Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Policy 2022

Forming part of Giant Steps Tasmania’s Health & Safety Manual

PASTORAL CARE & WELLBEING POLICY 2022
Forming part of Giant Steps Tasmania’s Health & Safety Manual

Policy Statement

Giant Steps Tasmania is committed to providing a healthy, respectful, safe learning and working environment for its students and staff. It will do this by:

  • Respecting all members of the school community
  • Ensuring students and staff have the opportunity to input into decisions that affect the working and learning environment
  • Listening to and valuing the input of students and staff
  • Putting the safety and wellbeing of students and staff at the centre of its practice, procedures and policies

Definitions

Pastoral Care involves a variety of programmes and procedures which support each individual student to develop their full potential by meeting their emotional, intellectual, physical and social needs, in a safe and secure environment.

Wellbeing involves the care of one’s physical self as well as one’s emotional life through positive feelings around what one does each day, the quality of one’s relationships and the ways in which one feels connected to and able contribute to one’s community.

While there are many similarities between Pastoral Care and Wellbeing, at Giant Steps Tasmania Pastoral Care is something that the organisation provides for its students; Wellbeing is something that the organisation supports for all of its members, which includes its students, staff and families.

Purpose

The aim of this policy is to inform pastoral care for students and wellbeing practices for all who are part of the Giant Steps Tasmania community.

This policy is informed by:

· The Australian Dietary Guidelines http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au...

· The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au...

· Move Well, Eat Well http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/mwe...

· Student Wellbeing Hub https://studentwellbeinghub.edu.au/respect-matters/teaching-resources-students-with-autism/

· Be You http://childcarealliance.org.au (previously Kids Matter)

· Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Implementation

Pastoral Care

Every member of staff’s practice at Giant Steps Tasmania is focussed on ensuring that each student feels safe, has their concerns heard and respected and that they feel connected to the school and local community.

Because classes at Giant Steps Tasmania are small, the person a student is likely to go to with any issue and the first point of contact for a parent/ carer will be the class teacher. However, the school is also fortunate to employ a number of teaching and therapy aides and wherever possible, permanent aides regularly work with the same class group. Additionally, some students work with the school’s in-house therapists. This means that students have access to additional adults to guide and support them. Regular meetings of all staff working with a student mean that information is shared between these adults and that any concerns or issues are promptly addressed.

Another key component of Pastoral Care at Giant Steps Tasmania is the House System.

Every student at Giant Steps Tasmania belongs to one of the following houses:

Triffitt, which is named after the School’s Founders. This house consists mainly of students from the Meander Valley. The house colour is Red.

Clark, which is named after the family of an early student and one of the first teachers at the school. This house consists mainly of students from the NW Coast Area. The house colour is Green.

Christie, which is named after a long-serving principal of the school. This house consists mainly of students from Launceston and its surrounds. The house colour is Blue.

The houses meet monthly as peer support groups and sit together on sports days and on other occasions such as book week. The meetings provide opportunities for students to feel part of an active, cross-age group.

Each House Group has two heads of house who are teachers or allied health practitioners. All classroom-based staff belong to a House. This gives students the chance to develop relationships with staff they do not generally work with, so expanding their network of safe people.

Student elections are held to elect Student Captains who represent their fellow students on the School Council. This builds student voice. The School Council meets regularly to discuss issues of importance to the student body. The meetings are chaired by the Principal or his designate, so ensuring that these issues are seen to be heard and attended to at the highest level.

Wellbeing: Physical Health

Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania understand that:

· students at Giant Steps Tasmania may not be able to eat a variety of foods because of underlying medical conditions;

· a diagnosis of ASD may pre-dispose students to have issues around food;

· healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle has a major influence on the health and wellbeing of students, staff, parents/ carers and members of the wider community.

Therefore:

Food is not used as a reward at Giant Steps Tasmania.

Giant Steps Tasmania’s staff model healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Schemes of work on Nutrition and Health are embedded in the curriculum.

Water is the drink of choice at Giant Steps Tasmania and staff and students are encouraged to drink plenty of water every day. At celebratory events, the only beverage available is water.

Students and staff participate in Health Hustle every day.

Giant Steps Tasmania produces an advisory booklet for parents/ carers called Healthy Eating, Healthy Living. This is available on the school’s website.

Giant Steps Tasmania has a Healthy Fundraisers approach to raising funds for the school. This means that the sale of chocolate is not used to raise funds.

Cooking activities at Giant Steps focus on healthy food and each class is involved in choosing, growing and cooking food.

Because some students at Giant Steps Tasmania have a very restricted diet, it is not possible to ban any food items at Giant Steps Tasmania. Parents/ Carers are informed when there is a student with severe food allergies attending. The sharing of food from lunch boxes is not permitted at Giant Steps Tasmania.

Parents/ Carers are asked to provide healthy, waste-free lunchboxes and are encouraged to submit recipes and healthy lifestyle tips for inclusion in the Parents’ Newsletter and the Giant Steps Tasmania website.

