Pastoral care

It is incredibly hard to gauge the impact of the COVID pandemic on our children’s mental health.

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Head Hand Heart

What we do know is what we can see and hear and that paints a picture of children coping with the change in circumstances in a variety of different ways and to a varying degree of success. We were so grateful that we were able to offer the online learning platform last term which meant we were able to maintain the Dunannie/Dunhurst connection, routine and pastoral care of which we are so proud.

The period of lockdown will have been so different for each household. This experience has been likened to a traumatic event and some of the emotions that the children are experiencing are those more associated with grief or loss. Loss of normality, social opportunities, face-to-face interaction, personal space and independence are all things that our children have had little or no control over during this period.

As we turn our focus to the return to school in September, what will be key to ensure that the impact of our children’s mental health is managed effectively will be a sense of belonging, a dose of routine, and a feeling that they will be listened to. Of course, academic studies will happen, but everyone’s emotional health will, as always, be our priority.

There are a number of ways we can help the children to reintegrate with school in September:

Routines

After any long holiday, routines slip, which of course is the point of a holiday. Having had almost six months away from our school routine, this is important in creating stability in our community. At the start of term, settling back into a routine will help to maintain a sense of unity and normality. Completing tasks at the same time as others gives a sense of community and shared experience. However, remembering and slotting into new routines takes time and patience.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Enjoy online assemblies and time spent together in our pods
  • Allow children to access their normal timetables and routines
  • Take time to reconnect with routines and each other – rediscover a collective vision
  • Be patient with each other

Make time to talk

Children are naturally inquisitive and, as a result of the past few months, they may have a host of questions and concerns that they would like addressed. Many of the questions and concerns may be the same and knowing that someone else shares your concern or has the same question as you builds empathy and strengthens relationships. All children will have had different experiences and different family circumstances and we will make the space and time to talk about it if they want to.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Allow children to ask questions either as an open discussion or anonymously
  • Allow the children themselves to come up with the solutions, with support where needed
  • Create spaces where the children can just ‘be’ and enjoy spending time with each other

Learning

The remote learning provision proved incredibly successful and the children themselves were hugely resilient in adapting so quickly to a different way of teaching and learning. Returning back to the routine of classroom-based teaching and learning will provide a comfort and a sense of familiarity to them. However, some children may have had other concerns dominating their lives over the past few months. They will need gentle re-introductions to this world to re-build confidence and social awareness.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Go slowly to begin with to allow the children to recalibrate
  • Adopt some of the practices within remote learning to create a blend of teaching and learning platforms that the children are familiar with
  • Start with a clean slate for all

Laughing

When we laugh together and share humour we become stronger as a unit. Laughter is something that connects people and is incredibly cathartic.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Provide opportunities for children to work and laugh together in and out of the classroom
  • Find enjoyment in spending time with each other and focus on positive stories to come out of the lockdown period

Prioritise wellbeing

We already prioritise wellbeing in our curriculum and in day-to-day life at Dunannie/Dunhurst, but we will ensure that wellbeing activities continue to get the focus they deserve – more so now than ever.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Encourage breathing exercises to relax and calm children
  • Encourage the children to reflect on their high five people
  • Encourage regular brain breaks in between and during lessons to allow children to re-engage in their own time
  • Encourage Dunannie/Dunhurst children to recognise, acknowledge and sit with their feelings
  • Allow children to choose activities such as reading, mindful colouring, making music, drawing and yoga. We are open to other ways children may choose to relax too as what might work for one, might not work for another

Gratitude

We aim to keep encouraging pupils, staff and parents to focus on gratitude.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Introduce a ‘thinking tree’ where thoughts, wishes, prayers can be said with a colourful ribbon tied onto a branch symbolising hope
  • Encourage families to share their ‘three good things’ each day around the supper table

Self-esteem and self-efficacy

Continue to build confidence in our pupil’s own self-worth, abilities, self-respect, self-belief, behaviour and social environment.

