Pastoral Care, Overview

Pastoral Care

Pastoral strategies are directly related to excellent learning outcomes, they tap into the core of what makes the child tick.

Regardless of the age or gender of the student, it is important to acknowledge what much of the recent research has reinforced in regard to the key factors in student learning:

* 60% of student achievement relates directly to the teacher
* 30% relates to the motivational levels of the student
* 10% relates to the school the child attends
Therefore if excellent individual teachers are better able to understand their students and what motivates them, they could have a 90% chance of making a huge impact on learning outcomes and results.

As a Marist school, we are deeply concerned about each and every student in our care. We believe strongly that education is based on sound relationships and our Pastoral Program aims to nurture this relationship. Pastoral Care is the school’s expression of its concern for the development of the whole person.  At Marist College, Eastwood it is expressed through:

* the development of quality relationships
* the provision of satisfying learning experiences
* the establishment of an effective care network
* the effective implementation of the College Behaviour Management Policy
Excellence in Teaching and Learning
In an educational context, an essential requirement for Pastoral Care is that we are effective teachers.

* Lessons should be well-prepared, innovative, challenging, interesting and student-centred.
* Assignments should be corrected in a reasonable time.
* Work at home or at school should be checked regularly and every opportunity taken to give credit for effort made.
* Students should be continually challenged to reach their potential.
Pastoral Structure
At Marist College Eastwood the formal and informal structures to support students include:

* Our College Homeroom structure and the role of Homeroom Teachers
* House Structure
* The Year Coordinator and the Homeroom Team
* A College Counsellor
* A College Chaplain
* Referral processes to external agencies including Champagnat House.

In addition, the characteristics of this College community that enables us to listen to the story of our students are:

* A strong Marist tradition which reflects many of the qualities of Marcellin himself
* Being a College where hard work and excellent achievement are valued, a place where the individual is genuinely loved and prized
* An active and involved parental community
* That our College has a strong family spirit is evident
* That our College is characterised by a lack of pretence but rather by simplicity and calm determination
* That our College is a special concern for those students who find school most difficult.
* Above all, our College is a place that has the Gospel at their heart, encouraging students to respond to it with the same faith and generosity as Mary did.

Sense of Belonging, School Morale and Family Spirit
A school with a strong sense of belonging helps those boys who feel some dislocation in their lives to belong. A school that fosters a sense of belonging offers the students some community and family spirit, which is welcoming and stable in a world of change.  School spirit and identity is a multi-faceted phenomenon and seems to rise from many sources e.g. the Orientation Program for incoming students and parents, regular school assemblies and liturgies, participation in public events together (such as cultural and sporting fixtures), the loyalty of teachers for the school, celebration of school events, school rituals and the development of parent and student loyalties to the school.  Bonding of students occurs when they experience an affinity for the school as a place where they are recognised as people and feel linked with others.  Bonding offers support and affirmation for each person in the school community.  They know that their presence in the school community is significant to the group and they have some real contribution to make to its growth.

In order to facilitate these expressions, key structures are in place to support the care of students.

Year Group, Homeroom /House and Pastoral Care Program
The Pastoral Care Program which is overseen by the Assistant Principal and Year Coordinators permeates the entire care life of the College. It operates through the Year group and the homeroom class. Each Year group is supervised by the Year Co-ordinator who is responsible for their respective Year group and is assisted by the Homeroom teachers who take care of the homeroom classes.

This system provides an opportunity for staff to develop a very positive relationship with a group of boys outside what is experienced in the classroom. It reflects a concern not just for the intellectual growth of the boys but the development of the whole person - spiritual, academic, social, physical and emotional. As such, the Homeroom teacher is well-placed to be the first point of contact for parents.

