The aims of Pastoral Care are indistinguishable from the aims of the school. Similarly, the aims of the school cannot be separated into those which are “pastoral” and those which have no pastoral strand. Much the same is true of the staff of the school; the teaching and the non-teaching staff work together and share important roles in the success of pastoral care. The focus of all school policy and action is the student – her growth, her circumstances, the development of her abilities and interests, and the recognition and celebration of her achievements.
Students are placed in form groups on entry to the school in Year 7. Each new Year 7 Form meets on the induction afternoon in July of Year 6, when time is spent with the Form Tutor in the prospective form room. There are thirty students in each form. Year 7 is based in Hyde House, though some lessons take place daily in the other parts of the school. This arrangement eases transition from the smaller primary environment into this large and busy secondary school. Students stay in the same form group throughout the years of compulsory schooling. The school encourages students to prepare for the responsibilities of adult life by taking on various responsibilities in school. In the Sixth Form, tutor groups have just over twenty students.
There are Heads of each Year, who lead teams of Tutors. As a general principle, Heads of Year stay with their year groups and Tutors with their Forms. This helps to ensure continuity of care for each girl in a strong, supportive social group, and to develop the team of Tutors and their Head of Year as an informed, effective pastoral group. Staff development, through shared management of change, is thus built into the system.
The school keeps in close touch with parents and aims to ensure effective communication takes place between home and school.
The expertise of support agencies, such as the Local Authority’s Children’s Services and School Attendance Improvement Officer, Chessbrook Education Support Centre, and Educational Psychology Service, is used regularly and effectively.
Wellbeing at WGGS
The world in which our pupils are growing up is an increasingly complex one, which presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. At Watford Grammar School for Girls’ we would like to support our pupils in managing their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. Teaching about mental wellbeing is paramount in giving our pupils the knowledge and capability to take care of themselves and receive support if problems arise.
We aim to reduce stigma attached to mental wellbeing by engendering an ethos that encourages openness whereby pupils can seek support at school, at home or online as they gain knowledge about how to promote good health and wellbeing.
The Peer Education Project, supported by the Mental Health Foundation, is delivered to our year 7 pupils by our year 12 students.
Throughout the school we follow the 5 ways to wellbeing:
In school, we can facilitate access to counselling, mindfulness, one-to-one or group support. We can help pupils find the right person to talk to about friendship, learning, home life, exam stress, medical conditions, careers or anything that is on their mind.
If needed, we can offer support with accessing external counselling, mental health referrals, bereavement support, career advice, medical appointments and much more.
- Wellbeing and Mental health
Free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling for young people.
ThinkNinja – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
ThinkNinja is a mental health app designed for 10 to 18 year olds. Using a variety of content and tools, it allows young people to learn about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and develop skills they can use to build resilience and stay well.
NHS Mental Health Apps
Advice, help and support for young people suffering from mental ill health and their parents. Includes Young Minds Crisis Messenger for those in mental health crisis and a parents helpline.
On My Mind aims to empower young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing. Includes a youth wellbeing directory of local support services.
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Information for young people, parents and carers about young people’s mental health. Their aim is to provide information which enables people to make informed decisions about their health. Covers a wide range of areas of mental health, from Bipolar disorder to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to panic attacks, OCD and who CAMHS are.
Healthy Young Minds in Herts
Support and information for young people and parents. Includes Parent tips on topics such as exam stress and managing anxiety.
Supporting You is a 7 week programme which equips young people with the tools to help themselves to strengthen their resilience and emotional well-being.
Information, advice and support on a variety of topics from bullying, abuse and feelings to relationships, friendships and sex.
Help and advice on abuse, neglect and keeping children safe, including sexting, self-harm, mental health and suicidal thoughts.
Hertfordshire Wellbeing Service and Single point of contact for child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS)
Hertfordshire wellbeing service offer free, confidential talking therapy and practical support for people aged 16 and over and registered with a Hertfordshire GP service.
0300 777 0707
A website offering support, advice and information for young people who have been bereaved.
A website and helpline offering support for those who have been bereaved suddenly, or when someone has died too soon in their life.
Helpline: 0800 2600 400 (10am – 4pm Monday – Friday)
The National Bereavement Partnership
The National Bereavement Partnership provides a support helpline, counselling referral and befriending service for all those suffering from anxiety, grief or mental health issues as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
0800 448 0800 (7am -10pm, seven days a week)
Way In is a counselling service for young people and families. Way In have received funding to provide free counselling (depending on parental income) for young people living in Three Rivers, Dacorum and South Bucks who have been affected by bereavement during the COVID pandemic.
Coronavirus bereavement guides from Hertfordshire County Council
- Self-Harming and Suicidal Thoughts
Harmless provides support and information to people who self-herm, their friends, family and professionals.
Crisis texting service
PAPYRUS provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their website and helpline, HOPELINEUK.
HOPELINEUK: 0800 068 4141 10am-10pm weekdays, 2-10pm weekends
- Request for Further Support
If you are worried about your wellbeing or mental health, please speak to (or email) the medical team, your Head of Year or another member of staff you feel comfortable talking to. They may suggest you request further support using our online form, which is here . The information you provide on the form is confidential, but it will be seen by the Counselling Coordinator, your Head of Year, your Director of Key Stage and the Safeguarding Lead. These key staff will work together to find the best form of support for your needs. If appropriate, you may be given the option of seeing a school counsellor (if you are offered this, the school will need to contact your parents if you are in Y7-Y11).
- Local Foodbanks
Our foodbank works using a voucher referral system. In Rickmansworth, vouchers are available from the Citizens Advice Bureau, 3 Rivers Council – Housing Department, and Children’s Centre.
Open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 1pm. Call 01923 804 435 or email email@example.com for more information.
Health for Teens
Advice and information on feelings, growing up, health, lifestyle, relationships and sexual health.
Advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing. Includes eating, healthy weight, exercise, sleep and tiredness, sexual health, alcohol support and quitting smoking.
Text your School Nurse
Dedicated text messaging service to contact a school nurse for advice and support with issues such as weight and exercise, healthy eating, smoking, relationships and sexual health.
Text: 07480 635050
Sexual Health Hertfordshire
Information on sexual health services in Hertfordshire.
- Eating Disorders
Beat offer support, advice and information on eating disorders
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Domestic Abuse
- LGBTQ+ Community
Reporting online abuse or inappropriate online communication.
Herts for Learning
Hertfordshire online safety newsletter for parents.
Information for young people on popular sites and services, plus information about mobiles, gaming and social networking. Information for parents on how to keep young people safe online. Includes hot topics such as cyber bullying, sexting and online grooming.
Think U Know
Think u know is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. The website gives advice for parents and children about staying safe online.
Youth Connexions Hertfordshire
YC Hertfordshire provides youth work projects and programmes, information, advice, guidance, work related learning, outdoor education and support for young people aged 13-19 (to 24 for young people with learning disabilities). For young people leaving care, support is provided to the age of 21.