All Saints Catholic College will take student wellbeing and achievement to a new level this year with individualised learning plans and a goal process that aims to unlock each student’s potential.
Students in Years 7 to 10 at the newly merged College, which ran as separate boys’ and girls’ colleges until the end of 2015, will track their progress four areas – academic, ministry, co-curricular and wellbeing – based on goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. These will become part of a formalised learning contract that the student, their parents and teacher sign off on early in Term 1.
Year 7 Leader of Wellbeing Jenny Keys said the holistic approach to education included a 60-minute pastoral lesson once every three weeks. In this space they have discussed what realistic goals are, and drawn inspiration from video of people who have overcome adversity to set some. Teachers will also have access to students’ documented goals to help support their learning.
“Your learning is heavily influenced by who you are as a person and how you are functioning,” she said. “Those things are all intricately linked. It has to be a combined focus in order to have healthy relationships and feel like you’re doing well at school.
“We’re looking at the whole student and making sure that in order to learn that their wellbeing is catered for – in terms of healthy relationships, resilience, and being able to tackle problems that come up in the transition to high school.”
Mrs Keys said respectful relationships, including between students and teachers, were keys to students’ success.
“Everything comes from that – you feel comfortable to speak up and ask questions, to seek help to engage with your partner or work as a whole group.”
Year 7 students Alex Jacob and Becca Isaac, both 12, believe their individual learning plans will be helpful.
“I believe it is going to be helpful to see as I go ‘have I reached that goal?’ or have I missed it by a bit and there’s still some room there to improve,” Alex said.
“I’m involved in public speaking this year and I’m really looking forward to that. I want to try out for some sporting teams too – the football team and maybe the athletics team.
“High school is not much different – only that transition phase you have to go through in terms of going to classes instead of staying in the one room the whole day.
“The work is challenging at times but I think that challenge is good for students who have just settled into high school, when teachers need to know what standard we are at.”
Becca said her school diary was also helpful in making the transition to high school.
“I found the diary was really helpful because it has all the information on school policy in the one book and has made me feel really organised,” she said.
“It’s like your best friend, you could say. I always try to set goals. I feel like if I do set some goals it will help me to make gains, and I think it will help the other students as well.
“I would like to try some representative sports and I would really like to make the netball team. I currently play for Moorebank so I’d like to share my skills and show what I can do. I’d like to get a bit more confident in public speaking as well.”
The change to the way pastoral care is delivered at the school in 2016 complements the unique lesson plan the school adopted after the boys’ and girls’ colleges merged.
The College maintains single-sex classes for core subjects including Mathematics, English, Science, and History, and has made all elective subjects coeducational.
An open day will be held at the College on March 19, 10am to 1pm.