Highgate’s pro-active pastoral care underpins all of our activities: pupil wellbeing is at the heart of all our thinking.
We know that moving to Year 7 is a big change, even if you are currently at Highgate Junior School. So, we try hard to ensure your transition to secondary school is as smooth and stress-free.
Once you’ve got your place at Highgate we invite you to a series of events that help you get to know our Senior School and your new classmates. Usually, these include: an afternoon of activities and a tour of ‘Top Site’, where most of your lessons will be; an information evening for your parents/carers; and a barbeque for new pupils and parents/carers. However, most excitingly of all, just before term starts in September, we take all our new Year 7s to an outward bound centre to do activities like jet skiing, paddle boarding, laser quest and high(ish) ropes. Together, these give everyone a chance to start making new friends.
Everyone in Year 7 is placed in a form group of around 23 people, and you will be in the same form for Year 8. You spend almost all of your lessons with your form. We take great care choosing who goes into each form, making sure we get a balance of boys and girls, plus people new to Highgate and those already here. Your form tutor is an excellent person to talk to when you aren’t sure about something or feel things aren’t going right, be that due to friendships, homework, lost property – anything at all.
HEADS OF YEAR AND HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL
We also have plenty of other support on offer: we have a dedicated Head of Year 7 and a Head of Year 8, and an overall Head of Lower School (what we call Years 7 and 8). Their main role is to ensure you feel safe, happy and supported, as well as keeping a close eye on your academic progress.
Good mental health provides a solid foundation in which to thrive and be our authentic selves Dr Kemi Omijeh, Director of Pupil Wellbeing
Pupils have a clear awareness of their individuality and place in the school and wider community ISI Report 2021
My vision is for a robust wellbeing service that sits alongside the quality academic provision Dr Kemi Omijeh, Director of Pupil Wellbeing
When you move into Year 9, you are placed into one of our 12 houses, where you will remain until the end of your time at Highgate. You join a tutor group of around 16 pupils drawn from different Year 8 forms, whom you will meet twice a week. Your Head of House will be your regular contact for support on anything you need to discuss.
The House system provides a smaller community feel, where you can build friendships, take part in a variety of events, and hopefully make some great memories. Every week the whole house attends a House Meeting enabling pupils to build relationships across the year groups. House competitions run throughout the year, providing a wealth of opportunity for involvement and achievement. From fives to cross-country, debating to drama: pupils are regularly able to experience competitiveness that is positive, friendly and inclusive.
Pupil wellbeing it at the heart of all our thinking. We want this to be an inclusive environment where you feel able to explore your thoughts and identity alongside your academic journey. To be part of a welcoming community, where you can help shape growth (for yourself and within the School) and develop your own sense of wellbeing.
All our staff are united in this purpose, to ensure that you feel safe, happy and supported, and we have a dedicated Wellbeing team to assist us. There is a Director of Pupil Wellbeing; a Director of Inclusion; three wellbeing practitioners and three counsellors available to pupils for confidential help. We work with specialist outside agencies to ensure continuity of support for pupils and families.
Kemi Omijeh, Director of Pupil Wellbeing
Education is a shared venture. At Highgate, we see our pupils, their parents/carers and our teachers co-existing in a virtuous triangle, where each side is fully involved with, and supportive of, the other.
Day-to-day contact is usually through our Heads of Year (Years 7 and 8) and Heads of House (Years 9-13), rather than with individual teachers; this ensures that there is someone in our School who has the full picture of each pupil’s welfare. Academic progress is monitored by regular learning reviews, occasional written reports and an annual parents’ consultation meeting. Tutors, Heads of Year/House and Heads of Section analyse feedback from teachers, offering encouragement and, where necessary, strategies for improvement.
Our online ‘Parent Portal’ hosts a range of information and resources to assist on topics such as bereavement, mental health, alcohol and drugs, online safety, porn and sexuality, among others. We also run age-appropriate in-school sessions on topics such as relationships, substances, consent, life beyond school etc – often with guidance of outside speakers.
The Highgate School Parents Association aims to foster a sense of community within the parent body. It also offers a chance to feedback to the School any questions or concerns you may have. Additional parent forums are offered to explore topics in greater depth, for example Race and Ethnicity, and Anti-Sexism.