'Rediscovering the Person in Pastoral Care.'
Thursday 13th October 2016 at Fettes College, Edinburgh
On a bright Autumnal morning 18 delegates gathered at Fettes College Edinburgh (Tatler School of the year) to explore the theme of 'Rediscovering the Person in Pastoral Care.' The 18 delegates included chaplains, counsellors, governors, housemaster and mistresses tutors, heads of welling and pastoral care.
Our key note speaker was Dr Emma Loveridge (see resume below). In the morning session she laid the foundations for an excellent day by carefully and inspirationally analysing some of the theories behind nurturing children.
One key slide demonstrated how easy it is to lose sight altogether of the person if pastoral care systems do not function at a relational level within our schools. If we are not careful we can end of seeing everything apart from the child in our midst.
The importance of the relational aspect in pastoral care was admirably in evidence over a delicious networking lunch which is a hallmark of a good SCALA day- during which for example a newly inducted Chaplain met other school chaplains for the first time, whilst the head of PSHE from a prep school could sound out ideas with senior school colleagues.
Having explored the Theory the afternoon workshop saw the delegates forming three groups each containing a counsellor, a chaplain, and a member of house staff. Emma gave the groups a shared pastoral scenario along with three different questions to explore it and tease out some of the frustrations that we sometimes all feel when the system / institution is driven by procedure and not by the interests and needs of the pupil at its centre.
We all shared a sense that at the heart of what we do we constantly need to be aware of those around us at an individual level which is often so hard when pupils are members of so many different groupings within a school- the boarding house, the year group, the class etc.
Dr Tony Clark, Fettes Chaplain, had gathered us for worship at the start of the day in the Fettes Chapel and his prayer sustained us as we discussed this vitally important part of pastoral care so that by the end of an excellent conference we realised that when were still far off He had met us and brought us home. The importance of the home and the role of the parents within pastoral relationships was something that drove the day and the need for open and honest dialogue with the school was seen as a vital component in the child's overall nurture and welfare:
If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.
Dr Emma Loveridge is currently an eminent psychotherapist who works with families in order to help them achieve emotional coherence and stability. She directs 'Rafan House', a Centre that provides compassionate emotional care for individuals and families that are struggling with the unceasing organisational challenges thrown at them by the contemporary world. This involves large numbers of young people whose issues are not always helped by the pressure exerted on them by their schools.
Dr Loveridge was formerly the Director of 'Wind, Sand and Stars' a company which offered to families and school groups wilderness experiences in desert environments and an opportunity to enhance the lives of particular tribes living in these areas. She is also an Anglican priest and has been an adviser to the Archbishop of York.
The delegates assemble – Fettes College 13th October 2016