Pastoral care lies at the heart of all we do at St Mary's. Our philosophy is that each girl is known and nurtured as an individual.
The school's pastoral care team strives to ensure your daughter feels secure and is a valued member of our community. Maintaining a positive self-image is paramount, as a student's emotional well-being has a direct influence on personal happiness, academic achievement and contribution to school and family life. The Christian principles of trust, co-operation and concern for others are encouraged amongst our girls and are central to chapel services and the Religious Education programme.
St Mary’s believes very strongly in the well-being of the whole girl. Well-being encompasses physical, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual states and is important to the development of all girls. The school has embedded programmes into the structure of the school that help to develop strong and resilient girls who embrace learning and challenges.
The foundation for the Junior School is the St Mary’s Honour Code. The five statements are values that are felt to be vital for our students to develop into strong, independent and valued members of our society:
- St Mary’s students are kind
- St Mary’s students are hard-working
- St Mary’s students are honest
- St Mary’s students show respect
- St Mary’s students stand up for others.
Pastoral care is a team approach where all staff in the Junior School are involved in the care of the girls. The classroom teacher is the key person providing social and emotional support for students during their time at school. The primary focus is developing in all students the ability to manage their own emotional well-being and peer relationships.
Positive Education focuses on developing specific skills to help girls to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Through positive education girls explore their character strengths, discover how random acts of kindness can enhance everyone’s life, learn about gratitude and adopt a growth mindset to help them face challenges.
GirlPower teaches girls how to manage friendships throughout their girlhood and into their teenage years. This programme explores the rules of friendship and gives the girls the language to deal with friendship fires.
The four rules of friendship they learn about are:
- No friendship is perfect
- Every friendship is different
- Trust and respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship
- Friendships change and that is ok.
The Dean of Students is responsible for overseeing pastoral care in the Senior School. This includes maintaining close contact with home, helping new students settle in and monitoring students' welfare by liaising with teachers and counsellors.
When a student enters the Senior School in Year 7, she remains in her Year 7 class, with her class teacher as her primary pastoral carer. From Year 8, girls are placed in a small pastoral care group, known as her Link, in the care of a Link teacher. These groups consist of girls from Years 8 to 12, so students remain in the same group, in the care of the same teacher, for the remainder of their time at St Mary's.
At times students need additional support and assistance and they can access this by contacting one of the counselling staff. Girls are welcome to make an appointment to see a counsellor, and parents and staff can also refer girls for support. The counsellors are available to talk about any issue that may be affecting a students well-being and progress.
The school believes in discipline which is firm yet just, administered with understanding and concern for both the individual and the welfare of the school community. Above all, the school holds that the best form of discipline is self-discipline. Courtesy and good manners are expected at all times.
St Mary's has a number of documents available to parents and students with relation to pastoral care. You can view them on our policies page.