Pastoral Care

Abingdon School’s pastoral care revolves around the House system. Boys are all members of a house under the care of a housemaster. Each boy also belongs to a tutor group, within each house, and meets daily with his tutor, who is the principal liaison between a boy, teachers, school and home. 

“There is a caring atmosphere throughout the school.” - ISI Inspection

Big Opportunities but Personalised Care

At Abingdon the wellbeing of the boys comes first and each student is supported by our pastoral care structure beginning with his tutor. We are proud that our staff to pupil ratio is below 1:9. Economies of scale mean that we are a school that can offer a huge range of opportunities, but we never lose sight of the individual. Tutor groups are small, but choice is varied, so the combination of the Other Half and our pastoral structures means that students can build a wide range of different relationships and can find a path that is tailored to their own interests, and they are supported to do so.

Wellbeing

We know that there is no one single route to positive wellbeing, so at Abingdon we offer our students different opportunities and approaches so that each individual is encouraged to find the strategies that work best for them. This process is led by our Head of Wellbeing and covers our Personal Development Education programme, and talks and initiatives on Mental Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Sleep Hygiene, Stress Management, and an ongoing programme to ensure that each member of staff has undergone the Youth Mental Health First Aid course so that we can all support each other in living a healthy lifestyle.

Our Pastoral Goal

Our aspiration is for boys to leave Abingdon knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, comfortable in their own skin, and with an awareness of their responsibilities that will make them a positive contributor to society.

At Abingdon we recognise that sometimes pupils can have worries, problems and difficulties. Being a teenager has always been complicated, but now there is even more pressure on teenagers academically, socially and digitally. 

The School’s pastoral system supports boys through their time at Abingdon and key pastoral figures can usually deal with most matters of concern. Advice can be sought from Housemasters, Tutors, the School Chaplain, the school nurses, Deputy Head (Pastoral) or the Head. However, there may occasionally be circumstances when it might be preferable to talk to someone who is a specialist in counselling. Phoenix Counselling Cooperative is a group of four professional counsellors who provide Abingdon with a school counselling service. They are very experienced in their field and boys will find it very easy to talk to them. They meet in Whitefields. They can be contacted on school.counsellor@abingdon.org.uk.

Outside agencies can also be contacted such as:

  • PCAMHS (Primary Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) 01235 547170
  • Oxfordshire Social Services Dept. (01865 79534)
  • Childline (0800 1111)

Further information on Abingdon’s Pastoral Care System can be obtained from the Deputy Head Pastoral
Further information on Phoenix Counselling Cooperative

The School's responsibility for Child Protection

All adults working at Abingdon should be aware of their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of every pupil, both physical and emotional, inside and outside school. This involves ensuring that pupils are protected from significant physical or emotional harm and that there is a positive commitment to ensure the satisfactory development and growth of the individual.

Everyone working at Abingdon should be aware of and should follow the school's Child Protection Guidelines, which are in line with the Department for Education's (DfE) and Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board's (OSCB) practice and procedures - available online at http://www.oscb.org.uk.

The School's Child Protection policy can be downloaded from the School's policy page.

All members of the Abingdon Foundation should be aware of the challenges presented by an increasingly online world. At Abingdon we promote a holistic view of digital citizenship, incorporating it into Lower School Computing, PSHCE, our Sixth Form Mindsets programme and in tutor periods. We look at dealing with cyber bullying, plagiarism and managing your online profile.

The School’s view is that all aspects of online behaviour should mirror the high standards we expect in regular, face-to-face behaviour. As of such, the School’s anti-bullying, safeguarding and ICT policies offer procedures and advice on all aspects of eSafety. See School Policies.

The DfE has issued some very helpful guidance for parents on cyberbullying, and CEOP’s ThinkUKnow website has some excellent resources for pupils and parents.

If you have a concern and want to talk to someone there are a number of ways to get in contact.

Points of contact:

Abingdon’s Designated Safeguarding Lead - mark.hindley@abingdon.org.uk
Abingdon Whistleblower - whistleblower@abingdon.org.uk
CEOP’s Report Centre
Childline: 0800 1111

Further advice:

Guardian article for parents on how to teach eSafety
NSPCC advice
DfE Advice
CEOPS

PSHCE is an important part of life at Abingdon, and aims to foster boys’ emotional growth through personal and social education within a programme that engages boys’ emotional intelligence as much as their intellect.

In Lower School, PSHCE is delivered as part of the 21st Century Legacy “Be The Best You Can Be” scheme. Boys explore subjects such as emotional intelligence, coaching, target-setting and reflective practice in fortnightly 55 minute sessions. Each year, they are also treated to an inspirational speech from an Olympic athlete to launch the course. In addition, they are also given assemblies and seminars on topics such as safe use of technology, healthy eating, anti-bullying and mental health awareness.

