The Pastoral Office is based in the centre of the school and is there to support teaching and learning by promoting wellbeing and working with staff, children, families and other agencies. A high quality of Pastoral Care is central to our ethos at the Dragon; it underpins everything that we do and along with a high quality of teaching and learning, it is what our community is all about. The Dragon follows the Family Links Nurturing Programme which brings a carefully researched structure to our social and emotional learning. There are also weekly team meetings that include the Director of Safeguarding, Deputy Head (Social and Emotional Learning), the Pastoral Support Co-ordinator and the School Counsellor, which helps to ensure consistency in working together.
Working with families can help to unravel any difficulties and allow us to work together in the best interest of the child.
The pastoral needs of the pupils and their families are particularly well supported through the skilled and compassionate pastoral care team who ensure that information about welfare needs is sensitively communicated. Frequent meetings between different levels of management ensure that communication across the school is efficient.
Our Pastoral aims include:
- being a school where the well-being of everyone is the prime concern of each member of our community
- supporting a learning community in which children, young people and adults can realize their full potential
- providing a safe, stimulating and enriching environment where everyone is able to enjoy his/her best possible health and well-being
- encouraging pupils to grow up to be responsible, active members of their community
- promoting emotional intelligence
- promoting regular attendance and good behaviour as pre-conditions for maintaining high standards of achievement
- each child being encouraged to develop his/her own individuality whilst learning also that personal freedom involves responsibility to others
- promoting a values-based PSHCE curriculum which helps to give a firm moral basis in these times when so many attitudes, beliefs and ethics are questioned daily
- providing a family environment in our Boarding Houses, in which pupils can feel comfortable, safe and supported
- providing equal opportunities for all pupils regardless of ability, religion, race, culture or gender
- encouraging tolerance and understanding between all members of our community
- a clear understanding that effort, kindness and good manners will be valued
- developing an understanding of being responsible for oneself
- fostering the kind of community where everyone helps each other and looks after our environment
It is not possible for any written text to reflect the quality of life in a particular school. Many visitors comment on the friendliness of people at the Dragon and on the relaxed and yet purposeful relationships which exist between staff and pupils. We aim to have equipped the Dragons leaving us at 13 with self-confidence, the ability to problem-solve, an awareness of their own feelings and those of others, and enough self-control and self-discipline to manage effectively the often turbulent years of adolescence and life after school.
Pastoral Care at Dragon Pre-Prep
At Dragon Pre-Prep we strive to make every child feel happy, secure, valued and confident. Children are encouraged to think for themselves and develop self-control, independence and a sense of achievement through their learning. The relationships which children establish with adults and other children are central to their learning and happiness. Children are taught to act in an increasingly thoughtful and empathic way. These qualities are encouraged through the Nurturing Programme and by following the positive statement of the Lynams Golden Rules. We are committed to helping children to learn these important interpersonal skills alongside their academic skills. We therefore place great emphasis on their personal and social development.
The class teacher is responsible for the pastoral care and well-being of a child in their class. They keep their Head of Year informed of any important information regarding a child and when appropriate a child may be brought to the attention of the Pre-Prep Pastoral Co-ordinator and the Head. The Pastoral Co-ordinator meets with the overall Head of Pastoral Care regularly and attends fortnightly Pastoral meetings at Bardwell Road.
The Pre-Prep began to use the Family Links Nurturing Programme back in 1998 for Reception to Year 3 and since then the rest of the school has introduced it too. This programme is designed to encourage the children and teachers to use a common language to express feelings and emotions. Ten topics are revisited each term tackling issues such as Choices and Consequences, Personal Power, Praise and Criticism. These sessions are covered in lessons called Circle Time on a weekly basis. Teachers receive regular training and parents are invited to join one of the termly courses for parents at any stage of their Dragon career.
Rewards and Sanctions are based around the school Golden Rules:
- Be kind and gentle
- Look after property and share with others
- Listen to people
- Be honest
- Be helpful and polite
- Work hard and reach for the sun
Assemblies and Circle Time reinforce these expectations. Classes have a reward system in place to encourage classes to work well as a group. These could be along the lines of collecting a certain number of marbles to achieve a class treat. Children are given stickers for work, politeness, kindness and good manners at meals.
Golden Time happens each week for 20-30 minutes in a class. This is a time when the children have chosen an activity such as craft or board games. A child can have minutes of their Golden Time taken away over a week for inappropriate behaviour which continues despite receiving a warning.
Each week there is a Special Achievers Assembly when 1-2 children are chosen from their class for excellent or improved work or behaviour. They receive a golden sticker and sign a special book.
Communication with Parents
At the beginning of each academic year parents are invited to a Curriculum meeting for their child's year group. This outlines all the plans and procedures for the year. There are Parents Evenings in the Christmas and Easter Terms and reports are written at the end of the Christmas and Summer Terms. Open Day at the end of the Summer term provides parents and children the opportunity to see the workings and achievements of the whole school. Parents are encouraged to communicate with the class teacher through a Home/School diary and class teachers are always available to meet parents on a more formal basis. Parents and Carers are always welcome to visit the classroom and view work.
Induction of New Pupils
Most children join the Pre-Prep in either Reception or Year 3. These children visit their new classes and meet their teacher and class mates ahead of the new academic year. The Year 3 children are given a child's guide to the year, written by past Year 3 pupils. Reception has an Open Afternoon when the children and parents can get to know the Reception area and the staff. A Yearbook of information is available to all current parents.
The parents of a child new to the Dragon Prep will have received the relevant handbook for their year group over the holidays. Parents will be telephoned by the Tutor shortly before the term starts and again after the first two or three days to feed back on how the first few days seem to have gone. The day before term begins the child and the parents will be welcomed by the Formtaker and will be shown their formroom. They will be given a buddy in their form, who is in as many of their sets as possible, who will act as their guide and advisor during their first few weeks. It will be explained that the first port of call for them during the day if they need help or advice would be their Tutor. There will also be regular liaison between the Tutor and the child's subject takers to ensure that they are appropriately streamed and setted. New children will be discussed on a weekly basis by the Head of Year in year group meetings to monitor their overall progress in settling in.
As far as possible, new boarders will have had the opportunity to come and stay in the House for an overnight stay (usually 24 hours), in order to experience life in the House and at school. During this time a new boarder would be paired with another boy or girl; in the House (a buddy) who would look after them and show them around. Each House has its own welcome booklet which explains all of the House routines. There will be a buddy in their House when they arrive who will make sure that they are well supported. Again, regular updates to parents from Houseparents will communicate how the settling in process is going.
The documents above may also be viewed at the School on request. Please contact the School Office at either the Prep site or Pre-Prep site, the Headmaster’s PA or the Compliance Officer.
The following documents may also be viewed at the School on request:
- Anti- Sexual Bullying Policy
- Particulars of the school’s academic performance during the preceding school year, including the results of any public examinations
- The number of complaints registered under the formal procedure during the preceding school year
- A copy of the report of any inspection carried out under sections 108 or 109 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 or section 87(1) of the Children Act 1989.
Staff at the Dragon School have been trained by Family Links here in Oxford. Family Links is a registered charity which was set up in this country in 1994. The emphasis is on improved emotional literacy and health, moral and social responsibility, increased self-esteem and empathy, and improved behaviour and relationship skills. Circle Time sessions happen each week for an hour and many of the things which can interrupt learning are addressed in these sessions. The many ways in which we can each work as a good citizen are practised specifically in these sessions and then encouraged during the week.