St. Colm’s seeks to develop a Catholic School Community which is well-ordered and within which both Staff and Pupils can work co-operatively and in mutual respect in the pursuit of all aspects of Spiritual, Educational and Personal Excellence.




As a CatholicSchool , St. Colm’s is distinctive for the emphasis placed on caring for all members of its community (pupils, parents, teaching/non-teaching staff, and Governors).  We seek to build a network of supportive relationships at all levels based on mutual trust and respect.  Our Pastoral dimension involves both a general and a specialised focus.




As an integral part of the whole curriculum, the pastoral dimension should be evident in:

-           the hidden curriculum (which includes the school ethos, interpersonal relationships and the physical  environment);

-           extra-curricular activities (which might include membership of clubs or societies, or visits);

-           individual subjects (which include cross-curricular themes, teaching/learning methods, and the monitoring and recording of achievements);

-           discipline procedures (which are designed to bring pupils to personal autonomy and to enhance their self-  esteem);

-           reward procedures (which acknowledge efforts, achievements and contributions to all aspects of     school life).




-           A year plan of pastoral activities (which includes school assemblies, registration, one-to-one interviews and counselling, oversight of each pupil’s academic progress, retreats, residential experiences, competitions and outings).

-           Careers guidance (which includes both group activities and individual guidance).

-           A timetabled personal and social education programme of learning activities specifically designed to promote aspects of personal and social development.

-           Ensures that the form tutor has a detailed knowledge of the needs, aspirations, interests and academic progress of each pupil in the form class.




1.         To provide a happy, sensitive, positive and secure environment and so encourage effective learning.

2.         To foster respect for the nature and dignity of each person and an appreciation of self-worth.

3.         To promote co-operative efforts to establish full support for pupils by maximising participation by parents, parish, feeder primaries and external support agencies.

4.         To recognise and reward achievements of all pupils in both the academic and non-academic fields.

5.         To enhance life, social and study skills thus preparing our pupils for the opportunities and responsibilities within school and beyond.

6.         To utilise a variety of teaching strategies which are responsive to the different needs, abilities and aspirations of all pupils.

7.         To enhance personal and social development through planned curricular and extra curricular activities which give pupils experiences outside their local environment.




The responsibility for overseeing Pastoral Policy and practice rests with the Principal and Senior Management Team.

The Pastoral System is organised in Year Groups.  Within each year group pupils are sub-divided into classes with a designated form tutor for each class.  Form tutors retain their form class Year 8 – Year 12.  This helps to ensure that all pupils can relate personally to a teacher who knows them as individuals and who is responsible for monitoring their progress.




The function of a pastoral team is to provide support for teachers in carrying out their pastoral roles.  Each pastoral team meets formally on a regular basis.




Although every teacher has a pastoral role the following are the particular responsibilities within the Specialised Focus (for detailed Job Description see staff handbook).




Overall responsibility for pastoral policy and practice throughout the school.




Provision of advice and support for form tutors in all aspects of their pastoral work.  Co-ordination of PSHE programme within year group.  Responsibility for all pastoral activities within the year group.




The form tutor is a key figure in the pastoral system and should have a detailed knowledge of the needs, emotional development, progress and academic attainment of each pupil in his/her form.




All teachers require and utilise counselling skills.  Where there is a need for more specialised counselling a trained counsellor is available to support staff and pupils.   

(Mrs. C. McMurray).

Requests for counselling support from staff should be directed through the Year Head.




The careers teacher has a specific responsibility for vocational guidance.




Teachers at all levels of the caring process need to feel that they themselves are valued and that help, support and training are available to them.

Training needs include:

(a)         Classroom Management Skills.

(b)         Basic Counselling Skills.

(c)         Interpersonal Skills.

(d)         Teaching methods which engage pupils actively in their learning.

Training must be school focussed and organised on INSET days and during Directed Time.




It is important to be aware that some the really important outcomes are to do with the personal or inner life of the individual and may not become evident or be acknowledged until much later.  Nevertheless there are some measures which can indicate that the overall climate in healthy.


Quantitative     -           Attendance figures.


-           Punctuality.

-           Merit System Scores.

-           Year Head Monthly Reports.

-           Parents Evenings (percentage response and attendance).


Qualitative       -           Monthly meetings of Faculty Teams and Year Teams to

analyse and review curriculum context and delivery including PSHE Programme.

-           Pupil feed-back through pupil profiles.

-           Pupil-teacher relationships and interaction.

-           Feedback from external agencies e.g. feeder primaries, work experience employers etc.




The following processes/systems provide a framework for meeting the aims of our Pastoral Care Policy.


1.          Daily contact between form tutor and class.  Weekly year group assembly.

2.          An agreed approach to Discipline where the emphasis is on encouraging positive behaviour and raising self-             esteem (see Discipline Policy).

3.          A Special Needs Policy which responds positively and with sensitivity to the diversity of needs (see Special   Needs Policy).

4.          A system for recognising and rewarding pupils achievements (includes e.g.Merit System, R.O.A.).

5.          An agreed timetabled programme of personal and social education. 


The programme must reflect the need identified by teachers and those needs which have been expressed by pupils.  Bullying and Drug Education are addressed in the PSHE Programme.   The School Policy Statements on these two areas are included.  (See Appendix 1 and 2).  School Procedures for dealing with suspected Child Abuse are outlined in Appendix 3.


6.          Time for Pastoral teams to meet:

            -           Use of Directed Time and INSET Days.

7.          Agreed procedures for involving parents as partners in the education process.

8.          Agreed procedures for linking with external support agencies.

             E.W.O’s                              -           Year Heads


Social Services                    -           Head of Pastoral Care

Ed. Psychologists                -           Special Needs Co-ordinator

Designated Officer for            -           Ms. I. Jordan/Mrs. C. McMurray

Child Abuse

Chaplaincy                           -           Head of R.E.

