Senior School - Fostering positivity

Posted 15 March 2019 1:05pm

The Pastoral Care program in the Senior School continues to be a particular point of difference between CGGS and other schools.

One of the most significant changes to the program commenced at the start of this year with daily Tutor Group time being extended to 40 minutes.

While regular assemblies, House Chapel services, House meetings and House Physicals slot neatly into the Tutor Group timetable (which runs over a ten-day cycle), tutors and students now have more time dedicated to developing relationships and focussing on wellbeing – just a couple of elements that make up Pastoral Care as a whole.

Tutors have seized the opportunity to build connections within their Tutor Groups and offer a variety of activities during tutor time to engage with students. From health and fitness, hot chocolate mornings, leadership development within the tutor group and tutor projects, the opportunities are endless.

Another new initiative this year is the provision of Wellbeing Journals to students in Years 8-10. The activities in the journals are designed around the science of Positive Education and focus on building students resilience and social and emotional learning skills.

The Pastoral team have also developed a wellbeing toolkit for staff to use during the wellbeing focus sessions. The topics in the toolkit range from mindfulness, journaling, positive education and gratitude/kindness. One of the popular activities has been journaling, which many staff and students have enjoyed.  “These journals become the students own piece to work on and may include drawings, short stories, mood trackers, to-do lists, reflections and more”, said one tutor.

Developing a toolkit of wellbeing tactics ensures students are better equipped to cope with stressful situations, such as exams and navigating relationships.

“The response to extended Tutor Group time has been positive, students are really enjoying the extended time as it gives them an opportunity to settle into the day and have more time for building connections within the tutor group” says Acting Director of Pastoral Care, Skye Tyler.

“With mental health high on the agenda, people recognise the need for striking a balance between studies and wellbeing. At CGGS we see student wellbeing as an outcome of effective Pastoral Care.”

“By fostering positive behaviours, it not only helps the students work their way through challenging situations at school, but gives them skills to carry with them throughout life.”

On Day 9, Pastoral Care programs run in year groups and target the specific needs of the girls in that year level, including Peer Support where Year 11 students spend time with Year 7 girls, encouraging the formation of special friendships and the emergence of wonderful role models. Click here to read more about the whole-of-school personal development program.

Extra tutor group time also provides an opportunity for students to attend study skills sessions run by other tutors with expertise in particular areas and also engage in peer mentoring

Of course, family plays a very important part in the development of our students and opportunities exist throughout the year for parents to be involved in the Pastoral Care experience. Most recently, Heads of House invited families to House Breakfasts where they could meet with Tutors, House Captains and other parents, in a social setting.

Alison Bailey, mother of a Year 7 student commented, “The Burgmann house breakfast was a lovely way to meet the Burgmann family and have the opportunity to speak with our daughter’s Tutor. The House Captains were delightful and made us feel very welcome. As a Grammarian, it was lovely to return to the Burgmann fold.”

Thank you to Skye Tyler and the Senior School Heads of House for providing the framework for this article. 

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