Wellbeing 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.

Wellbeing 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 wellbeing are learnt and developed by all of us.

Blackfriars has developed a handbook to outline the key elements of the school’s wellbeing program, from Early Learning to Year 12. The Wellbeing Handbook for Boys can be downloaded below.

Wellbeing dog

In 2023, Blackfriars has welcomed its first wellbeing dog, Albi. Blackfriars has worked with Dogs Connect to introduce Albi – named for St Albert the Great – to our school.

When fully integrated into the school environment, Albi, an Australian Cobberdog, will provide emotional support, give people an opportunity for connection and assist children with emotional regulation and communication.

According to Dogs Connect, wellbeing dogs decrease anxiety in the majority of staff and students within a school. You can read more about Albi and her role at Blackfriars in our Newsroom.

Wellbeing services

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:

All students

  • 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

Secondary students

  • 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.

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 school counselling 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.