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Q and A

Do we need heads of year? In other European countries, there is much less emphasis on pastoral care. If we do need them, should they do that job only and no teaching at all?

Sara, Essex

A: Heads of year perform a vital task in building relationships with many vulnerable pupils, enabling staff to address a variety of pupils' social and emotional needs. It is a complex job that requires high levels of emotional resilience. This should be recognised by the school.

John, Wigton

A: In Australia pastoral care is considered important, as it is the first port of call for disciplinary procedures and often delicately assists in dealing with the "excess baggage" that many pupils bring with them.

Teachers' timetables should be reduced, but not 100 per cent as the everyday interfacing with pupils means they build a rapport with many of the pupils they may be dealing with in their pastoral care role and can therefore more appropriately assist them.

Leanne, Purley

A: We appoint teachers as the lead professionals, feeling they know more about the complexities and pressures of the classroom than anyone else, and are respected by their peers, pupils and parents.

Non-teaching staff support these pastoral leaders with administration and help deal with other pastoral issues including distressed youngsters. Other schools will find different approaches work equally well according to their context

Barrie, Swadlincote

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