Ma’am Bisschop on the Pastoral Side to Boarding

07 May 2021

 

While Ma’am Bisschop has been The Head of Boarding for the past few years, she has only recently taken on the responsibility as Deputy Head (Pastoral). She explains that this has been a natural transition for her, and the school as a whole; ‘connecting the upstairs and the downstairs’ (boarding and academic) as she puts it, is something that gives life at Caldicott that cohesive, community feel. Her passion has always leant towards the more pastoral side of education, with her degree in psychology and training as a counsellor. While she loves teaching geography, educating the boys in ‘soft skills’ like compassion and kindness has always been integral to her teaching style.

Boarding no longer has that archaic feeling, where the word ‘pastoral’ is alien, and boys are expected to just ‘get on with it’ if they have any problems. Caldicott has introduced a number of things to enhance the wellbeing of our boarders, and ensure their happiness is at the forefront of all we do. For example, one of our caring night matrons is on duty every night, meaning the boys have someone to turn to if they are unhappy. This 24-hour presence provides a peace of mind to the boys, and if they need a rant or a hot chocolate, they know who to find. Sleep therapy and techniques, wellbeing journals, and the relaxing music played through the speaker system, are more ways that have helped foster our culture of talking about problems, and feeling that it is ‘ok to not be ok’.

Ma’am Bisschop feels very strongly about the ethos of boys, parents and teachers working together to ensure the best experience possible. She feels the introduction of flexi and occasional boarding in September will, among other things, support parents which in turn, helps the boys. As she explains, boarding is such an important part of Caldicott, and we all believe wholeheartedly in the benefits that come from it; independence, resilience, compassion and tolerance are just some of the crucial ‘soft skills’ that help prepare the boys for Senior School and life as a whole. The transition throughout the school becoming even smoother is something else Ma’am is excited about, ‘even if the boys haven’t experienced boarding as they enter the Senior School, they will have friends who have’. In essence, this development of our boarding provision ‘provides greater opportunity to enhance the wellbeing of the children’.

When asked to summarise her philosophy, Ma’am Bisschop described it through an analogy. ‘Picture a bucket with holes in being filled with water; the water is everything academic the boys learn, and the job of pastoral care is to fill those plugged holes. Both sides work in tandem to help the boys achieve their potential’. 

 

 

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