Pastoral Care is the ‘oil’ of learning and relationships are the ‘oil’ of good quality pastoral care.

Pastoral Care refers to all actions taken within a school to promote a climate of care that enhances the personal, social, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of students and staff.

Catholic schools – Communities of Care and Support

Catholic schools strive to be communities of care and support, where every child and young person experiences a joyful education that develops a sense of meaning and purpose in life, to be able to live their lives to the full: I have come that you may have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10).

Pastoral care within a Catholic school community is inspired by the teaching and lived example of Jesus Christ, with a focus on person-centred care that nurtures a strong sense of belonging, inclusion and identity. Drawing upon the Catholic tradition, pastoral care is a ministry of the Church and upholds the dignity of the human person through compassion, justice and respect in the belief that everyone matters.

Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy

Catholic schools in the Broken Bay Diocesan Schools System (DSS) have a Pastoral Care and Student Wellbeing Policy that supports schools to promote a climate of care through respectful relationships to strengthen student and staff wellbeing within safe, supportive and inclusive learning communities. It is intended to guide system and school based guidelines and practices for pastoral care and wellbeing that meet regulatory and diocesan requirements.

 Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (2018)

The Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy is underpinned by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (2018) which outlines evidence based practices to support school communities to promote wellbeing, safety and learning. The five key elements include:

  1. Leadership – Visible leadership to inspire positive, faith–filled school communities founded on the person of Jesus Christ.
  2. Inclusion – Inclusive and connected school culture enlivened by Gospel values.
  3. Student voice – Authentic student participation that grows student voice and agency.
  4. Partnerships – Effective family, parish and community partnerships.
  5. Support – Wellbeing and support for positive behaviour.

 Student Wellbeing

Student Wellbeing is a student’s level of satisfaction about the quality of their life at school. Optimal wellbeing is characterised by positive feelings and attitude, positive relationships with other students and teachers, resilience and satisfaction with self and learning experiences at school.

“The wellbeing of children and young people is enhanced and their learning outcomes optimised when they feel connected to others and experience safe, trusting relationships. Students who feel connected, safe and secure are more likely to be active participants in their own learning and to achieve better physical, emotional, social, spiritual and educational outcomes” (Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, 2018, p. 2).

Partnerships with Families & the Community

Catholic schools have a strong tradition of pastoral care in partnership with parents, who are the first educators of their children. Parents have the primary responsibility for the development of their child’s wellbeing. Families, parishes and communities collaborate as partners with the school to provide the strongest foundation possible for their children and young people to flourish and reach their full potential in learning and in life.


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 The Diocesan Schools System opposes all forms of bullying.  

 All students, their families and employees within the Diocesan Schools System (DSS), have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment. The dignity of the human person is inherent to the ministry of Catholic education and all members of the school community share the responsibility to teach, foster, promote and encourage positive student behaviour.

 Anti-Bullying Policy

 Catholic schools in the Broken Bay Diocesan Schools System (DSS) have an Anti-Bullying Policy for the prevention and management of bullying.  All schools are required to provide learning experiences that support students to develop an understanding of school behavioural expectations (rules), bullying, the role of the bystander and its impact on individuals and the broader community.

Definition of Bullying

 Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful, and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Bullying can involve: humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, sexual orientation or practice of religion. Bullying of any form, or for any reason, can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Cyber-bullying refers to bullying through the use of information and communication technologies by an individual or group that is intended to harm others, or is undertaken recklessly without concern for its impact on others.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, or in the workplace. Bullying behaviour can be:

  • verbal, eg name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats
  • physical, eg hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
  • social, eg ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures
  • psychological, eg spreading rumours, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of communication technology/mobile

Conflict or fights is NOT Bullying

Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying. Bullying behaviour is not:

  • children not getting along well
  • a situation of mutual conflict such as, teasing or disagreement
  • a single episodes of hurtful words or actions, or random acts of aggression or

 Duty of Care

Every teacher and school authority have a duty of care to take reasonable measures to protect students from risks of harm that are reasonably foreseeable.

 If Your Child is Being Bullied What Can You Do?

