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To be happy and succeed to the best of their abilities, young people must feel cared for and secure. Pastoral care, curricular and careers guidance go hand in hand to ensure that our pupils have the necessary support they need at this key stage in their development.
Teachers establish trusting relationships with pupils to support their well-being, ensuring they feel safe and nurtured. Within school there is a dedicated team responsible for pastoral care, while each year group is assigned a Head of Year and a Year Teacher (known as Guidance Teachers) who belong to the Pastoral Care Team.
The role of the Guidance Teacher is to know the children in their care and act as the first point of contact if a pupil needs help or if there are emotional, social or academic concerns. Pastoral staff provide support and guidance to children and their families.
Senior 1 has a dedicated team with specialist experience in helping children settle into the Senior School. From Senior 2 to the end of Senior 5, pupils generally retain support from the same Guidance Teacher throughout. This intentional constancy can be immensely reassuring during what can be a time of great change. The Head of Sixth Year and S6 Year Teacher are expert in the provision of Heriot’s unique S6 experience which prepares pupils for life after Heriot’s.
Children who take up a Foundation place at Heriot’s are supported by a member of staff who is trained in supporting young people who are bereaved. Where required, the Foundationers’ Co-ordinator provides children with the appropriate care to help them and their families. Enabling Foundationers to thrive and be successful is fundamental to the ethos of the school.
Kindness, effort and happiness are key features of life at Heriot’s. The pastoral team’s role with children and families is to ensure everyone flourishes in the Heriot’s community.
In SfL, it is understood that all major transitions can be challenging for young people with learning differences, and support is offered to pupils and parents as they move from Junior to Senior School. Small transition groups for P7 pupils are lead, as well as Parent Information workshops for S1 parents. During the school day, senior school pupils have the opportunity to ‘drop in’ to the SfL Department during lunchtimes to talk about any worries or issues they may be facing.
Furthermore, collaboration with colleagues across the whole school helps ensure that teachers and pupils are well informed about the impact of learning differences and are equipped with a range of teaching and learning strategies to help with these. Teacher training workshops are provided to staff about a variety of Support for Learning needs and the Department works closely with the Senior School Citizenship Coordinator to help design and deliver a progressive programme of Study Skills lessons. Ever keen to employ pupil voice, there are appointed pupil “Ambassadors” who help to deliver Citizenship lessons on Dyslexia and ASD to their teachers and peers.
Curricular and careers guidance are shared concerns of our Guidance Team and Careers Team, who work side by side to support older pupils. We aim for steady and realistic progress over the years, to enable pupils to make informed decisions about subject choices, further study and employment. Our Careers Team includes a fully qualified professional Careers Adviser.
Careers education is taught in Citizenship classes from Senior 1 to 5 inclusive. In Senior 4, all pupils are enrolled in a Careers Development programme which is an external source of career guidance. Early in Senior 5, pupils have an individual interview with a member of the Careers Team to confirm that their subject choices and future ambitions align. Pupils are interviewed again when they move up into Senior 6.