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:
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:
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.’