At St James’, our vision of Catholic education is a community that is committed to the development of all in faith and learning – a community where Gospel values underpin our beliefs about pastoral care for all in our school family. Wellbeing is the concept which underpins pastoral care and is an ongoing experience of wholeness and hope integral to learning, overall health and life success. Wellbeing encompasses nurturing the self, giving to others and building and celebrating community. As a Catholic school steeped in the Mercy tradition, we seek to positively influence student wellbeing through our programs and practices in the following components: social and emotional learning for students, working with parents and carers, helping students with mental health issues and the learning environment.
St James’ is focused on the wellbeing of the whole school community. We are mindful of the need to promote healthy wellbeing in all areas of the individual. We recognise the flow-on effects of mental wellbeing to academic achievement and whole-of-life satisfaction. We are a Be You school – using this framework as a basis for student wellbeing. Within this framework, the students are explicitly taught Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL). Each class is also engaged in the Bounce Back program, which teaches students practical strategies to help them cope with the complexity of their everyday lives and learn how to “Bounce Back” and become resilient.
Where a need for specific assistance is identified, St James’ offers the services of a School Psychologist. The school runs a number of programs throughout the year targeted to the needs of individual students.
When students enrol in Kindergarten at St James’, they are supported in their transition by a buddy, who is allocated to them from the following year’s Year 6 class. These buddies work throughout the last terms of the pre-school year to help the new Kindergartens learn the routines of the school and settle into life at ‘big school’. This support continues throughout the year, with students often creating lifelong bonds.
A Learning Support Teacher, several Learning Support Assistants, an English as an Additional Language or Dialect Teacher and a Gifted Education Mentor, supports students at St James’ in their learning. The Learning Support Team meets with classroom teachers to support the wellbeing and academic needs of the students.
St James’ has access to the services of a psychologist, provided through the Catholic Schools Office, working at the school part-time. The psychologist provides support with academic and social assessments. Recommendations are made to assist parents and teachers to cater for the ongoing educational needs of the students.
St James’ has an EAL/D teacher who works with classroom teachers to improve the literacy and English skills of students of diverse ages and backgrounds. The teacher assesses students' education history and English language proficiency and designs individualised lessons focusing on listening, speaking, reading and writing English. The EAL/D teacher works collaboratively with classroom teachers to support them in developing learning programs and teaching practices for students.
St James’ has a Gifted Education Mentor who assists with the assessment and identification of gifted learners, supports gifted learners within the classroom and, through individual and small group programs, supports teachers to provide appropriate strategies to assist gifted students to develop their talent and reach their full potential.