 Parent support can include:

 Stay calm and positive – It can be an emotional time when your child is being bullied. Try to identify a solution with your child and do some research so that you are informed on how to best support your child.

Talk with the school – You do not need your child’s permission to talk to the school. A shared, consistent and co-operative approach by both the home and school is important.

 Keep your child safe – You should contact the school immediately if your child feels unsafe.

 Talk with your child – Encourage your child to talk about what happened. Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay. Assure your child that it is not their fault. Do not advise your child to fight with the other child.

 Encourage your child to:

 try to act unaffected and ignore it

  • say ‘No!’ firmly
  • use other strategies to diffuse the situation (eg. agreeing in an offhand way with the bullying when they say offensive or negative things – this is known as fogging)
  • talk to the teacher or another staff member, eg school counsellor
  • act confidently even if they don’t feel it.

 Seek help for your child – Discuss with the school a referral to the counselling service. The parent or child can contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Quick Links

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
National Centre Against Bullying (NCAB)
A to Z Parent Resources: About Bullying
Bullying No Way
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)


All students, their families and employees within the Broken Bay Diocesan Schools System (DSS), have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment. All members of the school community share this responsibility to foster, encourage and promote positive behaviour and respectful relationships.

Catholic schools – Living a Responsible Way of Life

Catholic schools strive to develop a faith community permeated by Gospel values, which respects the dignity of each person. The creation of such an environment where people recognise and observe their mutual rights and duties, provides opportunities to build an inclusive and connected school community. Catholic schools, share responsibility with parents for teaching students to live responsibly in a community with others, by fostering compassion and forgiveness, and promoting respectful relationships. The educative process is intended to assist all students to make a conscious choice of living a responsible and coherent way of life.

Behaviour Support Policy

Catholic schools in the Broken Bay Diocesan Schools System (DSS) have a Behaviour Support Policy to promote a safe and supportive learning environment that enhances teaching and learning for all students. It supports the development of students’ pro-social behaviour based on respectful relationships and clear behavioural expectations.

Positive Behaviour Approaches

Positive behaviour systems of support are evidence based strategies for building an inclusive and collaborative school culture, to optimise teaching and learning. In our schools we promote a multi-tiered system approach (Tiers 1-3) to provide services and interventions for students, at increasing levels of intensity based on student needs. This multi-tiered system of support is informed by the Positive Behavioural Interventions and Support (PBIS) Framework (also known in the Diocese of Broken Bay as Positive Behaviour for Learning – PBL). The PBL framework is used widely across the Diocese to support positive behaviour approaches in schools.

Reference: Adapted from 2019 Positive Behavioural Interventions & Supports (PBIS)


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The Diocese of Broken Bay employs school-based counsellors in both primary and secondary schools

The School Counsellors are qualified Social Workers or Psychologists who specialise in child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing. Working as part of the Pastoral Care & Wellbeing Team, School Counsellors support and assist schools to better understand and manage student mental health and wellbeing issues, with a view to improving student learning and wellbeing outcomes.

Primary School Counselling

The Primary School Counselling team are allocated a number of schools to provide support. Primary students are seen at their school by the school counsellor during school hours. All referrals are made via the School Principal who will consult and seek advice and recommendations from the School Counsellor regarding appropriate next steps. Parent permission is sought for primary school students prior to being referred to the primary school counselling service. This service provides mental health assessment and short term counselling and therapeutic support. Where additional intervention may be required, recommendations to external agencies will be provided.

Secondary School Counselling

Secondary students can self-refer to the school counsellor or may be referred via school staff or parents. Intervention and therapeutic support will vary and may be short or long term depending on the type of issue presented. Students presenting with serious mental health issues are often referred to external agencies to ensure specialist intervention and support is provided. Consistent with evidence-based practice the School Counsellor can liaise with external mental health professionals to ensure appropriate adjustments and strategies are applied relevant to the school context.

CSO support

The school counselling service is supported by the Leader of School Counselling and members of the CSO Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Team. The Leader of School Counselling assists all School Principals and School Counsellors on matters pertaining to student mental health and critical incidents.