Well-being at Blackfriars is informed by and given its spirit by the school’s place as a part of the evangelical ministry of the Church. A Catholic school is, in essence, the face of Christ for its whole community and its pastoral role needs to infuse every aspect of its operation and its relationships. The life of every human person is seen to have a God given value and meaning which is enhanced, as Vatican II reminds us, in a school community whose atmosphere is permeated with the Gospel spirit of Freedom and Love.
Well-being at Blackfriars is supported by all staff, throughout the whole school week, as we strive to provide an environment for students that they can feel safe, enthusiastic and confident to achieve their best in all areas of life. Like any subject area, skills to develop personal well-being are learnt and developed by all of us.
Blackfriars has developed a handbook to outline the key elements of the school’s well-being program from Early Learning to Year 12. The Well-being Handbook for Boys can be downloaded below while an introduction to the key elements is provided on this page.
An important aspect of developing the well-being of students is giving them a voice and an opportunity to value what is important to them. The Blackfriars Universals were developed by the school’s 2018 student leadership group as a legacy of their contribution as a team provide an area of focus for all students in the way they present themselves throughout the school community.
- of ourselves, others and the environment
Positive & Safe Relationships
- by mutually respecting and encouraging each other
- achieved through displaying a studious and organised attitude
Blackfriars Priory School has an allocated lesson, once per week on a Wednesday morning dedicated to Pastoral Care programs, assemblies and activities. The Pastoral Care of students continues through the school day and beyond in all that we do at Blackfriars Priory School. All staff take extreme pride in supporting students and their welfare, so they are best placed to achieve their best in any pursuits.
Throughout Pastoral Care lessons, every Wednesday morning, students from ELC to Year 12 can participate in the following activities and lessons:
- Whole school and sub-school assemblies celebrating positive achievements in the community
- Whole school Masses
- St Dominic’s Day celebrations
- Buddy and mentoring programs
- Celebrating significant calendar events (e.g. Harmony Day, NAIDOC Week, RUOK Day, etc.)
ELC and/or Primary students
- Inter- and Intra-House games
- Aspects of Child Protection curriculum
- House Group relationship building
- House history and spirit Activities
- Storytelling / Sharing
- Inter- and Intra-House games
- Encounter Youth Safe Partying presentations
- Selected Child Protection Curriculum content
- Year 10 RAP program (road safety)
- House meetings and breakfasts promoting inter house relationships and house spirit
- Healthy lifestyles sessions
- SAPOL Road Safety sessions
- Further education presentations and forums (University, TAFE and Defence Force)
- Orientation programs for transition students
- Study skills development
- Violence prevention programs
- Cyber Safety seminars
An important element of the Pastoral Care program at Blackfriars is the House System which provides welfare and support within the context of a progressive student development model.
The Primary School has four Houses, each comprising student representation from Reception to Year 6. As well as providing a basis for Pastoral Care activities across year levels, the Primary School Houses form an important part of the annual Primary Sports Day and Swimming Carnival. The St Dominic Spirit Shield is awarded to the Primary School House that displays a positive attitude toward enhancing learning throughout the year.
The Secondary School has eight Houses, each comprising three Home Groups of approximately 20 students. Home Groups consist of students from all year secondary year levels (Years 7 to 12) with boys remaining in the same Home Group throughout their time in the Secondary School. Home Groups meet together every morning prior to regular lessons starting providing an opportunity for students to mentor and be mentored. The coordination and day-to-day functioning of each House is overseen by a Head of House, supported by the Home Group teaching staff.
This Secondary School House structure, which has been in place since 1986, aims to:
- Provide continuity in pastoral care from Years 7 to 12
- Allow students of different ages and different abilities and interests to meet and grow in appreciation, respect and service.
- Establish an environment which embraces the vision and values of the School.
- Provide students with a significant adult who is their reference point as they progress through the School.
- Nurture and develop quality relationships, generate enthusiasm, independence, interdependence, confidence, competence, loyalty, co-operation, trust, collaboration and a search for truth.
- Complement the student development and student leadership program.
- Help students feel known and appreciated as individuals.
- Provide groups of a suitable size for prayer and religious gatherings.
- Allow for friendly competition between Home Groups and Houses in academic, cultural and sporting endeavours.
Good relationships are the basis for all learning. Anything that affects relationships (such as inappropriate behaviour) impacts on learning – the student and that of other students. To support the challenge of learning, we have adopted Restorative Practices as a framework to underpin our Pastoral Care program.
Restorative Practice is a way of viewing relationship-building and behaviour management in schools. It strengthens community among students and between students, teachers and parents. Restorative Practices allows for:
- Enhanced relationships among students
- Enhanced relationships between students and teachers
- Being able to recognise and correct your own behaviour
- Being responsible for consequences of your behaviour
To support Restorative Practices at Blackfriars, we promote the following ‘Foundations of Good Behaviour’:
- Courtesy – include others, listen, only make constructive comments
- Participation – be actively involved, participate
- Respect – consider how you represent yourself and how you treat others
- Service – help others, nurture friendships, develop gifts and talents.
The relationships that students develop at school among peers are crucial to their ongoing development as young people. Relationships will vary throughout their schooling and provide many learning opportunities, particularly within friendship groups. Blackfriars encourages empathy, respect, problem solving and forgiveness in relationships to support students through good times and more challenging incidents.
Teachers and students work together to resolve incidents of bullying through a variety of approaches including restorative meetings, mediation, shared concern and counseling.
The school counseling service, which includes an in-house psychologist, can assist students with a wide range of issues, including but not limited to: mood disturbances such as feeling sad, anxious, depressed, apathetic or fearful; friendship issues; family conflict; relationship issues; substance use; grief and loss and study support.
Irrespective of the nature of the issue, students frequently report that they find it helpful talking to someone who is not a member of their family, friendship circle or a teacher, about their experiences, and can therefore, provide an objective, empathetic, non-judgemental perspective on things.
The Co-curricular program at Blackfriars contributes to each student’s sense of belonging within the community and develops pride in representing the school with their friends. Mateship has been identified by students as the main purpose of representing Blackfriars in co-curricular activities. Students are encouraged to participate in as many opportunities through the program that they can balance with their other commitments.
Participation in at least one activity within the Blackfriars Priory School Co-curricular program is an expectation of all students and provides boys with the opportunity to:
- Enjoy involvement in physical or group activity
- Promote and develop an individual’s fitness and health and general well-being
- Foster and develop positive attitudes, group and team skills and self confidence
- Build resilience
- Build relationships that are respectful and meaningful
- Live out our Catholic faith and share our experiences with our community to bring about positive change
At Blackfriars we value the opinions and expression of our students and their ability to contribute to their own learning and life of the school. The importance of a student’s voice at our school is built on the belief that all people are made in the image of God and have an inherent goodness within.
Student voice is more than making students feel important and valued; it is an approach to school improvement that makes the learning environment and school culture engaging, relevant, meaningful and more productive.