Feeder Primary Schools        -           Head of Pastoral Care


9.          A curriculum which is delivered using a range of teaching strategies designedto raise standards.


10.       A range of planned curricular and extra-curricular activities outside the school environment.




The emerging youth drug culture means that schools must have a preventative educational programme and procedures for dealing with suspected incidents of drug/solvent abuse.  We in St. Colm’s regard it as our moral duty to tackle issues such as drugs/alcohol/solvent abuse through our Personal and Social Education Programme.  This structured programme carries through from Year 8 to Year 12 and is monitored by the Head of Pastoral Care and the PSHE (Tutorial) Co-ordinator.


In delivering the programme, we can and do avail of the expertise of outside agencies such as the Health Promotion Agency and Dunlewey Substance and Advice Centre.


A more detailed statement is available from the school on request.




Bullying affects everyone, not just the bullies and the victims.  It also affects those other children who watch, and less aggressive pupils can be drawn in by group pressure.  Bullying is not an inevitable part of school life or a necessary part of growing up, and it rarely sorts itself out.  It is clear that certain jokes, insults, intimidating/threatening behaviour, written abuse and violence are to be found in our society.  No one person or group, whether staff or pupil, should have to accept this type of behaviour.  Only when all issues of bullying are addressed, will a child best be able to benefit from the opportunities available at the School.




St. Colm’s believes that its pupils have the right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without the fear of being bullied.


All institutions, both large and small, contain some numbers of pupils with the potential for bullying behaviour.  If a school is well disciplined and organised, it can minimise the occurrence of bullying.  The School also has a clear policy on the promotion of positive behaviour and a programme of Personal and Social Education where it is made clear that bullying is a form of anti-social behaviour.  It is WRONG and will not be tolerated.




Bullying can occur through several types of anti-social behaviour.  It can be:


(a)         PHYSICAL – A child can be physically punched, kicked, hit, spat at, etc.


(b)         VERBAL – Verbal abuse can take the form of name calling.  It may be directed towards gender, ethnic origin, physical/social disability, or personality, etc.


(c)         EXCLUSION – A child can be bullied simply by being excluded from discussions/activities, with those they believe to be their friends.


(d)         DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OR THEFT – Pupils may have their property damaged or stolen.  Physical threats may be used by the bully in order that the pupil hand over property to them.




Remember that your silence is a bully’s greatest weapon!


(a)         Tell yourself that you do not deserve to be bullied, and that it is WRONG!

(b)         Be proud of who you are.  It is good to be individual.

(c)         Try not to show that you are upset.  It is hard but a bully thrives on someone’s fear.

(d)         Stay with a group of friends/people.  There is safety in numbers.

(e)         Be assertive – shout “No!” Walk confidently away.  Go straight to a teacher or member of staff.

(f)          Fighting back may make things worse.  Talk to a teacher or parent/guardian.

(g)         Generally it is best to tell an adult you trust straight away.  You will get immediate support.  Teachers will take you seriously and will deal with bullies in a way which will end the bullying and will not make worse for you.




(a)        TAKE ACTION!  Watching and doing nothing looks as if you are on the side of they bully.  It makes the victim feel more unhappy and on their own.

(b)        If you feel you cannot get involved, tell an adult IMMEDIATELY.  Teachers have ways of dealing with the bully without getting you into trouble.

(c)        Do not be, or pretend to be, friends with a bully.




(a)        Look for unusual behaviour in your children.  For example, they may suddenly not wish to attend school, feel ill regularly, or not complete work to their normal standard.

(b)        Always take an active role in your child’s education.  Enquire how their day has gone, who they have spent their time with, how lunch time was spent etc.

(c)        If you feel your child may be a victim of bullying behaviour, inform the School IMMEDIATELY.  Your complaint will be taken seriously and appropriate action will follow.

(d)        It is important that you advise your child not to fight back.  It can make matters worse!

(e)        Tell your own son or daughter there is nothing wrong with him or her.  It is not his or her fault that they are being bullied.

(f)         Make sure your child is fully aware of the School policy concerning bullying, and that they will not be afraid to ask for help.




(a)         In St. Colm’s we organise yourself in order to minimise opportunities for bullying,.

(b)        We provide opportunities to discuss aspects of bullying, and the appropriate way to behave towards each other e.g. through our PSHE programme.

(c)         We deal quickly, firmly and fairly with any complaints, involving parents where necessary.

(d)         Review the School Policy and its degree of success.

(e)        The School will continue to have a firm buy fair discipline structure.  The rules and procedures are few, simple and easy to understand.

(f)         We encourage pupils to discuss how they get on with other people and to form positive attitudes towards other people.  This includes a review of what friendship really is.

(g)         We encourage pupils to treat everyone with respect.

(h)         We treat bullying as a serious offence and take every possible action to eradicate it from our School.




If bullying is suspected we talk to the suspected victim, the suspected bully and any witnesses.  If any degree of bullying is identified, the following action will be taken:

Help, support and counselling will be given as is appropriate to both the victims and the bullies:

We support the victims in the following ways:


-            by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with their form teacher, or another   teacher if they choose.

-            informing the victims’ parents/guardians.

-            by offering continuing support when they feel they need it.

-            by taking one or more of the seven disciplinary steps described below to prevent more bullying.


We also discipline, yet try to help the bullies in the following ways:


-            by talking about what happened, to discover why they became involved.

-            informing the bullies’ parents/guardian.

-            by taking one or more of the seven disciplinary steps described below to prevent more bullying.