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At Fairholme College everything we do proceeds from the Christian premise that each person is unique and valuable to God and to us. Our pastoral care program is an expression of Fairholme's commitment to the traditional values of respect for self and others as well as a dedication to the development of honesty, integrity and a high standard of personal demeanour.
The other premise from which we proceed is the practical realisation that in all communities, rules, guidelines and consequences are necessary. At times, the welfare and happiness of the whole community may have to take precedence over that of the individual. It is our experience that adolescents best navigate through adolescence when they are set clear guidelines and thus enjoy the emotional security which results from knowing and understanding boundaries.
It is our hope that our pastoral care system is inclusive and that it is supportive of positive relationship building between all staff and students. Every staff member at Fairholme College is, in essence, a care-giver. However, the Pastoral Care Group (PCG) Teacher has a special role, meeting with students in his or her PCG daily, at which time they worship together, celebrate successes, share activities and offer support where practicable.
From Years 7 – 12 where a vertical system exists, students remain in the same group for three years within each sub-school. The vertical system places emphasis on relationship-building and the development of a small unit of care within the broader school context.
When issues of a pastoral nature arise, they can generally be addressed through the PCG teacher, Head of House or Head of Middle School. At other times it may be necessary to refer situations to the Chaplain, Counsellor, Head of Boarding or Head of Senior School. In the case of academic matters the classroom teacher or Head of Department can deal with most situations. In other instances it may be necessary to refer matters to the Head of Teaching and Learning.
Pastoral care underpins all practices within the Fairholme community. It exists in the nature of the pedagogy within the classroom, the restorative approach to conflict resolution, the inclusion of devotions each day and in general, in the respectful way we treat one another. To ensure that effective practices occur, meetings between key pastoral care staff occur on a weekly and fortnightly basis.
Our pastoral care program is inextricably linked with our Behaviour and Relationship management program as well as our Anti- Bullying and Harassment Policy. These are also linked with the explicit guidelines set down by the Child Protection policy.
A Chaplain plays an active role in the welfare of the students as well as leading the school in worship and having responsibility for the Christian Education program at the College. The Chaplain is also available to assist in personal, family, grief and spiritual counselling.
The primary aim of the School Counsellor is to support the emotional wellbeing of all members of the Fairholme community. This may take many forms, for example: in-service, workshopping, Life Skills classes and student counselling sessions. It may also happen incidentally through interactions at sport, in the playground and at social functions. It is hoped that by working with other Fairholme staff and parents the School Counsellor will help make the student's experience of Fairholme College enriching both academically and socially.
Academic and Careers Advice is integrated into the College's Academic Program. Students are encouraged to develop short, medium and long term goals. The Career Pathways Counsellor offers assistance in relation to the development of good study patterns, advice on tertiary entrance and future options and work force skills. Students participate in work experience and attend career expos, university open days and have numerous guest lectures. See more details at Careers Education Program »
Every student in years 8-12 is time tabled to attend Life Skills lessons once every two weeks. The purpose that underpins Life Skills, an holistic program, is to equip our students with the personal skills they need to negotiate the increasingly complex world in which they live.
The program promotes explorations of the developing self so that our students feel confident not only in the school environment, but also in the wider community. The aim is to develop each girl's acceptance of herself as a worthwhile, competent and productive young woman, and also to provide information to enable students to make informed life choices.
Life Skills presents an opportunity for the girls to be heard and deliberate over some of the contemporary issues that individuals in today's society might face. Students are encouraged to speak openly about their thoughts, ideas, and feelings, in a supportive environment. Questions and comments are answered and discussed frankly but with consideration to up-to-date and age appropriate information.
Fairholme administers a City Families program, linking each new Year 7 and 8 boarding student with the family of a day student in the same year level. The boarding family has, therefore, a city family. Should a boarder family be unable, through distance or other reasons, to be in Toowoomba for their daughter's birthday, the city family might for example, host a small party. They might also take the boarder on weekend leave occasionally. We have found that the boarder family often invites the day girl to their property at holiday time. Relationships between boarders and day students are thereby enhanced as a result of this program and lifelong friendships often result.
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