The Structure of Pastoral Care
Pastoral care is the foundation of the student experience at St Hilda’s School. It enhances learning by encouraging a sense of belonging and security. Pastoral care provides a ‘safety net’ for students during difficult times, but also seeks to proactively support students by providing them with skills to navigate the many challenges of personal development through later adolescence and life after school.
Pastoral Care Groups
Our popular multi-level Pastoral Care Groups, involving collaboration between girls from Years 7 to 12 and individual staff members, are based on girls’ Houses. This provides the opportunity for the Pastoral Care Teacher to get to know her students well as they progress together through the various stages of Middle and Senior School. It is a built-in peer support system with the older students mentoring the younger ones and providing an atmosphere of security and care while listening to their needs. There are 10 to 12 girls per group. This structure enables mentoring of the younger girls by the staff member. It is designed to build a sense of belonging to the group and further enhance House spirit. Smaller groups provide an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns, to learn from shared experiences and enhance supportive behaviour.
Heads of Year
Each of the three year levels in the Senior School has a designated Head of Year. The Head of Year has a special relationship with their year level, being responsible for working collaboratively with teachers to ensure that the pastoral and developmental needs of students are met. They support students in meeting the School’s expectations and provide support for individual girls as needed.
Character and Leadership Development
In Years 10 and 11, all girls study Character and Leadership Development. These dynamic classes challenge students to explore a range of issues, including respectful and self-respecting behaviours, managing conflict, philosophical thinking, youth issues, approaching assessment with intelligence and the power of leadership.
Supporting Student Welfare
There can be times in the life of students when support is needed to help them achieve their best at school. To see the range of people who are available to assist students, please see Health and Wellbeing.
We are often asked about the discipline used within the school. In recent years, schools have preferred to use the term behavioural management which was seen as a softer term that showed a different style of creating the atmosphere and culture that was wanted. Discipline suggested that students were ‘made’ to behave. Management suggested a more consultative style.
The reality is we are asked about discipline within the school. Our reality is that we have little cause to discipline the girls. The girls’ behaviour is remarkable. This surprises people. Many read (and believe) the media coverage and community conversation about young people that gives a negative impression. We do not find this to be our experience. It is not that they “do what they are told” that we emphasise, rather we delight in the wonderful sense of cooperation and relationship between the girls and staff. Therefore, the sense of a need to ‘discipline’ is not a consideration. From time-to-time, a girl will need to be corrected but this is not discipline. Adults do this with other adults. Sanctions such as detentions or demerit points do not exist within the school. Conversation, guidance and high expectations do. They work because we have a relationship that matters between staff and the girls.