2nd GCA International Conference, British Council, Nairobi, Kenya

GCA launched a new approach to pastoral care with 30 delegates ~ leaders from top international schools in Kenya, delivering the British Curriculum.

A few schools described themselves as using a combination of both the British and Kenyan curricula and one school said they used only the Kenyan curriculum.

Schools that attended ranged from kindergarten (Nursery and Reception) to primary and secondary including sixth form. What was clear as the conference progressed was that it did not matter what curriculum schools offered, all children have a right to be cared for and to be encouraged to succeed.

Excellent pastoral care leads to outstanding achievement and raised attainment. By the end of the conference all delegates agreed that there was a need to have a common understanding of what pastoral care meant and GCA had provided clarity on some challenging issues.

As a direct outcome of the conference GCA will be working with 5-7 schools in Kenya as model schools of pastoral care in the following year and several schools are enrolling into this programme. These schools will join with model schools in the UK to form a supportive international group well positioned within an international model that offers outstanding pastoral care in schools of the 21st century.

A pastoral care that has a well planned curriculum linked to excellent resources that can be assessed and shared across schools.

What GCA did:

Justina Ilochi and Natalie Milsom delivered a well organised conference, packed with engaging activities that explored in some detail the areas highlighted below:

  • What is pastoral care?
  • Why do schools need a pastoral care curriculum?
  • Building character as an intrinsic element of pastoral care.
  • The special place of safeguarding in pastoral care
  • A model GCA lesson ~ delivering an effective human rights lesson.

One of the strong features of the day included the sharing of the ‘personal experience of a GCA Review’ by Jackie Stephenson (Assistant to the Director of Education ~ The Oshwal, Schools) and the ‘value of a GCA Review’ by David Dunn (Headteacher ~ St. Christopher’s School). Their testimonies gave delegates a chance to listen to and ask questions about the impact of GCA’s work in their schools. It also highlighted to several delegates the need for schools to work together.

Mrs Leah Ngini the proprietor of St. Christopher’s School gave the closing remarks to this day conference in her unique and engaging style.

Feedback ~ was received from 28 out of the 30 delegates. All except one gave a 7-10 / 10 for clarity and content. 12 delegates gave a score of 9-10 / 10 to the conference. See below for feedback from delegates in the testimonies section.

2015-06-30 11.01.49


 A school’s culture/tradition can be altered for the better through a well planned and executed pastoral programme … very well presented to have impact … a good workshop where we have learnt a lot.

Ms M. Githitho ~ Mount Kenya Academy

The importance of assessment to drive vision and strategy. Good introduction (re: safeguarding and child protection) and would like more details of the school offer for my pastoral team. Thank you for an excellent day.

                                                                                                                       L. Darwin ~ Hillcrest International School

Never thought that this (human rights) is taught in schools. Very inspiring.

Mrs L. Ngini ~ Owner, St Christopher’s School

I feel like there is something more and would go for it.

J. B. Muoga: Destiny Garden School. Mombasa

Helped to see that we have what it takes to get pastoral care right. We just need a culture change and mind shift at all levels. This is a very good way of achieving well-roundedness in our students.

J. Aminge ~ The Oshwal Schools

Quite insightful. Loved the case studies. Absolutely amazing will use the ideas in school. Thanks. Loved the Oshwal model, good. Would love to see a sample of the curriculum. We have a pastoral/guidance curriculum in place and would love you to look at it and advice. Also to take advantage of the GCA programme.

J. Karmba ~ Aga Khan Academy

Correlation between the formal curriculum and pastoral arm.

G. Walumja ~ Braeside Schools

Very resourceful. Never thought I would incorporate this (human rights) in my teaching. Thank you for opening our eyes. I would like my school to be one that students would like to come to due to how well it is organised in dealing with all its aspects.

L. Wahome ~ Oshwal Schools.

I found the idea of development of pastoral curriculum and assessment most helpful.

W. Nyamota ~ Braeside Schools

How to safeguard a child and what resources are there to assist in this. What other schools are doing about pastoral care. Have a pastoral care programme in place. Have a forum where pastoral care schools can share their successes and misses.

R. Mungai ~ The Oshwal School

Should be incorporated in the education system to nurture holistic children. Every child is unique and needs to be taken care of. Nothing is impossible with determination to change,

A.  Mutuku ~ IImani ~ Montessori

Foundation for any school growth. Using the virtues that children understand and can relate to. Weaknesses in the system that can hinder progress. Very interesting ideas on how to introduce the lessons even to the little ones (5-7). It is not easy to be assessed. It takes a lot of hard work to focus on the child. I need to develop ways/methods of assessment.

