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The BBC call our Polaris Centre innovative and a fresh approach to student well-being.

Yesterday, Monday 30 November we welcomed Elaine Dunkley, BBC Education Correspondent into our school to film a piece for BBC Breakfast regarding Ofsted concerns for the future of vulnerable children and the effects that absence from school due to isolating may have on children and their families. They want to ensure that we are not left with a legacy of neglect, mental health issues and behavioural issues amongst Britain’s young people after this pandemic has finished.

At BCHS we are well aware of our duty to provide excellent pastoral care as well as education and to that end we were proud to open our Polaris Centre and House system at the start of this academic year creating a new pastoral family for our students, staff and parents.

We have four houses, Libertas, Fides, Dedicatio and Veneratio, each house having a Head of House and Assistant Head of  House who work closely with  our Pastoral Manager and Deputy Pastoral Manager to cover all things from safeguarding, anti-bullying , behavioural issues to  just ‘someone to talk to’.  They really are a fantastic team.

After chatting with the team, the BBC were massively impressed with our Polaris centre calling it innovative and fresh. They were particularly impressed that we maintained contact and carried out home visits and skype calls right throughout tight lockdown periods and opened our door to  vulnerable children to attend school along with Key worker children from the very start of lockdown. Allowing no-one to slip through our net.

Polaris really is a beacon to all students and in particular those who are more vulnerable. We really do provide the ‘eyes to see’ and the ‘ears to hear’, looking after the greatest needs of our students.

Thank you to Ms Mills, Mrs Butler and Mrs Crompton who spoke passionately for us, sharing our approach to care for our students and their families.

Elaine Dunkley discussed the possibility of a more in depth piece about Polaris in the future – confirmation that they really do think that Polaris is the way forward for excellent well-being provision in schools and also confirming how exceptional Team Birchwood really are!

To see Elaine Dunkley’s report  visit -


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