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.
Working across Years 5 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.
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. 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 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.
From Years 6 – 12, students associate strongly with their House groups, thus the Middle School House Heads and the Senior School House Heads are the key pastoral carers together with each student’s Tutor. 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.
Students in Year 6 also have their class teacher as a key pastoral carer and students in Years 7 and 8 have a team of three core subject teachers who have the class’s pastoral care as one of their key responsibilities. The Year 9/10 Coordinator and Year 11/12 Coordinator add yet another layer of support to the House Heads and Tutors 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.