In EPIS, we emphasis a lot about pastoral care, and broadly, most parents would be able to articulate what pastoral care is and recognise why it matters. But what you may not know is that the success of our school's pastoral care program is linked to our students’ academic outcomes.
We define Pastoral care as the commitment to, and active demonstration of concern for, the growth and wellbeing of each student, as well as the broader school community. We focus on cultivating an environment and culture that supports the physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development of every student.
We recognise too, that our pastoral care and academic progress are linked. The physical, emotional, cognitive and social elements of a student's life cannot realistically be treated in isolation. What happens in one domain will effect what happens in one or more of the others.
We realise that students “don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Effective academic learning within our school context cannot be separated from the exercise of effective pastoral care. Therefore, we have made a commitment to excellence in academic performance which is accompanied by a commitment to excellence in physical health, social competence and emotional resilience.
At EPIS, our pastoral care includes proactive elements – such as developing skills that build resilience, promoting a school culture that emphasises respect, teamwork and participation – and reactive elements like providing comfort in response to hurt, or encouragement in the face of disappointment.
The pillars of The EPIS Pastoral Care Program include:
- Creating a sense of belonging through team building activities, such as working together on service projects.
- Facilitating Peer Support Programs.
- Developing skills and knowledge in order to prevent or address specific problems, such as bullying.
- Tracking individual student progress.
- Enabling early intervention in identifying and dealing with specific needs.
- Celebrating the students' achievements and contributions.
- Providing guidance regarding study patterns, peer relations, post-school pathways and opportunities.
- Providing counselling and comfort for pupils and students dealing with anxiety, loss or disappointment.
Our Pastoral care is most effective because there is a strong partnership between home and school. Clear two-way communication, reminders and reinforcement (at home and at school) of strategies to support progress, and early intervention in identifying and addressing problems are vital to the effective exercise of pastoral care.