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The pastoral role of the teacher

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					Paper 11: Policy


            The	pastoral	role	of	the	teacher
            Background                                                  in	their	own	exploration	of	personal	and	
            1	  The	remodelling	of	the	school	workforce	                moral	values.	Behind	this	lies	a	recognition	
                over	the	period	2003-6	highlights	the	need	             that	schools	are	not	just	places	of	academic	
                to	refine	our	understanding	of	the	role	of	the	         learning,	but	of	growth,	development	and	a	
                teacher.	At	a	time	when	teaching	assistants	            maturing	understanding	of	life.	Schools	are	
                and	study	supervisors	manage	groups	of	                 about	the	development	of	the	whole	person.
                school	students,	and	learning	mentors	or	
                pastoral	managers	deal	with	many	pastoral	          The pastoral curriculum and ethos
                issues,	it	is	important	to	clarify	the	distinctive	 4	 What	has	been	called	the	‘pastoral	curriculum’	
                nature	of	the	professional	teacher’s	role:	             combines	all	the	aspects	of	a	school’s	life	
                what	exactly	is	a	qualified	teacher	for?	ASCL	          which	together	contribute	to	the	formation	of	
                is	committed	to	a	holistic	view	of	teaching:	           the	whole	person.	Curriculum	subjects	clearly	
                while	supporting	the	move	to	re-focus	the	              play	a	part,	but	so	also	do	less	tangible	things	
                teacher’s	role	around	the	core	activity	of	             such	as	the	quality	of	relationships	within	
                teaching	and	learning,	we	remain	convinced	             the	school	community,	the	value	the	school	
                that	teaching	is	a	human	rather	than	a	                 puts	on	individual	students,	and	school	ethos.	
                mechanistic	activity,	and	we	therefore	want	to	         School	leaders	have	a	particular	responsibility	
                highlight	the	personal	dimension	of	teaching.           for	setting	and	maintaining	the	ethos	of	
                                                                        a	school:	and	research	has	consistently	
            Personal learning                                           indicated	the	central	importance	of	ethos	in	
            2	 Long	before	the	recent	statutory	requirement	            determining	the	quality	of	a	school’s	work.	
                to	teach	a	citizenship	curriculum,	schools	
                recognised	the	importance	of	those	aspects	         The pastoral role of the teacher
                of	education	which	are	not	subject-specific.	       5		 In	this	context,	ASCL	urges	all	concerned	with	
                These	‘personal’	aspects	of	education	relate	to	        schools	and	the	recruitment	and	training	
                how	we	should	think	and	behave	rather	than	             of	teachers	to	affirm	the	pastoral	role	of	the	
                to	what	we	should	‘know,	understand	and	                teacher,	that	is,	the	role	of	the	teacher	as	
                be	able	to	do’.	They	are	value-related	rather	          someone	who	seeks	to	further	the	personal
                than	fact-related.	This	personal	dimension	         	   development	of	students	as	well	as	their	
                of	education	has	always	been	of	concern	                academic	learning,	to	support	students	as	
                to	good	teachers	and	good	schools.                      persons	as	well	as	learners.	Teaching	is	about	
                                                                        working	with	young	people,	gaining	their	
            Forming the whole person                                    confidence,	trust	and	collaboration	for	the	
            3	 Teachers	recognise	that	they	cannot	enable	              task	of	learning,	and	is	not	simply	about	the	
                students	to	learn	unless	there	is	a	shared	             delivery	of	a	curriculum.	Another	way	of	
                value-system	operating	in	the	school.	This	             putting	this	key	point	is	to	say	that	teachers	
                value-system	supports	collaboration	in	the	             are	inherently	involved	in	working	pastorally,	
                interests	of	learning	for	all	students,	and	it	is	      and	that	among	their	capabilities	should	be	
                under	particular	challenge	where	children	              a	high	degree	of	emotional	intelligence	(EI).	
                have	not	learnt	at	home	the	importance	of	
                rule-based	social	behaviour.	But	teachers	
                create	orderly	and	supportive	school	
                environments	not	simply	to	maximise	
                learning	outcomes.	They	seek	to	enable	
                students	to	understand	social	rules	and	
                customs	as	a	way	of	preparing	them	for	
                the	adult	world.	Equally,	teachers	students	


