Being an effective teacher has never required a greater skill-set than in recent years. Teachers are not only knowledgeable about their subjects, but they are motivators, evaluators and, increasingly, counsellors. We need to teach resilience and nurture self-esteem alongside quadratic equations, the imperfect tense and fronted adverbial clauses. Therefore, having strong pastoral care provision in place is, in my opinion, a non-negotiable of any successful school.
Given that the premise of the job of a school is to best prepare children for the rigours and challenges of tomorrow, it follows that the care and attention that he or she receives along the way will lay the foundations for future success.
At Wandsworth Prep, children’s wellbeing is thus high on our agenda, stemming from the well-researched view that children learn best when they are happy. To us, a happy child is a learning child. So how do we make this happen? How do we help our children be happy, learn well and achieve?
Firstly, pastoral care is not an added or optional extra; it is an integrated and essential part of school life; the beating heart of relationships formed. Unfailing emphasis is placed on the development of each child’s confidence and self-esteem. Our small class sizes lend naturally to a climate of mutual trust and support and class teachers, in particular, play a pivotal role in creating an atmosphere of warmth and openness where children feel secure, well looked after and highly valued.
Secondly, Wandsworth is a school where children can be children. By focusing on the individual, we enable each child to flourish and grow at their own pace. Strong, supportive relationships are built between adults and children alike, helping them to reach full their potential, both personally and academically. The result? Independent, confident and resilient individuals who are happy to have a go and do their best.
Finally, no child is the same. We encourage each child in our care to discover their hidden talents and new-found abilities by providing them with an enviable range of opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, from coding to sewing and cross-country to chess
Our children’s wellbeing matters to us as much as it does to their parents. Only if a child is happy and confident in our environment will he or she make the most of the doors that are opened to them and leave us with the self-respect to become all that they want to be, the resilience to withstand the pressures of modern life and the strength to face the challenges that come their way head-on.
Bridget Saul - Headteacher