At Ōtūmoetai College the provision of pastoral care, guidance and counselling supports student success by helping them to overcome barriers to achievement.
It assists with reducing psychological distress, enabling greater engagement, increasing retention in education and improving achievement. In a school community, there are people in many different roles who provide a ‘circle of care’ for students, as needed.
To ensure we are supporting the students as well as we can, the Wellbeing@School student survey is a tool for school leaders to find out how the students at school really feel.This happens every few years, 2021 being one. It helps in getting a full picture of what’s going on, rather than relying on how things appear on the surface, and it can also suggest areas of focus.
The Wellbeing@School survey has been specifically designed to help schools identify how different aspects of school life contribute to a safe and caring environment. Gathering data also provides a baseline for checking outcomes over time.
At the school-wide level, there are a number of proactive initiatives where students support their peers.
- STARS mentoring – senior students supporting junior students in their first year of College
- Student Support mentors for helping to resolve minor issues between students in a restorative way
- Academic Coaching by students
- a Hauora committee which promotes inclusion, connection and belonging
Form Classes and
All students are part of a form class within a horizontal year level. The Form Teacher, the two Deans and the Deputy Principal of that year level move through the five years of schooling with this cohort. This enables strong relationships to be built with the students and their whanau.
In addition students belong to a vertical Whare which increases their sense of belonging to the College on a wider level.
Wellness Centre Support
A number of students may need extra targeted help some of the time with issues as they arise.
For medical issues, we have a well appointed Wellness Centre with nurses, supported by a doctor and physiotherapist several times a week. In addition we have free dental care for students under 18. The mobile dental clinic visits once a year. Hearing screening testing, provided annually by the PHO, occurs annually with year 9 students. Catch up MMR vaccinations are provided on site for those who have missed them in earlier years.
Our Counselling Team has three qualified counsellors. They provide one on one counselling, as well as group sessions for things such as dealing with grief. They are supported by outside agencies such as MICAMHS and Oranga Tamariki.
Learning and Career Support
On site we also have a Learning Support Centre which links in closely with the counsellors. Many students who experience anxiety and have referrals through MICAMHs are on modified programmes of work. Students with identified learning needs, such as dyslexia, also receive assistance here.
Assisting with Career pathways choice is an important part of a school’s Wellbeing provision. The Pathways department works in parallel with counsellors and the wider pastoral care networks in the school to ensure students get the support they need in career choices.