Report from Children's Commissioner for England
Wednesday, 10th January 2024
Report from The Children’s Commissioner for England
On Friday 8th December we had a visit from the Head of Education Policy for the Children’s Commissioner for England. The Children’s Commissioner is appointed by the Government to “promote and protect the rights of all children, with particular regard to children who are living away from home or receiving social care services. My priority is to listen to children across the country, to hear about their lives and champion their voices.”
The Head of Education Policy met with staff and students in order to understand our pastoral support and Ethos provision and sent the attached letter afterwards which we are very proud to share with you. This will be incorporated into a report which will be issued by the Children’s Commissioner later this year.
I am particularly proud that our school has been recognised for the extraordinary support we give to both our students and our families and champions our approach that puts our students’ wellbeing at the heart of all we do.
Mrs N Whiles
Monday 11th December 2023
Thank you for hosting the Children’s Commissioner’s Office at Grace Academy Coventry Friday the 8th of December as part of our ongoing research on pastoral support in work. We were grateful for the work that went into facilitating the visit and enabling to tour the school, observe the breakfast club provision, and speak to children, leaders, and the pastoral team.
As discussed, we were deeply impressed by the comprehensive approach your school takes to pastoral support and we will be drawing on your school pastoral offer as an example of best practice in our upcoming report. Grace Academy has created a staff and school structure which puts children's wellbeing at the heart of academy life.
The Ethos Team is a unique approach which we would like to see other schools adopt. Children spoke warmly of their relationship with the school's youth worker and explained that having a youth worker on site makes it easier to disclose any challenges which are acting as barriers to learning. The family liaison officer provides vital support to families facing severe hardship. And the Ethos senior pastoral leader provides the expertise and strategic thinking needed to shape a whole school approach to wellbeing.
We saw that Ethos is embedded across the whole school. While the ethos team provides specialist support needed to meet children's needs, the school has also invested in all pastoral team members and leaders to ensure that they can all support children with mental health, wellbeing, or safeguarding concerns. It is clear that the pastoral team have strong relationships with pupils and are respected across the school. Every member of staff we met with was personally committed to ensuring children grow up into the happiest, healthiest versions of themselves.
We saw that your school is constantly responding to the needs of the community and thinking innovatively about how to provide timely access to services children need. Pupils told us that in the last year, your school has expanded their breakfast club provision, opened Toast Club, and secured access to group therapy for children suffering bereavement. It was clear that your school is always proactive in responding to the needs of their children.
Children told us that the best thing about Grace Academy Coventry was the support on offer and the Ethos team. They told us that the extensive pastoral support makes them feel valued and enables them to engage with education and develop a love of learning.
The pastoral offer that you provide is extensive and we would like to see other schools learn from your work. I will be back in touch throughout the drafting of the report with any further questions following from this visit.
Thanks once more,
Head of Education Policy, Children’s Commissioner’s Office