St Ursula’s is committed to the development of the whole person – spiritual, intellectual, social, physical and emotional – and acknowledges that each member of the College community contributes to the climate of care within the College.
Education extends far beyond academic learning; St Ursula’s recognises that a balance is essential to a girl’s growth and development. There are many influences which can impact on each student finding a balance between study and recreation, between family and friends, between participation and appreciation and between wellbeing and stress. Consequently, a focus on Student Wellbeing is an integral component of life at St Ursula’s College. Students are nurtured in an environment which recognizes the value and dignity of each person and reflects the Christian values of individuals caring for and respecting one another.
This is central to the mission of the College and is the lived expression of the teachings of Jesus and the charism of the founder of the Presentation Sisters, Nano Nagle. We promote Wellbeing in many ways within our community:
Support within our Structures – Meet the Team
The Deputy Principal; Spiritual and Pastoral leads the Wellbeing Team. She works very closely with the Coordinators of Middle School (Years 7-9) and Senior School (Years 10-12) and the teachers to ensure an effective care network of support within the day school.
The Role of the Deputy Principal: Spiritual and Pastoral has two focus areas. The first is promoting the Spiritual and Liturgical life of the College with Masses, liturgies and prayer. Linked to this, and with a strong student focus, are the Outreach activities and involvement in Parish and Diocesan activities such as Youth Masses and camps. The other focus area is Student Wellbeing. This is very much a networking role to support an optimal learning atmosphere for all students. Behaviour Management and Restorative Practice processes are one aspect of this role as well as working with families and the Wellbeing Team to promote and strengthen the emotional health and resilience of students.
Heads of School: Both the Senior and Middle School Coordinators focus on the needs and interests of students in their particular area. Special programs, rituals, retreats and events are implemented through all Year levels to assist in spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual growth. These programs are Strengths based. Guest speakers are also invited in to address particular aspects of the girls developmental stages. Students are regularly provided with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and expectations and are challenged to develop self-discipline and responsibility. The Coordinators of School work with the Deputy Spiritual and Pastoral on developing positive behaviours.
All new students are helped to settle into the College community through an Orientation or Induction program.
Other members of the Wellbeing Team include:
- College Nurse – available five days per week during school time in the Health Centre to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of students and often their parents.
- College Counsellor – available three days per week for individual appointments with students and family members. The Counsellor also works proactively with students and classes on techniques and skills to enhance wellbeing, such as teaching Meditation and Tapping.
- Indigenous Education Officer – full time worker to support Indigenous students as they settle and live in the Boarding Community. The Indigenous Liaison Officer also works with students to develop their Personal Learning Plans and suitable pathways both during school and after graduation. Promoting Cultural Awareness and networking with families is also an important aspect of her responsibilities.
- Boarding staff – work in collaboration with Wellbeing Team, teaching staff and parents to address student needs and assist students to develop a capacity for independence, initiative and mature judgment.
At all times, the College promotes Restorative Practices to repair and restore relationships which have been harmed. Staff are trained in this process and are keen to ensure that girls are emotionally settled so they can be effective learners. Effective communication between home and school is encouraged to ensure that each student has the opportunity to attain her full potential.
The House Group is one of the major structures designed to establish an effective care network for students.
Each student is allocated to a House Group. The House Group Teacher is an important person in the life of the student and shares responsibility for the wellbeing and guidance of students from Years 7 – 12. The House Group Teacher is also a contact person for parents, classroom teachers and , where applicable, Boarding supervisors.
Strong relationships develop among students in the House Group and opportunities are provided for students to support each other and exercise leadership. This vertical structure enables a continuity of care throughout a student’s education at the College. Each new student has a ‘big sister’ within their House Group and that peer support is fostered among students.
Students meet with their House Group teacher most mornings and at other times that are set aside to meet the individual needs of students.
The Boarding staff work in collaboration with teaching staff and parents to address student needs and promote personal growth.
The Use of Restorative Practices at St Ursula’s College.
Maintaining social relationships is important in all aspects of life. St Ursula’s College promotes the Restorative Practices/Restorative Justice process, when dealing with behaviours which have caused harm to others.
Restorative Practices is a way of viewing conflict and wrongdoing that focuses on the harm these behaviours cause to relationships, and the obligation to repair that harm. This process works towards repairing that harm and avoiding using that behaviour again as it encourages students to face the real consequences of their behaviour.
The Fundamental Principles of ‘Restorative Practices’ include:
- Misbehaviour is a violation of people and relationships
- Violations create obligations and liabilities
- A restorative approach seeks first to put things right
Restorative Practices complements the values of our Catholic tradition, as it encourages students towards self-directed right behaviour. By doing this, our Well-being Program is better able to promote, nurture and protect healthy relationships among members of the community. The heart of justice within our Catholic tradition encourages students to be accountable for the real consequences of wrongdoing.
St Ursula’s College will continue to implement Restorative Practices as it allows us to operate restoratively by having high expectations and insisting on high standards of behaviour while providing high levels of support and care for individuals.