Pupils first, systems second. Always. But good pastoral care – the kind of pastoral care that really does focus on individual issues rather than offering a one size fits all solution – still needs structure. Bromsgrove uses the house system to foster a sense of community and to ensure tutors and tutees are working to the same ends. This vertical structure (rather than the horizontal form system), means thirteen and eighteen year olds are in continual contact within the house. Older pupils’ own experiences and shared problems can often help a younger pupil as much as the advice of a tutor. Pupils are empowered.
Houseparents and tutors listen, encourage and support. Pastoral care at Bromsgrove is not something that happens when things go wrong: it should be happening every second of the day. Tutor groups are small (averaging eleven pupils to each tutor), relationships are warm and open, and transparency is essential.
Bromsgrove also has a sophisticated and entirely confidential independent counselling service for those who seek it, and the PSHE programme works in conjunction with the School Medical Centre.
Numerous backgrounds and faiths are represented at Bromsgrove, and we teach that nobody has a monopoly on self-expression. The Chapel remains central to the spiritual life of the School, and whether pupils have a faith or not, the Chaplain plays a proactive role in ensuring our community is inclusive and caring.
Outside of Chapel, pupils gather once a week for the Headmaster's assembly (known as "Routh") when the news of the week is imparted and any important whole School messages are delivered. This gathering is crucial in establishing the ethos and expectations of the School.
Year groups also meet on weekly basis, and of course the Houses assemble every day. We allow for variation and personality, and we always want our pupils to be challenged, but the values the School upholds are reinforced constantly.
We aim to treat parents and guardians as part of the wider Bromsgrove family, so clear and consistent communication is obviously crucial to that end. The most important figure is, and always will be, the houseparent , who will be willing to conduct face to face, telephone or emailed communication at the drop of a hat. Similarly, meetings with tutors and teachers can be arranged at short notice, and traditional, formal parents' evenings remain a vital part of the calendar.
However, technology has changed things for the better. Every parent and guardian has a secure log in to their child's school record which is regularly updated with information good and bad from grades, to detentions and commendations (so the '"What happened at School today?" ... "Nothing"..' conversation is a thing of the past).
Tutor letters, houseparents' letters and the weekly newsletter emailed by the Deputy Headmaster all aim to keep parents as fully informed as possible. If, despite all this, a parent feels the need to know more, all they have to do is contact the School.
Bromsgrove School scored the maximum 5 stars, awarded by Worcestershire local authority, for food provision. Food at Bromsgrove is prepared on site in the School kitchens by professional chefs, so any thoughts of boiled cabbage and dodgy semolina can be dismissed at once. The standard is exceptionally high. Pupils eat centrally, in the School dining hall (aside from the evening meal in Housman Hall).