Our pastoral scheme of work is a key part of our commitment to supporting students in more than just their academic lives. We strive to encourage them to leave EMS as well-rounded, conscientious citizens with both the skills and confidence to contribute to their community.
“The pastoral curriculum is very enlightening and well-tailored to our age group”
[EMS Student, 2020]
Students attend ortnightly pastoral assembly, all of which use the Common Inspection Framework for further education as their main reference, while keeping in mind the outcomes for young people as per Every Child Matter criteria. We cover a breadth of topics including an exploration and understanding of fundamental values, equality and diversity, combating discrimination, and democracy and law. Personal and social skills, physical and mental well-being, and an unwavering antibullying message are all at the centre of our pastoral curriculum. This goes hand-in-hand with signposting and referral to additional support wherever possible. We also run sessions around sustainable living and student finance. Our assemblies are totally student-centred: they provide an opportunity for students to discuss, explore and share ideas in a non-trivialising and non-judgemental space.
“Pastoral assemblies comfort us in the knowledge that we never struggle alone”
[EMS Student, 2020]
In our assembly curriculum, we also go beyond the universal, government-advised topics and cover issues that we feel are relevant specifically to our students at EMS. These assemblies are about offering them an opportunity to apply their quick-thinking mathematical brains to varied and challenging perspectives, explore points of view different to their own, and encourage flexible thinking and questioning beyond just an academic remit. An example from Autumn Term 2020: we have been exploring with students the concept of gender in education and the role it plays in the world of STEM in particular. We have drawn into question the historical underrepresentation of women in STEM subjects, the possible reasons why and — crucially — what students and staff alike can do to tackle it.
A safe space for discussion is what it’s all about. The pastoral curriculum is there to support students during their time at school and to prepare them for life beyond EMS.