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Pastoral Structure


‘We will work in collaboration with other educational institutions and in partnership with parents and pupils to maximise academic and creative potential of pupils, enabling them to achieve the highest educational standards, thereby enriching their lives in the community and the economy.’


As a Catholic and Rights Respecting School, we work together to engender in our pupils’ positive attitudes and behaviours based on respect for self and others.  We acknowledge the importance of our pastoral role in the welfare of all young people and through our mission statement and ethos every pupil is treated as an individual and every effort is made to ensure that each pupil achieves their full potential, creating an atmosphere in which our pupils feel secure, know that they are valued as individuals, and are encouraged in their learning, growth and social development in a healthy and safe learning environment. 

Aims of Pastoral Care/Structures

  • To ensure every pupil feels unique and a valued member of our school community;

  • To instil a sense of personal worth and dignity through intellectual, moral and spiritual development;

  • To develop pupils’ skills in building and maintaining good relationships with their peers, teachers and other members of our school community;

  • To encourage pupils to adopt a healthy and safe lifestyle;

  • To encourage a sense of personal responsibility for their own learning and actions;

  • To assist pupils to develop the skills to make healthy lifestyle choices, appreciate life and respect the world in which they live in;

  • To help prepare pupils to meet the demands and challenges of adult and working life.

Supportive & Caring Ethos

The Curriculum and Pastoral Care provisions in St Mary’s High School aims to support all pupils and prepare them to cope with the demands of school and adult life thus enabling them to achieve their full potential.

  • 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;

  • Staff implement Invitational Leadership strategies;

  • Staff promote and reward positive and respectful behaviour;

  • 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, Health Education and the Personal Development Programmes;

  • 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 who are fully trained in Child Protection;

  • 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 (Level 2), 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. 

Personal Development Programme

Personal Development is designed to help pupils gain the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to lead, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, resilient and responsible citizens.  Pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of learning experiences, contributing fully to the life of the school and their wider community. In doing so, they learn to recognise their own worth, develop a sense of their own identity and the ability to take their place in the community as well as showing respect for others.   Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and to recognise how they are developing personally and socially, addressing the spiritual, social, moral and cultural issues that form an intrinsic part of growing up.  St Mary’s is an important environment in the life of our pupils where they can develop their strengths and capacity to adjust to the challenges of life and develop the necessary competences to fully develop to become confident and resilient individuals.  Personal Development is inclusive of present needs and helps students’ in their development towards adulthood, encouraging the development and promotion of emotional intelligence and self-resilience.

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Child Protection


In St Mary’s we have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, where each child is valued for her unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. The Child Protection Policy clarifies the responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching staff in the school in relation to child protection and to identify the action that should be taken to enable cases of suspected abuse to be reported and appropriate action taken.

The Designated Teacher is Mr M Fitzpatrick (Vice Principal) and the Deputy Designated Teacher is Mrs J Hughes (Senior Teacher).


Our CRED, Shared Education and PD Programmes help pupils gain an understanding of their own tradition, a respect for others and an appreciation for the importance of equality by enabling students to look for and celebrate their similarities as well as understanding and respecting diversity.   As a Rights Respecting and Welcoming School, St Mary’s promotes good community relations, equality and diversity helping all pupils to be at ease with difference in all its forms, promoting their own personal development and enriching the communities to which they belong.

SEN Provision


St Mary’s High School endeavours to ensure that all pupils have equal access to all areas of the curriculum.  The SENCO, Mrs F McCloy, coordinates the provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs. 

Newcomer Pupil Provision


The Newcomer Coordinator, Mrs S Haddad, ensures all Newcomer Pupils are given all the necessary support and guidance to integrate smoothly into their new school, helping them to achieve their full potential.

Behaviour Management Programme


The school encourages high standards of behaviour in order to maintain a positive working environment which is prerequisite to effective learning and teaching.  The Behaviour Policy outlines roles and responsibilities and the procedures in place to celebrate positive behaviour and issue sanctions if pupils display poor behaviour.  The Behaviour Management Coordinator, Mrs J Hughes, coordinates the Behaviour Management Programme in consultation with the Pastoral Team supported by outside agencies when required.

Motivational Mentoring Programme


Pupil progress is closely tracked and pupils who are not achieving their full potential are identified and in consultation with parents are put on a Mentoring Programme.    The Raising Standards Leader, Mrs J Hughes, coordinates the Mentoring Programme in consultation with the Raising Standards Team.  Pupils’ progress is tracked throughout the year.

Learning Partners Programme


Year 8 pupil progress is monitored during the first two weeks in September.  Pupils who are experiencing transitional and organisational difficulties are identified and in consultation with parents are put on a Learning Partners Programme.  Each Year 8 pupil who is put on the programme meets their Year 14 Learning Partner twice per week to identify targets for the following week.  The programme runs from September until February.

Counselling Service


The Counselling Service offers pupils the opportunity to talk to a qualified counsellor in confidence.  The Counsellor will consult with the Designated Teacher to ascertain if there are any Child Protection concerns.  There is one School Counsellor, Mrs N Woods, who attends one day per week and provide support to those pupils who seek help in finding the best solutions to their problems.  Pupils may be referred to the Counsellor through:

  • A member of staff;

  • A parent;

  • Self-Referral

Extra-Curricular Activities


Pupil participation in extra-curricular activities such as sport, music, drama, art, public speaking and curriculum clubs encourages the development of skills, self-discipline and self-worth.  These opportunities are a valuable way for pupils to integrate into the life of the school and build friendships both within and between Year Groups.



Parents are the primary educators of young people.  The responsibility and impact of the home environment in the formative years is acknowledged as the most important influence on the development of the adult person.  In St Mary’s, we believe parents play a crucial role in ensuring their daughter achieves her full potential in school.  We encourage a strong working partnership between home and school.

Roles & Responsibilites

All teachers have the responsibility for promoting and implementing the aims of the Pastoral Care Policy and structures. Pastoral care permeates all activities and aspects of school life helping students to achieve their full potential. 

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Pastoral Structures


St Mary’s High School endeavours to ensure that all pupils have equal access to all areas of the curriculum.  The SENCO, Mrs F McCloy, coordinates the provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs. 

Form Teacher

The Form Teacher is responsible for 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 behavioural concerns and reports to the Vice Principal or Principal.

Vice Principal

The Vice Principal has overall responsibility for Pastoral Care in school and is the Designated Teacher for Child Protection.  The Vice Principal is also responsibile for planning, monitoring and evaluating the Personal Development provisions within the school in consultation with staff and outside agencies.


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

Use of External/Support Agencies


We acknowledge the importance of a range of external support agencies in promoting and supporting Pastoral Care within the school but also the importance of ensuring that such agencies adhere to the values and ethos of our school. 


St Mary's High School, Newry

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