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Our School Pastoral Care in Senior School

At Ivanhoe Girls’ we care as much about the developing character of each girl as we do about their academic achievement.

Years 7 to 9

The early-to-middle teenage years are an exciting time of exploration and character development, yet they can also be fraught, as young people at this age and stage can be distracted by the complexities of friendships and friendship groupings. The potential for this to occur has only been increased by the widespread use of social media and other emerging technologies.

In order to enable our students to develop a real sense of connectedness and a clear understanding of what respectful relationships look like, our approach to pastoral care in each of Years 7, 8 and 9 involves:

  • evidence-based preventative interventions led by Tutors
  • targeted coaching of students regarding help-seeking behaviours and appropriate ways to engage with trusted adults
  • the School’s Counselling Team to help students navigate complex situations, understand the impact of their actions and normalise engagement with our Counsellors
  • clarification of the School’s robust processes for dealing with serious issues when they arise, in keeping with our published approach to Serious Offences and our Harassment and Bullying Policy
  • input from external experts, primarily to help students comprehend their ethical and legal obligations when it comes to the fast-changing landscape of information technology and social media.

A sequential Outdoor Education program is also used in each of these years to connect students to the natural environment and as a means to build strong connections within Year Levels whilst fostering resilience.

Year 10

With students starting to plan both for success in the VCE and for life beyond school, at Year 10 we support them through:

  • pathways planning activities, which involve the School's Careers Counsellor, and others that include real-world activities with a focus on entrepreneurship
  • encouraging and promoting leadership opportunities, for example through the Peer Support and School Ambassador programs – both of which involve significant leadership training
  • sessions that aid students to understand the technicalities of the VCE
  • Tutor-led initiatives regarding supporting one another through the challenges of the VCE
  • a hands-on Driver Training Course
  • First Aid Training
  • mindfulness exercises and sessions focussing on resilience run by the School’s Counselling Team.
Year 11

Leadership remains an important theme in Year 11, especially as we look forward to the selection of School Leaders for the following year.

Unity as a Year Level, especially in the context of managing examinations, work/life balance and potential stress, is a further priority. Key specific elements of the pastoral program include:

  • a two-day conference at the end of Term 1, which is both an opportunity for bonding and a means to engage with external experts on relevant themes (such as gender stereotyping in the media)
  • exercises focussing on managing stress and developing resilience, run by the School’s Counselling Team
  • additional exercises centered on planning and organisation, revision and study habits, run by Tutors and Subject Teachers
  • leadership activities
  • preparing for School Leader nominations, with the Head of Senior School and current School Leadership Team
  • a seminar on managing risk and harm minimisation, focusing on alcohol, drugs and social media
  • financial literacy sessions.

In addition, we work with external experts regarding body image, as research tells us that girls’ negative feelings about their bodies can increase around Year 11.

Year 12

A very strong academic focus among our students at Year 12 is both inevitable and desirable.

Our approach to pastoral care in this final year of school aims to support students in their academic endeavours whilst ensuring a broader focus, especially on 21st Century skills. Encouraging wellbeing at such an exciting, yet potentially stressful, time is a further key priority. Some of the ways we seek to do this involve:

  • a two-day retreat at the end of Term 1, which is intended to strengthen relationships and community through a range of activities that require problem solving, teamwork and challenge
  • significant and ongoing support from the Careers Counsellor regarding Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre submissions, interview skills and university processes
  • discussions, led by the School's Counselling Team, about balance and mental wellness
  • Tutor-led activities about role-modelling in the school setting, and what it means to be an engaged citizen beyond the school gate
  • sessions on sexual health and relationships (building on work done in previous years)
  • service activities
  • further work with external experts on road safety.