The program for Pastoral lessons is an integrated one incorporating spiritual development, study skills, social and community education, and other areas of study or activities which are appropriate to each Year level. As such the lessons are structured and well-planned, based on the experience and knowledge of boys at their various levels of development. The Year Co-ordinators determine the program in consultation with the Pastoral teachers and other staff members, and together they form the Pastoral team at each Year level - monitoring the boys’ academic progress and ensuring their wellbeing.

Meeting time will be provided at the start of each term for Pastoral teams to fine-tune the program for the term.

House Structure

* There are four “House Groups” and each House has homerooms in each year level
* Each House is co-ordinated by a member of staff who is acts as House Leader and each House also has a House Captain supported by a Vice Captain and a Prefect;
* Each Pastoral Class is led by a Homeroom Teacher, who is a person in a significant relationship of care of the student;
* Each student belongs to a House and is allocated to a Home Room class.
* Students meet with their Home Room Teacher in their Pastoral Class each morning for the purposes of roll call and administration.
* The Year Co-ordinator has the specific role of nurturing the community of the year group and overseeing the care of students in that year
* Year teams meet on a regular basis to anticipate pastoral care issues in the year group;
* The pastoral care support system is outlined in the student diary. It is the framework for both the merit and behaviour management system;
* A school counsellor is employed to give assistance and guidance to all members of the College community
* House leaders have the specific role of promoting school spirit across Years 7 – 12 and encourage competition amongst the houses.

Roles and Responsibilities
Assistant Principal

* oversees the implementation of the Pastoral Care policy and program
* oversees the development of policies and procedures that assist the Pastoral Care program
* oversees the implementation and development of the Student Behaviour Management Policy
* ensures that all procedures and policies are followed in line with college expectations and the policies of the Catholic Education Office, Sydney.

Year Co-ordinator

 Key Tasks in Relation to the Pastoral Program

* to co-ordinate the Pastoral Care Program at that Year level
* to be the first point of contact for Pastoral programs relevant to the Year group e.g. peer support, camps, community service
* to support and advise Pastoral teachers in regard to the Pastoral Program
* to establish procedures and agenda for Pastoral meetings
* to be available to assist teachers (particularly new staff) with procedures and management of the Pastoral group
* to visit Pastoral groups on a regular basis
* to maintain regular contact with the Assistant Principal about the programs’ progress and initiatives

Homeroom/Pastoral Care Teacher Role Description
Primary Role

 * to develop a relationship with members of the Pastoral Class (Homeroom) in order to become the first contact point for students who need assistance with routine support in the College.

Key Roles

* to facilitate prayer on a daily basis to complement the religious life of the College.
* to communicate regularly with students in order to know their names, preferred name and important background and family information.
* to fulfil daily administration duties by marking the attendance roll accurately to identify patterns of absenteeism and lateness, which will be communicated to the Year Co-ordinator in order to facilitate the cohesive operation of the school day.
* to check diaries regularly to ensure effective communication with parents and to identify issues of concern in relation to behaviour and/or work ethic of the student.
* to communicate with students on issues raised in the diary in order to seek reasons for behavioural or work related issues and to develop simple strategies to overcome minor issues.
* to liaise with the Year Co-ordinator on consistent or significant issues of concern for individual students to ensure the effective and consistent management of student issues.
* to assist the Year Co-ordinator in the implementation and monitoring of management strategies for students who consistently breach College expectations.
* to liaise regularly with the Year Co-ordinator in relation to Year group initiatives, Pastoral Programs, and areas for improvement to ensure the consistent communication of College expectations.
* to liaise with the Year Co-ordinator to develop a co-ordinated and meaningful Pastoral Program.
* to facilitate the presentation of Pastoral Care lessons to assist in the development of all students.
* to participate in Year group activities to develop the trust of students in the Year group.
* to monitor student uniforms and ensure homeroom is clean and graffiti free in order to maintain consistent standards across the Year group and College.

