There are a number of spiritual formation activities in the school. There is Mass and Service every Friday in the morning before the commencement of classes. There are special occasions when Mass is celebrated by all students and staff like Mary Ward Mass, Form 1 welcome Mass and Form 4 leavers’ Mass.
For the Catholic students, there is a continuous formation program me which involve Catechism classes that lead to First Holy Communion and Confirmation Sacraments. Students are also trained to serve during Mass as Alter girls, choir members and animators.
Loreto Convent Valley Road School believes in the system of Pastoral Care and we operate the following procedures.
Our Understanding of Pastoral Care
1. Pastoral Casework – That is individual work with pupils who are having problems be they of an academic, vocational, social, emotional or behavioral nature.
2. Pastoral Curriculum – This includes both the ‘hidden curriculum’ that is the ethos of the school, the day to day relationships between staff and pupils, the value system of a school, the opportunities for moral, spiritual, social and cultural development as well as the more formal and overt pastoral curriculum, which would include, though not be limited to, the PSE work whether done by tutors or by subject specialists.
3. Pastoral Control – That is the discipline system in the school that would include the giving of sanctions but is a much wider concept than that. Good discipline which is consistent, which affirms the pupils’ value, which builds rather than crushes, which encourages individuality rather than dull conformity, but all within an orderly environment, is an essential ingredient of effective pastoral care.
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.
The Impact of Pastoral Care
As the quality of Pastoral Care improves, so there are likely to be a number of positive outcomes :
1. Improving the quality of Pastoral Care is an important factor in helping to prevent problems both personal and academic from arising – Good Pastoral Care acts as a fence at the top of the cliff rather than simply providing the ambulance at the bottom.
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 will 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 will raise the standards of behavior 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. There is no question that pupils with high self-esteem who are essentially content and well-motivated will work better. Students who feel an academic failure will go a long way to fulfil their own feelings.
5. Improving Pastoral Care will improve the marketing prospects of a school. 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 will have a significant impact on staff morale as staff work together as a team with a common purpose.
Responsibility for Pastoral Care
It cannot be over-stressed that the 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. However, the main focus for Pastoral Care for particular pupils will be their Tutor. At Loreto Convent Valley Road School the pastoral and academic oversight of every pupil is primarily the responsibility of her tutor. All issues regarding a particular pupil should, in the first instance, be directed through their tutor. Tutors will then discuss important issues with the Head of Year.