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There are several strands to our pastoral care at Knighton House School, but we take the well-being of our pupils as central to their ability to succeed in their learning and their relationships.
The core principles of our pastoral care programme are:
- As leaders and teachers, to set the example as caring and professional role models
- To provide opportunities for our pupils to act as role models for younger pupils
- To ensure our pupils work in a safe and attractive environment
- To give credence to the pupil voice
- To deliver a PSHE programme which develops in our pupils a spirit of compassion, openness, tolerance and understanding
- To ensure the role of the class tutor is seen as important and always evolving
- To ensure that staff are appropriately trained in order to deliver our high standards of pastoral care
- To empower our pupils by giving them opportunities for taking planned risks and encouraging them to be curious, reflective and creative learners, thus giving them confidence in the face of life’s challenges.
Every child belongs to a tutor group; the tutor is the first line of support for all pupils, in all matters in school. Tutors help children foster a group identity and many activities within school happen in tutor groups. Each class has a Form Captain – this role of responsibility is open to all pupils, providing they put forward a short presentation of what they will offer in the role. The children vote each term for this position.
To get to know our tutees better, tutors will complete one per term, two if possible. During a one-to-one, tutors will talk with each tutee about their PEP choices, other clubs, activities or commitments, work pressure and progress generally, as well as friendships and support. The information is kept in the tutor file and these are handed on to the next tutor, for information and continuity.
Tutor Time Yearbook
The tutor time yearbook sets out simple prompts for tutor time and is an opportunity to build on our learning disposition themes or other aspects of school life for which raising awareness would be beneficial. The calendar is circulated every term, with new themes or prompts.
The Independent Listener
The school benefits from an Independent Listener; she comes into school twice a term but she is available at any time should a child require it – pupils have clear guidance on how they would contact her and are made aware of when she is coming into school.
Meal time and food
We passionately believe that great food is a key part of any school – especially a boarding school. Encouraging children to eat well, to learn about food and to establish good habits both fuels their learning every day and is a real possession for life. Our aim is a simple one: to provide healthy wholesome family style food.
At Knighton we have our own in-house catering team. This gives us the opportunity to hire our own chef and cooks and to do our own purchasing and menu planning. This means we are able to carefully select the range, quality and provenance of food that the children enjoy at school. We want food at Knighton to be as tasty, healthy and as local as possible.
Our weekly menu is published on the school’s website and in school so parents and children are able to see what is on offer. Our food committee in school gives the girls the opportunity to talk about food, about the menus and to offer feedback to the catering manager. We think it’s important that feedback is not just about likes and dislikes, but about wider issues to do with food sourcing and awareness of the importance of diet and healthy eating. By encouraging these discussions we believe the children will have a much broader understanding of the importance of eating a balanced and healthy diet.
Cooking also plays an important part of our curriculum for all the children at Knighton. Our ‘classroom kitchen’ is a wonderful facility where the children can learn to cook some basic recipes as well as helping them to understand more about kitchen hygiene and healthy eating.
This summer some of the children have started a gardening club using the raised beds we have in the orchard to plant vegetables and flowers with the aim in time of expanding the range of home grown produce which we will then be able to eat in school. We take healthy food seriously at Knighton and believe strongly in the benefits of children learning how to grow fruit and vegetables ‘from fork to table’.
Charity and Community at Knighton House
Service to others is in the very DNA of Knighton House School and throughout the school year we undertake many charitable missions. Pupils are encouraged to suggest ideas for fundraising and wherever possible or practical, we accommodate their ideas.
We support both the small and the large charities (Julia’s House, a children’s hospice charity dedicated to bringing comfort and care to families across Dorset & Wiltshire, the NSPCC), as well as the local and the global (Dorset Reading Partners, the Red Cross) and we try to do this in creative ways. Rather than simply asking for money, we encourage girls to contribute in other ways, such as baking cakes, running a stall and working in their House groups to collect for a good cause. There is some dressing up involved, of course.
We are proud to be part of the local community and we work closely with local groups and our new leadership programme gives girls further volunteering opportunities. Helping people in their own communities, working with charitable groups on environmental projects, working with animals, coaching and teaching other pupils, are core parts of the Volunteering section of the programme.
When visiting Knighton House you will not be surprised to learn that a part of the site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, being rich in native plant species, nor can you be at Knighton without being outside for a significant part of the day, for both work or play. Lessons may involve using our conkers or apples in maths or going for a listening walk for the younger children. Higher up the school it may be a maths trail, getting inspiration for art work or poetry, collecting weather data in geography, the list is endless. The Jubilee pond, opened by Old Knightonian and environmentalist Julia Hailes MBE, is not only used by all the school, but also by the local primary school for dipping activities and scientific tinkering. It is also home to our willow reed bed, a new venture that we hope will result in a living willow sculpture.
The Spinney and Greenwood part of the grounds are favourite break time hideaways and you never know if you are going to stumble on a thriving woodland shop or a secret jumping course; children may appear from anywhere, behind, under or up the trees. On the front lawn the seniors may be supervising the pony jumps or other outside games, unable to resist having their own turn too.
The Orchard itself, as you would hope, is home to a variety of heritage apples, pears and plum trees and the children are able to collect the fruit for use in our own school kitchens, pressing it into truly fresh juice or using it as the filling of a traditional crumble; although for many children, the greatest pleasure is often to simply munch on the fruit whilst at play.
Within this area is the home of the Knighton House Gardening Club and the ‘bottle’ greenhouse, so called because the whole structure, built by the children, is made from recycled bottles. The pupils collected plastic bottles and built the greenhouse to enable them to grow their own seedlings. The gardeners aim to produce enough home-grown crops to cook lunch for themselves and a few VIPs. The gardeners also help maintain ‘Elizabeth’s Garden’; a tribute to a much-loved matron who is sadly no longer with us. The garden is stocked with cuttings that Elizabeth, a keen gardener, had taken. Some of these plants are used in the grounds, along with others, to provide cut flowers for the main house.
Do not be surprised when visiting therefore to find a few empty classrooms, and instead find girls and boys outside, relishing the fresh air and freedom in their learning and their play.