Pastoral Care Policy

St.Joseph’s College recognises that everyone is unique and strives to create a community atmosphere so that each member of staff and each student is respected and appreciated as a person of importance. We work very much on the premise that everyone must show Dignity and Respect towards one another at all times.

In an atmosphere where Christian values are at the forefront all students are encouraged to develop their full potential.  Recognising the uniqueness of all students, the school endeavours to promote their self-esteem as it prepares them for the opportunities and responsibilities of adult life in a rapidly changing world.

St. Joseph’s College aims to provide a programme of Personal Development within which personal motivation is encouraged and the needs of the individual students are recognised.

Personal Development is a process whereby the student is enabled to experience himself as having intrinsic value and potential.  Participating in this process facilitates learning and growth in personal development.

The school, therefore, aims to help the student understand and deal positively with aspects of:

(a) physical development:
  • coping with changes
  • regard for the body
  • awareness of substance abuse
  • healthy choices and lifestyles leisure.
(b) sexual development:
  • appreciation of self and others as sexual beings
  • placing of sexuality within moral and social context.
(c) social development:
  • dealing with emotions
  • growing in self-esteem
  • in relationship with others
  • becoming an active member of school, college and wider society.
(d) vocational development:
  • growing in awareness of self as student
  • learning and study techniques
  • career and lifestyle choices
  • preparing wisely to attain goals
(e) moral development:
  • growing in maturity emotionally and spiritually with an ability to make wise and informed moral choices and decisions.

All aspects of school life – its planning, organisation, curriculum and provision of extra curriculum activities – seek to promote conditions for the positive growth of the students.  In particular, relationships between staff and students and classroom organisation are essential elements in the creation and maintenance of a caring community.

The Pastoral Structure

To facilitate and to support this work, the school has adopted a structured system and a progressive developmental programme of personal development.  This is co-ordinated by the Heads of Key Stage and Head of Pastoral Care.

The school is divided into year groups to which each class has a designated Form Teacher and a Head of Key Stage.  Within the year group, the students are enabled to develop a sense of community and belonging.

Form Teacher

Each class has a Form Teacher appointed.  Each year has a timetabled programme designed to promote aspects of personal development and this is delivered by the Form Teacher.  This programme, in line with the statutory requirements, seeks to be relevant to the developmental needs of the students and is thus planned in collaboration with the expertise of Heads of Key Stages, Pastoral Care Coordinator and Form Teachers.  The methods used vary according to the needs of the students and the topic being dealt with at a particular time.

We believe that the Form Teacher is the key person whose opportunity to influence students is greater that any other teacher.  The impact of the Form Teacher is reflected in his/her direct concern for areas such as uniform, attitude, behaviour, standards of work, response from parents, reporting, prayer life and commitment to school.

The Form Teacher meets students every morning at registration.  The day begins with the school prayer and the registration of students online using Lesson Monitor.  A student is deemed late if he arrives to class after 09.05am.  Frequent latecomers will be dealt with by the Form Teacher, who will be responsible for contacting parents.

The Form Teacher will ensure that all students understand the school rules and the rationale underpinning them.

The Form Teacher will seek first to deal with most issues before any referral to the Head of Key stage.  However, he/she must record and report serious pastoral concerns and breaches of behaviour to the Head of Key Stage.  Where it is deemed beneficial, counselling may be offered to students or in the case of indiscipline, appropriate sanctions will be applied in line with the whole school policy on positive behaviour.

In Year 8, the students are assigned a Base Tutor who delivers the Base Tutor Programme.  In Year 9, students are assigned a new Form Teacher in whose care they will remain until Year 12.

Head of Key Stage

The Heads of Key Stage support the Form Teachers in their pastoral role providing leadership and are therefore expected to take a caring interest in each student within their respective Key Stage.  The Heads of Key Stage work with Form Teachers and other members of staff to promote students’ academic and personal development.  The role also involves administrative and disciplinary responsibilities.

The introduction of eProgress Files in the school aims to further consolidate the students’ self-awareness, self-esteem, motivation and development of potential through a process of regular review, setting and recording of realistic personal, social and academic goals and achievements.

A referral system to deal with individual needs and discipline is in operation. (Ref:  Positive Behaviour Policy.) Planned Key Stage Meetings are held each term in accordance with the school calendar.

Liaison with Parents

The school values and fosters liaison with parents on an on-going basis. To this end it provides an open day for incoming Year 8 students, prepares reports twice yearly and holds parent/teacher meetings on an annual basis for each year group (twice per year for exam classes).  We operate an open door policy where all issues and concerns are addressed and parents are kept informed.

A Parent Handbook has been developed which contains all relevant information regarding the school community and functioning, a copy is given to every parent. Updates are regularly given to parents where appropriate.

Liaison with other Agencies

Within the management of the Pastoral dimension of the school, external agencies may be used, as and when it is deemed necessary, as sources of information and support.  These agencies include careers guidance specialists, educational welfare officers, educational psychologists, social workers, New Life counsellors, PSNI and Women’s Aid.  Their assistance may be requested for individual students or for class groups.  They may also be asked to work with the pastoral care team in specific areas of social and personal development programmes.

The Designated Teacher for Child Protection

The school has a designated teacher, Mrs H Palmer and a deputy designated teacher, Mrs Lynch.  The designated lead child protection and deputy will take the necessary action in respect of any reported incidents in accordance with the Child Protection Policy.  Additionally, the designated teacher for child protection provides training and guidance for all staff annually.

The School Chaplain

The chaplain for St. Joseph’s College is Fr Skinnader.  Fr Skinnader is a faith presence in the school and guides the students on their journey through life as well as being involved with the many liturgical events which take place throughout the school year in accordance with the Liturgical Calendar.


This policy will be reviewed by the Pastoral Team in conjunction with all staff and the Student Council and amended as appropriate biannually.

Useful Links:

Positive Behaviour Policy
Drug Policy