How has the Pandemic affected Pastoral Care today?

How has the Pandemic affected Pastoral Care today? <i>(Image: Image by)</i>
How has the Pandemic affected Pastoral Care today? (Image: Image by)

What is pastoral?

Pastoral is a system in many primary & high schools around the UK offering support and advice to young people who are struggling with things like, family life, their mental health issues & many more.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, pastoral care became inaccessible for many students as remote learning was now the ‘new normal’, meaning students who used to visit pastoral services were now stuck at home with only e-mail to communicate. This meant that many young people faced problems with their mental health & dealing with isolation.

I spoke with the Wellbeing Lead at Davison High School, Mrs Jameson, who explained that: “The Pandemic meant that young people had an inaccessible support network, a lack of routine and were missing little and often conversations that happen in a school environment. Clubs had stopped meaning many people couldn’t practice their hobbies and pressures became apparent in many family lives.” Mrs. Jameson explained that these are a sort of ‘ripple effects’ of the covid pandemic that have amounted now as time has gone on.


On the return to schools, many young people faced problems with socialising again, health anxiety and being put back in an overwhelming school environment. A survey preformed by the NHS as part of the Mental Health of Children and Young People Surveys asking across England published in November 2022 said: “Children with a probable mental disorder were less likely to have positive views of school than those unlikely to have a mental disorder.”


“51.5% agreed that ‘I enjoy learning at school”. Compared to 73.1% of those unlikely to have  a mental disorder.”


“61.2% agreed that “i feel safe when I’m at school” compared with 82.9% of those unlikely to have a mental disorder”



Mrs Jameson explained that after the Pandemic she noticed a significant amount of of young people needing access to pastoral and local services.

But because of the influx of people many mental health services can’t accept young people until the patient has hit a ‘crisis’ point. This means that a young person struggling with their mental health will have to wait till they are at their most sick/extreme point just to receive treatments. This creates a vicious cycle of filled mental health services, overworked employees and sick children who should’ve received help & attention long before they have hit the stages they are at now.


The main reasons for this being underfunding - with not enough money going into these institutions the staff are underpaid, which forces many to leave their jobs or quit their profession as they cant live on their salaries or work the long shifts. This means that Pastoral support teams are continually under pressure to step into a gap, as young people are having to wait increasingly long periods of time for the clinical and therapeutic support they need


Ways that schools and mental health facilities could receive help with facing these problems is increased Government funding and support for Staff. But for individuals at home, what they need is support and patience. Pastoral teams need recognition and attention as the work they do is not easy, many work late and put the utmost attention into the students under their care, and not for any money or praise, they do it because they care. Schools across the UK owe a lot to their pastoral systems however their work is greatly under appreciated.

Advice from our Wellbeing leader here at Davison’s for young people who are struggling & can’t access the help they need right now is to “keep talking and communicating and to always seek hope over fear, Keep on communicating with those adults you trust. Your feelings are valid and things can feel better. Do more of the things you enjoy, with the people who care about you and lift your mood. There is always hope, it’s is just sometimes difficult to see it in the moment."


Thank you for reading my article, maybe it shed some new light on the care facilities across schools and the UK and maybe it brought more knowledge into what life is like in these systems and how they cope post pandemic.