Co-educational independent day school for ages 11 to 18

Pastoral Care at Dunottar

Pastoral care at Dunottar School underpins every aspect of school life.  As a community we understand that pastoral wellbeing is the most important aspect of a pupil’s development and we recognise that for our pupils to thrive they need to feel safe, fulfilled and above all happy. We strive to allow every Dunottar pupil to be a unique individual, with unique needs, strengths and potential. Our exceptional standard of pastoral care ensures that each student, at each stage of school life, has the confidence to contribute and succeed.

Our Pastoral Aims

  1. To enable each pupil to fulfil their own potential both academically and socially.
  2. To ensure that each pupil has access to personal, vocational and academic guidance and support where necessary. 
  3. To provide opportunities for and encourage pupils to exercise individual and social responsibility.
  4. To promote in pupils the self-awareness and self-confidence that they need to face the challenges, both academic and personal, that are placed on them.
  5. To establish and maintain an appropriate relationship with every parent, so that together we can help to prepare the pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. 
  6. To create a caring environment where pupils are valued for who they are, not just for what they can do.

Different Ways in which Pastoral Care at Dunottar School Exists

Individual Work: 
Working with pupils who are having problems be they of an academic, social, emotional or behavioural nature.

Collective and Collaborative Work:
This encompasses the individual pastoral curriculum, which includes making pupils aware of the ethos of the school, the day to day relationships between staff and pupils, the value system of Dunottar School and the overt pastoral curriculum, which includes, though is not limited to, the delivery of the RPSE program through timetabled lessons and through form and subject teachers.

Pastoral Control: 
That is the discipline system at Dunottar School which includes the giving of sanctions. Good discipline which is consistent, which affirms each pupil's value, which builds rather than crushes and which encourages individuality rather than dull conformity, all within an orderly environment, is essential for a robust pastoral system.

The Impact of Pastoral Care

Excellent pastoral care brings a number of positive outcomes: 

  1. Excellent pastoral care is an important factor in helping to prevent problems both personal and academic from arising.
  2. However good the preventative work at school is, inevitably when dealing with adolescents, with all the pressures that they are under internally as well as from home and society at large, problems may still arise, but good quality pastoral care will mean that pupils are better prepared to deal with problems when they do arrive.
  3. Good pastoral care raises the standards of behaviour in school. All research clearly suggests that pupils with high self-esteem on average behave better than those with a low self-image. Good pastoral care defuses rather than escalates situations and leads to enhanced relationships between staff and pupils.
  4. Improving pastoral care in a school will lead to higher academic performance for each individual pupil. There is no question that pupils with high self-esteem, who are essentially content and well-motivated, will work better. 
  5. Strong pastoral care strengthens the overall school community. Parents want to send their children to a school where they will be cared for, where individuals matter, where each child is known and where the children feel that they can talk to the teachers and where the school sees itself in genuine partnership with parents. 
  6. Improving pastoral care has a significant impact on staff morale as staff work together as a team with a common purpose.

Responsibility for Pastoral Care

Pastoral care of all our pupils is the responsibility of the whole community. The way we treat, talk to, interact with and indeed teach pupils will all contribute to the quality of our pastoral care. At Dunottar School the pastoral and academic oversight of every pupil is primarily the responsibility of his or her tutor. All issues regarding a particular pupil should, in the first instance, be directed through their tutor. Pastoral issues can then be directed either to the sectional heads who in turn will discuss these important issues with Mr Broughton, Deputy Head.

The Year System
Each child belongs to a Tutor Group.  Tutor Groups are identified by the Tutor's initial (e.g. 7Pi = 7 Pieters) and in the Lower School (Years 7 and 8) the Tutor Groups are year group specific. In the Upper School (Years 9 to 11) pupils belong to a vertically integrated House Group with pupils from each of the three year groups.  This allows pupils to gain a greater sense of being part of the whole school community and promotes friendships across year groups.  In the Sixth Form, students belong to Tutor Groups consisting of both Lower and Upper Sixth allowing them to work closely and collaboratively. 

Useful Links

At Dunottar we work hard to create a climate which helps pupils to cope with the issues they face as teenagers and young adults. Very occasionally, pupils may need more support than we can offer in school. Below you will find some useful links to support sites where additional expert help or counselling can be sought.

First Signs is a network which provides guidance on how to cope with self-injury
The Samaritans website offers support strategies for young people with emotional problems
The Counselling Directory is a network which provides guidance on how to find counselling support