Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends and Students
As I indicated last issue of the Chronicle, I would like to share some information about our Pastoral Care Programme with you all. The paper below was prepared to explain our Pastoral Care system and how it works. I hope this assists you to understand our rationale and how we operate in this space.
Just a few short decades ago, pastoral care of students was almost non-existent but now education institutions worldwide are making huge efforts in creating a nurturing and supportive setting designed to facilitate the growth of the whole person rather than a simple single facet of their being. Each school will boast excellence in pastoral care and some achieve more than others; however it is important to remember that each education facility will strive for excellence in their pastoral care programs to ensure the growth of each student who walks their halls.
Pastoral care is like Hydra in that it has many heads and many faces at Edmund Rice College. All staff employed at the College are responsible for the pastoral care of our students including our cleaners, farm and maintenance staff and it is often these people who fill in important and often vital points of information staff need to ensure that our students are provided with a caring, supportive, safe and nurturing school environment.
In addition to these important people, pastoral care at the College is overseen by the leadership team who in turn work closely with the House Coordinators, College Psychologist, College Nurse, Residential and Teaching staff. It is a complex web designed to support each and every student which ensures that every single student has at least one trusted member on staff that they can seek out when needed and who will champion them. We also have senior students who mentor younger students and assist in the running of pastoral programs, such as our Verdale program. These students are vital in that they are available to walk and talk with younger peers without retaliation. Student mentors are those who demonstrate natural empathy and they have guidelines that they work within and must report to the pastoral care staff after speaking with their peers. This is designed to catch all students and to ensure that none pass through the net unseen.
Relationships are pivotal to the effectiveness of the pastoral care program at the College. Time and effort are given to staff to ensure that nurturing and supportive relationships are developed between staff and students with extended PCG times being timetabled weekly to develop positive healthy relationships. We start the week together sharing successes and frustrations, building comradery and togetherness through sharing circles, team building sessions and activities that are trauma informed to soothe some of our troubled souls.
Members of our College community are blessed for many reasons. Our environment is beautiful, we have a culturally diverse staff and student population and every member of staff is willing to walk with whoever needs to be listened to and ease the minds of some our more vulnerable students. We like our students. We want each and every one of them to reach their full potential and to be happy and experience success while at the College. Happiness for students is often times about being prepared and having a place to go when feeling troubled. Sometimes students may need a button sewed, a new pencil or something needs to be found, encouragement around assessments needs to be given or assistance in the development of sound homework skills. Then there are the times when a student is deeply distressed and withdrawn and a place of peace and security is sought so they can regulate their emotions, reflect and process their feelings and finally be listened to when they choose to speak.
We are an open door school. Many parents, care-givers and students are on first name terms with the College Executive and Senior Leadership team, in addition to other College staff. Parents are encouraged to contact or visit the College whenever they can if they are concerned about the welfare of their child. Students are also encouraged to visit the College Executive and Senior Leadership to discuss and share their day-to-day concerns. Appointment times are flexible. In the past the board room has been filled with senior students discussing and sharing ideas with the College Executive Team about how to better care for all students at the College; they are listened to and the matters raised are actioned and followed up. Relationships, trust and respect underpin the philosophy of pastoral care at the College.
An innovative classroom teaching model that caters for students with significant learning gaps, trauma informed practices, social and emotional well-being programs and brain-breaks are all designed to nurture and support our students. However, these are all meaningless if students do not feel they have a sound relationship with staff or feel they not a part of the College community.
As a collective, staff realise that a key factor for a young person to experience success at school is that it is important for students to feel as if they are a part of the College community. They need to feel as though they have an identity, are valued and that their voice is heard and that they have a relationship with each other and their teachers. In addition to this it is also important that each student’s pastoral welfare is monitored and nurtured to ensure their on-going successes.
Do we do this well at Edmund Rice College?
We believe we do.
The pastoral care program at the College allows for each student to develop an identity, feel valued and have their voice heard and develop positive and nurturing relationships with each other and their staff.
We strive to live in partnerships where each person is empowered and enriched by active participation, cooperation, collaboration and enthusiasm – a community where life may be enjoyed and celebrated with creativity and passion. Central to this community is the deep and trusting relationships developed between staff and students and the comfort that each of the students enrolled at the College has one adult who is consistent and will be present to them. This is central to our pastoral care system at Edmund Rice College.
Next edition, I will provide some information about our Year 11 and 12 Curriculum.
A Prayer for Students
Christ our Teacher,
You dwell deep within each of our students;
In those who struggle academically, and in those who excel;
In those who seek attention by acting out,
and in those who remain silent and try to hide from notice;
In those surrounded by friends, and in those feeling lonely;
Give us the grace to know your presence in each of them
and to respond to their needs as you would to ours.
Deputy Principal Report
National Sorry Day & Reconciliation Week
On Sorry Day and every day, we stand with Stolen Generations and their families in their fight for justice. We stand with our community to work towards structural and systemic change through Treaty and truth-telling.
A Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony was conducted on Monday by two of our College Aboriginal Teaching Assistants, Mr Greg McDonald and Mr Brendan Nelson. This ceremony included all staff and students of the College and began our Reconciliation Week of activities for our College community.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Staff and students were invited to gather around a display produced by Miss Courtney and year eight students as they shared stories and explored what reconciliation is and how they can act, as reconciliation is more that just a word.
