There are two key strands to the support of our pupils; the structures created and led by the staff, and the avenues developed by the pupils themselves. The importance of harnessing pupil voice in the designing of the pastoral practices here at Harrow Hong Kong has been essential in further broadening the range of help available, but also in ensuring that the assistance on offer is actually utilised.
SHEPHERDS, BUDDIES & MENTORS
Peer to peer support in the School begins early. On arrival at their new House, all pupils are allocated a Shepherd, Buddy and Mentor depending upon their requirements. All pupils new to School will have a Shepherd, whose key role is to show the newest members of our community their way around our site.
Pupils are allocated a buddy, who is normally from the same year group, and who is intended to act as
a ready made friend for anyone (whether an existing or newly arrived Harrovian) who is new to a given House. Finally, mentors are assigned from the eldest year groups in the pupils’ House to provide them with a role model and to take them under their wing. This is where the advantages of a vertical House system shine through. All three of these positions are intended to give new arrivals to either the School or House a ready made friendship group to call upon and a support network that will keep an eye out for them. It also provides our existing pupils with an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership abilities.
There are a range of other leadership opportunities available to our pupils that assist in the pastoral provision of the School, as well as furthering their own personal development.
Towards the end of each academic year the School selects Year 12s to serve as prefects during their fnal year with us. These individuals are selected not only for devoted service to the life of the School exhibited in the past, but also their vision for the future. Prefects hold a range of titles, but these include that of Diversity, Global Citizenship and Wellbeing. These individuals have an opportunity to drive forward the provision of pastoral care in the School ensuring that it is created by pupils, for pupils. Within the Prefect body are included our Heads of House for the Senior School.
Each House has its own House Council. These bodies mirror the prefect positions and therefore provide the prefects with a direct link to each of the Houses. This allows them to push their ideas forward within each of the fourteen Houses around the School whilst also receiving feedback from them on how to further the provision. The position of House Leader heads up the House Council in the Prep School and mirrors the role of the Head of House in the Senior School, thereby providing an important leadership opportunity for three individuals each year.
The School Council is a body elected early in the academic year. After a ‘hustings’ during which prospective
members make their pitch to the assembled year group, all members of their peer group are able to cast a
vote for the candidates that they would most like to see representing their views. Two members are elected
for each year group, one male and one female, and these representatives subsequently make up the School
Council for the remainder of the year. They will meet on a regular basis throughout the term in order to
bring the opinions of their respective year group to the table thereby delivering the concerns of their
peers to the ears of the Head Boy, Head Girl and SLT for consideration. The council as a whole will debate
possible solutions and endeavour to find a way forward on a given issue.
One example of a recent success initiated by our pupil body was the introduction of ‘Wellbeing Ambassadors’, the brainchild of the Head Girl from the 2020/21 academic year. These individuals are interviewed and selected by their peers for their caring nature and approachability. It is intended that they will then act as ambassadors for Wellbeing initiatives around the School, and they have been heavily involved with the organisation of the School’s celebration of World Mental Health Day and the development of the Wellbeing Room in recent years. All of our Wellbeing Ambassadors undergo the internationally recognised ‘Teen Mental Health First Aid’ qualification early in the aca demic year which trains them in identifying the early signs of mental illness and equips them with the skills to provide initial support and guidance on how and who to pass the case on to. This thereby gives them the ability to act as empathic listeners who can provide a pupil led face for the support that can be sought by the members of the community .
Finally, pupils lead a range of societies at the School which are centred around any theme that takes their interest. These groups provide excellent leadership opportunities for those willing to step up, and also
increases the range of activities available to pupils. In recent years, we have been delighted that these societies have included an increasing range of wellbeing / pastoral based activities.