Pastoral Care: enhancing spiritual and personal growth
Pastoral care has been an important part of Northholm’s program since the School’s foundation. Our pastoral care system is structured to provide a network of support, encouragement and guidance for every student in our care so that no student feels lost or overwhelmed and each student feels a sense of belonging.
Director of Student Development: Jenny Pluss
Jenny Pluss was appointed as Director of Student Development in 2011 after proving her capacity for role in her previous role as the coordinator of the Co-curricular program. As a Foundation member of Staff Mrs Pluss has demonstrated her long term commitment to the school and to the wellbeing of all students in her care. In her role as Director of Student Development Mrs Pluss is responsible for the welfare of students from Years Seven to Twelve, in consultation. This very broad responsibility covers development and implementation of welfare programs, the overall management of the co-curricular program and the scheduling of all major School events. She is assisted in these responsibilities by the Head of House and the School Counsellors.
Our pastoral care system is structured to provide a network of support, encouragement and guidance for every student in our care so that no student feels lost or overwhelmed. Each student is assigned to a House and a Tutorial group and teachers are appointed as Tutor within the House system. Within this structure, students get to know each other through a range of diverse activities; learn to understand differences between people and form friendships across different year levels. Tutors also play a critical role in helping the students in their care to identify and achieve their goals according to their interests, talents and needs. The tutor oversees of the academic progress and welfare of each of the students in their care, and is the first point of contact for parents on issues or concerns relating to a student’s wellbeing or development.
In the Junior School the role of the tutor is the responsibility of the classroom teacher who spends a significant part of the week with the class. In Year Seven the role of tutor is the responsibility of one of the student’s Core Teachers who again spends a significant part of each week with their tutor group. Students are assigned to a new tutor group at the beginning of Year Eight and remain in this group for two years. During this time the tutor’s role changes to that of a mentor. At the beginning of Year Ten students move to a Senior Tutorial and remain in this group until they graduate at the end of Year Twelve. In Senior Tutorials the role of a Tutor changes to that of a coach. While the Tutor continues to monitor the academic progress and welfare of each student, Senior students are expected to adopt far greater responsibility for their learning.
In recent years all tutors have undertaken training in a program called ‘Circle Solutions’. The strategies that are integral to this program ensure all students are included in tutor discussions and activities. Pastoral issues such as cybersafety, peer pressure and bullying, as well as academic priorities such as goal setting and study skills are addressed during these sessions.
All students belong to one of four Houses – Capell, Lincoln, Patteson or Rowland. Students represent their House in a number of school based activities. These include the annual Swimming, Athletics and Cross Country Carnivals and a number of House Competitions. A weekly Tutorial Activity period also enables social interaction within House groups through structured and unstructured activities and games.
A specialist counsellor is available to assist students and their families in matters relating to their academic and social wellbeing. The counsellor has established a network of support and is able to provide advice on external service providers.
The School does not tolerate bullying of any form and is proactive in its efforts to maintain a culture where students feel safe. This includes the delivery of programs and workshops to inform students of their rights and responsibilities in respect of both themselves and others
The School has very clear practices in regard to cyber safety. These include the regular revision of policies to provide currency of practice, appropriate security measures for the schools IT infrastructure and regular briefings on cybersafety for staff students and parents.