www.ascl.org.uk
ASCL policy




              Aspects of the pastoral role                                   Personal support
              6	    ASCL	continues	to	value	the	role	of	the	                 9	   Teachers	recognise	that	they	may	often	be	
                    teacher	as	form	tutor.	As	a	trusted	adult	in	                 seen	as	a	‘trusted	adult’	by	a	student	who	
                    the	school	context	who	carries	an	overall	                    has	personal	difficulties	in	their	learning	or	in	
                    management	brief	for	students,	the	form	                      their	personal	life.	This	status	may	lead	to	a	
                    tutor	is	in	a	position	to	provide	not	only	                   teacher	receiving	confidences	from	a	student	
                    academic	support	and	tutoring	across	the	                     who	has	few	if	any	other	adults	to	turn	to.	
                    curriculum,	but	also	personal	support	and	                    While	acknowledging	that	they	cannot	be	
                    encouragement.	The	form	tutor	remains	                        personal	counsellors	to	students,	teachers	
                    an	important	source	of	adult	support	and	                     will	want	to	support	the	individual	student	
                    understanding	for	the	student,	and	this	                      personally	by	listening	and	encouraging.	
                    aspect	of	the	teacher’s	role	can	also	be	deeply	              Good	teachers	will	often	be	those	who	know	
                    rewarding	for	the	teacher.	ASCL	recognises	                   their	students	best	as	individuals,	and	who	
                    that	other	patterns	of	pastoral	support	can	                  are	most	willing	to	offer	personal	support.
                    be	effective,	but	endorses	the	now	familiar	
                    form	tutor	role	as	a	highly	valuable	one.                Teaching: An inclusive, personal role
                                                                             10	 In	emphasising	the	pastoral	role	of	the	
              7	    In	addition	to	the	form	tutor	role,	which	                   teacher,	ASCL	seeks	to	underline	one	of	the	
                    is	evidently	pastoral,	other	aspects	of	the	                 strongest	distinctive	features	of	the	British	
                    teacher’s	task	also	involve	pastoral	awareness.	             educational	tradition.	Other	traditions	have	
                    For	example,	the	subject	teacher	needs	to	be	                sought	to	separate	the	academic	and	pastoral	
                    an	expert	not	only	in	delivering	the	content	                aspects	of	teaching.	We	believe	that	this	is	
                    of	a	particular	curriculum,	but	also	in	adapting	            fundamentally	mistaken.	ASCL	considers	that	
                    teaching	methodologies	to	the	specific	                      to	reduce	the	role	of	the	teacher	to	that	of	
                    individuals	in	his	or	her	care.	Good	teachers	               an	instructor	-	someone	who	simply	delivers	
                    want	to	know	how	the	individual	student	                     the	curriculum	-	is	to	narrow	the	essentially	
                    best	learns,	and	refine	their	approaches	                    inclusive,	personal	role	of	the	teacher	and	to	
                    in	the	light	of	this.	Equally,	good	teachers	                render	the	teaching	profession	that	much	
                    form	positive	attitudes	to	learning	in	their	                less	attractive	to	prospective	professionals.	
                    students,	and	are	successful	in	motivating	                  ASCL	believes	that	all	teachers	need	well-
                    individual	students	to	want	to	learn.		                      developed	emotional	intelligence	and	
                                                                                 a	broad	pastoral	awareness.	We	believe	
              8	    Pastoral	awareness	is	a	key	aspect	of	                       that	teachers	who	have	an	active	interest	
                    successful	teaching.	Good	teachers	recognise	                in	and	commitment	to	their	students	as	
                    that	changing	family	circumstances,	personal	                persons	as	well	as	learners	are	likely	to	be	
                    relationships	or	the	process	of	growing	up	                  among	the	very	best	in	the	profession.			
                    may	preoccupy	students	and	affect	their	
                    ability	to	learn.	Again,	behavioural	difficulties	
                    in	the	classroom	may	have	their	origin	not	
                    simply	in	negative	attitudes	to	learning	
                    but	also	in	personal	problems	related	to	
                    home	or	family.	Good	teachers	are	aware	
                    of	their	students	as	whole	people,	and	this	
                    is	a	key	to	helping	them	learn	effectively.




              Association	of	School	and	College	Leaders,	130	Regent	Road,	Leicester	LE1	7PG
              T:	0116	299	1122	F:	0116	299	1123	E:	info@ascl.org.uk	W:	www.ascl.org.uk

              £2	       	        	         	        	        	           	         	         	       	            		January	2004
              	         	        	         	        	        	           	         	              Second	edition	December	2007

2 www.ascl.org.uk

				
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