In any community, the shared values of respect, tolerance, friendship and openness are vital to its success and that of its members. When girls join The Abbey Senior School they are entering a community that abides by these values and has a core focus on supporting them through the challenges of growing up in the 21st century. There will be challenges to overcome and times when support from our experienced pastoral team is needed. Our pastoral care system is proactive and compassionate, designed to help girls achieve their personal potential and have a happy time at school.
Pastoral care is led by the Head of the Senior School supported by the Heads of Section for Lower and Upper School, who are specialists in issues relating to girls' development. A team of Heads of Year, form tutors and pastoral prefects ensures that girls are known as individuals and receive personal support in a timely manner and in a way that is appropriate to their needs.
In Upper III and Lower IV (years 7 and 8) girls are mainly taught in their form groups, with a whole year residential trip each year that gives them the opportunity to make new friends and take on outdoor physical challenges together. In Upper IV (Year 9) girls move into five smaller form groups as they prepare for their GCSE examinations.
Appropriate policies, including Safeguarding, anti-bullying, positive behaviour and discipline are in place and the school operates an ‘open door’ policy of access for parents to discuss any concerns. All staff are contactable by email and our extensive pastoral team means that there is always someone to talk to for girls and parents.
The culture we promote throughout our school is one of tolerance, openness, responsibility and respect. These values are presented in assemblies usually led by our Chaplain, the senior staff and also, by the girls themselves.
The Medical room is well equipped and is open throughout the school day. Our two nurses provide First Aid care for any sick or injured girl, they take responsibility for any prescribed medicines brought into school by pupils and keep appropriate records. They also deliver Skills for Life lessons on health issues to girls throughout the school and offer an important ‘listening ear’.
There are many opportunities for social integration, raising self-esteem and self-awareness, all important aspects of girls’ development. Hard work and special achievements (academic and extra-curricular) receive recognition and we have an Academic Mentoring scheme in place to offer support for girls who may need a little extra help.
Skills for Life Programme
The weekly programme of 'Skills For Life' is designed by the Heads of Year to encourage self-esteem and to help our girls develop informed opinions on many social and moral issues. Our key concepts are personal identity, healthy lifestyle, risk and consequence, relationships, diversity, careers, capability, financial risk and economic understanding. Each year group has a varied and dynamic programme of lessons delivered by the form tutor or a visiting speaker and the curriculum is constantly reviewed and updated to maintain its relevance.
Peer group education is also important and we have Sixth Form Pastoral Prefects who offer a friendly ear to younger girls who want to talk to someone closer to their own age about anything that is worrying them.
“The school places the education and welfare of the whole person at the heart of its provision for each pupil, and the aim of ensuring that each girl is known as an individual is very well met. Pastoral care is exceptionally well managed throughout the school.” ISI report
During the first weeks of term our Upper III girls take a break from lessons and take part in a bonding day that gives them the chance to meet girls throughout the year group. The theme of the day varies and has included circus skills, "strictly" and "bake off". It's guaranteed to be a day of fun and friendship and lets the girls relax with their new schoolmates.
Towards the end of their first year in the Senior School Upper III girls head off to challenge themselves on the Bushcraft expedition. here they'll try everything from Wild Swimming and Camp Cooking to Whittling and Wide Games. They all return tired but happy, having learned more about their own and their friends' capabilities.
Reaching the end of Upper V is well worth celebrating and our girls like to do it in style. The day usually starts with a fancy dress parade to the school gates and is followed by a morning of activities from inflatable jousting and sumo wrestling to bouncy assault course and rounders - all fuelled by a lavish supply of sweeties. Once the morning is over the girls head home to prepare themselves for their Celebration Ball.