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Pastoral Care

If you need to speak to someone about a pastoral issue, please email  Please include pupil name and class so this can be directed to the Form Teacher.

Alternatively, and also if there is a safeguarding issue, you can reach a senior member of staff via the pastoral email:

Form Class

Pupils joining Year 8 are assigned to one of five Year 8 classes. Each class has a Form Teacher who meets with the class at the beginning of each school day for registration. The Form Teacher also takes the class for one pastoral period every week and contributes to the Learning for Life and Work programme.

This teacher normally teaches the Form Class for one of their subjects and has special responsibility for monitoring the overall conduct, development, progress and performance of the pupils in his or her class. We try to ensure that the same Form Teacher remains with the class for the whole of Key Stage 3 ie Years 8 to 10. Form Teachers are supported by Year Heads who in turn are co-ordinated by a Vice-Principal who has overall responsibility for pastoral care and discipline in the school.

It is our aim to promote good relationships and effective communication between everyone in the school community. Therefore pupils are encouraged to talk to their Form Teachers and/or Year Heads, to share concerns early so that we can deal with problems quickly and effectively.

Pastoral Care
Pastoral Structure

Pastoral Care Structure for 2020-21

Positive Behaviour

The Positive Behaviour Policy provides details about the conduct expected of pupils belonging to this school and explains how the system of rewards and sanctions will be used to encourage positive behaviour. It outlines the rights, responsibilities and roles of the interested parties and indicates the links that have been established with other relevant policies. It is essentially a working document to give clear guidance on promoting positive behaviour within the school. It has been produced in consultation with staff, pupils and governors and its aims and objectives are given below.


  • to create an ordered community in which effective learning and teaching can take place;

  • to encourage pupils to develop an awareness of the needs of others;

  • to nurture self-esteem, self-discipline and a proper regard for authority through positive relationships based on mutual respect;

  • to ensure fairness of treatment for all and to encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour;;

  • to promote early intervention and provide a safe environment free from disruption, violence, bullying and any form of harassment;

  • to encourage a positive relationship with parents and to develop a shared approach to the implementation of the school’s policy and associated procedures;

  • to create a caring environment by promoting positive behaviour and discipline.


  • to value young people as individuals and recognise their achievements;

  • to provide clear guidelines on behaviour by means of the school rules and a code of conduct for the classroom;

  • to cultivate an atmosphere in which pupils respond positively in class, take a pride in their work, and their school and show both interest and attention;

  • to reward positive behaviour and to punish negative behaviour;

  • to provide opportunities for the young people to display self-discipline and grow in their awareness of the needs of others.

The Positive Behaviour Policy sets out the school rules, the code of conduct, rewards and sanctions that apply in Sullivan.

A copy of the school rules and the school’s uniform policy is provided for every pupil on admission. Copies are circulated whenever there are changes and are available on request from the school office. The rules are simple, clear, few in number and are based on common sense. They are provided and enforced to create an orderly, safe and congenial environment for all. We take discipline and good conduct seriously and expect high standards. Similarly the appropriate wearing of school uniform is expected and all pupils are issued with a uniform report card on which any breaches of uniform regulations are noted by staff. Regular attendance, punctuality, responsible and considerate behaviour are the norm.

Child Protection

The Child Protection Policy has been written in line with “Pastoral Care in Schools - CHILD PROTECTION” (DE, 1999). This comprehensive booklet contains the most current and authoritative statement available for schools on their responsibilities in relation to child protection. It includes advice on the action to be taken by schools to enable cases of suspected abuse to be properly considered and pursued and also guidance on how complaints against school staff should be handled. It is expected and required that all teachers and non-teaching staff will have read the DE booklet and will be familiar with its contents (specifically as to how the advice given relates to their own particular duties and responsibilities in dealing with events and concerns linked to child protection issues) and with the Child Protection Policy.

The school policy is primarily a working document designed to ensure that these difficult and sensitive issues are dealt with properly, consistently and effectively by the relevant staff. The guidance contained in this policy is designed to protect the pupils of our school and to enable the staff to discharge their legal obligations to look after the safety and welfare of the children in their care.

