Pupil Welfare

The School has an extensive programme of support and guidance for pupils, which is outlined briefly on this page.

Pupil Welfare


The aim of Wellbeing at Westminster is to provide all pupils with a holistic curriculum that transcends individual lessons, enabling valuable messages to become a part of whole-school life, supporting pupils into adulthood. To achieve this goal, all pupils follow a ‘Spiral Curriculum’, designed so that important themes outlined in the statutory guidance (DfE, 2020), our RSE policy and beyond are revisited throughout a pupil’s time at Westminster: key messages are reinforced and built upon each year at developmentally appropriate stages.

The curriculum is divided into three main themes:

  1. Health and Wellbeing – puberty, mental health, resilience, keeping active, and healthy eating.
  2. Relationships – respectful and healthy relationships (both on and offline), kindness and sex education.
  3. Living in the Wider World – career planning, financial literacy and exploring our rights and responsibilities.

Our aim is to help pupils to:

  • respect differences of attitudes and opinions;
  • challenge discrimination and stereotypes;
  • develop resilience to be able to recover from setbacks and challenging periods in their lives;
  • build the capacity to forge positive relationships;
  • understand intimacy, including romantic and sexual intimacy;
  • know how to access support and advice around all aspects of health (sexual, mental or physical);
  • have a basic understanding of the law (including the Equality Act 2010) as relates to relationships, consent and sexual activity.

Timetabled lessons for the Fifth Form (Year 9) and Sixth Form (Year 12) are delivered by teachers who have on-going professional development training across a range of RSE and PSHE topics, and who are also experienced teachers of other subjects at Westminster.

The delivery of material is supplemented by external providers throughout the academic year, as well as by Tutors. The Head of Wellbeing and the Heads of Year liaise to ensure that tutorial material is appropriate and in line with the spiral curriculum for each year group. The Heads of Year in turn ensure that their tutor team are well equipped to deliver follow-up content, which will also be shared with parents throughout the year as necessary, so that support on these topics may continue at home: this allows for a multifaceted approach, allowing for reflection and discussion with staff members as well as parents.

Contact the Head of Wellbeing

Medical Care

Staffing and Provision
The School’s Surgery is housed in the heart of the School and is staffed from 8.30am to 5.00pm by the School Nursing Sister and School Nurses, as well as being supported by the Matrons who are all first aid qualified; outside of hours, support is available directly from the Matrons. Additionally, for boarders, the School Medical Officer (SMO) provides bi-weekly surgeries for pupils. The SMO also advises the School on important matters of policy and provides advice to the School on individual cases where necessary.

  • For day pupils, the Surgery provides emergency care when needed as a supplement to the day pupils’ own GP provision.
  • For boarders, the Surgery hosts the pupils’ GP surgery, supported as it is by two clinics a week hosted by the School’s GP.

The accommodation comprises two consulting rooms and a room to house pupils in need of rest, as well as bathroom and dispensing facilities. In addition, the boarding houses have separate rooms adjoined to each matron’s accommodation.

Pupil health updates
At the start of every term it is important for the School Nursing Sister to know whether pupils have received any form of medical treatment during the holidays and whether they are taking any new medication when they return to School.

  • If a pupil has received any medical treatment or medication, please email the School Nursing Sister with details.
  • If a pupil is unwell, please do not return them to School until they are fully recovered. In the case of diarrhoea and / or vomiting, pupils must not return to School until 48 hours after the last bout of illness.

Gillick Competency and Fraser Guidelines
Many of the pupils at Westminster are between the ages of 12 and 16 years: the Fraser Guidelines prevail. Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines refer to a legal case which looked specifically at whether doctors should be able to give contraceptive advice or treatment to under 16-year-olds without parental consent. But since then, they have been more widely used to help assess whether a child has the maturity to make their own decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.

Contact the School Nursing Sister

School Counsellor​

The School Counsellor, Dr Rachel Acheson (Member of the Association of Child Psychotherapists – No 4749), is available every week day, usually by appointment. Accommodated discretely at the heart of the School, she provides counsel and support to individual pupils, as well as working collaboratively with pupils and parents, too.

Whether for occasional advice and reflection or for longer term therapeutic work, Dr Acheson is able to provide a range of support to pupils as they navigate their way through the potential complexities of adolescent life. She is also able to refer pupils and staff on to external counsellors and psychotherapists.

The School Counsellor operates within established codes of practice in terms of confidentiality.

Dr Acheson also works with the Peer Supporters who are selected members of the Remove (Year 13) who provide an additional form of support to the pupils in the School. All Peer Supporters are Safeguarding trained and receive Listening Skills training, advice and guidance about how to support pupils within the School. Further to this, they discuss and identify trends and patterns of behaviour, working strategically with other pupil leadership groups to provide responses to current issues within the School.

In addition, Dr Gabrielle Ward-Smith (previously Housemaster in Purcell’s) is able to offer counselling to those who seek it.

Contact the School Counsellor

School Chaplain

Opportunities for the spiritual and moral development of pupils are the responsibility of all staff, in all areas of the curriculum and outside the curriculum. More broadly, the School takes very seriously its responsibility to promote the spiritual wellbeing of all staff and pupils.

The Revd Dan Warnke is the School Chaplain; he also teaches Philosophy, Theology and Ethics, as well as Product Design. He provides counsel and support to all pupils within the School whether they have a religious faith or not. He is always happy to talk with pupils and staff who wish to explore aspects of life and faith.

Every Tuesday morning, the School Chaplain hosts the Chaplain’s Breakfast, which is an inter-faith forum discussing contemporary issues. Furthermore, Abbey services on Mondays and Fridays, held in Westminster Abbey, are curated by the School Chaplain: these typically comprise short homilies given by members of the School (including current pupils), as well as external speakers. Twice a term, there is a celebration of Holy Communion in Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey; there is a service of Compline for boarders each week. Roman Catholic pupils are able to receive Mass and to be prepared for confirmation with the generous assistance of Chaplains from Westminster Cathedral.

Amongst other key responsibilities in the School, each year, the School Chaplain helps to prepare pupils for confirmation in the Anglican Communion or, for those already receiving communion, to refresh their faith through attending confirmation preparation classes. He also arranges retreats on a regular basis.

Contact the School Chaplain

Safeguarding Team​

The School’s Safeguarding Team is comprised of the Under Master (Designated Safeguarding Lead), the Head of Boarding (Deputy DSL), Head of Upper School (Deputy DSL), Housemaster in Purcell’s (Deputy DSL), Head of Wellbeing, School Nursing Sister, School Counsellor, School Chaplain. The group meets weekly to review cases, to consider patterns and trends developing though the School, and to propose strategic responses as and where necessary.

This group has representatives from all the key pastoral areas within the School and they liaise carefully both internally with colleagues and also with external organisations such as the Westminster Local Safeguarding Partnership and other Children’s Services. Further support is occasionally sought from specialist organisations such as the NSPCC, Brooke Advisory, Child Bereavement UK, etc.

Contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead

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