At Dunannie/Dunhurst we aim to:

  • Empower pupils to confidently say ‘I am enough’

Please remember, this is a team effort and we are here to support not only all the children in our care but also you as parents. As we all know, it takes a village to raise a child, so
please get in touch if you have any concerns.

Behaviour around school

An addendum to the children’s Behaviour Policy has been published on the school website. Please take a moment to read this.

Children will arrive at school from their homes (either from boarding wings or parental homes) and go about their day.

Boarding Wings at Dunhurst

Both boarding wings will be one household. Flexi-boarding can still occur but will be allocated to a dorm with other flexiboarders; there can be no mixing of full/weekly boarders with flexi-boarders. Flexi-boarders will have a bed and this bed will not be utilised by any other person. This will mean allocation of flexi-boarding spaces will be limited.

Day children

The school will operate as distinct pods within the school hours:

  • Dunannie 8.15am – 3.30pm
  • Dunhurst 8.15am – 4.10pm (Groups), 8.15am – 5.30pm (Blocks)

Dunannie

  • Pod 1 - Nursery
  • Pod 2 - Reception and Year 1
  • Pod 3 - Years 2 and 3

Dunhurst

  • Pod 1 – Groups 1 and 2
  • Pod 2 – Group 3
  • Pod 3 – Block 1
  • Pod 4 – Block 2

These pods will be self-contained for all break times and for lunch. Within each pod, pupils are allowed to socially interact with each other within school hours.

International pupil concerns

If new arrangements or global travel restrictions cause problems for international pupils, please let us know as soon as possible. Where necessary, we will be able to look after international pupils at school during Long Leave weekends.

Activities and after-school clubs

Government advice allows schools to provide wrap-around care for children not within the same pod.

Dunannie

A reduced mixture of activity clubs and after school care (Swallow Club) will be available for children in Reception, Years 1, 2 and 3. All clubs including Swallow Club will have a maximum of 15 spaces, therefore it is essential that you book your place with the school office in advance. Swallow Club will run until 4.30pm and Supper Club until 5.25pm - as usual there will be a small charge for this service. The collection point will be the covered archway in the car park. It is essential that children are collected on time. For the time being, Nursery children must be collected at the end of the school day (3.30pm).

Early Birds Club, 7.45am – 8.15am

Dunannie children can be booked into Early Birds Club by contacting the School Office - dunannie@bedales.org.uk.

Dunhurst

We are defining our after-school activities programme as wraparound care, which means pupils can attend activities regardless of pods. However, these must stay consistent throughout the course of the term with the same children bound to the same activity.

Extra-curricular

We will be delivering the full programme of Dance, Drama, Music and Sport. We need to be mindful in following the guidance from the respective bodies who govern these areas.
The delivery of each will be different, and children will have to listen closely to the instructions and changes for each activity.

Counselling service

There will be counselling in school, but this will operate in a slightly different format to normal. If children would like to use the counselling service, face-to-face appointments will be limited to 15 minutes, but Jenny, the counsellor, is aware this may not be sufficient and will be able to offer alternative options which respect social distancing rules. If you would like your child to see the counsellor, do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher/tutor who will then discuss your request with the Deputy Head at Dunannie or Deputy Head Pastoral at Dunhurst.

Equipment

All pupils will need:

  • A named coat, waterproofs and wellington boots
  • A named water bottle
  • A named hat and a named bottle of sun protection cream, if necessary

Within Dunhurst, children should have a bag at school to carry their belongings for the day. Each Groups’ class base will have their tray which they can utilise but they need to be mindful not to bring too much into school. It is important that children do not leave belongings around the site and do not rely on items being shared (e.g. kit, pens, calculators, textbooks, etc.). At Dunhurst, Blocks will not be using their lockers and will be expected to carry books from home in a school bag as they need them each day.

For sport and PE in both schools we ask that children come to school in their PE kit on days when they have sport. The will need to keep spare clothes in school should they need to change due to wet weather. Anyone in a Wednesday internal fixture at Dunhurst needs to come to school in their PE kit.

