Pastoral Deputy Head, Tracey Hazell, talks about Pastoral Care at Millfield Prep
As a boarding school, we see the pastoral care and needs of our children as central to their success and personal development. Although we are a large school, we preserve the caring atmosphere of a small one.
Our group tutors and heads of year ensure pupil wellbeing is at the centre of their regular meetings, so that the circumstances of each child are known and acted on if necessary. In addition to this, the Deputy Head (Pastoral), Director of Boarding and Headmistress are fully involved with all aspects of the children's daily lives. Our boarding pupils enjoy extremely high standards of pastoral care, with all boarding staff working together to ensure that children's individual needs are met.
There are four main areas of pastoral care that are provided to every pupil:
Emotional wellbeing is crucial for our children to feel settled and happy. Group tutors and Heads of Year are the first point of contact at all times, although our school counsellor is available for children and parents at times of particular need. Our Medical Centre can also be a safe haven, if time out is required. The Chaplain plays a pivotal role in our pastoral team. She sits on the Pastoral Committee each week, so has an excellent knowledge of the children and any adversity or difficulties which they may be going through. As a regular visitor to the boarding houses, she has a good relationship with boarders of all faiths and is always ready to listen, support and advise. PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education) classes complement our philosophy of teaching the whole child.
There is an inclusive atmosphere and a strong community spirit at Millfield Prep. For boarders, houseparents are vital to the happy and secure environment within the houses. Sporting houses play a role in including every child and promoting a team spirit, whatever their age or ability. In lessons children work towards HMCs (Headmistress’ Commendations) and a house point system for good work or behaviour in and around the school, which also gets fed into the house shield competition. Our Year 8 Pastoral Monitors are trained in skills of listening, advising and supporting their peers and younger children, and act as positive role models. This fosters a sense of community across the ages, helps the children to appreciate looking after each other and gives a sense of family to those living away from home.
The academic welfare and rigour of the children is of paramount importance to our school. We try to stretch and motivate the children in all areas by a broad whole school approach; such as hosting extension and enrichment evenings which are open to all pupils. The care of the boarding community is vital for sustaining academic standards and motivation away from home. Group tutors are the first point of contact for academic support and they help set up timetables, additional activities, monitor prep, track grades and achievements and are parents' first line of contact for queries or problems, in regards to their child’s progress.
The Director of Sport and Head of Games have a good overview of all our pupils' sporting commitments, and support and advise them to help pupils get the best from each activity. Those children who have particularly heavy sporting demands can be overseen with an individual programme. The school helps to maintain a balance and takes the health and welfare of every child very seriously, whilst still nurturing their talents.
Millfield’s catering company, Chartwells, aim to be so much more than just catering providers. We go way beyond that by making a valuable contribution to supporting young peoples learning, development and attainment.
Nutritional education has always been a big part of what we do and we have a great team at Chartwells that supports this. As part of our 'Learn Live' philosophy, we provide children with food to support their growing bodies, with nutrition that contributes to their wellbeing and an understanding of the importance of healthy eating and living.
A three week menu cycle
Individual allergies catered for
Comprehensive salad by offering three protein options daily
Homemade bread and soup daily
Individual fruit pots daily
Our aim is to help young people build a personal toolkit of knowledge, skills and inspiration - which we believe are the key ingredients for happy, healthy futures.
There is a cereal counter, a hot section offering a full English breakfast, as well as the option of a continental breakfast, toast, yoghurt and fresh fruit.
Traditional hot dishes offering meat and vegetarian options, seasonal vegetables and carbohydrates
Extensive salad bar ranging from seasonal, individual salad vegetables to grain based “super salads” and homemade salad dressings
Homemade soup and bread
Daily changing dish of the day on the chef’s table
A selection of hot and cold puddings
Monthly taster and sides/themed lunches
Whilst the range of food on offer at supper is similar to lunch, we feel that supper is a time for pupils to relax and an opportunity for the chefs to interact more with pupils. We frequently have pop-up and themed suppers, and often serve the food at tables in a ‘family-style’, these meals have included food around the world. We also design menus around curricular activities, such as “National Book Week” themed meals and World War II remembrance suppers.
Food Quality and Traceability
We take pride in using the highest possible quality ingredients sourced from respected suppliers. Regular audits are carried out on our suppliers to ensure animal welfare, traceability and ethnic farming methods are practiced.
Millfield adheres to the 2014 EU regulations, which require the identification of specific allergens in food. The regulations are designed to improve the nutritional and allergen information provided to pupils, helping them to make informed choices. Our online menu planning software allows us to manage the provision of allergen information accurately as live information of ingredients is available at the touch of a button.
In Good Hands
We have collaborated with the world renowned nannies from Norland College to train all of our catering managers in working with very young children. The training course enables our managers to experience a meal service through the eyes of young children, in order to help serve them better. This has had a hugely positive impact on the already high levels of care in the dining hall.
