Pastoral care is concerned with promoting students’ personal and social development and fostering positive attitudes to learning through the quality of teaching and the good relationships amongst students, teachers and the wider college community. The arrangements for monitoring students’ overall progress (academic, personal and social) through the support system are a vital element of our pastoral care.
We aim to create a caring, supportive and purposeful atmosphere which ensures that each student will feel that he/she has a unique and valued contribution to make to College life. Staff contribute formally and informally to caring for students through contact in registration periods, classes and extra-curricular activities. All staff take responsibility for monitoring students’ progress and share with the student in the review and support system. Administrative staff support the teaching staff in monitoring attendance records and other issues of a pastoral or medical nature.
A team of Year Heads has specific responsibility for the induction and welfare of the students; they form a vital link in the management of the school, liaising closely with group tutors, subject teachers, Heads of Department and parents on all aspects of students’ welfare. Induction and Progress Review evenings for parents provide opportunities for good home/school liaison and partnership.
Click below for the latest Parental Induction Presentations:
Staff Support for Students
Each student has a group tutor with whom they can develop a close relationship in the registration, administration and pastoral session each morning. Two Year Heads oversee the work of each of the years and seek to support students, identify problems early and communicate effectively with parents.
- 780 students, each with a group tutor whom they meet each morning;
- personal development classes for all students once a week;
- each student has a Year Head who monitors carefully their progress.
- help students settle into College life;
- build relationships with students;
- deliver a personal development programme.
- review overall progress;
- support students at times of personal difficulty;
- liaise with home.
- give much advice in class on how to approach learning in their subjects;
- provide additional advice and support as required by individuals;
- are subject experts, highly qualified graduates and ‘A’ Level teaching specialists
Guiding students towards appropriate careers is a central function of our College. Specialist Careers teachers provide advice supported by other members of staff. In addition, all Year Heads and class teachers take a special interest in the personal and social education of their students and the development of career knowledge. Personal career plans contribute to this development.
Through attendance at careers conventions, open days at universities/teacher training institutions, by listening to invited speakers from industry, institutions of higher education and the Careers Advisory Service and personal interviews, students are supported in every way to make appropriate decisions about their future education and careers.
Portadown College has established excellent relationships with all major universities and higher education institutes throughout the UK and Ireland.
Specialist Careers teachers:
- ensure the Careers Library is well stocked and reference materials
- organise university visits;
- guide students to useful sources of information;
- arrange and undertake Careers interviews;
- prepare students for UCAS entry and other university entry systems;
- organise Careers events in the College to help inform students’
- support students when examination results are published.
Portadown College promotes an inclusive ethos. The College is committed to removing barriers to learning for all students with a learning difficulty and/or disability. Students, parents and the SENCo work closely together to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made so that no student is disadvantaged.
If a young person has a specific disability our co-ordinator will work with the family to build an understanding of how we can support the young person in college.
A Counsellor is available for consultation by students on a strictly confidential basis. A counselling session usually lasts 30 minutes and is held during class time. ‘Drop in sessions’ are also available during lunchtime and after school. The Counselling service is provided by ‘Familyworks’.
To complement the Counselling Service provided within the College as part of our pastoral care support, students can also access a mentoring service.
The service is run by REACH, a registered charity which is currently working in a range of schools in the local area, with the vision to help young people fulfil their full potential.
Students who wish to access the service are paired with a mentor who meets with them at a set time each week. As with our Counselling Service, the College Safeguarding Team will respond to any disclosure as per the procedures outlined in the College Child Protection Policy.
The principles and philosophy which underpin our work with children are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UK Agreement in 1991) and enshrined in the Children (NI) Order 1995 (effective from November 1996). In particular the principle we support is that every young person has the fundamental right to be safe from harm and that those looking after them should give proper care to their physical, emotional and spiritual well being. The young person’s welfare must always be paramount and Portadown College, having the best interests of the young people at heart, is committed to offering a protective, supportive and safe environment.
Guidelines for Child Protection are clearly set down by the SELB and the Department of Education and form the basis of our School Policy and Procedures. Parents may access this information at any time and an explanatory leaflet is distributed annually. The purpose of the guidelines on Child Protection is to protect our students by ensuring that everyone who works in our College, teachers, non-teaching staff and volunteers, are provided with clear guidance on the action which is required where abuse or neglect of one of our students is suspected. Our overriding concern as caring adults must be the welfare and safety of all of our young people.
Department of Education regulations require schools to publish a statement of the College’s policy in relation to drugs education.
Dealing meaningfully with drugs and drug related issues involves the whole College community including teaching and other staff, governors, parents, young people and relevant support agencies. The College condemns and prohibits the possession of, use of, and dealing in drugs and drug related substances.
