Students at Sheffield school benefit from pioneering pastors programme
Over a dozen trained pastors are providing extra support to children at one of Sheffield’s largest secondary schools.
Meadowhead School is the first in the city to implement the School Pastors Programme and has been supported by the team of 11 pastors who have worked to enhance the lives of students since September.
The uniformed pastors are all volunteers who are committed to offering a reassuring and friendly presence to students who may not feel they are able to speak openly to their teachers or parents.
Headteacher Kam Grewal-Joy worked alongside pastors in her previous school in Chesterfield and saw how students there benefitted from the independent and impartial support, advice and encouragement.
She said: “I already knew the impact it would have and I knew it was a no brainer and that our children would benefit immensely from the additional pastoral support the pastors would provide in the long term.
“We’ve got to the stage where we think ‘I don’t know what we did before the school pastors were here’ because they just fit so well in our school community.
“Already they’re having a really positive impact. The feedback from the students and from the staff is wholly positive and it will only grow.”
The School Pastors programme is an initiative set up by the Ascension Trust, a Christian charity which forms partnerships between churches and communities and was developed from the Street Pastors programme in 2009.
School governor Emma Cobbold, one of two coordinators of the Sheffield School Pastors programme, said: “The main things we come in to do tend to be around pastoral care so we’re here to listen, we’re here to care, we’re here to help and that’s the strapline of school pastors.
“Every school pastor project looks different. For us, the main things that were highlighted were the need for pastoral care particularly as there were some quite vulnerable children that needed that bit extra.”
The hope is now to involve the school pastors in the transition period to support students as they move from Year 6 to Year 7 and in other extracurricular activities.