Secondary: Year 7 to Year 12
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, which underpins the Australian Curriculum, has as the second of its two goals the development of successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. To be a successful learner, a child needs to be happy, to be confident and creative; a child needs to be secure and engaged, and to be a good global citizen; each child needs to feel worthy and empowered. Thus, wellbeing is intrinsic to learning. The pastoral care team at Clayfield College focuses on each child’s social and emotional wellbeing as a key factor, arguably the most important factor, in their successful transition from child to adult. This is developed through the House system, Personal Development Program, leadership opportunities, outdoor education, community service and behaviour management.
The House system is both the administrative and the support backbone of the College pastoral system, especially in the Secondary School. Each student, from Prep to Year 12, is allocated to one of six Houses: Ashburn, Campbell, Gibson, Henderson, Radcliffe or Youngman. Each House is a community within the larger College community, and the vertical structure provides a family-like mixture of ages, interests, responsibilities and opportunities. The system allows students and staff to develop relationships beyond the classroom and provides further opportunities for a student to develop a relationship with a 'charismatic other', the term used by psychologists to describe an adult, outside the nuclear family, who can provide inspiration and security.
Students entering Year 7 join Pastoral Care Groups within each House. These multi-age groups have two or three students from each Year, and new students have a Year 11 “buddy” whose responsibility it is to ensure their smooth transition into the Pastoral Care Group. Each Group is under the care of a Pastoral Care teacher, and students remain in these groups until they leave the College. Pastoral Care Groups meet every morning. In Years 7 to 12, House activities span the spectrum of academic, sporting and cultural domains, as well as the abovementioned community service.
Heads of House are responsible for the holistic development of each student, from their time of entry into a Pastoral Care Group. Subject teachers have a significant role each year, but Heads of House are kept up to date with all communication between home and College and monitor the co-curricular involvement and academic and social progress of each of their charges.
A formal program of regular lessons in Personal Development runs from Prep through to Year 12. The content and delivery of the program varies according to the needs, maturity and interests of students, but is always guided by the protective and risk factors for mental health and wellbeing. In Years 7-12 the Personal Development Program allows a strong focus on developmentally appropriate issues. Friendships, group work and relationship management are key areas for students in Years 7-9, along with cybersafety, body image and self-esteem. In Year 10, the focus switches to the demands of senior schooling and the importance of learning styles, thinking strategies and academic reflection, along with the development of House citizenship. Students prepare for their role as mentors for new students in each Pastoral Care Group. In Year 11, leadership is the focus and students develop skills in teamwork, team building and team leadership. Year 12 students are encouraged, through the Personal Development Program, to consider issues of importance beyond schooling. Some of the most immediate issues are safe driving, legal responsibilities, financial literacy and ways to celebrate safely.
There are many opportunities for students to learn and practise leadership skills. From Year 6, there are House Leaders each semester who assist with House projects and events. Students in Year 10 begin a formal program which prepares them for House and College leadership. In the latter half of Year 11, students can choose to apply formally for significant leadership positions. Sporting, cultural and service activities all have student leaders. There are captains in each QGSSSA sport, and leaders for every music ensemble, as well as for debating, dance, drama, ISCF and multimedia groups. Those wishing to be considered for House, Boarding, Sport, Music, Community Service or College leadership must make presentations to the relevant group. By the time students are in Year 12, they are ready to assume responsibility jointly as leaders of the College.
The ability to influence others is an important leadership skill, and Clayfield College student leaders are encouraged to use regular Assemblies as a platform. In the Secondary School, College Captains lead every Assembly, and Boarding, Chapel, Community Service, Music and Sport Captains have a role in each one. Leaders of other groups report on progress and successes and often accept the challenge of raising the profile of their activity. Students are encouraged to make their presentations entertaining, as well as informative, and Assemblies are often a highlight of the school week.
The Outdoor Education Program aims to challenge students. Every time an individual pushes themselves to attempt something either physically or emotionally demanding, they expand the range of situations in which they can feel secure. All programs are based on the “challenge by choice” philosophy, which allows all participants to do intelligent risk-taking and choose the level of physical or emotional difficulty that best suits their needs. The program is designed so that there is a gradually increasing level of challenge available. The experiences are varied, but all provide opportunities to appreciate the natural environment. Learning to exercise all senses to heighten awareness of surroundings is now recognised as a key contributor to good mental health.