In the College, we maintain a positive ethos, with the emphasis placed on the personal responsibility of the individual in making informed choices. Drug education is delivered in the context of our continuing pastoral support structure, Personal and Social Education programme and specially focused conferences.
A policy on Drug Education is available on request.
There are statutory and legal obligations on school authorities to ensure the health and safety of every person learning or working within the College. The College has a written policy on Behaviour Management and a copy of the Code of Conduct is given to every student. This Code of Conduct in essence contains straightforward advice to students to be sensible, considerate and polite. We stress that such instructions are for the safety of all and the efficient organisation of the College. Behaviour Management operates at a positive level and mutual trust is encouraged between students and staff; appropriate sanctions are available and used when required. We believe that the best discipline is self-discipline and we expect the full cooperation of parents in supporting the school in maintaining high standards of behaviour within school and also when students are travelling to and from school, visiting food outlets at lunchtime or when representing the College.
All policies are available on request.
Very regular attendance at school is regarded as essential for satisfactory academic progress. Attendance and punctuality are recorded electronically and closely monitored. Attendance figures and reasons for absence are recorded in detail for each student.
Poor attendance is invariably linked with under-achievement at school and parents should always try to plan family holidays during school holidays.
Sixth Form students may apply for Educational Maintenance Allowances. These allowances are only paid if attendance, progress in sixth form study and conduct are satisfactory.
Average College attendance: 94.7%.
The progress of students is carefully and consistently monitored through regular observation, assessment and testing. In addition to the term and trial examinations, an ongoing review and support programme identifies students who are having difficulties or who seem to be making insufficient progress. This programme involves students, staff and parents and assists students in reflecting on their progress, achievements and areas where they need to improve. Formal reports are issued twice yearly.
Parents are expected to give their full support to actions deemed necessary by the College to enhance their child’s progress.
The Parents’ Evenings coincide with the issue of reports.
Students are given homework so that work done in school can be consolidated and improved. Homework helps students to acquire study and examination skills, enables them to demonstrate their level of interest and motivation, and is an integral part of their education. Students are given guidance on the amount, frequency, types of homework set and the expected time commitment appropriate to the Year Group. Guidance in general and subject specific study skills is given. Each student is provided with a personal homework diary which should be used as an aid to the organisation of homework, private study and revision.
The Library is for everyone at Portadown College. Its role is to support learning and teaching and it is a whole school resource for study, research and recreational reading. It is located at the entrance to the Sixth Form Centre and is used throughout the day by Sixth Form students during their study periods. However, it is available to all students before school starts, during break and lunch times, and after school.
The Library has an up-to-date and relevant stock to support all areas of the curriculum at PC. Over the past few years, a considerable amount of money has been invested in the Library to stimulate and encourage reading for pleasure and to provide learning resources in a wide range of formats to support and respond to changes in the curriculum.
There is an impressive collection of the latest fiction and non-fiction, 300+ DVDs, a wide range of daily newspapers and magazines and a selection of great reference items. The College Librarian, Mrs Hurst, is always available to provide advice, information and support with study. All students are encouraged to suggest items for purchase and help with the selection of materials for the Library.
The College recognises the importance of ICT for all students and endeavours to make ICT facilities available for individuals on request. The College has developed a comprehensive, innovative approach to ICT to enhance teaching and learning in consultation with outside experts in the community.
We operate two networks of computers in the College to include PCs and MACs. Students are encouraged to avail of our wireless coverage and a laptop library managed by our dedicated ICT Technician has been developed.
Intranet can be accessed from home and school; subject departments are making increasing use of it.
The vast majority of classrooms have access to Apple TV and/or interactive whiteboards. We, as a College, are excited by, and wish to embrace, the opportunities to expand our use of ICT to improve student outcomes.
The College Houses are Seale, Shillington and MacCallum, which are represented on the College badge by the colours green, red and yellow respectively. The House structure provides the basis for a very wide range of inter-House competitions, including sports, music and debating.
The complete College uniform must be worn, not only in school hours, but on the journey to and from school and when students are representing the College as team members or at special functions. Circulars about uniforms for boys and girls setting out the requirements in full detail are sent to parents annually. We ask for the total co-operation of all parents in ensuring that the guidance about uniform and general appearance is followed. The College seeks to follow the advice of the Consumer Council’s report on school uniform by keeping requirements to a minimum in order to reduce expenditure for parents.
The Portadown College Student Forum took its first steps in 2010. This Forum is vital as the student voice can be heard by those who run the school and it provides the opportunity for students to have a say in important decision-making processes.