Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

February 4, 2022

By Mr Kevin Robillard, Assistant Principal – Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

Thank you for the warm welcome I have received from students, staff and the St Patrick’s College greater community in the last two weeks, as I begin my role as Assistant Principal: Pastoral and Wellbeing. I look forward to honouring the successful history the College is built upon and will endeavour to ensure the values, pillars and traditions of the of the Catholic Church and the Blessed Edmond Rice are incorporated into the work ahead.

It has been a pleasure working with the new leadership team and reassuring to know that we stand united with a clear vision that will shape our future planning: to raise the expectations and standards of the College.  As Mr O’Connor continues to say “Make the impossible possible”.

I am sure you will have heard conversations around our community on the topics of uniform and hair expectations.  I take this opportunity to note that the uniform policy has not changed from 2021.  What has changed is an agreed understanding and higher expectations of what the meaning is of a hairstyle that is “neat, clean and not extreme in style or colour so as to draw attention to the individual student”.  St Patrick’s College is proud of its uniform. The way it is worn is an important way of belonging to the College community. Research shows that what you wear to school/work can not only impact how others perceive you, it can also affect how well you perform at your work, how you perceive yourself and your abilities, and even how quickly you move up the professional ladder or find academic success. Our expectation is for each student to get the best out of their time at St Pat’s and having pride in our appearance is an important part of that journey.

As we begin a new year, we understand the wellbeing challenges faced as parents and students who have been impacted by Covid over the last two years. I pray that we do not go into remote learning again and that we transition well to what will hopefully be a full year of learning at school.  Please know that all students have been affected by the continued changing of remote to onsite learning in different ways and what your son is feeling is not unique.  What is understood from research, is that students and families face two main wellbeing concerns from the last two years of education. One is that some children will feel behind in their learning due to the effectiveness of remote learning.  The second is that this feeling may see them not want to participate or at times even attend school.

While we will continue to support students at school, a resource you may find useful at home as parents is the link below from ReachOut.  ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia.  Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tool save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. The information offered to parents makes it easy to help teenagers and have been championing wider access to mental health support since it launched over 20 years ago. Everything is created with the latest evidence and is designed with experts, and young people or their parents. It is a free service that’s available anytime and may be helpful as your first stop to finding strategies to support your son’s wellbeing. The link is below will take you directly to the page to assist with teenage coping skills.

Thank you once again for the warm welcome I have received in this new role.  I look forward to the year ahead, getting to know the students and future conversations with parents and members of the St Patrick’s Community.

Mr Kevin Robillard