Last month there was a brilliant example of the ways a teacher can improve the lives or happiness of pupils without having to teach anything.Â The whole pastoral care thing is difficult to pin down and define and impossible to measure and put into league tables, but can make a lot of difference, which we saw for ourselves recently.For a while Chrystal was hanging around with a good friend a lot.Â They were practically inseperable, and in fact in some classes they were made to sit apart so they would get on with more work – something that we were aware of and supported.
Despite one girl being English and the other Indian they look quite similar and were jokingly referred to as twins by staff and pupils alike.Â Even the parents were quite friendly with each other – Jayne more than me obviously: in the split of responsibilities she does the socialising and I do the ‘new media’.Â It works.
Anyway, the girs had a bit of a falling out over something trivial, the way teenage girls do, and stopped hanging out together.Â Both sets of parents thought it was a shame, but didn’t do anything about it beyond making a few comments.
After some months of this, one of the teachers at the school called them both to their office and when they were there basically just locked them in together and left them to it.Â A short while later they were all friendly again and happier for it.Â Not only that, the staff were happier, and even fellow pupils were happier when they saw them again walking around together like sisters.Â Everybody wins.
Just one example of why we are happy with Thomas Bennett Community College and happy to give praise where it is due.