Pastoral Care

We believe that happy students are successful students. Our pastoral care is focused on individual support for every student, developing resilience and a sense of perspective, so that girls are able to tackle challenges head-on, learn from set-backs, and have the confidence to try again if things don’t work out initially.

We aim to provide an environment which promotes self-confidence, a feeling of self-worth and the knowledge that pupil’s concerns will be listened to and acted upon.

At NLCS safeguarding is central to all we do, with every member of staff having a role to play in the safeguarding of the students in our care. All staff, whether teachers or support staff, undertake regular safeguarding training and are confident to act on and report any concerns.

“Academic and pastoral staff work closely together to ensure no girl is without support during her time at the School.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate

“NLCS shows genuine empathy and understanding for the plight of today’s teenagers.” – The Good Schools Guide

Some students may experience difficulties, anxiety or find a sense of perspective difficult at times which is why our approach to well-being is one where the pastoral and academic staff work closely together to ensure no pupil is ever without support. We encourage our students to challenge themselves in all their activities, and we place equal value on academic and extra-curricular achievement.

As part of our whole school Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy, our aim is that every member of the NLCS community participates in some form of regular physical activity.

We educate the students, support their parents and equip staff to help navigate the challenges of adolescence such as social media and establishing limits on the use of technology. We encourage them to take full advantage of all the rich extra-curricular activity on offer here, helping them to find their niche so they feel valued, develop confidence and high self-esteem.

Support for Students


Central to our pastoral ethos is that every student is well known and cared for. The form tutor plays a key role in this.

It is the tutor’s responsibility to ensure that every student feels individually valued and supported, the tutor is also the first point of contact for parents. Parents should never hesitate to contact the tutor if they have any concerns about their child. Events are organised throughout the year where parents have the opportunity to meet with tutors to discuss their child’s progress.

Each section of the school has a senior pastoral leader (Head of Section) supported by the Heads of Year, the Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, the School Nurse, Healthcare Professional and two Counsellors. All our teachers also have specific pastoral responsibilities to ensure that every student flourishes both socially and academically.

Each form group has at least two dedicated tutors so that pastoral groups are small (typically 8-12 girls). Sixth Form students also act as peer mentors.

In the Sixth Form tutor groups are a mixture of Year 12 and Year 13 students, integrating the year groups and allowing for wide friendship groups and peer support.

“It’s nice to have two tutors, with different personalities and ideas – you can talk to them about different things.” – Year 10 student

“We definitely have a close and trusting relationship with our tutors. Apart from helping us with day to day things, they offer support and care far beyond the form room.” – Year 11 student

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At North London Collegiate School we aim to promote a supportive, considerate and caring environment. Forging links between individuals and different year groups boosts self-esteem, confidence and respect and over time we have developed several highly successful peer support systems.

All Year 7 students are allocated a Year 8 buddy to offer guidance and support when they join the Senior School. Social activities including lunches are arranged for the students so they can meet up and get to know one another. These friendships often last throughout the students’ time at school.

New Sixth Formers are also given a buddy to help them settle in.

“My buddy takes time to find me and always asks if I have any problems and if I am ok.” – Year 7 student

“My buddy came from the same school as me and so had gone through the same experiences as me. This was really helpful. She tells me about new clubs and encourages me to attend.” – Year 7 student

“I have learnt a lot from being a Buddy, leadership and being responsible are really important skills for future life.” – Year 8 student

We know there are going to be times when girls would much rather share their worries with other students and trained Sixth Form Peer Mentors are available to support our students when they would like someone nearer their own age to talk to. Weekly ‘Tea & Chat’ sessions run by the Peer Mentors are very popular and provide the opportunity for students from all years to meet up with pupils in other years.

Students from the Senior School act as form assistants in Year 7 and the Junior School. Form assistants attend registration, participate in form activities and support the younger pupils in a variety of ways. This helps to encourage a sense of community across the school, but also provides leadership opportunities for the older students.

Students can often be seen around the school mentoring younger students in their academic studies. This is a valuable way for the mentor to develop their own skills in an area as well as providing valuable subject support for the younger students.

Peer support is phenomenal at North London and started when my daughter joined the school aged 4 with the coach buddy system. In the transition to Senior School, the buddy system helped enormously. My daughter had lunch with her buddy in the first week of term and her buddy provided her with a homemade information pack detailing what she could expect in Year 7. Now in the Sixth Form, my daughter still has fond memories of her time with her buddy.” – NLCS Parent

Our Personal, Social and Health Education programme aims to enable our students to lead responsible and healthy lives. They develop skills and knowledge which will equip them with ways to deal with a range of spiritual, moral, cultural and political issues.

The PSHE programme will help our students understand the importance of tolerance and respect for diversity in today’s modern society. It will develop their confidence in their ability to achieve their aspirations, and encourage them to make informed choices about future life decisions.

