The school prides itself on the quality of the pastoral care of its students, which is ensured by a collaborative effort by staff from many different areas of the school’s life.
While the parents/guardians are the primary carers of the students, the school is very
aware of the trust placed in it by those parents/guardians who choose Glenstal Abbey for their sons. During his time here, the student is cared for by a very wide range of people. The list is long and ranges from the umbrella of the monastery, through the Board of Management, to the Headmaster and Deputy Principal, Housemasters, Chaplain, Matron, Guidance Counsellor, Nurses, Class Tutors, Subject teachers and very many support and ancillary staff. All endeavour to ensure the safety, personal happiness and growth of each student in their care. A Pastoral Care Team, consisting of the Headmaster, the Director of Boarding, the Chaplain, the Matron and the Guidance Counsellor meets weekly to coordinate the school’s response to the needs of particular students.
The level of contact between the carers and the students varies with the role of the personnel and the needs of the student. Among the key roles are:
The Housemaster acts in loco parentis and plays a crucial role in the life of the student. The job of the Housemaster is to have a caring, supportive role in the formation and development of each student in his care and to be attentive to the spiritual, personal and physical development of each student. Housemasters seeks to encourage each student to strive for the best in himself in a disciplined and nurturing environment. One or other of the Housemasters in each House is available to the students 24 hours per day.
Matron and Nurses
The school is served by an excellent Matron and nursing team, who operate two clinics daily in the school Health Centre. The centre aims to deliver a student-centred health care service, in a safe and compassionate environment. The Nurses aim to be supportive to all, providing privacy and dignity in an environment which is safe, clean and organised. The Matron and Nurses contribute significantly to the well being of all our students by offering a friendly ear to those who just need to talk, or who are homesick, as well as treating medical complaints. In particular, the Matron works closely with colleagues outside the Health Centre in the nurturing and care of the boys.
The school has a dedicated chaplain. As a monk, he brings the particular wisdom of the Benedictine tradition into the school context as he accompanies students and staff on their life’s journey. The Chaplain is available to meet students in his office on a drop-in basis or by appointment. The Chaplain’s role remains outside the other formal structures of the school in order to secure his independence and to bolster the students’ confidence in his autonomy. The Chaplain provides a discreet service of spiritual accompaniment and makes himself available to students and staff alike. The Chaplain also organises retreats and various other activities of a religious nature.
Glenstal has an experienced Guidance Counsellor on staff, who performs a dual role within the school, serving both as a Careers Advisor and as a general Counsellor. Her role encompasses the interlinked areas of personal development, and educational and career guidance. She is available on a drop-in basis or by appointment to provide information, assessment and counselling. She assists students to develop self-management skills that will lead to effective subject and career choices. She is also available to listen to or counsel students experiencing any form of emotional difficulty or trauma. Students are free to engage with the Counsellor independently, or they may be referred to her by a staff member or the Pastoral Care Team.