Published: 5 November 2014
This material was written by Mr. Matthew Hutchison, Head of School, and published in the November 2014 issue of Communitas magazine of St Augustine’s College.
Care of the Individual
The primary principle of education should be the care of the individual; there is no more important goal. School structures exist for the pastoral care of the individual. For this to be successful, each student must have a sense of belonging, connectedness and must be well known by at least one significant adult. The structure of a pastoral care system within a large school like St Augustine’s College should best be described as preventative medicine in action.
With increased enrolments, the College has recently reviewed its pastoral structures with particular attention on the Senior School (Years 10 – 12). Current enrolment projections suggest numbers in the Senior School will exceed 450 students in the near future. The current pastoral structure is administered in Year Groups with a Student Formation Leader responsible for the monitoring of each student’s academic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Despite the best efforts of highly committed staff, the enormity of the task is often overwhelming and time is primarily given to the ‘squeaky wheel’ at the cost of some boys flying under the radar. Furthermore, at the conclusion of each year, a new Student Formation Leader commences and relationships need to be established once again. The pastoral review concluded the current structure in the senior years lacked continuity of care and the increased Year Group sizes could potentially result in some boys not being well-known by a significant adult in their final years at school.
In 2015, the College will introduce a vertical House system in the Senior School. Students will be divided into six House Groups with members from Years 10 – 12. Each House will consist of 75 students under the care of a House Formation Leader in partnership with five House Tutors. A student will remain with their Tutor for their entire Senior School years. The House Formation Leader will have the primary responsibility to facilitate the overall development and formation of the students in their care. They will be required to have a detailed awareness of individual boys and will be responsible to assist each student to develop his potential.
The House Formation Leader will be the first point of call for students, parents and staff for any matters pertaining to a boy’s education.
The four current Houses (Crane, Goold, Murray and Reville) are named after Augustinian bishops in Australia. The two new Houses will continue with this tradition; Heavey and Hutchinson (note the ‘n’ – no relation). There have only been six Augustinian bishops who have served in Australia and so Heavey and Hutchinson it is! [At the left, links are provided to a separate page of biography on each of these Augustinian bishops.]
The college will ensure many opportunities will exist for the year Group to continue to maintain its own identity. New plans in the Mendel Wing to be completed by 2016 will accommodate year Group common rooms and all Year Group activities will remain on the calendar. The new structure will provide further student leadership opportunities, promote House spirit and identity, encourage further service possibilities and encourage a stronger relationship between students across their senior years at the College.
The Middle school (Years 7 – 9) will continue with the current year Group pastoral structure under the care of the student Formation Leader in partnership with Year Group Tutors. Depending on the size of the Year Group an Assistant Formation Leader will assist in the care of the students. The review of the college pastoral structure saw value in maintaining a year Group horizontal model to encourage Year Group identity and relationships in the early years of high school.
These changes are intended to improve our care of the individual. We believe the changes will promote an improved connectedness, will ensure continuity of care and guarantee a student is well known by a significant adult throughout their journey at the College.
Head of School