The Medical Centre at Millfield Prep is a modern, purpose-built unit, with a waiting area, large treatment room, doctor’s consulting room and office. There are two en-suite bedrooms, each with two beds. The medical centre is staffed by three registered nurses. The school doctor, a partner at the Glastonbury Surgery, comes to see pupils for appointments four times a week.
The role of the Medical Centre is to oversee the health and welfare of all pupils, helping them to participate as fully as possible in school life. All boarders must be registered with the school doctor, who will be responsible for their medical care. A female doctor is available on request. We undertake a routine health screening on all new boarding pupils.
A chartered paediatric physiotherapist from the senior school runs a private clinic on site. Contact details for the physio can be obtained from the Medical Centre.
The school nurses are on duty from 8.00am-6.00pm, Monday to Friday, (8.00am-5.00pm Saturdays). We operate an “open door” policy, so pupils have access to healthcare at all times during the school day. When the centre is unattended, there is a voicemail facility for messages. At night and weekends, an out of hours service is available for houseparents.
If a pupil becomes unwell in school hours, they can be looked after in the Medical Centre until they can go home or to their boarding house. Boarders who are unwell are cared for in their boarding houses, by their houseparents or a day matron, supervised by the medical team, who can visit the pupil in house if needed. Sometimes it is necessary for children to be sent home or to their guardians until recovered.
In the event of an emergency, staff will make every reasonable effort to contact parents or legal guardians before permitting treatment to proceed, as advised by the medical authorities present.
Boarders should stay registered with their home dentist and have their routine dental checks in the school holidays. Emergency treatment can be provided by a local dental practice.
If your child has a significant illness, injury, or new medication started when at home, please inform the Medical Centre, so we can be sure they have continued and appropriate healthcare on their return and to maintain their health records. If your child needs to bring any medications to school, please ensure they are all in English and labelled with the child’s name and instructions for taking. Medicines, including non-prescription medicines, should always be handed in to the houseparents or the medical centre for safety.
PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education)
Millfield Prep has always believed in giving children an all-round education, believing passionately that education is about developing the whole human being. In Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PHSEE), pupils will learn about the world in which they live, giving them the chance to learn vital life skills and develop into young adults.
In Years 3 to 5, PSHEE is integrated within the curriculum and delivered by class teachers. Alongside this are weekly Circle Times, which focus on emotional wellbeing and relationships. Class teachers also deliver relationship and sex education as discreet lessons.
Pupils in Years 6, 7 and 8 attend a weekly PSHEE lesson, experiencing a programme of learning opportunities designed to help young people grow as responsible individuals and members of the school and wider community. They will develop knowledge and skills to live healthy, safe and fulfilled lives and to reflect upon their beliefs and opinions, as well as listen to and evaluate the values and attitudes of others.
The PSHEE curriculum raises issues of diversity and equality and reinforces respect for others. It promotes empathy, inclusion, aspiration, emotional wellbeing and resilience, as part of a whole school approach in preventing mental health issues in young people.
Subjects covered include personal identity and transitions, healthy lifestyles, keeping safe, peer pressure, rights and responsibilities, valuing difference, healthy relationships online, relationships and sex, economic wellbeing, democracy and British institutions and values.
PSHEE supports our pupils to recognise and manage risk, by increasing their knowledge of substance misuse and online safety, identifying the difference between unhealthy and healthy relationships, managing peer pressure and discussing and evaluating the emotional and physical changes and challenges of adolescence.
At Millfield Prep, we foster a spirit of understanding and tolerance of all faiths. Although assemblies are Christian, in their nature they focus on those ideas and values which are held in common by the world's great religions and also to those of no faith; love, kindness, compassion, care for our environment, understanding of the world around us, love of ourselves and others.
Reverend Michèle Kitto is the Chaplain to everyone in the school community. Former to this position, Michèle was Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Exeter Cathedral School, overseeing pastoral care and chaplaincy. Michèle, and her husband Phil, have two sons and a Chaplaincy Wellbeing dog, Sir Nigel, who the children enjoy spending time with.
Assembly for the whole school is held on Thursday mornings, which the Chaplain leads and on a Tuesday she takes an assembly for the Pre-Prep Chapel Service, which is held each week in St Georges’ Chapel. Sunday Chapel Services are held for boarders once a month. We have a Carol Service in Wells Cathedral and whole school services for Harvest, Remembrance Day, Easter and our Leavers’ Service. There is an annual Confirmation Service at Wells Cathedral at the start of the Summer Term, which many pupils prepare for throughout the year, including a retreat day in the Spring Term.
Chapel Club is an informal gathering of pupils to chat, eat cake and, importantly, discuss faith. This meets twice a week and is open to all pupils.
Our Roman Catholic pupils have Mass in Glastonbury on a Saturday evening once a month followed by a supper with the Chaplain and a Mass in our own chapel during Saturday tutor time. Father Bede, the local priest, takes these services and can be contacted about Confirmation into the Roman Catholic Church (which usually takes place from Year 9).