We pride ourselves on knowing each and every pupil well and addressing their individual needs. Withington provides an exceptionally warm, friendly and caring environment in which girls achieve outstanding academic success and seize the many and varied opportunities for personal and social development. The School is fully committed to providing a safe environment for all pupils and staff. It is the responsibility of all adults at Withington, whether they are teaching or non-teaching staff, governors, volunteers or parents, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. We work closely with parents and ask our parents to always let us know about any circumstances that may affect their daughter’s wellbeing, so that we can provide appropriate support in school.
To quote from the last Independent Schools Inspectorate Full Inspection Report (2013):
“The contribution of the arrangements for pastoral care is excellent…. Warmth and approachability characterise the outstanding relationships between pupils and staff. Pupils say that there is always a member of staff available to help with any concern. Relationships are similarly positive amongst the pupils themselves, with older girls doing much to help the younger ones, especially as ‘peer supporters’.”
The principles of Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Personal Responsibility underpin our ethos and there is a strong sense of community. At every stage of her school career, each pupil has a Form Tutor and a Shadow Form Tutor, who, between them, see each girl on a daily basis. The Form Tutor and/or Shadow is the first point of contact for pupils and parents; they have the best all-round picture of each girl in their Form and guide her through the year. Each Year group is overseen by a Head of Year, who is responsible for all the girls in the Year; the Form Tutor can refer problems to, and parents can contact, the Head of Year if necessary.
In addition, the School Health Team provide invaluable pastoral support, as well as addressing medical issues and participating in the Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) programme. We also have a School Counsellor whom girls can arrange to see through the School Nurse. We are proactive in supporting wellbeing: all the curricular and extracurricular activities in the life of our busy school contribute to our pupils’ growth and sense of themselves as purposeful and thriving members of a community. There are also dedicated days and events for pupils to explore different aspects of wellbeing and reflect on ways to maintain a healthy balance across all aspects of their lives.
Outside this formal structure, girls are given the opportunity to talk to Sixth Form pupils about any concerns they may have through the Peer Support System. Three or four trained Sixth Form pupils are allocated to each Form; they meet regularly with the Form to run activities and are available to chat to groups or individuals. Pupil representatives from each Form attend School Council and Feedback meetings which are chaired by the Head Girl Team. Through such forums all pupils can contribute to the day-to-day running of the School and suggest ideas for development. We have a strong Antibullying Policy, including an Anti-bullying Statement written by the pupils themselves, and a culture of mutual respect where pupils can enjoy the many opportunities open to them at Withington.
“When necessary, support strategies are put in place in tandem with the pastoral head. A strong peer support structure also exists with senior girls helping younger girls in subject coaching or confidence mentoring. All the parents we spoke to repeatedly referred to a personal, family atmosphere.” Good Schools Guide 2020
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