At Whitefriars we consider pastoral care to be of the utmost importance, central to who we are what we are trying to achieve in the education of our students. Indeed, our College motto ‘Almae In Fide Parentis’ (In the Care of a Loving Mother) reflects this sentiment.
Research indicates that if young people, particularly boys, feel a sense of attachment and belonging at school their sense of wellbeing will increase, and with it their chances of academic success. At Whitefriars College we recognise the development of quality relationships amongst students, and between students and teachers, is of paramount importance in the education of young men. At Whitefriars these relationships form the cornerstone of who we are and what we do.
Whitefriars runs a House-based Vertical Pastoral Care structure which enables us to best cater for the pastoral needs of the young men in our care. This system has developed into a wonderful network of sharing and caring from which our gentle men are formed and nurtured.
Our Vertical Pastoral Care structure enables the grouping of younger and older students together in a long-term relationship where the former can gain advice, information and assistance from the latter, who can, in turn, develop their leadership and mentoring skills as they act as role models for their younger student friends. As the pastoral groups are House-based, this encourages identity and belonging within the House and serves to strengthen the House system within the College. The House becomes therefore the major organisational unit for the delivery and implementation of the College’s Values and Mission statement, pastoral care and welfare programs and student management processes and procedures.
Our Vertical Pastoral Care structure also encourages the development of genuine and effective relationships between each student and his Pastoral Care teacher. Indeed, the Pastoral Care teacher in the Vertical Pastoral Care structure has a unique opportunity to become, and remain, a significant adult in the life of each young man in his/her care. Having daily contact with the student over a six year period, the Pastoral Care teacher is in an ideal position to get to know him and his parents/guardians very well, and to share in his growth, maturity and general development over this period of time. The Pastoral Care teacher thus plays a pivotal role in the delivery of pastoral care at the College and, indeed, in our holistic approach to the education of the young men in our care.
Each Pastoral Care group is House-based and consists of approximately 24 students, with 3 or 4 students being drawn from each of the 6 year levels. There are 8 Houses, each named after a Carmelite personality who embodies the spirit and ethos of the College. The students begin the day each morning and establish a routine start to the learning day. Students are therefore in regular communication with one another and with their Pastoral Care teacher.
To support the Vertical Pastoral Care structure we have a vertical student management and welfare structure. There are eight House Leaders, each with a team of seven Pastoral Care teachers, in charge of approximately 160 students. In addition, there is a Director – Middle Years (Years 7-9), Director – Senior Years (Years 10-12) and a Transition Coordinator (Year 7) taking care of the many administrative details pertaining to the respective year levels.
“Whitefriars College is a very special and nurturing environment. Once you are a student at the College, you belong to the Whitefriars community for life. This strong sense of community makes new students feel comfortable and confident, thanks to the pastoral care system. The staff ensure every student believes that he can become anything he sets his mind to and equips him with the academic skills to help him reach his goals.”Dean Mendes – Student, Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws, Deakin University (Class of 2012)