The school environment plays a major role in the social and emotional competence and wellbeing of our students.
As a result, Balcatta Senior High School has made a commitment towards the development of pastoral care practices that will best contribute to students’ social, emotional, physical and moral wellbeing to support academic achievement and progress.
Our Student Services team plays major roles in assisting students to navigate their way through high school, dealing with a range of issues. The ultimate goal of the Student Services team is to help students reach their full potential. Together the team assists students in planning for the future, focusing on further education, careers and competence in adult life. The key areas of work are assisting students to make appropriate subject choices, supporting students, families and teachers with emotional and behavioral difficulties through various programs, and extra-curricular activities to enable students to be fully involved and engage in school life.
The truth is, School Chaplaincy matters; we are very much about being a presence in the school and focusing holistically on the wellbeing of students, parents and teachers in WA school communities. The role of a Chaplain is to provide pastoral care for the whole school community and really show people that they matter. The Chaplain is a helper, empowering people to grow, celebrating their successes, and giving hope to people to develop resilience to work through challenges. When things go pear shaped it’s about being there, helping and working with the school Student Services Teams to make a meaningful difference. Chaplains can communicate with students, informally and non-intrusively, so that they can develop trust and a confidence in knowing that there is someone independent to turn to. Relationships matter, therefore the Chaplain can play an important role in mediation and conflict resolution. A Chaplain is a listening ear in times of need and will keep confidentiality as required in pastoral care situations. However, any concerns that may relate to any form of “abuse” or where a child may be “at risk”, are reported to the Principal, as required by the Department of Education and the law. Being involved in school activities such as outings, carnivals, and assemblies enables a Chaplain to get to know students, their parents and the teachers. A Chaplain can also be involved in various programs that support learning and academic progress. A chaplain, at the request of students, teachers and parents, fulfils a spiritual role within the school, is never pushy, but offers prayer when and where appropriate.
A Chaplain values each person in the school community and understands the importance of individuals, respecting and honouring the diversity of views among the communities they are serving, reaching out to those in need by providing holistic services aimed at inspiring hope.
Student Services Manager Role
The role of the Student Services Manager is to lead the Student Services team, which comprises year coordinators, form teachers, career counselors, engagement coordinator, VET coordinator, chaplain and school nurse, to coordinate pastoral care focused programs, monitor student behavior, attendance and overall wellbeing. That includes collaborating with external support agencies, overseeing the Student Council and communicating with students, parents, carers and teachers to encourage acceptable behavior and performance throughout the school.
Community Health Nurse
Who are the Community Health Nurses? School Health Services are delivered in all public secondary schools and colleges across Western Australia by Community Health Nurses, who are employed by WA Country Health Services or Child and Adolescent Health Service. Community Health Nurses working with secondary schools are usually based at one school, but may also provide services at other schools. They are highly skilled in assessing adolescent health needs.
Who Are Their Clients? The Community Health Nurses frequently engage in health counseling with young people to identify issues, risks and protective factors; provide advice, provide brief intervention; assist with access and referral to other services, and provide follow up care. A recent survey of Community Health Nurses in WA Secondary schools indicated that students present with a wide range of health issues. The ten most common issues are; anxiety, stress, depression or low mood, relationship problems, sexual health, sexuality, reproductive health, nutrition, lifestyle or health behaviours, and drug misuse. It is also common for Community Health Nurses to encounter young people who self-harm, or have considered or attempted suicide, and those seeking help for sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Young people may independently seek assistance from a Community Health Nurse to discuss health and wellbeing issues, or may be referred by parents, teachers or student services teams.
What Are The Health Services in Secondary Schools?
- Access to health services for students, to address a range of health issues.
- Support for teachers to provide health education in the classroom, eg sexual health.
- Facilitation of health-related professional development for teachers, eg asthma or anaphylaxis.
- Student health and wellbeing programs, eg stress management, sexual health and relationships.
- Support for school health promotion initiatives such as anti-smoking or mental health programs.
- Assistance for school staff and parents to develop health care plans for students with special needs.