Student Wellbeing

Pastoral Care

At College, ensuring the wellbeing of our students is at the core of what we do. It is about building quality relationships, nurturing the hopes and dreams of students, and providing a safe and supportive environment where individuals can flourish. More specifically, the Pastoral Care program provides students with the opportunity to discuss issues relating to their own lives and the lives of others in the wider community, to learn new skills, to develop a greater sense of self and others, to establish friends and to have some fun.

Our Pastoral Care Program is based on the principles of Positive Education and the PERMAH framework developed by Martin Seligman.  The six pillars of the PERMAH model are as follows:

  • Positive emotions – feeling good.
  • Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities.
  • Relationships – being authentically connected to others.
  • Meaning – purposeful existence.
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment and success.
  • Health – making decisions that align with a healthy lifestyle.

Tools to Succeed

Pastoral Care is increasingly important today, especially given the growing challenges our young people face, chief among them the role technology plays in their lives and, in particular, social networking platforms. Also, in an era where mental health challenges amongst young people are increasing, focusing on students’ wellbeing is vital.

Skills such as perseverance, responsibility, integrity, resilience and conflict resolution, and opportunities for serving others, are all key components of the Pastoral Care program at College. These skills equip our students with the tools to help them be happy, and to succeed both in the classroom and beyond.

Key Topics

Topics addressed in the dedicated Pastoral Care lessons align with and address our College Core Values: Perseverance, Resilience, Integrity, Diversity and Empathy. Other important issues include body image, self-esteem and identity, decision-making, sexuality education, nutrition, self-respect, healthy habits, risk-taking behaviours, leadership, drug education, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, relationships and personal safety among others.

Online Safety

Given the real world and contemporary nature of the topics explored in Pastoral Care, online safety has become a significant focus in these lessons. Our Director of eLearning speaks to our students about the risks of the online world and has designed an online course which students complete each year. Further development of students’ positive digital image as well as education to be a good digital citizen are shared through assemblies and Year level meetings throughout the year.

He also shares and presents valuable information to our parents about how to keep up with what young people are doing online and how to keep them safe. This is but one way we work with parents to ensure our students are developing as well-rounded, confident and self-assured young people who are able to achieve to the best of their potential. We also have systems in place to monitor students’ use of technology when connected to our network. These systems alert us when children engage in online behaviour that may put their safety and wellbeing at risk.

Leadership Programs

Having badged leaders is imperative but leadership is not just about a badge or a title at College. In fact, some of the best leadership skills can be demonstrated by students who don’t have a position per se; what they do have is passion, motivation and drive. Additionally, some of the best leadership skills have been demonstrated by students in the way they have dealt with disappointment, in the way they have bounced back from adversity and in the way they have recovered from making mistakes. Further, authentic leadership is something that is fostered early on and grows from a young age. To this end, leadership opportunities are offered to our younger students, whether it be attending leadership experiences such as Altitude Day, forming student committees such as the Year 10 Dinner Committee, or giving students the chance to attend school trips where they can take leading roles e.g. volunteering in a school in Cambodia.

Peer Helper/Buddy Program

The Peer Helper Program includes a group of Senior College students who have been trained to form positive supportive relationships with their peers and to refer them to the appropriate Pastoral Care staff during times of difficulty. The program works across the Junior and Senior Colleges and fosters relationships across the College to build identity and meaningful and authentic relationships.

Each week Tutor Groups from the Senior College visit a specific Year level in the Junior College to develop connections across the College. The benefits of this Buddy program are twofold: the older children learn to take on responsibility, while the younger children know that they have a fellow student they can confidently turn to for support. This fosters a sense of whole-school community and creates friendships that enable both the older and younger students to bond more closely with their school. This increases the likelihood of more positive school behaviour for all students.  Our Buddy Program at College shows our students that they are capable of building relationships and showing care for others.

Camp Program

School camps at College are a liberating way for students to interact with the natural world while learning a range of life skills.  Our camps allow students to embrace not only the intellectual aspects of school life, but to also develop the emotional, social, creative and spiritual qualities they will need in the future.  Camp activities may include hiking, canoeing, games and adventure sports.   In addition, children being away from home means being away from parents or caregivers – the people who usually guide them with all their decisions and routines. For some, a school camp may be the first time they are responsible for getting themselves up in the morning, making healthy food decisions or packing their own bags. They are given the freedom and accountability to make conscious and positive decisions. School camps also allow for breaks from access to screens, bringing children back down to earth, enabling them to be present in their surroundings. Experts suggest that consistent exposure to nature can be a defining factor in mental health. Spending time outside in the natural environment can decrease stress and anxiety, help us sleep better and regulate emotions in adults and children alike. Not only that, but increased time in nature can stimulate a greater sense of responsibility for the environment and living things.  For these reasons, we are proud to offer a week long camp program in Senior College and shorter programs for Years 3 to 6. These camps form a core component of our Positive Education Programs.

Incidental Moments

Pastoral Care is more than just about the dedicated lessons and particular staff members. Perhaps even more important are the incidental moments that contribute to the wellbeing and success of our students. It is the lessons learnt on the sporting field about teamwork; it is the scripture passages explored in Chapel; it is the fun moments shared on camp balanced by the moments when students are challenged to self-reflect; it is the philosophies teachers embed in their teaching practices, the concepts they teach and the very behaviour they role model; it is the way new students are welcomed into the College; it is the follow through when a student is facing a problem; it can be as seemingly insignificant as a conversation shared between a student and staff member in the school yard.