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22 September 2023

Laura's Interview: Pastoral care at EIC

Lauras Interview: Pastoral care at EIC

Last week we heard from Jehad, our new Exams Officer and Student Study Supervisor informing us of her first week working at Ealing Independent College and her aspirations for the role.

This week contains an interview from a familiar face around the College: 

 

Briefly introduce yourself:

“I’m Laura, and I’m the Vice Principal at Ealing Independent College. There are a lot of aspects to my role, as I am responsible for pastoral care across the college, as well as being the SENCO and Designated Safeguarding Lead. In addition, I also run the university admissions process and teach A-level Economics”.

 

What do you enjoy most about Pastoral care? 

“I enjoy seeing the students grow and develop during their time here. For example, a student with Autism who used to be a school refuser in his previous school used to find it hard to attend lessons on Monday mornings. He used to sit and do his work in my office because he felt too overwhelmed to go into the classroom. Now, this student is in Year 13 and is a totally independent learner who can’t wait to go to university, and it has been so rewarding to be a part of his journey.”

Laura’s room is always available to students who need a quiet, safe space. We have an excellent support system at EIC that begins as soon as students enter the door. Maria in reception is our Welfare Officer, who makes it a priority to be available should students need someone to talk to. Our Peer Mentoring system provides additional pastoral support.This is a new initiative where Year 13 students have volunteered to take on the role of supporting students in Year groups 9-12. All our teachers have an open door policy at the college, enabling them to seek help from their teachers whenever they need it. 


 

What impact have you made that you are most proud of? 

“I am proud of the fact that the number of students with an EHCP has grown throughout my time here, and that many local authorities in London now look on EIC as a trusted partner school, referring many of their most vulnerable students to us. It is something that we can all feel proud of, that we have created a safe haven here for students who have previously struggled to attend school.”

 

Our small class sizes create an environment where teachers get to know students well. Through this approach, teachers can tailor their instruction to each student's individual needs and help them to reach their full potential. Moreover, teachers can develop strong relationships with their students, which is essential for successful learning.

It is important to note that we are not a selective college and it is often mentioned that “what we do, we do well”. In our latest article from the Principal, Allan discusses this approach with regards to clubs and activities. Laura touches on this in her next response. 

 

How does working at Ealing Independent College differ from previous school/ colleges you have worked at?

“It differs in so many ways. Perhaps the clearest difference is the fact that the small size of the college allows us to be fully inclusive and provide the safe haven as mentioned above but, at the same time, there is a real focus on students doing their best, whether that means achieving a 4 in GCSE English and Maths, or else going off to St George’s to study Medicine, as one of our students did last year. There is a real feeling here that everyone is expected to do their best, but that this definition of “the best” will vary greatly from student to student.”

 

Laura leads Futures Week for the Year 12s at the end of each academic year. It is never too early for Year 12 students to start thinking about university applications or other options they may be interested in, such as apprenticeships. In order to provide students with a robust yet supportive introduction to the UCAS process, Laura organises a three-day, one-stop workshop of activities, tutorials, mini-lectures, and visiting speakers. 

The majority of students may remain uncertain about their career path, and may still be unsure which university is right for them. Laura helps students by explaining how the process works, and how to ensure they make the very most of it. From filling in the application form, to choosing courses and destinations. In addition to all of that, she also assists students with their personal statements. She helps students to highlight their strengths and create a unique narrative that will stand out to admissions officers. She also advises students on how to prepare for an interview, and how to make the most of the opportunities available. Drop-in sessions are available to support students with English, Maths, UCAS - including interviews for medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy. 

 

How has college changed since you started? 

“I joined the college at the same time as Allan became Principal, and the student numbers have grown by a very large proportion since then, with new buildings even having to be built to accommodate them all. It has been great to see how word of what we offer has spread.”

It is very encouraging to hear teachers talking about the growth of the college in this way. And it is true, the college is expanding. The new building is currently under construction and is fast assembling. It will be home to new English and Business Studies classrooms. 

 

What does the future of the college look like to you? 

“For the college to continue to grow, and perhaps to move to a larger site eventually. Also, I would absolutely love for us to eventually admit students in Years 7 and 8, so we can offer a supportive EIC education for students right through the secondary years. And maybe eventually even into the primary years? There are so many children who struggle in larger schools who would really flourish here.”

Who knows what the future holds with expansion of the college but it is heartening to know Laura’s eagerness to support students throughout the secondary and even primary years. 

 

As briefly mentioned in her introduction, Laura teaches A-Level Economics here at the College. Laura has been teaching for 21 years, previously working in a variety of state and independent schools.

Can you share an interesting fact about the subject you teach? 

“One of the most interesting concepts is probably the Laffer Curve, as it demonstrates that setting the right rate of taxation is very important, and also very tricky!”

You can find out more about the Laffer Curve here.

 

If your hobby was your career, what would you be doing?

“Working in a shelter for rescued parrots, as I have two rescued birds of my own, a sulphur-crested cockatoo and a cockatiel.”

Laura first became interested in parrots when she discovered how beautiful, intelligent and affectionate they are. Something she feels that not many people know or would expect from them as a pet and companion.

 

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