Central to the development of good Pastoral Care is the development of rituals that support and maintain a good relationship between, school, home, church and education. In specific ways every day and each year we proclaim that we are members of the Church and manifest Jesus to our Community through:

* daily prayer in classrooms and at assemblies
* staff prayer in meetings
* our commitment to our Marist identity and Mary as Mother and Patroness of the College.
* our proclamation of Saint Marcellin Champagnat (founder of the Marist Brothers) as Model and Patron of the College.

Teacher-student Interaction
Much Pastoral Care is experienced by casual and incidental teacher student interaction.  Teachers should try to be present, at least from time to time, where the students are gathered.  The recreation yard, before school, in the classroom, sport fields and canteen are some of the areas where students gather for sharing and peer interaction.  The listening presence of a teacher in such areas allows dialogue between students and teachers to happen outside structured and more formal classroom periods.

Behaviour Management
Behaviour Management is an important part of any school. Its purposes are to direct the students towards worthwhile goals and to maintain levels of accountability. At Marist College, Behaviour Management is structured according to levels. These levels relate to the degree of seriousness and provide a framework for helping students develop better self-management. (Further details follow)

At Marist College, “bullying” is defined as the action of a student who attempts to exercise an improper authority or influence over another by intimidation, threatened or actual physical violence, humiliation, racial vilification, the use of obscene or vulgar language or the violation of the victim’s right to security of property or person. It is carried out to intimidate, coerce, frighten or control. We have policy and procedures that deals specifically with this issue.

A climate of affirmation encourages students to imbibe a sense of personal self worth and to know that their gifts are appreciated.  Affirmation seeks a new creation in each person, allowing talents to come to fruition.

Pastoral Care seeks a climate whereby boys are provided with opportunities for realising the talents which are theirs and that due recognition is given to such talents.  Affirmation reaches to all aspects of school life, from formal school assemblies, to individual presence in the classroom, to the challenge to the peer group which inhibits or stunts the giftedness of other students. (Further details follow)

Grooming and Uniform Guidelines
Personal appearance is an important aspect of the presentation of the uniform and is an expression of pride in oneself and the College.

College rules have been developed to inculcate the self-discipline and self-restraint which allows boys to grow into manhood. The College rules also offer clear guidelines to assist students in maintaining true Christian standards in their treatment of each other. The College rules also help in the management of an environment concerned for the greater good of all concerned.

As such there is an obligation, resting on all young men of Marist College Eastwood, to work together for the maintaining of the good character of the College through obedience to its rules. The Seniors of the College accept greater responsibility for this obligation and their reasonable directions are to be obeyed in a spirit of willing cooperation and friendliness.

The College Uniform
The students of Marist College Eastwood have over a number of years established an outstanding reputation in the local community. The obvious pride with which the uniform is worn is a tangible sign of the value students place on being a student at M.C.E.  It is your responsibility to maintain this important tradition by continuing to wear the College uniform with pride and to be clean, tidy, well-groomed and well-mannered.  The details of the College Uniform are outlined clearly below to assist with your presentation of a uniform worthy of Marist College Eastwood’s reputation.

Your personal appearance is an important aspect of the presentation of your uniform and is an expression of your pride in yourself and the College. As such, earrings and studs or any form of jewellery are not allowed to be worn at school.

Your hair should always:
– be clean, neat and short
– be of its natural colour
– be free from extremes of length or fashion
– be free from steps, undercuts, scalp designs, rat tails, wedges or number one or two blades

It is important that you be clean shaven at all times
– sideburns are to be shaved no further than level with the midpoint of your ears.

College Rules

Behaviour Outside College Grounds
The main rules relating to student’s conduct outside the college grounds are:

1.         Courtesy and thoughtfulness for others must govern conduct in travelling to and from the College.  A Christian boy should always be on the alert for opportunities to give assistance, perhaps at the cost of his own convenience or comfort.
2.         At all times students should show pride in their College and conduct themselves so as to preserve and enhance its good name.

3.         The complete College uniform, in respectable condition, is to be worn to and from the College.