoting respect for each other and forming positive relationships with pupils acting as moral compasses;

  • Through annual Child Protection Training all staff are fully informed of new and existing Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures;

  • Promoting positive emotional health and well-being is an integral part of the school curriculum and the Personal Development Programme;

  • As a Catholic School, faith development is an integral part the school ethos and the RE Programmes of Study.  The School Chaplain, Fr Tony Corr, is available for advice and counselling;

  • The school uses a range of external agencies for professional guidance and to support the Pastoral programme;

  • Lunchtime supervision is provided by non-teaching members of staff;

  • Staff adopt appropriate school procedures for cases of poor behaviour and investigate each incident impartially;

  • Any sanctions imposed are fair and appropriate and agreed by the Student Voice;

  • Any pupil identified as demonstrating serious behavioural tendencies will be supported and offered support i.e. Behaviour Management Intervention, Counselling, Mentoring etc

Rights Respecting School 

As a Rights Respecting School, which creates and celebrates being a Welcoming School, the core purpose is an inclusive learning environment where all students and staff members feel safe, supported and valued.  This environment is based on respect for self and others where diversity is cherished and promoted.  As a Rights Respecting School we aim to educate and support students to help them recognise prejudice, to overcome it and to respond in a positive way to negative influences.  Through a range of learning experiences students develop the skills and resilience to deal with prejudice such as sectarian attitudes and behaviour, homophobia, racism or negative attitudes to people with disabilities.  

Personal Development Programme

Personal Development is the process that involves the entire world of the young person, of which school is a significant part.  It involves knowledge, attitudes, skills, relationships and behaviour that can be utilised in and outside the classroom.  This involves thinking processes, managing emotions, values and relationships along with a range of life skills that assist young people in coping with the challenges of every day living.  This is inclusive of their present needs and helps them in their development towards adulthood, encouraging the development and promotion of emotional intelligence in young people.

“Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivation ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

(Goleman, 1998)

The Personal Development Programme supports the promotion of positive relationships within the school community enabling young people to:


  • work towards achieving their individual potential;

  • become confident, interdependent and participative citizens;

  • make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives.

Personal Development is fundamentally about the holistic development of individuals, this involves providing learning opportunities to develop values, attitudes and skills as well as the acquisition of knowledge.

Roles and Responsibilities

All teachers have the responsibility for promoting and implementing the aims of the Pastoral Care Policy. This means that all teachers need to have a caring commitment to guide and advise pupils, either formally or informally, on personal, educational and career choice matters. If this process is carried out, then the pastoral dimension should permeate all activities and aspects of school life.


Essentially the role of the Year Head and Form Teacher is to convey to children, through his/her attitude and example, the Christian ethos and educational purpose of the school which aims to:

·  develop each child intellectually, spiritually, socially, physically and emotionally;

·  prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life;

·  provide a caring, supportive environment in which each pupil feels valued;

·  enhance the opportunity for learning for each pupil. 


The following guidelines specify the main elements in the role of the Form Teacher and Year Head in St Mary’s.

Pastoral Structures:

Form Teacher

The Form Teacher looks after the well-being of all the pupils in their Form Class.  The Form Teacher ensures attendance, punctuality, academic attainment and behaviour are monitored.  They help the pupils develop the necessary skills for effective learning and are responsible for the delivery of the Personal Development Programme.  There are four Form Classes in each Year Group.

Year Tutor

Each Year Group is assigned a Year Tutor who coordinates the work of their team, liaises with Form Teachers and has an overview of the pastoral and academic progress of the pupils in the Year Group.  They also celebrate achievements with their Year Group.

Behaviour Management Coordinator

The Behaviour Management Coordinator liaises closely with Year Tutors and outside agencies in relation to behaviour concerns.

Vice Principal

The Vice Principal has overall responsibility for Pastoral Care in school and is the Designated Teacher for Child Protection.


The Principal has overall pastoral responsibility for all pupils in the school.

Role of the Form Teacher

Form Teachers have responsibility for establishing high standards and expectations of their Form Class.  There are clear behaviour management procedures and these are followed by all members of the Pastoral Care Team and include the use of the Behaviour Module to record achievements and behaviours.

  • Establish a good working relationship with individual pupils and the class as a whole providing encouragement, support and guidance where needed;

  • Encourage self discipline in the pupils' attitude to parents, teachers and peers,

  • Develop self esteem in the pupil and a feeling of her individual worth standard of moral and social development;

  • Transmit Christian values and ethos of the school and an awareness of the needs of others;

  • Act as a linking agent between pupil and other members of staff;

  • Gain the confidence and respect of pupils;

  • Complete the Personal Development Programme with their Form Class;

  • Monitor, evaluate and review the Personal Development Programme; 

  • Liaise and work with parents in supporting their daughter’s progress in school; 

  • Carry out administrative duties efficiently.

Role of the Year Tutor

Year Tutors have overall responsibility for establishing high standards and expectations of their Year Group, both within and outside of lessons.  There are clear behaviour management procedures and these are followed by all members of the Year Tutor Team and include the use of the SIMs to record achievements and behaviours.  

  • Ensure that there are regular meetings with the Form Teachers and write up the minutes of same;

  • Coordinate all information received from subject teachers, form teachers and take action where necessary;

  • Establish a good working relationship with the pupils in the Year Group providing encouragement, support and guidance where needed. If necessary arrange meetings with external agencies; 

  • Monitor the academic progress of pupils taking action where necessary; 

  • Communicate when necessary with parents on matters regarding their daughter’s progress;

  • Arrange meetings with parents when necessary to discuss welfare issues;

  • Meet with other Year Heads bi-annually to monitor and review the Personal Development Programme;

  • Take responsibility for Year Assembly, Parents’ Evenings and other year group activities;


Role of Behaviour Management Coordinator

The Behaviour Management Coordinator has responsibility for pastoral and behavioural issues across the school.  The Coordinator works very closely with the Vice Principal, Senior Leadership Team, Pastoral Care Team and other external agencies including Behaviour Support Team, Pupil Personal Development Services, Newry Adolescent Partnership, CAMs and Just Ask.


Role of Vice Principal or Principal

The Vice Principal or Principal has overall responsibility for the Pastoral Care arrangements in school.

St Mary's High School, Newry

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