We understand Pastoral Care ‘as an approach to education which endeavours to value and develop each member of the school community. It is within this context that our Pastoral Care approach is shaped and implemented. Each member of the school community has a significant role to play in creating and protecting the pastoral ethos of the school and as an individual has access to the pastoral structures and procedures in place. We strive to place mutual respect, understanding and care of the individual at the heart of all that we do in JBCS as the strength of relationships within the school community is the core resource that supports our pastoral approach
John the Baptist has a well-established Pastoral Care System in the school. The Cabhair Team meet on a weekly basis. It includes representative from Management, Guidance Counsellors, Special Needs Teacher, Subject Teachers, SNA Personnel and members of the staff who are training in Pastoral Care. Each staff member has the facility to refer a Student to Cabhair by completing a Cabhair form. Each referral is dealt with and monitored on a weekly basis. All information in regard to students is dealt with respectfully and sensitively. Strict protocols are followed in how information is received, shared, stored and accessed.
Students who are identified with personal difficulties or challenges are supported and guided through a process of ongoing meetings with a member of the Cabhair team. Where necessary appropriate and supportive interventions are identified and applied. In as far as possible the school will try to meet the needs of the Student from within the school resources and expertise but at time may have to refer the issue to an outside agency. Parents/Guardians will be consulted and informed and all procedures in regard to Child Protection and Welfare is followed. It is the wish of the school and the Cabhair team that students develop and build personal development skills that will used throughout their lives.
Our careers service includes both a guidance counsellor’s room and a careers Library. Students/Parents who wish to discuss confidential matters are welcome to meet the guidance counsellors by appointment.
The careers library contains prospectuses of all the third level colleges in Ireland and is updated annually. We also have a number of prospectuses from colleges in Britain and Northern Ireland as well as information on Post Leaving Cert Courses.
The PCs in the library have Internet access and guidance software installed. As well as this, a wide range of careers information contained in folders also available for students use.
The Chaplaincy is a vital part of the support structures in place for our students in terms of their personal, social and spiritual development during their time at John the Baptist C.S.
The Role Description of the Chaplain
In a school community, which embraces a holistic vision of education, chaplaincy plays a pivotal role. The Education Act 1998 Section 9(d) notes the obligation placed on schools to “promote the moral, spiritual and personal development of students in consultation with parents having regard to the charismatic spirit of the school”. While the chaplaincy is primarily concerned with moral and spiritual development of students it also plays an important role in integrating these with other dimensions of education, social, personal, academic and physical.
‘The chaplain, as a faith presence, committed to the values of Christ, accompanies each person on the journey through life.’ (‘The Chaplain: A Faith Presence in the School Community’, Monahan and Renehan, 1998) The most relevant analogy of the role of Chaplain is that of the Road to Emmaus story, the accompaniment story for all Christians. Like Jesus, the Chaplain meets people in their present situation, walks with them, acknowledges their fears/needs/hopes and supports them in their spiritual development. The Chaplain is in the privileged position of facilitating a student’s personal reflection on their lives and their relationship with God, in a context of respect, understanding and friendship.
Time is given to the individual to support them in articulating who they are and what is going on in their lives at present. They engage in a conversation with themselves in the presence of someone else and in the process become more self-aware. Students are challenged to think about their own self-image, how they relate with others and most importantly they are listened to as they reflect upon their present realities and the challenges they are facing in life. The student’s development of a positive self-image is a key aim for the Chaplain in their individual meeting with them.
The purpose of education is to ensure that all students gain access to knowledge, skills, and information that will prepare them to contribute to our communities and workplaces. The central purpose becomes more challenging as schools accommodate students with increasingly diverse backgrounds and abilities. As we strive to meet these challenges, the involvement and cooperation of educators, parents, and community leaders is vital for the creation of better and more inclusive schools.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is an educational approach and philosophy that provides all students with greater opportunities for academic and social achievement. Inclusion is about making sure that each and every student feels welcome and that their unique needs and learning styles are attended to and valued.