All Secondary School programs take place in the same week of Term 1 to limit disruption to academic classes and take advantage of favourable weather. Year 7 -8 and Year 11 students have three-day experiences at various sites in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. Year 9 and 10 students are combined, and can choose one of three levels of physical challenge. Year 9 students, who choose the most arduous program, have the opportunity to choose a different experience in Year 10: a four-day program of activities they have never before attempted in the Outdoor Education Program. Year 11 students undertake an intensive program of problem solving and team challenges designed to build cohesion and leadership capacity.
Jesus himself said “it is more blessed to give than to receive” and psychologists highlight the importance of giving back to the community, as a key to ensuring social and emotional wellbeing. Clayfield College’s Community Service Captains, with the support of the Community Service executive, run annual drives such as Jeans for Genes Day and Pyjama Day. They maintain links to several interest groups including Amnesty International, the Environment Group, Red Cross, Unicef and UN Women. The executive helps coordinate charity work done by each House, by some Year levels, and by students engaging in extension learning programs focussed on helping others. Finally, students are always quick to mount campaigns in support of those affected by natural disasters.
Community service takes several forms:
- consciousness-raising through Community Service Group meetings, presentations on Assemblies, poster campaigns and the like
- active service, such as decorating pillowcases for refugees, making clothes for premature babies, helping serve food to the homeless, or providing homework help at a local library for the children of refugees.
Another aspect of community service is the College’s Peer Mentoring and Homework Help programs. In the former, students nominate either to give or receive assistance in one or more subject area and are paired across Year levels, often with students within the same House. Students then arrange mutually convenient times to meet. Homework Help is an informal program in which students in Years 11 and 12 work with students in Years 5-9 two lunch times each week.
Behaviour management at Clayfield College is grounded in supportive, trusting and respectful relationships between students, staff and community members. Students balance rights and responsibilities and learn to accept the consequences of transgressing the rights of others within, or outside, the classroom. A culture in which all are respected ensures zero tolerance for bullying.
At school, if it is necessary to take disciplinary action, College staff will always seek to help the student re-establish reasonable and happy relationships with peers, staff and others with whom they are interacting.
The consequences for breaching College rules are proportionate to the nature of the misdemeanour and are administered carefully and justly:
- class teachers deal with minor in-class problems. In these cases, additional work may be set, or tasks allocated.
- should a pattern of behaviour occur for students from Years 7 to 12, the student is referred to her Head of House who, in consultation with the Pastoral Care Teacher, will continue to monitor behaviour while liaising with families and relevant staff members.
- in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, further courses of action may be decided. These consequences may include daily monitoring, loss of a privilege, removal from class, or a negotiated detention.
- should daily monitoring be insufficient for positive behavioural change, contracts may be entered into between the student and College. Should it be necessary, the Dean of Pastoral Care will be informed.
- very serious breaches may lead to suspension or to termination of enrolment.
Importantly, pastoral care at Clayfield College is enriched by our Christian environment and the Chaplain is a key member of the Pastoral Care Team. The Chaplain and the Dean of Pastoral Care work together to support the holistic growth of each child.
In our Christian learning community, Christian values underpin all that we do, and students attend weekly Chapel services as well as being involved in weekly Christian Education classes. Clayfield College is a school of the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, nevertheless we welcome students from a range of Christian denominations and other faith traditions and celebrate the richness of our community’s diversity. Psychologists agree that finding a purpose beyond the self, in whatever form that takes, is vital to good mental health.
Chapel Services are held regularly and are designed to serve the needs and interests of students of different ages. The Chaplain and Associate Chaplain generally plan and conduct services, but the Chapel Captains, members of ISCF (Interschool Christian Fellowship) and Primary School Chapel Monitors also contribute. House Chapel Services, held on Sunday afternoons, encourage families associated with each of the six Houses to come together once each year.
Pastoral Care at Clayfield College nurtures and challenges our students. The various arms of the program create an environment in which students can be successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens."