Governors' Area

Pastoral Support

We are very lucky to have a full time Pastoral Lead at Thurlby Primary Academy.

Mrs O’Loughlin started working at Thurlby 11 years ago as an EYFS teaching assistant, progressing to a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) in 2016 where she has regularly taught across all year groups.

Mrs O’Loughlin has always had a keen interest in the pastoral side of education and sought out a number of training courses privately to further enhance her knowledge in this area including:

  • Diploma in Child Psychology
  • Self-harm and suicide prevention
  • Makaton
  • Neli Language (an integrated programme, for 4–5 year olds, that is proven to improve language and behaviour
  • Story Dough training and Drawing Club (to help develop language and fine motor skills)
  • Lego therapy
  • Racing  to English (programme to teach valuable language skills for children with English as a second language)

Mrs O’Loughlin became our Pastoral Lead in September 2023 and has four ‘Pastoral Assistants’, otherwise known as our school guinea pigs. The children were fully immersed in researching and planning for our guinea pigs, prior to their arrival, and we also had a democratic vote, as a school, when choosing their names: Ginger, Waffle, Rosie and Amber. Children can look after or cuddle our guinea pigs who are a wonderful addition to the pastoral element of school life and can help children in a variety of ways:

  • Having animals to care for ties in with the school curriculum of emotional and social needs – empathy, care, love, compassion, understanding, commitment and building confidence
  • Pets can encourage a child’s learning needs, especially in reading, communication, observation and speaking. This is a useful tool when teaching all children but can be particularly helpful for those with special educational needs (SEN).
  • They can help children with behavioural needs as time with the pets can be used as a reward
  • For many children, it will be their only contact with a pet as they don’t have them at home

Mrs O’Loughlin is a qualified Youth Mental Health First aider (YMHFA), through Mental Health England, and an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant), trained and supported by the Educational Psychology Service.  

Mrs O’Loughlin is very passionate about her role and always seeking to enhance her skills and knowledge:

‘Being an ELSA has enabled me to provide emotional support to the children in a safe and trusting environment where they can express, talk and discover more about how they are feeling. I provide regular group and individual sessions for the children to discuss different issues; such as friendships, emotions and feelings. I provide a variety of tools and ideas for the children to use in order for them to help themselves, making them more confident and self-aware.  

I provide Lego Therapy for children needing help in certain aspects of their social interaction. This involves groups of children who are given various job titles, to promote confidence, forward thinking, problem solving and teamwork.

Therapeutic Stories are also offered which involves imaginative story writing alongside the children, to help them overcome/resolve a particular problem

At Thurlby, we also use a rainbow card system to provide pastoral support. If the children feel sad or worried about something, they can put their rainbow card in a box. This is checked throughout the day. The rainbow cards allow the children to open up to a familiar adult regarding any worries they may have. The children are listened to and actions are put in place, if needed, to provide support.’