Inclusion enhances learning for students, both with and without special needs. Students learn, and use their learning differently; the goal is to provide all students with the instruction they need to succeed as learners and achieve high standards, alongside their friends and neighbours.
Here in John the Baptist C.S., inclusion is at the heart of our everyday practice, and reflected in the extensive programme of facilities/resources etc. that are in place to help those with diverse educational needs. These include:
- Learning Support
- Mixed Ability Grouping
- Students with Disabilities
- Special Educational Needs
Mental Health Awareness
One’s mental health is a vital aspect for a fufilled life. We at John the Baptist C.S. want to develop an awareness of mental health and the importance of acknowledging one’s own mindset.
Cycle Against Suicide
Cycle Against Suicide is an initiative started by Irish entrepreneur, Jim Breen, as a result of his appearance on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire programme. Together with the Cycle Against Suicide Organisation; management, teachers and students in John The Baptist Community School have come together to complete one main essential objective, to become an ambassador school for this essential initiative. The main objective is to raise awareness of the considerable help and supports that are available for anybody battling with their inner demons and mental health issues within our community or those loved ones around us. The Cycle Against Suicide community in our school is determined to let people in every corner Limerick and of the island of Ireland know that; it’s OK not to feel OK and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.
The Ambassador School Programme established in 2013 aims to encourage schools in all years to become actively involved in mental health promotion. The programme provides a framework, structure and incentive for schools to integrate mental health activities into the school plan and rewards schools that go the extra mile.
The Ambassador School Programme involves the completion of what are known as ‘Five Gears’ over the course of the year.
- Gear 1: Mental Health Education
- Gear 2: Project Work
- Gear 3: Simple Things
- Gear 4: Mental Health Week
- Gear 5: Get Active
We will keep our community informed of our task/ gear completions on our website and continue to spread the message that Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can break the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.
C.A.S. Activities: Halloween 2016
C.A.S. Activities: Halloween 2015
Teachers dress up and Second Year students compete in Celebrity Bainisteoir Blitz
The Links Programme at John the Baptist Community School is designed to assists and supports First Year students as they adjust and settle into second level school. The Links Programme involves trained T.Y. students becoming a point of contact and support to First Year students.
Transition Year students interested in the Programme apply in writing to become Links students at the end of their Third Year. Following the written application students may be interviewed before being selected for the Links Programme. This year(2017), forty five students were selected. They completed a full training day in May 2017. Six mentor teachers guide and monitor the Links Programme throughout the year.
The Links students become a point of contact to three or four First Year students. The Links students play a key role in welcoming the First Years and are heavily involved in the running of the First Year Induction day.
The Programme has obvious benefits for our First Year students as they adjust to second level school. It also helps to build confidence and leadership qualities in our T.Y. students. We wish the students and all participating in the Programme every success for the year.
One of the many areas covered through the Social Personal Health Education (S.P.H.E.) curriculum is the area of positive mental health. At John the Baptist Community School students in all years are presented with strategies aimed at providing students with effective strategies to deal with worry, stress and change while also teaching them skills required to reduce anxiety and promote resilience.
My Friends Youth
The programme is designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn important life-skills to allow them achieve their potential in different areas of their life. All of us from time to time feel worried, nervous, or sad. This programme teaches students ways of coping with and managing these feelings so that they are able to try their best in all situations and feel good about themselves. The programme is beneficial for all students, irrespective of their anxiety level. My Friends Youth comprises of 10 main sessions and two booster sessions. The sessions are:
Session 1: Introduction to the Group
Session 2: Feelings – Understanding Feelings and Practising Empathy
Session 3: Lets Focus on Confidence
Session 4: Learn to relax. Focus on the present and become more aware
Session 5: Your Attention Flashlight – Your Powerful Thoughts
Session 6: More Attention Flashlight and Thought Challengers
Session 7: Exploring Solutions and Step Plans
Session 8: Another way to Solve Problems
Session 9: When the Going gets Tough: Making and Keeping Friends
Session 10: Using the FRIENDS Skills to Help Ourselves and Others
Booster Session 1: Review and Practice
Booster Session 2: Review and Practice