King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy appoints ex pupil to focus on pastoral support

Sinead Crawford always wanted to work within a school from a young age, but never expected it to be the secondary school she attended. The name of the school is different now, but the buildings are the same and Sinead is now the Head of Year 7 at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy focussing on pastoral support.

Sinead Crawford, Head of Year 7 at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy

“I had a really good experience of school, mainly because I enjoyed learning and the school environment. My experience however was completely different to that of the students I encounter now. There was no pastoral support or anyone I really felt I could speak to if I had a problem, no Learning Mentors or teachers I felt I could approach”.

One teacher Sinead did have a good relationship with, was her RE teacher, Miss Ruth. Treating students like people rather than children, she was the main inspiration for Sinead wanting to become involved in pastoral care at King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy. “I wanted to see how the school had changed since I had attended and be a part of that change. I see myself as a success story – I went to college and university and I want to show the students what they can achieve if they put the hard work in. I want to be like Miss Ruth was to me”.

King Edward VI Balaam Wood Academy really values the pastoral care its students receive. ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ lessons are conducted during the last period every Wednesday which allows the students to learn new skills such as singing, gardening, or rehearsing a play. It is their time to focus on what makes them happy.

‘Summer School’ is very popular with their new Year 7 pupils. For 2 weeks (Mon-Fri) children enjoy creative arts such as dance, going on visits and orienteering activities to help familiarise themselves with the building and environment.  Sinead comments: “Visits to the Barber Institute, Pen Museum and West Midlands Safari Park give the pupils the chance to start building relationships with those from their year group, as well as staff members, before their official first day in September”.

Personal Development sessions are also held within the school, with students learning about the importance of values and behaviours as well as more topical subjects such as knife crime, gang culture and British values.

An initiative Sinead is particularly supportive of is free laptops for all pupils. This is to support with home learning and to ensure no child is left behind in terms of technology and being able to access the curriculum from home.

“The school has come such a long way since I was attending as a student, and I’m so glad I have got to be a part of that change to help give an excellent education and great emotional support to the children of Frankley”.