Pastoral Care at Scotch Oakburn College is multifaceted and wide-ranging with a comprehensive staff structure of teachers, leaders, Learning Support, coaches, tutors, mentors and specialised mental-health care experts who each have ‘pastoral care’ as one of their key, professional responsibilities.

Of equal importance are our values-based programs that continually reinforce and reward empathy, tolerance and connectedness in our community. These age-appropriate programs are a part of all aspects of College life and are passionately guided by our staff.

We focus on the personal, social, emotional, spiritual and physical development of every student. Each child is valued for who he or she is, learns the value of service and gratitude, and is supported and nurtured while being challenged and exposed to opportunities.

Our pastoral carers are always available to talk, and students and parents are warmly encouraged to engage with staff about any concerns, big or small.

Our Pastoral Care structure is intentionally interconnected, ensuring each student has the support and guidance needed to thrive in, and beyond, the College.

Dean of Students / Heads of School

Working across Years 6 to 12, the Dean of Students supports both staff and students in pastoral matters, as well as student transitions from Junior to Middle School, and Middle to Senior School. This role ensures continuity of pastoral care for students as they progress through the College or enter the Middle or Senior School as a new student.

Each section of the College also has a Head of School, and the Junior School has a Deputy Head of School, all of whom have the wellbeing of the students within their section of the College as a prime focus of their role.

Junior School

In the Junior School, the primary pastoral carer is the class teacher. Students are also members of a House, which provides for various intra-school activities that further add to the students’ sense of belonging and House Heads provide another layer of pastoral care.  Smaller class sizes and a proactive approach to the development of growth mindsets are integral to this approach. Our Head of Junior School and Deputy Head of Junior School also support students, staff, and families throughout this period in all aspects of pastoral care.

The Junior School employs a raft of values-based programs including Connect@Elphin, LIVE@Elphin and the buddy program for all year groups, to name just a small selection. The class buddy program allows older students to buddy up with younger students – and younger students to have an older buddy – across the Junior School. This program provides leadership and support to students and encourages valuable relationships across year levels. As students progress through the Junior School and participate in different class buddy combinations, the network of year-level relationships grows and develops into a thriving and inclusive community.

Middle and Senior School

Year 6 teachers remain the core pastoral carers for that year level as students arrive from the Junior School. From Years 6 – 12, students associate strongly with their House groups and tutors (seven per House) are the primary pastoral carers for Year 7-12 as well as additional support for Year 6. Middle School House Heads and the Senior School House Heads are also available to assist as needed.  Every student is a valuable member of a ‘vertical’ House Tutor Group on a two year, rotational basis, consisting of students from Years 6 – 12 from within their House.

Years 7 and 8 have a team of three core subject teachers who can also assist with pastoral care as required. The Year 9/10 Coordinator and Year 11/12 Coordinator add yet another layer of support to the Tutors and House Heads for Years 9 – 12.

Every day in the Middle and Senior Schools, Period 5 is a dedicated ‘pastoral’ period. Students meet in a variety of forums to engage with pastoral issues and values. These periods include: vertical Tutor Group meetings, Year level meetings, assemblies, Chapel services, WAVE program (Wellbeing and Values Education), Round Square Baraza group meetings, and fantastic, thought provoking guest speakers.

In addition, pastoral programs are linked through camps, service events and co-curricular activities.


We are very fortunate to have Paddington, our therapy dog at the Middle and Senior School. Paddington is part of our everyday school life.  He is trained to comfort and support our students (and staff) as needed.  He can always be found in and around the Penquite campus.

Wellbeing articles – keeping parents informed

You will find articles in our College news every week provided by our Wellbeing Coordinator, Kylie Wolstencroft. Kylie is also a registered psychologist.  Read her most recently submitted articles below:

Developing young people’s emotional smarts

18 June, 2020|

Author: Michael Grose


The last few months have certainly been a test of a young person’s emotional smarts. The ups and downs of the COVID-19 experience continue to play on the emotions of all us, but for adolescence who are going through a period of brain development, this can be […]

Collaborative parenting style wins the day during COVID-19

12 June, 2020|

Author: Michael Grose


The close quarter living that most of us have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the patience and communications skills of even the most assured parent. The constancy of members living together is a test of family management skills, revealing any flaws or limitations that exist.

Those […]

Conquering kids’ techno-tantrums

5 June, 2020|

Author: Dr Kristy Goodwin


Many of us have witnessed our kids or teens emotionally combust when asked to switch off their gaming console or put their phone away. I colloquially call these ‘techno-tantrums’. Many of us fret that this signals that they’re ‘addicted’ to technology and find ourselves worrying about […]

Easing Back

18 May, 2020|

Easing back-to-school anxiety post COVID-19

Author Dr Tanya Unni


As schools reopen, parents are noticing the huge changes COVID-19 has made in our communities.

Skyrocketing financial uncertainty and the confusion surrounding education has left many parents feeling uneasy as we move into our ‘new normal’. Although many are breathing a sigh of […]

Place chores roster at the top of your coronavirus ‘to do’ list

14 May, 2020|

Author: Michael Grose


The current coronavirus inspired social isolation policy means kids have more time at home. That means there’s more mess, more untidiness and more food to prepare.

It’s reasonable to expect kids to clean up after themselves, sweep floors, wipe benches, wash dishes or empty dishwashers and also contribute […]

Wellbeing checklists

1 May, 2020|

During this time of Coronavirus, many of us have experienced a variety of emotions ranging from fear to anxiety. This is especially true for our young people, making it more important than ever for adult carers to remain vigilant for any signs of distress.

These wellbeing checklists are specific to primary […]

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