A study of the development of preventative pastoral care in a secondary school through the use of form based pastoral programmes

Forward, Frederick David (1988) A study of the development of preventative pastoral care in a secondary school through the use of form based pastoral programmes. (MPhil thesis), Kingston Polytechnic, .


Pastoral care systems in the secondary schools of England and Wales have been criticized for being methods of social control (Best, Jarvis & Ribbins 1977a), means of administrative convenience (Best et al 1977a), props for ailing academic curricula (Williamson 1980), and punishment agencies (Hamblin 1978) that in consequence are too crisis orientated to provide effective pastoral care and guidance for all pupils (Button 1980). In answer to these criticisms a more preventative style of pastoral care has been suggested (Hamblin 1981 & 1984, McGuiness 1982) including the idea of a pastoral curriculum (Marland 1980). Although the literature offers theoretical support for a pastoral curriculum this study demonstrates a dearth of research likely to be relevant to practising teachers. It also responds to this deficiency by describing an action research project which had as its principal aim an improvement in the quality of pastoral care in a secondary school. This was achieved by directly intervening in the working of Albury School to develop and implement a pastoral curriculum with a substantial pastoral programme. In claiming an improvement in pastoral practice between 1980 and 1986 this thesis draws on a wide range of data in a detailed examination of the main stages of this pastoral and curricular innovation. The principal focus is at the staff level as the project evolved from a problem experienced by one head of year to a collaborative whole school curricular initiative in which the professional development of staff occurred alongside the development of new pastoral curriculum materials. Use of the action research cycle (Kemmis & McTaggart 1981) facilitated rigour and disciplined enquiry, ensured critical self-reflection, and allowed past actions and their consequences to inform future planning. This was supplemented by other evaluation methods such as questionnaires and interviews by an external researcher. Throughout this thesis pastoral and curricular themes are linked, initially by a literature review and subsequently by the action research development project. Finally, conclusions are drawn from the research findings and a range of recommendations presented.

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