Pastoral Life

St Bernard’s is a Roman Catholic Grammar School, in the parish of Holy Family, part of the Diocese of Northampton. We are a school that is true to its Mission Statement, where students are educated in a nurturing community, with each person loved and valued for whom they are. Every day at St. Bernard’s, the Christian values of love, forgiveness and compassion to which we aspire, can be seen in evidence through the interactions of the whole school community.

At our school, the welfare of both staff and students is paramount. We have a dedicated staff who place the welfare of the child at the centre of all that they do. Our teaching staff aim to inspire and develop lifelong qualities in the young people with whom they work, recognising that each student has their own individual needs and circumstances. Each student is a member of a form group, with a dedicated tutor who develops a strong sense of each of their tutees and supportive, caring relationships with all.

Each year group has a committed Pastoral Leader who oversees the progress of all of their charges, both academically and socially. They prepare a broad, yet relevant and engaging personal, social and health education curriculum delivered by the tutor; and are actively involved in ensuring that the needs of each student in their year group(s) are supported with appropriate intervention. The students know that their Pastoral Leader is someone to whom they can turn in times of need or difficulty.

Our School Matron and Special Educational Needs’ Coordinator are integral components of the Pastoral Team, and both work very closely with each year Pastoral Leader to ensure the best possible care for our students. The school’s Matron is available throughout the day to respond to any of the medical needs of our students or staff. Our SENCo leads a team of teaching assistants who support a number of our students on a one-to-one basis, as well as organising and delivering some of the school’s literacy support provision.

A large number of our senior students play a fundamental role in developing the pastoral life of the school and ensuring the well-being of our younger students. We have over 80 Peer Mentors in Years 11-13 who work directly with our KS3 students, assisting them with the transition from Junior School in to Year 7 and supporting them in any way necessary through to GCSE study. The vast majority of students in Year 13 take on a role of responsibility as a Prefect, fulfilling various duties to assist in ensuring the safety of all and in providing a wealth of extra-curricular opportunities.

St. Bernard’s truly is a school where the development of the whole person matters. We have gifted students who receive excellent teaching and go on to achieve highly impressive academic results. But this alone does not do justice to everything for which our school stands. There are a large number of extra-curricular opportunities on offer to our students, that provide the chance to develop a wide range of aspects of our being beyond academia, such as Spiritual enrichment through the work of the Chaplaincy, sporting prowess through PE organised activities, self-expression through debating and drama and musical aptitude through peripatetic lessons and concerts, to name but a few. As recognised by OFSTED, our students appreciate the wonderful extra-curricular opportunities, the outstanding care, guidance and support on offer and that their non-academic achievements are valued as much as their examination successes.

We pride ourselves on the community aspect of our school and the relationships that exist between all parties of our community are highly positive and supportive, and allow for all individuals, both staff and students, to flourish. The work we do today still has firm foundations in the role played by the Bernadine Cistercian Order who founded the school, and who embodied the example of service to others before self and having prayer at the centre of their lives. These remain the mission of all involved with St. Bernard’s.