At Giant Steps Tasmania, students are encouraged to try new foods and to eat sitting down in a calm and relaxed environment. A variety of programs are used to help students feel comfortable trying different types of foods.

At Giant Steps Tasmania ‘occasional’ foods are limited and healthy options are provided at celebrations. This practice is monitored by staff submitting menus to the Principal before permission is granted to hold an event.

Whenever possible, members of the local community are invited to attend Giant Steps Tasmania’s celebratory events.

At Giant Steps Tasmania, bike riding and active play is encouraged during break times.

All students have timetabled access to the pool and to therapeutic movement activities.

Giant Steps Tasmania is aiming to achieve the Move Well, Eat Well Award.

Wellbeing: Mental Health

Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania understand:

· the importance of mental health on wellbeing, its impact on learning for students and on the lives of staff and parents/ carers;

· that many students, and particularly those who are non-verbal, may find it difficult to communicate problems they are encountering which might contribute to mental health issues;

· that caring for and educating students who have a diagnosis of ASD can cause stresses in the lives of parents/ carers and staff;

· their own need for support to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues;

· that getting help and support early for mental health difficulties is important for students, parents/ carers and staff.

Therefore:

Giant Steps Tasmania utilises the Zones Of Regulation Framework to support students’ mental health.

Giant Steps Tasmania’s staff members are assisted, through regular Professional Development, to acquire the knowledge and skills to recognise and appropriately offer support to students, parents/ carers and colleagues experiencing mental health difficulties, including advice on how to access services and, where appropriate, to make referrals.

Giant Steps Tasmania proactively develops collaborative working relationships with parents and carers to promote children’s mental health, well-being and learning through the use of newsletters; the school’s website; social media, including the StoryPark App; Communication Books; informal and formal meetings.

Parents and Carers are encouraged to support each other through Parents and Carers Group meetings which take place regularly and which raise matters important to the Group with the principal and other staff members.

Giant Steps Tasmania is aiming to be recognised as a Be You Learning Community.

Giant Steps Tasmania staff members are supported in their day-to-day work through access to the organisation’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides a maximum of 2 paid-for appointments with Catholic Care who have offices in Launceston, Hobart, Devonport and Burnie (Tel: 1800 819 447).

Wellbeing: Social and Emotional Health

Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania understand:

· the inter-relationship between the social and emotional aspects of learning and academic learning.

Therefore:

Schemes of Work on the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEL) are embedded in the curriculum.

Students are provided with regular opportunities to practise and adapt their social and emotional skills to new situations in the classroom, school and wider community. The Student Council is one of the key ways that these opportunities are provided, with regular activities in the community being another.

Wellbeing: Relationships

Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania understand:

  • that students on the Autism Spectrum may have difficulties knowing and following the social queues that help to build relationships;
  • that the relationships students form with each other and with staff are critical to their ongoing development;
  • positive relationships will have an important impact on students’ capacity to learn and to socialise, and on their overall wellbeing;
  • the importance of maintaining professional, respectful relationships with each other and appropriate relationships with their students, in keeping with their Duty of Care and the school’s Staff Professional Conduct Policy.

Therefore:

Giant Steps Tasmania’s staff use their daily interactions with students to model thoughtful, respectful interactions.

Schemes of Work on Respectful Relationships are provided at an age and developmentally appropriate level for all students to help them develop:

  • Self-awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social Management
  • Communication skills
  • Responsible decision making
  • The ability to challenge attitudes that can lead to unacceptable behaviours (including violence)

Regular staff meetings provide staff with the opportunity to raise issues and discuss matters of importance.

The Principal and Board take very seriously and thoroughly investigate any reports of inappropriate behaviour by staff to students or other staff members. Such cases may be passed on to outside agencies, such as the police, to investigate and staff found to have breached their Duty of Care or acted in a way that is not in keeping with the Staff Professional Conduct Policy can have their contracts terminated.

Wellbeing: Safety In Real Life (IRL) and Online

The following school policies directly address issues of students’ and staff members’ safety:

  • Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy
  • Covid Vaccination Policy
  • Off-site Activities Policy
  • Positive Behaviour Support Policy
  • Pool & Water Safety Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Staff Professional Code of Practice Policy
  • Staff Professional Learning & Development Policy
  • Staff Recruitment Policy
  • Technology Policy
  • Whistleblowing Policy

Authorised by:

Paul Bowman

Position:

Chair of Board

Signature:

Date revisions accepted:

Original policy developed by:

Chris Jacobsen

Position:

(Previously) Education Administrator

Date Original Policy developed:

(Previously Health & Wellbeing Policy) July 2016

Date of first review:

March 2018

Date of last review:

March 2020

Staff consultation period:

February – March 2022

Revisions prepared by:

Chris Jacobsen, Fairlight Educational Consulting

Date of next review:

March 2024