Over the years, pastoral care has been strongly linked to academic success. Barriers to learning are broken down through the healthy and emotional relationships that are built through keen care and deep compassion.
St Lawrence College (SLC) recognises the impact that this can have on a student’s development — making pastoral care one of its top priorities since its establishment in 1879. This emphasis has made it one of the first 14 schools globally to achieve the coveted accolade “High Performance Learning World Class School.”
The day and boarding school is located on the beautiful Kent coast, a little less than two hours away from Heathrow and Gatwick. Sandy beaches are within walking distance as is the small town of Ramsgate. The 45-acre campus is safe, scenic and stunning — an ideal environment for local and international students to thrive.
At SLC, boys and girls from three to 18 years gain a first-class education, the very kind that lets them attain their personal best whether that is in the classroom, theatre, sports pitch or in the local community.
Teachers who are dedicated and fully involved in the lives of their students make this possible. Parents are kept in the loop, providing layers of support so that children here can take on new opportunities and challenges and evolve into confident leaders ready to take on a future.
A housemaster or housemistress provides more guidance, acting as a key point of contact both for the student and for their parent. A personal tutor keeps track of progress and development through weekly meetings. There are senior pupils and prefects; housemasters or housemistresses; medical staff; careers adviser; universities adviser; the Chaplain; school counsellors to turn to discuss any problems or worries as well.
Every detail matters to SLC. This is why it’s employed Affective Social Tracking — twice yearly assessments completed by students — that reveal how students are self-regulating and how they are thinking and seeing the world around them. With this, staff have guidance and data to inform their pastoral interactions with pupils.
What’s more, SLC places a strong emphasis on mental wellbeing. Specifically, on how it can be harnessed to nurture success in all areas of school life. To this end, SLC holds assemblies, displays around the school, and visits from outside speakers that help to promote awareness of these important matters.
The full impact of these features are profound. A May 2022 Regulatory and Educational Quality Inspection Report of SLC’s Senior School by the Independent Schools Inspectorate described the quality of SLC pupils’ personal development as “excellent.”
“Pupils display notably strong levels of confidence and resilience as individuals and hold mature ambitions and aspirations. Pupils collaborate to great effect when working to achieve common goals, creating a strong family bond, especially within boarding, to the benefit of all,” it wrote. “Pupils are highly effective decision-makers, fully understanding that they need to be responsible for their own futures. Pupils show a genuine appreciation for the different cultures of this international community and seek to celebrate these.”
Concrete outcomes abound as well. The inspection found SLC’s quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements to be “good” with pupils demonstrating “good and sometimes excellent level of knowledge” and “can apply their understanding effectively.”
“Pupils display strong communication skills in diverse contexts, both orally and in their written work. Pupils are focused and positive in their work and are very successful as collaborative learners,” it wrote. “Pupils achieve considerable success in a wide range of activities through their active engagement with the varied extra-curricular programme.”
Indeed, SLC takes experiential learning seriously. There is a full extra-curricular activities programme on Wednesday and Friday afternoons in the Senior School (Years 9-13) and on Saturday mornings in Kirby House (Years 7 & 8). They do not replace but are run in addition to a full Games and PE programme.
Walk onto campus on any given day and visitors will see adventure and creativity in action. This is thanks to a wide variety of activities provided to SLC students, including Puzzle Club, Chess, Choir, Community Service, CCF, Dance, Duke of Edinburgh award, Life Saving, Marksmanship, Orchestra, Young Enterprise, Yoga, Film Club, Art, Archery, Climbing, DT Club, Musical Theatre, Golf, Squash, Fencing, Photoshop, Fitness, Science Club, Horse Riding, Table Tennis, Basketball.
Many field trips and expeditions take place throughout the year, with students often looking forward to annual day trips such as Art Department visits to London galleries, a Year 7 French trip to Calais, GCSE History Field Trip to the Somme, and many other local field trips including frequent trips to London to enjoy the theatre or a musical.
Senior School students go further. They travel the world, exploring different cultures to nations familiar and far. Past trips have taken them to South Africa, Iceland (Geography), CERN in Switzerland (Physics) and Tuscany (Music) as well as skiing in France and America.