Basic Principle

Enshrined in the Children [Northern Ireland] Order 1995 is the fundamental principle that it is the welfare of the child which must be the paramount consideration. This principle then underpins our response to the challenge of ensuring child protection and is the cornerstone of this policy document. That is to say when decisions are taken as to the appropriate course of action in a given set of circumstances, then it is the welfare of the child that should guide the decision making process.

Designated Teachers

Every school is required to designate a teacher to have specific responsibility for child protection matters. For Sullivan Upper School the designated teachers are:

Designated Teacher: Mrs C Moore
Deputy Designated Teachers: Mr C Peel (Headmaster) and Mr S Thompson (Vice-Principal, Teaching & Learning)
Designated Governor: Mrs A Gordon

If the appropriate designated teacher is not available, then Mr Peel or Mr Thompson will fulfil that role.

The full Child Protection Policy is issued annually to all parents.

Special Education Needs

The school admits pupils with special educational needs [whether statemented or not] using the same criteria as pertains to all applications for admission. The school’s policy on Special Educational Needs sets out the approach used to identify, cater for and monitor the needs of pupils and is written in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. A copy of the school’s policy on Special Educational Needs is available from the school office.

The number of children at the school with statements of special educational needs, who have designated classroom assistants or who are recognised at stages 1, 2 or 3 of the Code of Practice and who have educational plans in place continues to increase each year. The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator oversees the educational provision for these children, liaises with relevant outside agencies and communicates with parents on behalf of the school. The annual review process of children with a statement of special education need involves all interested parties in decisions about the educational provision and choices of these children.

We have continued to adapt our buildings and facilities by providing ramps and lifts to improve disabled access. With grant aid from the Department of Education, we have installed appropriate furniture in science to allow safe access for disabled pupils to do practical work.



Bullying is defined broadly, to include any form of harassment, physical or verbal. It involves everything from assault to written/verbal abuse. In other words, any action which is deliberately intended to wound, dismay, hurt, upset, annoy or provoke another pupil will be regarded as bullying and attempts to frighten or cajole pupils into keeping quiet about such harassment will be regarded as bullying. In recent times a different form of bullying has emerged, namely cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is defined as an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or an individual using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself.

Basic Policy Position

The school, which means in this instance the Board of Governors and the staff as a whole, condemns bullying of any kind, whatever defences or excuses may be offered in an attempt to justify it. Further, the school will do everything within its capacity to:

[a] Prevent bullying from occurring in the first instance.
[b] Support and protect those who are victims of bullying.
[c] Identify and take appropriate action to deal with those responsible for bullying.
[d] Punish severely those who bully and deal particularly sternly with those who persist in bullying others having been warned to stop.

In simple terms, the school will not tolerate or seek to justify or excuse any form of bullying. On the contrary, it will adopt a strong and active anti-bullying stance.

Action to be taken

It is the school’s view that the most effective way of dealing with this matter is through the persistent and determined action of ALL members of staff.

In addition to making it clear to pupils on a regular basis and in a public way that the school will not tolerate bullying in any form, we must also ensure that those who are, or believe themselves to be, the victims of bullying know that they not only can, but should, tell members of staff about this in the knowledge that they will be supported and protected.

Drugs Education

The school’s Drugs Education Policy is reviewed annually and is available from the school office. The following is a summary:

  • Sullivan Upper is committed to the health and safety of its members;

  • the Board of Governors forbids all pupils (irrespective of the legal position) from smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs within the school demesne, ie in school, whilst in school uniform, whilst travelling to/from school, whilst taking part in any school activity including educational trips;

  • we recognise the importance of our pastoral role in promoting the development of healthy lifestyles; ‘coping’ skills; self-awareness and self-discipline; wider social skills;

  • the Drugs Education Policy is an integral part of the school’s Learning for Life and Work (Personal, Social and Health Education) programme;

  • the school follows Educaton Authority guidelines on dealing with suspected or actual cases of illegal drug misuse, including informing the PSNI.