The importance of PSHCE at Abingdon is such that in the third and fourth year, it is taught by specialist teachers in fortnightly 55 minute lessons, covering the following topics:

3rd Year

  • Wellbeing and our Values
  • Decision making
  • British Values
  • Challenging Discrimination
  • Equality Act 2010 including homophobia
  • Minority Visibility
  • Friendship, sexism and anti-bullying
  • Alcohol & Drugs
  • Healthy Eating
  • Love and commitment, marriage and relationships
  • Parenting, pregnancy, miscarriage, menstrual wellbeing, the menopause and feminism
  • Mental health awareness workshops and interactive seminars
  • Health centre presentations on wellness and personal hygiene

We also run an RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) morning every May for third years, which in the past has included performances about sexual health from professional Theatre-in-Education companies, as well as talks about men’s health issues from the School Doctor and presentations on STI’s from visiting healthcare practitioners.

4th Year

  • Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
  • Stress Management
  • Masculinity; what it means to be a man today
  • Human Rights and Responsibilities
  • The workings of the UK Government; from polling to the Prime Minister
  • What is radicalization and extremism and what can be done to prevent it
  • Navigating the online world: digital footprints, where to get support, game addiction, being aware of fraud online, online streaming, vlogging, webcamming, social media and positive mental health
  • Sexual consent, grooming, coercion and sexual exploitation. FGM, forced marriage and honour based violence
  • Sexual harassment and the law
  • Sex and Relationships
  • Pornography and digital wellbeing

In addition to these lessons, all pupils are under the guidance of a form tutor. In tutor time they will cover various topics centred around national focus weeks such as anti-bullying, mental health awareness, e-safety, international women’s and men’s day. Tutors work on a number of life skills topics with their tutees, including study skills.

In the fifth year, PSHCE is delivered in weekly tutor time by tutors, focussing on the following topics that are explored via a number of learning methods:

  • Ways to wellbeing
  • Body image
  • Gambling
  • Harmful behaviours online
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Blood, organ and stem cell donation
  • Smoking and vaping

Sixth form PSHCE is also delivered via tutors, and also manifests itself as part of the Sixth Form Enrichment Programme. Topics which are covered by tutors include:

Wellbeing, time management, revision strategies, growth mindsets, anxiety, stress and sleep hygiene, love and relationships, everyday sexism, LGBTQIA+.

In addition these topics are underpinned by our 6th form lecture program. The following topics are being covered in 2019-2020: mental health awareness (with internationally renowned speakers such as Natasha Devon MBE and Dick Moore), gambling, teenagers and motoring law, living with HIV, as well as drawing upon popular speakers with compelling life stories.

In the U6th form students also complete a roundabout of nine topics which includes: emotional wellbeing, pleasure traps and addictive tendencies, staying mentally healthy beyond school, the good lad, meeting and persuading, identity and sport, existential intelligence, shaping your leadership style and thinking outside the classroom.

Our aim is that by the time Abingdonians leave school they have examined a broad range of topics and are equipped for life beyond school and have the capacity to think through problems whilst confident in the knowledge of who they are and the direction in which they want to go. In addition, the concept of wellbeing runs throughout the PDE program as we want to encourage boys to have a good understanding of what positive wellbeing is and how they can look after their own mental fitness throughout life.

Finally, a number of aspects of PSHCE are also taught cross-curricularly throughout the school via weekly chapel services, both house and section assemblies, Biology lessons and Religious Studies. This is also underpinned in the School’s philosophy of the Other Half. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Rev’d Paul Gooding, Head of Wellbeing paul.gooding@abingdon.org.uk

Telephone: 01235 849059
Duty mobile: 07748591057
health.centre@abingdon.org.uk

Opening hours, term time:

  • Monday to Friday 08:00 – 18:00
  • Saturday 09:00 – 17:00

The Health Centre is located on the ground floor of Whitefield next to Crescent House (Glyndowr) in the beautiful setting of Park Crescent. We have light, airy rooms should the need arise to be an inpatient. We will look after unwell or injured dayboys until their parents/carers are able to collect them.

The Health Centre is staffed by the Senior Nurse Helen Morris, her deputy Carrie Berry and three Health Care Assistants. They all have a wealth of experience and provide a professional and caring environment for the boys.

Outside of opening hours one of the team will be on call to answer any queries regarding the boarders. Should a boy be unwell out of these hours then a member of the Health Centre team will remain in the Health Centre to take care of the boy.

During winter terms the Health Centre staff are fully involved with covering sport training sessions and match day cover alongside a suitably qualified doctor or paramedic.

We need to be kept informed of any new medical issues or any changes to current treatment or medication. This allows us to maintain up to date health records and enables us to take an active interest in the boys' health.

Concussion is taken very seriously and we will follow the RFU guidelines for a graded return to sport. Boys will also be assessed weekly during this time and will have to be assessed fit for return to sport by a doctor.

All the boarders are required to register with the School GP, Dr Khan. Dr Khan works locally at the Malthouse Surgery and provides a weekly surgery in the Health Centre on Tuesdays at 8.00am. The boys can either book an appointment directly with the HC staff or ask their Matron to make one for them.

If there is more of an urgency to see Dr Khan the boys can have an appointment made at The Malthouse the day required.

We all take an active interest in health promotion and have notice boards with current issues. We are always happy to chat about any issue - large or small.

Health Centre
Whitefield
18 Park Crescent
Abingdon
OX14 1DD

Forms and guidelines: