The well-being of young people and support at Holy Spirit College ensures each young person’s individual issues and barriers are addressed to provide maximum opportunity for their participation, engagement and improvement. We work, in a holistic manner, with each young person’s parents/carers and other support agency representatives to address their emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual needs.
Support is extended to the families as well as the young people and goes beyond the gates of the college or the time a young person is with us; when people leave Holy Spirit College, our Student Services Team work to support them and their families to transition to the next phase of their lives.
Apart from collaboratively working with families and agencies, the primary role of the staff at Holy Spirit College is to provide guidance to the young people in our care. Each young person has a staff member assigned to them at the commencement of their enrolment. The staff member makes contact with the young person on a regular basis. The regularity is dependent on the student’s circumstances and the approach of the staff member is influenced by other professional services the young person’s contacts inside and outside of the school. We aim to establish a complementary approach which integrates the various services that are supporting the young person.
The staff are involved in every facet of the program at Holy Spirit College; this includes participation and organisation of programs, camps, excursions, College days, and work experience. The student support staff regularly liaise closely with the principal and teachers, in order to meet the social, emotional and personal needs of the young person. All teacher-mentors communicate with each other about young people and families. The continuous communication is essential for the establishment and maintenance of individual plans for each young person.
Mentors and support staff also communicate on a regular basis about young people’s progress; this relationship is the cornerstone of our well-being and pastoral care program. There are occasions where we utilise professionals outside of the school; in these instances, this is discussed with parents or carers and the young person prior to any intervention.
For young people who have negative experiences or perceptions of learning it is particularly important we maintain an environment which is both physically and psychologically safe. This means ensuring that equipment is appropriate to the capacity of learners and the physical space presents no hazards, it also means observing the class dynamic carefully for interpersonal issues and potential power imbalances.
Supporting our young people is the basis of the re-engagement programs and can require looking at a range of approaches from different viewpoints to address the significant barriers experienced by some learners. Learner support is also often one of the more challenging aspects of program delivery as it can require intense engagement, considerable investment of time and a network of dedicated teaching and support staff working together in order to be effective.