Pastoral Care for Academic Excellence

Pastoral Care for Academic Excellence

Pastoral Care Supports at Merlin College

At Coláiste Mhuirlinne/Merlin College the students are at the centre of all activity in the school environment.

The following supports are in place to support our students:

Pastoral meeting/SEN meeting: The Pastoral Care team meets weekly and is attended by the Principal/Deputy Principal/Guidance Counsellors and Behaviour for Learning Coordinator. A focus in/out list is generated from the Pastoral meeting and distributed to staff. Our weekly SEN meeting is attended by the Principal/Deputy Principal/ASD centre teachers/Special Class teacher and SEN coordinator. Together we coordinate SEN needs.

Guidance Counsellors: Our Guidance Counsellor(s) works with students in all years and is available daily to meet with students with issues or concerns. The Guidance Counsellor is involved in all pastoral areas within the school: SEN/Pastoral Care meetings, Critical Incident Team, Friends for Life Initiative and Droichead.

Behaviour For Learning: The BFL teacher uses many of the Nation Council for Special Education (NCSE) programmes such as Why Try, Alert, Check and Connect, movement programmes and equine therapy.

Why Try Programme: One BFL teacher is trained in the Why Try programme. We engage students in this programme that have behaviour/emotional difficulties.

The 'Why Try?' programme is a strength-based approach to helping young people overcome their challenges and improve outcomes in the areas of truancy, behaviour, and academics. It is based on Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Social and Emotional Intelligence and MultiSensory Learning principles. The programme aims to improve student retention, academic performance and school climate.

The 'Why Try?' programme teaches students critical social and emotional skills required for success in school and life after school. The programme also provides the students with strategies and tools to help change patterns of failure and indifference. It has proven to be highly effective at impacting negative student behaviour.

Important life skills taught through the programme include the following:

  • Basic problem solving
  • Anger management
  • Dealing with peer pressure
  • Living by a safe society’s laws
  • Building a support system
  • Visualising future goals

Restorative Practices: Restorative Practices are embedded in our school. These practices ensures that teacher-student engagement is positive and conflict resolution centres on rebuilding relationships. We have engaged in training each year to develop our systems and practices regarding restorative practices.

Anti-Bullying Committee: We have a very active Anti Bullying Committee. Each year group has link teachers. If an issue arises the link teacher tries to resolve the issue through restorative practices and with the intent of repairing relationships. Intervention happens early and hence issues do not escalate. We now have an AP2 Anti- Bullying Coordinator.

Friends for Life Programme: We have 5 teachers trained to deliver the programme. The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme is a school-based positive mental health programme. The World Health Organisation cites

‘FRIENDS for Life’ as the only evidence-based programme effective at all levels of intervention for anxiety in children (WHO 2004). The programme helps students to develop effective strategies to deal with worry, stress and change and teaches the skills required to reduce anxiety and promote resilience. It is beneficial for all students, irrespective of their anxiety level. Teachers can run the programme as a whole school anxiety prevention programme, as a whole class or small group intervention or with an individual student.

Assembly: All students attend assembly from 8.50am- 9am each day. Students are addressed by their Year Head, Deputy Principal or Principal. This is an important support to students and part of our Wellbeing programme and provides structure to the start of their day.

Year Head/Class Tutor System: Our Year Heads meet with all students each morning at assembly. This gives the Year Head an opportunity to check in with their students. The Year Head role not only centres on academic but also on the pastoral needs of the students. They create links with the SEN and pastoral supports weekly. The class tutors at Coláiste Mhuirlinne/Merlin College have a pastoral role. The Year Head and Tutors meet 2/3 times during the school year.

Referral to Youth Counselling Ireland: Management makes referrals with parental permission for students who present with difficulties to Youth Counselling Ireland providing students with 6/8 free counselling sessions.

Doughiska Rd, Galway, Ireland
091 76 9000
Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board
© 2024 Merlin College