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Working with our parents and carers to support the growth and wellbeing of the young people in our care is a crucial aspect of life at Highgate. This term we’ve introduced several new events to enhance this partnership.

Last week we held our first ever PSHE parent education evening in the Senior School. This relaxed and informal event built on individual sessions held ad-hoc throughout the year, to equip parents with knowledge and strategies to support their young people in the journey through adolescence.

There were a variety of sessions from which to choose a carousel of three options, including positive mental health, substances and harm reduction, responsible gaming and social media use, parties, alcohol and consent, vaping and supporting neurodivergent teens.

Sara Sheldon, Head of PSHE in the Senior School, explains: “We have been working hard to develop our PSHE curriculum using feedback from staff and students, as well as research, to ensure that it is relevant and up to date.

This process has highlighted how quickly much of what we are talking about in PSHE lessons is changing, and how different things are from when many of us adults were at school. Throughout this process I have spoken to some parents who have highlighted their desire to keep up to date and be better informed about some of the issues that their children are facing or could potentially face in the future.”

Earlier in the term, the Safeguarding and Wellbeing team held a joint coffee morning for Junior School and Pre-Prep parents/carers, which was led by Cleo Lawrence (Director of Safeguarding) and Kemi Omijeh (Director of Pupil Wellbeing).

The event was supported by pastoral staff across the foundation and well attended by parents. It focused on creating a space for them to speak with staff and understand how we support pupils and families when there are safeguarding and wellbeing needs. It was positive to see lively conversations around the good safeguarding and wellbeing work taking place across the two schools.

“I liked how interactive and informal the event was. It was nice to be able to meet and speak to members of staff and understand more about the topic,” one parent reflected.

Our Learning Support team work tirelessly to celebrate and support neurodiverse pupils and their parents/carers. At the PSHE event (mentioned above), we had an educational psychologist speaking to the parents and equipping them with practical strategies to support their neurodiverse children at home. There have also been webinars this term around Dyslexia, Autism and ADHD.

Arthur Dabrowski, Acting Deputy Head (Pastoral), Senior School, concludes: “Our aim has always been to work in authentic partnership with parents in supporting young people on their journey through adolescence. This partnership can thrive in many forms, including the close relationships that develop between parents and pastoral leads; informal events such as House Festive drinks or chats during concert intervals; or our more formal reporting system.

“This term, we have also been delighted to expand upon the familiar methods of keeping in touch with parents, by hosting welcome events for every year group, which along with the initiatives described here, have amplified and diversified the opportunities for us to come together as a cohesive community.”