I. Kamau ~ St. Christopher’s School

It was important to look at the textbook definition of pastoral care and to see what’s not covered. The case studies were very eye-opening. Comparison between UK and Kenya. The booklets and materials. The ideas that came out of it and that it may take some time but it is doable. Appreciate the good work you are doing. Character first then achievement. I hope you are able to go into many schools.

D. Mwaura ~ The Oshwal Schools

Case studies. Feedback from groups and individual feedback. Video and handouts. Presentation from schools on GCA review – successes and challenges, way forward and gazing into the future. Thank you very much. This was awesome. I wish for each teacher in my school to come for this session.

J. Mungai ~ The Oshwal Schools

We forgot about this in school. We talk about values and we want to work towards this, but we don’t implement it. On paper it’s there. Across the board it’s absolutely not. Interesting to get more aware of the difficulties we face as an international school in Kenya. Working together as schools is so important. I do this lesson (human rights) in PSHE and show the video. Good to see how I can have a different approach to the topic. I got ideas for next year’s lessons. I wanted to learn more on how we implement. Most of the paperwork is in place but it is not in the hearts and minds of teachers, students and SMT. How do other schools achieve this?

M. Werger ~ Braeburn Schools

Not separate to academic but complements it. Definition important. Stakeholder system included – teachers, pupils, parents. Child Protection Advocacy Network recommended in group discussion. Resources in Kenya. Continued discussion of assessment would have been assisted by example/modelling.

A. Johnson ~ Braeburn Schools

The aspect of which virtues should be taught first to lead/bring the rest e.g. service, self-control. It was extremely involving and deep and empowering. Very interesting. Everything seemed so clear to me. It was a great experience and I am grateful to have been part of the workshop. The staff – Justina and Natalie are on top of their game. The information and exposure is just worthwhile. Many thanks. Maybe you should reach out to decision makers for different schools.

G. Mbuvi ~ Braebrun Schools

I have been involved in pastoral care for quite some time now but I have learnt new things today. A day well spent. I now know much more about pastoral care.

J. Kanja ~ GEMS Cambridge International School, Nairobi

Potentially very useful source of accreditation and training.

J. Stephenson ~ The Oshwal Schools

Very helpful I most ways. Knowing that I can use the 30 hour topics in PSHE. I leave that to my headmaster, but I think it would be great to share with others once we are there.

Ms P. Kabii ~ St Christopher’s School

Group ideas on the elements of pastoral care. Arrangement of virtues. Group activities on safeguarding. Video on Human rights. Strategies and progress on pastoral care. Good work.  

K. MoseGEMS Cambridge International School – Nairobi

I now have a precise definition of pastoral care and the difference between curriculum and care. The importance of the virtues – basing your learning on values and living them. I felt challenged especially on the assessing of the curriculum. I understand the importance of safeguarding. Different ways you can make a lesson interesting and achieving a right or value that students can reflect on. Eye opener and learning the need to interact with other schools. No I felt everything was clear and any challenging thought was clarified.

W. Kijuu ~ Hillcrest International School

Pastoral care curriculum. Most helpful in identifying key characters to develop. Safeguarding policy. Human rights – preparing a lesson to teach next year. Challenges of going through a GCA review – quite helpful. Thank you very much for this conference. We have an elaborate pastoral care and I can identify with many of the deliberations today.

S. Mwangi ~ Greensteds International School

Good to work on the difference between programmes and care. Interesting reflections from St Christopher’s and Oshwal. Let the work sell itself. Let’s see the resources in action. Let’s see the measures used/evidence of the programme’s success.

R. Thompson ~ Greensteds International School

Definition (pastoral care) and what it involves. How character is related to attainment. What needs to be put in place? Its relevance to the delivery of PSHE. How successfully it seems to be taking off in other schools. More clarity required on the assessment of pastoral care curriculum (examples of documentation). I will consult with the Head of School regarding the way forward regarding working with GCA.

G. Mandu ~ Nairobi Academy.

Able to look at it from a broader perspective. How important character is in achieving pastoral care. There are various aspects that are generally ignored but are very important. Very informative. That the GCA programme is a value-adding one that needs to be adopted. A well-structured pastoral care curriculum is necessary in order to achieve effective pastoral care.

V. Karanja ~ GEMS Cambridge International School, Nairobi