Learning for Life and Work (LLW)

At Sullivan Upper School we aim to develop pupils as whole, resilient individuals, participants in society and contributors to the local economy and environment. This supports the aim of the Northern Ireland Curriculum ‘to empower young people to achieve their potential and make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives’. All pupils receive discrete lessons in Learning for Life and Work (LLW) but elements are also delivered through all subjects across the curriculum.

In addition, outside agencies are used to enrich the experience of the pupils and to reinforce the relevance of the subject to their later adult life. Also, we encourage pupils to be involved in some of the wide range of extra-curricular activities offered by the school to nurture some of the aims outlined below.

At Sullivan Upper School we aim to encourage pupils to:-

  • be inspired, moved and changed by studying a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study;

  • develop as individuals and contributors to society, the economy and the environment;

  • explore the challenges and opportunities that personal, social, cultural, political and economic issues pose in contemporary society;

  • develop an understanding of the variety of attitudes, needs and perspectives that exist in their own and other communities, both locally and globally; and

  • develop the skills they require to think independently, make informed decisions and take appropriate courses of action in relation to personal, social, economic and employment issues.

Learning for Life and Work is statutory to pupils in both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The Learning Area covers four strands at Key Stage 3:-

  • Personal Development

  • Local and Global Citizenship

  • Education for Employability

  • Home Economics

At Key Stage 4, three strands are covered:-

  • Personal Development

  • Local and Global Citizenship

  • Education for Employability

Through LLW the first three strands are delivered to pupils from Year 8 to Year 12 each year, with the content and focus changing to meet the developmental needs of the pupils. Home Economics is timetabled for all pupils in Years 8-10.

A planned and co-ordinated Learning for Life and Work programme is delivered by Form Teachers, by specialist teachers in their subjects and in special meetings, talks and group sessions. For pupils in Year 8 this is geared towards induction and helping them to settle in to their new school. It addresses study skills, Relationships and Sexuality Education [RSE] and anti-drugs and anti-bullying provision and aspects of personal safety related to child protection. Many elements of the programme involve active teaching methods with opportunities for whole class and group discussion.

Religious Education

The school is required by law to teach Religious Education to every pupil and does so using the common curricular core for Northern Ireland. However, parents have the right, should they wish to exercise it, to withdraw their children from classes in this subject and also from the act of collective worship which the school is required to provide.

Parents who wish to exercise their rights in these matters are asked to write in confidence to the Headmaster making their wishes clear. We will respond sympathetically and sensitively to such requests and will deal with them in ways that seek to avoid embarrassment to the pupils involved.

Homework and Private Study

Homework and private study are vital components in each pupil’s learning and development. Good study habits and practices learned early will stand children in good stead throughout their lives.

Teachers will set a range of appropriate homework tasks - some requiring a written response, others not. Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s homework provision by regularly reading and signing their homework diary and by writing appropriate comments in the spaces provided.

It is impossible to specify how much time pupils should spend on homework/private study: one piece of work which takes one individual twenty minutes could take another over an hour. However, parents with general concerns or comments about homework are asked to speak with the Form Teacher in the first instance.

A copy of the policy on assessment and homework for each department is available on the school website.

Formal School-Home Contact

Under Review due to Covid-19

Local Global Citzenship and Community Activities

Sullivan Upper School is committed to local and global citizenship and pupils are provided with a variety of opportunities to participate in a number of relevant activities. Through their involvement in charitable works, pupils learn the value of service to others. Sixth Form pupils are involved in learning support as mentors.

The international dimension is strong, with many educational trips and visits, be they sporting, musical or cultural in nature.

The Politics Society regularly hosts meetings at which local and nationally recognised figures are given the opportunity to share their views and to engage in dialogue with our pupils.

The Community Service programme involves Sixth Formers in active participation with local children, older people and disadvantaged groups and through the curriculum a variety of visits, conferences and guest speakers ensures that the educational experience of the pupils is extended and enriched.

Music groups from the school perform locally at residential homes, shopping centres and other local venues and the school has hosted a number of events for the wider community.