included, engaged and involved- part 1: attendance in scottish schools

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6. Pastoral care

Schools' high standards of pastoral care will enable staff to:

  • be aware of early signs of concerns which may cause absence, to allow preventive support to be arranged
  • develop positive relationships with pupils and parents to ensure difficulties are discussed and resolved
  • respond quickly to absence, to ensure children are safe and well
  • follow up on absence, to enable the school and its partners to make an effective response
  • support reintegration into learning on returning from absence.

Happy, Safe and Achieving their Potential: ten standards of personal support in schools.

The 10 standards for personal support in schools

Effective personal support in schools:

  • Makes opportunities for developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes children and young people need to enable them to enable them to seek information and support throughout life
  • Provides access to information to help children and young people make informed decisions and choices
  • Makes opportunities for children's citizenship and participation, through involvement in their school community, their neighbourhoods and in democratic society
  • Provides regular review of progress in learning, and personal and social development
  • Helps with transitions between stages in education and between different providers of education and personal development opportunities
  • Helps to plan for the future
  • Provides access to staff by children and parents who want support
  • Co-ordinates support between agencies and schools, wherever learning takes place
  • Respects confidentiality
  • Ensures time and space to seek help

Happy, Safe and Achieving their Potential recommends that integrated support teams in school bring together pastoral care, learning and behaviour support, together with support staff such as home-school link workers and additional support staff. Effective teams are supported by effective leadership, a positive school ethos, and clear school policies and procedures of which all staff are aware.

School-based support staff, led by senior managers in schools, should forge links with partner agencies to strengthen support to pupils and parents. All national policies concerning children's services recommend multi-agency training as a means of enabling staff work effectively together particularly those supporting inclusion.

Education authorities can support school-based teams by ensuring appropriate structures for centralised support to schools. Continuing professional development for all staff, particularly staff such as home-school link workers or family support workers whose remits may vary, helps schools to develop their practice.