Pastoral lead: what does the role involve?


Pastoral lead at your school might be a role you are interested in applying for. 

The name of the position can differ from school to school with examples including ‘pastoral care lead’ ‘pastoral leader’ ‘behaviour and pastoral lead’ to ‘safeguarding and pastoral leader.’

At Edapt we support many pastoral leaders and middle leaders in England and Wales. You can access high-quality employment advice and support for your role by subscribing today.

In this article, we provide an overview of the pastoral leader role and link to examples of job descriptions and person specifications.

What is a pastoral lead?

The pastoral lead role will take on different responsibilities depending on whether you teach in a small primary school or a large secondary school.

Quite often the term ‘pastoral lead’ can essentially mean the head of year with overall responsibility for a year group. You will have responsibility for behaviour, attendance, safeguarding and issues which arise during tutor time.

You will often be the first point of contact for parents and social services in safeguarding matters. Being comfortable with communicating with families will be a key element to your role.

In a blog on the Collins Freedom to Teach website, it explains that although every teacher has a pastoral responsibility, pastoral leaders are “absolutely critical” (Sobel, 2019) for identifying, understanding, and responding to the challenges unique to their school and that means developing sound pastoral structures and systems.

The pastoral lead will often work closely with the school’s designated safeguarding lead.

Pastoral lead: job description examples

Days Lane Primary School in Kent has a job description for a pastoral care lead. The role reports into the headteacher and inclusion lead.

The main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Acting as a deputy safeguarding lead across the school
  • Working with the school safeguarding lead to implement actions related to safeguarding concerns and matters
  • To liaise with social workers and other relevant support agencies to ensure that all families, vulnerable children and young people receive the care and protection they require
  • To ensure that all child protection plans are maintained and implemented
  • To attend multi agency meetings
  • To meet regularly with the designated line manager to report on progress of identified pupils

Pastoral responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with pupils and parents as necessary to address pastoral concerns
  • To develop, agree and implement time bound action plans with groups or individuals linked to the needs of vulnerable pupils and to maintain accurate records of work for each identified pupil
  • To liaise closely with school staff to ensure that everyone understands and supports the strategies being used by the pastoral lead to develop pupils’ skills for learning and learning behaviour
  • To contribute to the identification of barriers to learning for individual children and provide them with a range of strategies for overcoming barriers
  • To lead peer to peer mentoring programmes across the school, focused on social interactions during play and lunchtimes
  • To work closely with the SLT, attendance officer and educational welfare officer to improve attendance of vulnerable pupils
  • Take a joint lead to develop pastoral care of pupils, providing CPD as necessary 

The Isaac Newton Academy in London has a job description for a pastoral leader. Key responsibilities include:

  • To oversee and monitor the behaviour, learning and progress of students in a year group
  • To communicate the highest expectations of behaviour and consistently and effectively implement the academy’s behaviour management policy and procedures
  • To lead a team of tutors, developing and enhancing their practice, and to ensure that the highest level of pastoral care is provided to every student
  • To plan the tutorial programme for one year group, support tutors in resourcing the programme, and monitor its delivery
  • To establish and communicate the highest expectations of attendance and punctuality for all students
  • To monitor the attendance of one year group and to respond promptly to any attendance and punctuality issues to ensure that the academy’s targets are met/exceeded
  • To develop effective relationships with the parents/carers of the students in a year group and to communicate regularly with them
  • To lead assemblies for a year group 
  • To liaise with outside agencies to set up interventions to support individuals and groups of students, as and when required
  • To support students in the acquisition and development of learning dispositions and positive character traits
  • To liaise with the office manager regarding care plans, medical and dietary needs of students

Barr’s Hills School in Coventry has a job description for a pastoral leader. Responsibilities for pupil behaviour and rewards include:

  • Running effective behaviour systems that are clear and consistent
  • Working with support from the key stage hub team and tutors to manage behaviour incidents
  • Liaising closely with parents regarding behaviour issues
  • Working proactively with the key stage hub team to prevent issues occurring
  • Liaising with outside agencies to intervene in hard to reach families to remove barriers to learning
  • To promote a positive ethos by ensuring that rewards are prominent and regular and that parents are integral to the rewards system
  • Liaise with individual teachers, departments and faculties in relation to behaviour and learning of individual and groups of students
  • Promote student voice and get students actively involved in school life

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