As well as weekly lessons, students across the school benefit from a number of talks by visiting speakers on subjects which are very topical for young people today. These have included body image and self-esteem, consent, making safe choices about drugs and navigating social media.


The Medical Centre and Cedar Space teams includes the Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, School Nurse, part-time Health Care Professional and two part-time Counsellors (covering 7 days over the school week) . The Medical Centre provides a friendly and caring environment for all students across the school when physical and mental health support is required. The Medical Centre staff are an integral part of the Pastoral and Safeguarding teams and also offer help and advice for parents. The Cedar Space is located next to the medical centre in the heart of the school and is where the Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing and the School Counsellors are based; various clubs and activities are offered in the Cedar Space from Mental Health and Wellbeing Society sessions to board games at lunchtimes, mindfulness and relaxations clubs.

Children and young people may experience difficulties during their school life and need someone to talk to on a confidential basis. At NLCS we offer a counselling service to students seeking support in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment, as well as weekly “drop-in” sessions where students can come for advice or support. Our School Counsellors April and Beatrice have extensive experience working with children, young people and families in schools for over 10 years. They provide a safe space where students can explore their feelings and experiences within a containing and confidential therapeutic relationship. Together, the student and School Counsellor explore thoughts and feelings enabling them to learn about themselves and the world around them. Please contact if you would like more information about this service.

“The Medical Centre to me is somewhere to go and feel taken care of whether it’s from medicine or camomile tea and a biscuit or a listening ear.” – Year 8 student

“It is great that the Medical Centre is open all day and there is always a friendly face there.” – Year 7 student

Working in partnership with parents

We believe that positive relationships and effective communication with parents are critical to providing the best care possible for our students. There are regular meetings between parents, teachers and tutors, and parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s tutors if they have any concerns.

As a pastoral team at NLCS we want to continually be working with parents on the challenges facing their children. As well as running a detailed program of talks for the students as part of their PSHE Programme, we also organise talks for parents. These have included ‘Encouraging good study skills and helping your child to manage their homework’, ‘Helping students to achieve a healthy lifestyle’ and ‘The importance of mindfulness in your child’s life’. Childnet have given talks for parents covering many aspects of e-safety, focusing on what parents can do to help their children stay safe online. These talks are great opportunities to hear the latest information from experts in their field.

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Welcome receptions are organised for each year group at the start of the Autumn term to introduce parents to each other, their new tutors and to deliver key information. We also organise tutor dinners for Year 7 parents in the Autumn term, where parents and tutors meet over dinner and drinks for a relaxed getting to know you evening.

The Parents Guild are a vital part of the school community, organising a number of events for students and their parents, as well as helping with events such as the 11+ interview days and organising form picnics for the students during the summer before they join Year 7. The Guild also supports school activities, manages good as new uniform sales, musical instrument exchanges and babysitter lists. Parents readily help in the school libraries, on trips and in special activities.

“I feel that whenever there is a concern, it is always addressed and someone will always pick up the phone and discuss it with me.” – Year 11 parent

“The school welcomes interaction and feedback from parents. They encourage us to work with them to feel part of our daughters’ education and to celebrate their success. Each student has a form tutor who is our first point of contact regarding illness or absence from school. Parents have the opportunity to meet with individual subject tutors several times a year to discuss aspects of our daughters’ academic progress.” – Year 10 parent

We aim to provide holistic support to everyone in our school community, in all areas of family life, which is why North London Collegiate School subscribes to Tooled Up Education. This gives all of our families privileged access to a regularly updated digital library, full of evidence-based tips, simple activities, advice-packed videos and enlightening podcasts, on all matters relating to parenting and family life. Tooled Up Education is curated by one of the UK’s leading experts on parental engagement in children’s lives and learning.

Dr Weston is passionate about bridging the gap between research and real-life parenting. As a busy parent herself, she understands that loving parents want to do the ‘right thing’ and that parenting is full of joys, but also many challenges. Our children have a vast educational and life journey ahead of them. It is important that they are ‘Tooled Up;’ equipped psychologically with the resilience required to reach their destinations safely and successfully.

Food – NLCS Eats

Making sure our students are well fuelled for a busy day at school is key and food is very important at North London.
Chartwells Independent, our contracted caterer, ensures that students enjoy good quality, healthy and balanced meals every day. They also cater for all types of diets and allergens.

Menus are based on a three-week rotational plan, changing each term to reflect seasonal variations in produce. Click here for sample menus.

The majority of the dishes served are home-made by our Head Chef and his team and most are made from fresh ingredients. The children are encouraged to choose a balanced meal from the dishes on offer and are welcome to sample any of the dish before choosing it as a way of expanding young palates.

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Our Catering Manager ensures that all the food available is of a high standard and its nutritional content is carefully monitored. Special meals, using specific ingredients, are prepared for those children who have medically prescribed dietary requirements and one member of staff in our dining room is dedicated solely to managing dietary needs such as intolerances and allergies.