Jaw and assemblies

Assemblies will be broadcast on Microsoft Teams and watched within smaller groups - although some pods will attend a live assembly - this will be done on a rota basis. Jaw at Dunhurst will take place on Fridays between 3.40pm and 4.30pm and children will watch in their classes and tutor groups.

Library

Children will have access to the library and there will be a disinfecting regime. Books taken out and then returned will be kept securely for 72 hours before being made available again. Unfortunately, browsing of books will be limited to reduce touch points.

Mealtimes and snacks

Pupils will need to serve and dine within their respective pods. This means timings for lunch are slightly staggered and locations are split as follows:

Dunannie

  • Pod 1 (Nursery) - 11.45am-12.10pm (Hall)
  • Pod 2 (Reception/Year 1) - 11.45am-12.10pm (JB’s)
  • Pod 3 (Year 2/Year 3) - 12.00pm-12.20pm (JB’s)

Dunhurst

  • Pod 1 (Group 1/2) - 12.45pm – 1.05pm (JB’s)
  • Pod 2 (Group 3) - 12.55pm- 1.15pm (Hall)
  • Pod 3 (Block 1) - 1.15pm-1.35pm (JB’s)
  • Pod 4 (Block 2) - 1.25pm-1.45pm (Hall)

There is a maximum of five children per table. JB’s and the Hall will be disinfected between servings. The Hall will set up like another dining room.

Pupils will remain within their pods for break times. For morning and lunchtime breaks each pod will be allocated a different location for each day on a rota basis. For afternoon breaks at Dunhurst, snack will be provided to the area they are allocated to play. Block 1 will have their afternoon break and snack in their classrooms; Block 2 will have their break and snack in the Hall.

At Dunannie, play times will be outside with each pod in their own designated area. The Nursery will use their own garden and the playground bikes. The other two pods will use either the playground or the orchard on alternate weeks.

Phones

Children should not have their phones at school during the school day. Boarders will leave them on wing and have allocated time period to access them each evening to call home. The School Office team can call home if a child needs something. Due to guidelines, we are unable to have the child speak to you over the phone but are happy to relay any message.

Trips

Planned residential trips, either domestic or international, have been cancelled and we have suspended all trips until half term. This includes playing sports fixtures against other schools. We very much look forward to a graded return to this as soon as the traffic light system indicates this is possible.

Wednesday afternoons at Dunhurst

There will be no visits to Petersfield or external community service this term. Pupils will have the following options on a Wednesday afternoon:

Groups

  • Go home at 2.00pm
  • Stay for Green until 2.45pm, then choose an activity or play in a fixture until 4.00pm

Blocks

  • Go home at 2.00pm
  • Play a fixture or choose an activity until 3.00pm, then attend a Green or choose another activity until 4.00pm
  • At school community service
Collection from school

Dunannie

Children will be collected by the covered archway from 3.30pm. Pods will be in the orchard if dry (if wet, in classrooms) and staff will use walkie-talkies to call children forward and ensure they are delivered to their parents’ cars safely.

Dunhurst

For Groups’ collection at 4.10pm, pupils will remain in their pods. Pod 1 (G1/2) will go to the playground (dry) or Well (wet). Pod 2 (G3) will go to the outside of Bees’ Barn (dry) or interior of Bees’ Barn (wet), and from here they will be called for by a member of SMT in the carpark via walkie-talkie, at which point they will be able to make their way to your car. Blocks (5.30pm) will operate in the same way with Pod 3 (B1) on he Playground (dry) and Well (wet) and Pod 4 (B2) in the outside of Bees’ Barn (dry) or the interior of Bees’ Barn (wet).

For after-school activities and Swallow Club, children will be brought to the playground at Dunhurst or orchard for Dunannie. Staff will be on hand with walkie-talkies to ask a child to come down to the Dunannie archway or the bottom of the steps at Dunhurst ready to get into your waiting car. If wet, Dunannie will use the library and Dunhurst will use the Well and surrounding classrooms.