Highgate’s pro-active pastoral care underpins all of our activities: wellbeing is at the heart of all our thinking.
We know joining a Sixth Form is a big change, even if you are currently in Year 11 at Highgate! We try hard to ensure your transition is as stress-free as possible.
You are placed into one of our 12 houses and join a tutor group of around 16, with whom you have morning registration and tutor time twice a week. Your tutor is who you talk to when you aren’t sure about something or feel things aren’t going right, be that friendships, homework – anything at all!
As well as form tutors, every house has a Head of House who keeps an eye on how you are doing in and out of lessons, and liaises with your teachers and parents/carers. If you have any concerns, academic or otherwise, your Head of House is on hand.
Every week the whole house attends a House Meeting, run by the Head of House (or the House Captains, who are the sixth former leaders of the house), so you get to know those in the years above and below. There are inter-house activities and competitions, from sports to debating to drama. The highlight of the year is our house singing competition in September, which gives our new Year 12 members the chance to meet other members of their house and brings everyone together.
For many, your house and the friends you make in it will help form some of your happiest memories of Highgate but you still have plenty of opportunities to mix with sixth formers from different houses, in and out of lessons.
HEADS OF SCHOOL
Pastoral care is supported by our Heads of School, House Captains and Prefects. Our Heads of School are democratically elected by teachers and sixth formers each year, while our Prefects are sixth formers who apply for their position, undertaking a selection process that mirrors what one should expect when applying for a job.
Our prefects act as leaders within their year and our wider School community, promoting our Code of Conduct and enforcing our rules. A key part of the role involves being a Year 7 or 8 mentor, so meeting your assigned class at daily registration to provide guidance to younger members of our School.
We also have other support on offer: we have two Head of Sixth Forms and a strong Sixth Form team. Their main role is to ensure that you feel safe, happy and supported, as well as keeping an eye on your academic progress. We also have a Director of Wellbeing, two counsellors and a support officer, so if you have concerns, there are plenty of ways we can help.
Education is a shared venture. At Highgate, we see our sixth formers, their parents/carers and our teachers co-existing in a virtuous triangle, where each side is fully involved with, and supportive of, the other.
As well as the hard work that goes into helping our sixth formers feel safe and happy, we are keen to work closely with parents and carers so that we can all be supportive of each other. Day-to-day contact is usually through our Heads of House, rather than with individual teachers; this ensures that there is someone in our School who has the full picture.
Academic progress is monitored by regular learning reviews, providing a snapshot of how your child is performing, on top of written reports. Tutors, Heads of Year/House and Heads of Section analyse feedback from teachers, offering encouragement and, where necessary, strategies for improvement. Each year group has an annual parents’ consultation meeting, at which all teaching staff are present.
Alongside the Highgate School Parents’ Association, we organise an annual series of pastoral presentations and discussions, covering topics like internet safety, screen time and social media, mental health and wellbeing, and helping parents cope with teenage children. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions and we welcome suggestions about other topics that may be useful.
We also run age-appropriate in-school sessions on topics such as relationships, drugs and alcohol. You also take an active role in identifying issues relevant to your age group and working with pastoral staff to think of ways to address these via our Pupil Welfare Committee.
Highgate staff receive regular training, including an annual refresher, in safeguarding and we have four designated safeguarding leads who are available to advise on more problematic issues.