A Sorry Day Liturgy was held during this week’s Pastoral Care group for all students and staff, coming together as a step towards healing the Stolen Generation and all their families and the College community. We acknowledge their pain and suffering and apologise for the wrongs of the past. After the liturgy, students were given an opportunity to design their own handprint on a piece of paper, write a message or their name and then colour it in. These hands will be placed in the Grotto and will be later transferred and placed on the windows of the College administration building as a beautiful display.
I would like to thank Miss Courtney, Miss Shelley, Mr Greg and Mr Brendan for their assistance in these activities.
Year 7-9 Camp
Mr Luke and the year 7-9 teaching staff have been busy planning and finalising the junior secondary camp to Nanga Bush Camp, which will happen later this term.
A variety of activities have been planned for the students whilst supported by our very capable staff. Student attendance to camps is compulsory as the planned activities align with the curriculum and support the development of students social and emotional capabilities. Therefore, we strongly encourage all students to attend. If your child is experiencing any uneasiness around attending camp, please contact your child’s class teachers or Mr Luke to discuss any concerns in detail prior to the start of the camp.
Parents and guardians please be on the lookout for information which will be emailed home in the coming weeks which will include additional important details regarding the camp.
Year 10 Students
Year 10 students will be participating in a VET Block Week in week 10 of this term.
Students will participate in a variety of planned activities such as completing their SmartMove certificates both the General and an industry Specific module, plan and run a series of NAIDOC workshops for primary school students and participate in a TAFE initiative, Get into Resources one-day seminar and workshops which will provide students with information on mining and resource industry work related opportunities and careers.
Information will be emailed home to all parents and guardians once the itinerary has been finalised for students and any questions that either you or your child may have regarding the VET Block Week, please forward them to the College.
Good Standing Excursion – Latitude Air
On Thursday 27 and Friday 28 May our first Good Standing excursions for this term took place. The students who retained their good standing were taken to Latitude Air in Joondalup. Some of those students attended both days while some only attended Friday because of ACC commitments on the Thursday.
All students participated in activities they felt comfortable with; some students went outside their comfort zone and tried different climbing activities despite being nervous, which was great to see. I bet they felt good about achieving something they were not sure about; facing fears is a thing to be respected.
The best part about attending Latitude Air with our students was seeing everyone participate in a respectful way, having a good time, chilling with friends during lunch and most importantly representing the College with pride. So much so that a member of the public approached staff and complimented our students for being well mannered and well behaved.
On the next good standing excursion, I expect to see even more of our students attending and having a good time for a job well done.
On The Farm
It’s been a busy week on farm for staff and students.
We were all very lucky to start the second week of olive picking in the glorious sunshine. This week’s picking is for the production of oil. We have had a huge haul of 500kg of olives which has produced 50kg of oil. Once again, thanks to Miss Karen and Miss Khearna for keeping everyone motivated and on track with the harvest. Thanks to all the staff and students who have helped all week and have made the harvest a productive one. Our second batch of olives are headed off to the press in York for delivery on Thursday and we are all excited to see how much oil it will make. The mad scientist lab under the school is currently bubbling away nicely in anticipation of some delicious table olives. Thanks to Mr Mike for keeping it all running smoothly.
On the 13 May Edmund Rice College topped the Wool sales in Fremantle with two bales of wool; one at 14.7 micron which sold for 1759 cents a kilo greasy, which is 2411 cents clean. The second bale was 16.2 micron and sold 1736 cents a kilo, which is 2335 cents clean. This is a terrific result for the school and thanks to Mike Whiteley for his hard work in achieving this result.
With seeding just around the corner, staff and students are getting machinery greased and oiled ready for a steady seeding season. The plan is to seed 37 hectares of Windjardie Oats, 13 hectares of Marguerite Serradella and Border Balansia Clover is well under way. Lambing is in full swing with lots of little cute lambs on the ground along with some slightly bigger but still cute calves arriving in the beginning of June.
ACC Cross Country
On Thursday 27 May the College took a large number of students to compete in the ACC Cross Country Carnival at Perry Lakes in Floreat. This year was the biggest group the College had taken and also took the Year 11 and 12 Sport and Rec VET students to run warm ups and organise the day. Our College did well averaging middle of the pack for most events with a few top third groupings. The group did extremely well and supported one another and even joined in on a basketball game that ended up having around 5 schools involved. Great day had by all and looking forward to being bigger and better next year.
This weekend is a long weekend, as the Western Australia Day public holiday is Monday. We have arranged a bus to take Boarders to Midland Friday and pick them up again Monday so they can have time with family in Perth. For the students who are staying in Boarding we have arranged some activities to keep us all busy: Friday night bonfire, Saturday Dreamtime AFL match at Optus, Sunday bowling and shopping, and Monday if the weather is fine the WA Day Festival in Burswood. We hope that families have a lovely long weekend and enjoy the crisp, sunny winter weather with their children. The Toodyay Junior Football teams and Chittering Bronco’s teams have a break this weekend, only Toodyay Lions Reserves and League are still playing on Sunday. We wish them luck as they play Wongan Ballidu at Toodyay.
School shoes, uniform, earrings and hats, have become a sticking point with some students, they misplace or purposely hide items so they can wear non-uniform to school. This is completely unacceptable and I try very hard to get the students in the correct clothes and shoes every day. I am also giving students second hand jumpers and jackets every day and by the next day they have lost them again, as once it warms up, they drop them all over the school. We have also recently become aware of a new fashion of wearing big earrings, gold hanging earrings with crosses and earrings that can best described as ‘pirate’ earrings. We would appreciate support from parents with these issues, in some instance parents may have to buy winter clothes for the students, and also remind the students to that they must comply with directions from staff and follow College rules.
Head of Boarding