Students need better pastoral care, say private schools

Headteachers from some of the UK’s top private schools have called on universities to improve pastoral and academic support for first-year students

March 24, 2015

Richard Harman, headmaster of Uppingham School and chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents leading independent schools in the UK, said there is a greater need for “consistent and thought-through transition” from school to university.

“We all know school and college leavers do not magically turn into fully fledged adults the minute they step out of the classroom and into the lecture hall,” he told the HMC’s annual conference at the British Library, in London, on 24 March.

“Leaving school, leaving home and creating a new life at 18 is bound to be a time of acute anxiety,” he added.

Students and school pupils are anxious about “high-stakes exams, unreliable marking, 24/7 pressures of social media, lack of jobs and housing, increased debt and constant upheaval in all levels of their lives”, he said.

Independent schools had already “substantially increased” levels of  pastoral care over the last five years and were working to introduce “further innovation”, which would complement work done at some universities, he said.

However, more needed to be done, he claimed.

“The answer undoubtedly lies in a package of measures to ensure all students are resilient at each stage of their development, take relevant qualifications, have appropriate levels and styles of teaching and assessment and are equipped with the skills as well as knowledge to make them highly employable,” he said.

Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of University of Birmingham, who chairs the Russell Group of universities, said he was “delighted that HMC and colleagues from higher education are addressing the issue of transition from school to universities”.

Sir David said he wanted to ensure there was “partnership working” to support students as they moved from schools to university.

“We all know how important and urgent the issue is, and I hope that this will be the start of regular, formalised contact to improve communication and understanding between both sectors, for the good of students,” he said.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy