Our January 2018 ISI Inspection report said:
There is an “excellent culture of respect and care that pervades the school.”
Pastoral care at Vinehall is excellent. As soon as a child enters Vinehall they are part of a welcoming community where pupil well-being is our main focus. We want our children to thrive individually so we encourage a growth mindset that builds resilience and prepares our pupils, not only for the next stage of their education but also for life.
The main delivery of the pastoral education comes through the pupils’ form tutor, with whom the child spends time every day. They also have an extended form period at least once a week.
Children are all actively encouraged to approach any member of staff with whom they feel comfortable if they have a problem. Obvious choices are their Form Teacher, who has an overview of all children in the class; the House staff, who see children in their House on a weekly basis; the boarding staff, who might develop especially good working relationships with boarders; Matron and Nurse; subject teachers or a senior member of the management team such as the Assistant Head Pastoral, Deputy Head or the Head.
If children need a little quiet advice during play times, they might also approach a Prefect. Year 8 children in the prefect role aim to support younger children where they can. For more sustained and individualised support, a child can have a designated Tutor.
We aim to take a positive stance with pupils, helping them to deal with all kinds of issues that might arise as they grow up. This is an important part of their social education which begins with friendship-building for the younger years. This moves on to self-esteem building, mental health awareness, online safety and study skills advice for the older pupils. All this is taught in our Life Skills lessons every week where we practise a mindful approach. Our pastoral ‘Themes of the Week’ help provide the link from our Life Skills to all aspects of school life. The underlying theme of everything we do is our school motto: “To do your best for the benefit of others”.
In Years 3, 4 and 5, form teachers greet the children first thing in the morning and the Deputy Head Pastoral is always on hand to answer any queries. In Year 3 and 4 teaching assistants support the teachers who are on hand to help, be it undoing buttons or hearing children read. From Year 5 onwards the children are becoming more independent and the form teachers continue to oversee the members of their form, supporting them and making sure that they build a good rapport with each pupil in their care and are available as a first port of call if any problems arise.
Pupils are actively rewarded through Good Copies and Credits, as well as Form Shields, Well Done notes from the Head, Head’s Commendations and subject related awards. The school has recently introduced Colours for subjects other than sports. There are termly House Outings. Pupils also have the opportunity to have their voices heard outside of form time through the School Council, Charity Committee, Food Committee and Eco Committee.