At Appleford School, we foster a secure, homely atmosphere in which pupils’ comfort and well-being is at the centre of all we do. We have a specialist team who work together to help pupils feel happy and supported to access their learning throughout the academic day, and this continues into boarding where necessary.
Being a small school means that staff can get to know all of our pupils on a personal level and work to understand their individual needs, helping them to reach their respective goals. Most staff have varying, school-wide duties during non-structured times, providing them the interaction with pupils and the opportunity to form relationships with those not on their teaching timetable. This includes Houseparents which allows them to get to know day pupils, as well as boarders from other houses. This interaction ensures that pupils are familiar with every staff member and provides them a large network of trusted people to choose from should they need to discuss something. It also broadens the pupils’ contact with staff from other year groups, making the transition up through school more comfortable.
Our pastoral team works closely with parents and other professionals at school and externally, to understand each individual pupil’s needs as they develop over time. Information is shared consistently across all members of staff, via our online management system and in regular meetings, ensuring that any concerns are raised and managed promptly, and that no pupil passes below the radar.
We understand the importance of investing in mental health, emotional well-being and emotional resilience. The well equipped pastoral team are positioned in various places around the School to allow pupils to easily “drop in” at their convenience for ad hoc help, or just a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a casual chat. Sessions like this allow the pupils to feel comfortable in communicating with adults, helping them to talk about their concerns when most needed. This pastoral care is encouraged by non-pastoral staff alike, and posters around school are a visual reminder to pupils that the team are readily available to them. Alternatively, pupils who have been highlighted as requiring emotional development support are given scheduled one-to-one meetings to work on pinpointed areas, and group sessions are arranged for students to cultivate their social skills.