Breakfast is available to purchase from 07:30 – 08:30 each morning and is a popular start to the day. Many parents enjoy a relaxed breakfast with their children and our dining room is a buzz as parents often use the time to catch up or to get to know other parents as well.

Social Responsibility is a key priority for Chartwells and they are working closely with us in helping to improve our overall greenhouse gas emissions, through the monitoring of food production, reduction of waste and the removal of high GHG impact foods. For a number of years, Chartwells have supported FareShare who deliver vital foods to charities across the UK. The Chartwells nutrition and chefs also support Kitchen Social who run holiday programmes across London for groups of children who have food insecurity, by providing hot meals during holiday periods, when they would not otherwise have one.

Within the school we work with a number of companies to ensure everything we order is removed responsibly. Our food waste is collected to generate green fuels and thus not end up on landfill. Our waste oil is recycled and used for low carbon biodiesel. Should we have food items that we cannot use, but are still suitable for consumption, we donate these to a local charity who circulate these to families in need.

Food education is another key priority and Chartwells Independent are continuously looking to introduce new flavours, textures and ingredients into the school menus through their Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen programme of events – regularly hosting tasting sessions to encourage the pupils to try something new.

An after-school cookery club provides students with the opportunity to learn anything from essential knife skills, to making sushi or baking bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you help students settle in when they first join the school? accordion-plus

We understand the transition from Junior to Senior School can be a difficult time for students and we work hard to help students settle into the school. In the Summer term before starting, all new Year 7 students are invited to an induction afternoon where they meet the rest of their form and their new tutors. This is a chance for the students to meet their new classmates in a relaxed, fun afternoon. Just before term starts the new students are invited to another afternoon where just a few other year groups are present to help them gradually orientate themselves.

There are at least two form tutors per form class who are focused on providing individual support for every pupil. There is also Year 13 form assistants and every Year 7 student has a Year 8 buddy who can answer questions and offer support. Trained Sixth Form Peer Mentors are also available to support our students when they would like someone nearer their own age to talk to.

Of course, taking part in the extra-curricular activities also help the students with their burgeoning friendship groups.

How do you develop relationships with parents? accordion-plus

We are keen to work with parents and there are many chances for parents, tutors and teachers to meet. Even before the students start Year 7 we invite parents into school to meet the tutors and other parents. Welcome receptions, parents’ evenings, parent talks, plays and concerts also provide opportunities for the staff and parents to get to know each other. In Year 7 we also organise tutor dinners for the parents in the Autumn term, where the parents and tutors meet over dinner and drinks for a relaxed getting to know you evening. Parents and tutors are encouraged to stay in regular contact.

How do you promote kindness and tolerance amongst students? accordion-plus

All students are encouraged to show courtesy and kindness towards everyone within our school community. At the start of each year each tutor groups drafts a Code of Conduct which is based around courtesy, care, consideration and community. These are displayed on form notice boards and serve as a reminder throughout the year. Kindness and tolerance are themes within our PSHE programme and such themes are regularly discussed with tutors in form time. Each year in the Spring term we hold a Kindness Week, where students lead and take part in a number of kindness initiatives.

Does the School have a school counsellor? accordion-plus

Yes, we have three school counsellors who work alongside our nurse, doctor and pastoral team. They are based in our Medical Centre and are available before and after school, as well as during the school day. If a member of staff feels a student would benefit from seeing the counsellor they will discuss this with the student and a referral can be made. Students can also self-refer. Our counsellor also works closely with parents making sure the best possible support is in place for students.

How do you celebrate all kinds of achievements? accordion-plus

Achievement is celebrated through positive comments to the students both informally and formally such as verbal comments, marking, reports and one to one meetings with students. Staff are encouraged to develop a culture of sharing success stories by informing Form Tutors, so this information can be passed on. Student achievement is also recognised in the Colours system for Upper School and Sixth Formstudents, Prizes in the Valedictory assembly, the Headmistresses’ Commendation System and in weekly assemblies.

How do you tackle personal problems such as illness, family problems or bereavement? accordion-plus

It is vital to keep the needs of the individual student at the heart of the support we provide. Make sure that the relevant Form Tutor, Head of Year and Section Head are aware of any situations. Liaison with home will ascertain how we should respond to an individual situation and relevant staff will be informed. Students will be made aware of the support they can access and can be referred to the School Counsellor. Regular review and partnership between the student, home and school will continue.

How do you ensure every student is well known and cared for? accordion-plus

The importance of knowing each individual student is woven into the ethos of the school. Individual, regular meetings with tutors provide an opportunity to freely discuss achievements and hurdles and allow a distinctive understanding of each pupil. A comprehensive and coveted colours system recognises varied sorts of success and commitment with regular recognition at school assemblies. Section Heads, Heads of Year, tutors, teachers, and the school counsellor listen, take care, and reassure students to enable them to thrive.