Pastoral Deputy Head: Helen Tebay email@example.com
Sevenoaks School is a large community with 1000 pupils aged 11-18, over 120 full-time teachers and around 150 non-teaching staff. The primary aim of the School’s pastoral system is therefore to ensure that every pupil feels individually valued and supported.We have found two great benefits of the tutorial system: as highlighted in our recent inspection report, the standard of pastoral care is consistently excellent across the school, and it enables friendships between all members of a peer group to flourish which we believe contributes to the particularly happy atmosphere at Sevenoaks.
Tutor Groups and the role of the Tutor
The role of the tutor is crucial. It is his or her responsibility to ensure that each pupil feels individually valued and supported. Tutor groups, which comprise 14-16 pupils, meet every morning. There is administration to be done of course - registration, reading of the bulletin and so on - but much of the time is spent discussing PSHE issues, chatting with the tutors and, most importantly, enabling the tutor to see individual pupils regularly to discuss academic progress and any problems both in and out of the classroom the pupils may have. Once a week in the Lower and Middle School the group is joined by a tutor group prefect, a member of the Sixth Form (often a former tutee of the tutor) who shares his or her experiences and acts as a friendly ‘big brother or sister’. The tutor is the first port of call for parents, who are given the e-mail address of their son or daughter’s tutor. The tutor will contact parents if there are any concerns and similarly parents should never hesitate to contact the tutor if they are at all worried about their son or daughter. Pupils forge close relationships with their tutor, who quickly becomes a key figure in their daily lives; nagging and cajoling it is true, but much more importantly advising, helping and encouraging.
The school is divided into three sections: Lower School (Years 7 and 8), Middle School (9-11) and Upper School (Sixth Form) and usually pupils remain with their tutor, who is a specialist for that age group, for the whole of their time in a section. The Lower School tutor groups are all located in one small area and the pupils have their own Common Room, where they meet and play in breaks. The Middle School and Upper School pupils meet in classrooms around the school campus, and each section has their own Common Room. In the Middle and Upper Schools, a group of about 7 tutor groups forms a Division. Co-ordinating the divisions and working closely with the tutors are the Divisional Heads. The Divisional Head is responsible for discipline and maintaining the highest standards of behaviour, appearance and of course good working habits. The Divisional Heads pride themselves on knowing every member of their division and make regular visits to the Boarding Houses in their division.
The main difference between the day and the boarding community is of course that the pastoral support for boarders continues 24 hours a day. However, although the Housemaster or mistress will inevitably be a very important person in each boarder’s life at school, the tutor and divisional system outlined above works in the same way as for the day community. Each House has several assistant tutors, some of whom live with their families in accommodation within the Boarding House grounds. Every boarding tutor will have his or her own tutor group within the House. In addition to tutor time at the start of the day, every boarding tutor has one or two duty evenings in the House, and he or she will use this time to see all of their tutees and discuss any issues which have arisen.
The school campus is adapted for wheelchair users. Please contact the admissions department for further information.
The tutor is therefore the key person for each individual pupil, but many others are available to help and advise – friends, any teacher whom the pupil particularly likes and trusts, the Divisional Head and the Pastoral Deputy Head, who oversees the Divisional Heads and boarding Housemasters and mistresses, senior pupils – the School has several peer counsellors trained by the School’s counsellor - the counsellor herself, the School Chaplain and, of course, the parents!
It is testimony to the success of the system that both the full inspection report and the boarding inspection report repeatedly emphasised the exceptionally happy atmosphere amongst the pupil body. We are proud of that.