Boys in years 7-11 are divided into eight ‘tutor groups’ in each of years seven to eleven and boys and girls in the sixth form are divided into an appropriate number of similar groups. To each tutor group a ‘form tutor’ is assigned who sees his/her tutor group each day for morning registration and, every two weeks, for a full period.
The form tutors are in a position to fulfil an important role in the school’s task of caring for the pastoral needs of its pupils. Students experiencing any kind of difficulty, either with their work or with relationships within the school, should feel able to discuss their problems confidently with their form teacher.
The tutor groups, named after English martyrs, are unrelated to academic attainment and are quite different for the academic ‘classes to which boys in year 7 – 9 are allocated for most lessons. The names of the tutor groups are Bryant, Campion, Kemble, Lewis, Mayne, Owen, Rigby and Ward.
Each year group has its Co-ordinator of Learning who has overall responsibility for its pastoral care. She/He is assisted by an Assistant Co-ordinator of Learning in years 7 – 11. The Co-ordinator of Learning is the normal point of contact for any important problem for pupils and parents. It should be noted that there is no absolute demarcation in the school between pastoral and academic matters. This is deliberate and reflects the school’s view that a boy’s experience of school should be seen as a whole. Hence parents are asked to contact heads of year in the first instance on any matter relating to academic work or homework. Conversely, heads of academic departments or subject teachers play their part in the school’s pastoral system, often ‘behind the scenes’, ensuring that year heads and other appropriate staff are aware of any cause for concern.
Parents are asked to bear in mind that just as within school there are times when factors unrelated to schoolwork can affect progress, so factors at home can affect a boy’s progress and happiness in school. It is often when parents and teachers meet and discuss openly and with mutual trust that the most effective measures can be taken. The importance of parents attending parents’ evenings and any other meetings arranged for consultations cannot be over emphasised.
Finally, Pastoral Care is not regarded by the school simply as dealing with problems when they arise. Any teacher exercising professional concern is contributing to the school’s fulfilling its collective responsibility for the Christian wellbeing of its pupils. St Francis Xavier’s College is explicitly a Catholic Christian School. Part of its role in handing on our faith is to ensure that boys are treated – even where firmness is thought necessary – with the respect and dignity which our faith regards as the right of all.