Pastoral Care & Wellbeing
The happiness and wellbeing of our pupils is at the very heart of St Columba’s, our pastoral care is deeply rooted in the compassionate ethos of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. This inspires us to see the best in every student and to be constantly available to meet their needs. In this, we seek to educate both head and heart.
Our closely-bonded community is fostered through the House structure, form groups, and subject classes, creating a strong sense of belonging and encouraging friendly Inter-House competition. The dedicated Form Teachers serve as advocates for each student, while the Prep School Pastoral Deputy, Deputy Head and Heads of House oversee the overall pastoral care.
Central to our approach is the comprehensive Pastoral Programme, designed to enhance students’ emotional intelligence and lifelong well-being.
In the Prep School Form Tutors know each student and looks after their emotional development, partly through a structured programme of PSHE and partly through informal education in the special Columban values of Courage, Courtesy and Compassion that form the core of our weekly Tutor Programme.
The Pastoral Programme, in the Senior School, is delivered twice a week, based on bespoke resources. The House Tutor is the key individual leading this. The programme has a series of weekly themes, covering such topics as mental health, use of social media, relationships, careers, and personal finance.
We prioritise mental health support and provide an extensive support structure for students in need, including trained 6th Form mentors, staff Listeners, partnerships with organisations like ‘Step,’ and a dedicated Wellbeing Hub in the Senior School staffed by our specialist Academic Support Department. Qualified Counsellors are also available to provide confidential assistance and make referrals to external agencies when necessary.
At St Columba’s, we maintain strong communication with families, ensure a seamless transition from home to school, and cultivate emotional development. We empower our students with essential life skills, including mindfulness and the development of a Growth Mindset. Our curriculum integrates planned interventions that promote resilience and personal growth. We also encourage a sense of social responsibility through activities that support homelessness projects and raise environmental awareness.
When additional support is required, our specialist staff, including the College Counsellor, provide individual and group support for emotional difficulties, friendship issues, challenging behavior, and other specific needs. Our School Nurse is always available to provide continuous care.
Our disciplinary framework, creates a happy and disciplined environment. Leadership opportunities are offered to those aspiring to become prefects, and a buddying system ensures that older students support and guide younger ones.
At St Columba’s College, we live by the words of spreading love and kindness, creating an atmosphere where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.
Student wellbeing, both physical and mental, is a key element of life at St Columba’s College. Each student is treated as an individual and offered the best care available through our pastoral support, medical team and counselling department.
The Medical Room is a warm and friendly environment, where students can be cared for in privacy by our nursing team. They offer medical care to all members of the College community from 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
Our qualified nurses work within safeguarding guidelines, respecting the normal confidentiality and protocols which exist in any medical setting. Individual Care Plans are produced for those students with significant health needs and staff are advised on their management. Our nurses liaise with the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust School Nursing Service to ensure students are offered relevant immunisations. A number of other members of staff are also trained in First Aid procedures, including specialist Paediatric First Aid.
The medical staff are also an integral part of the pastoral team, making a valuable contribution to pastoral care across the school. They are active in supporting students with any personal difficulties and ensuring that new students are well supported in their transition from our Prep School and other schools to the Senior School.
We are profoundly committed to safeguarding the psychological wellbeing of our students and providing continuity of care throughout their College careers. Our Pastoral Care and Ministry teams include the Counselling Department, led by our own qualified and experienced College Counsellor, Mrs Angela Alexander-Fishwick.
Mrs Alexander-Fishwick offers confidential counselling and she also oversees the Sixth Form Mentoring Programme, in which older students are trained to offer peer-to-peer support to other students.
In this way, we seek to offer support to individuals who might be experiencing personal or family difficulties, depression or anxiety. We are particularly in tune with the range of anxieties and challenges that teenagers can sometimes suffer, and we are tireless in our efforts to support students at this time.