Typically, when teachers consider school curricula, the prevailing idea is that of academic disciplines: Maths, English and Science receiving the most credence within the entire spectrum of subjects. But few educators would argue with any real seriousness that this is the only thing that determines the nurturing of young minds. The development of character, values, morals and ethics have equal importance. Any successfully functioning society requires this. The Ancient Greeks understood this with the practice of paideia: that education should prepare the individual to flourish in every area of society, including civic life. This then begs the question, what explicit opportunities do pupils have to cultivate these aspects of character and personality?

If these aspects of a young person’s education are so important, we cannot leave it up to chance. It must be planned and embedded in the very fabric of schools; its systems, structures and planned pathways of learning (Best 2014). This is where the notion of a pastoral curriculum may be of importance. A planned, organised and structured set of resources and learning/development goals designed to support the development of the whole child.

Over the past few months I’ve been working on a pastoral curriculum with a number of key colleagues involved in the area of pastoral care. It’s been a labour of love. Like anything worth doing, it’s been filled with ecstatic highs and then heavy lows.

I’m planning to share the process over the next few posts and would find it of value to discuss the nature of the work with those who may be interested.

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