As a Catholic college we have a deeper responsibility to provide for the development of the whole person.
Sitting alongside our proud Catholic mission and identity, pastoral care is at the centre of what we do at MacKillop. Pastoral care at MacKillop is about knowing our students well and helping them to flourish emotionally, physically, spiritually and academically. Pastoral care is about every student and their wellbeing.
Wellbeing is described as a state of being well in body, mind and spirit. MacKillop has a particular response to wellbeing, guided by faith and the words of Jesus, who said “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full”. Being sustainably positive in mood, in attitude, in resilience, in belonging and satisfaction is when life can be fully engaged with is when all can flourish.
Flourishing takes place when young people know they are known and acknowledged by their community. When they realise they are part of a supportive and safe community, they tend to ‘opt in’. They increase their involvement levels with each other, with their teachers, with their sport, creative and extra-curricular activities, and their wider school community. In opting in, connections become stronger and respectful relationships emerge, achievements are celebrated and community ties are tightly forged.
So how do we ensure that this happens at MacKillop? Great relationships are fostered between our students and their Tutor Teachers, who are the first point of contact for both parents and students. Our Year Level Co-ordinators are also an important presence in our students’ lives. Each co-ordinator remains with their year group for the four years they are under our care. We believe this pastoral structure provides the best possible means through which each student can be truly known, acknowledged and cared for during their time with us.
Our Wellbeing Team comprises also of specialised staff to support our students. Our Director of Pastoral Care, Mr Briers, co-ordinates this team which includes our Tutor Teachers, Year Level Co-ordinators, Learning Support Team, our Counsellor, Ms Diane Pitman and our Educational Psychologist, Mrs Rowena Gibson. This team works together to bring about the best possible wellbeing outcomes for our students.
We are fortunate to have around an hour in our timetable every week allocated to Personal Development. These sessions are generally held in Tutor Groups or Year levels and important topics are presented, discussed and worked through. Over the past couple of years, we have worked with our students on Resilience, Anti-Bullying, Character Strengths, Growth Mindset, Goal Setting, Respectful Relationships, Cybersafety, Sexting and Consent. We have also had guest presenters work with our students in the areas of Mental Health (Speak Up Stay ChatTY) and Drug Education. In late 2018, we were incredibly fortunate to host renowned author, commentator and advocate Melinda Tankard-Reist. Our students tell us often, over the course of their time at MacKillop, that our PD sessions and special presentations have been incredibly important and useful to them.
Pastoral Care/Student Wellbeing also covers a range of formal policies and activities within our community in addition to Personal Development. These include:
- Religious Education Curriculum.
- Learning Support.
- Pathway/Career planning.
- Anti-Harassment Policy.
- Behaviour Management Policy.
- Student Leadership Opportunities (including Student Leaders, House Captains, Peer Support Leaders and the vertical SRC).