Student Support Services

At St Columba Anglican School, we are committed to providing safe, quality student support services.

Student Support Services at St Columba encompass the school’s holistic approach to pastoral care and learning. The Wellbeing Teams and Learning Support Teams work together to support the educational needs of students concerning academic progress and welfare. The role of the school psychologist is to support students to engage in school life and learning. This is through working collaboratively with the Wellbeing and Learning Support frameworks that exist within the school. Students and their families are essential to the success of these teams and their planning.

Wellbeing Team  

St Columba has a comprehensive pastoral care system in place to care for the individual needs of every student, from Kindergarten through to Year 12.

Our pastoral care objectives are to:

  • Provide a caring community in a Christian context where each student feels valued and is able to make a worthwhile contribution

  • Nurture a sense of belonging to the school community and pride in the school

  • Encourage understanding and appreciation of individual differences

  • Promote self-discipline and social responsibility

  • Prepare students for the challenges of society

  • Foster quality relationships between staff and students

  • Establish strong, supportive relationships between parents and the school 

The Wellbeing Team is led by the Director of K–12 Wellbeing and the Deputy Director of Wellbeing in the Primary School. In Secondary School students are supported through Year, House and Tutor group patrons. The group works with Year Patrons, Stage Coordinators and classroom teachers (Primary) to identify students needing support and evaluates the options that can be put in place to assist individuals, groups and cohorts of students. This can include social skills programs, referrals to Learning Support or seeking the assistance of the school psychologist or external agencies. Families are a part of the collaborative planning process when additional adjustments and interventions are required. 

Parents are welcome to phone or make an appointment to talk about their concerns with their child’s Year Patron (Secondary) or Classroom Teacher (Primary) as the initial contact. 

Learning Support Team

Students at St Columba come from a wide variety of educational environments and learning experiences. Students may also present with additional needs, and it is through the classroom teachers and the Learning Support Team that these students are supported and guided in their educational journey.

The Learning Support Team consists of Lead Teachers (Learning Support), academic staff (including Learning Support teachers, Coordinators and Heads of School) and the school psychologist. Each member of the team is committed to promoting collaborative partnership by liaising with teachers, families and students.

The Learning Support Team provides advice and resourcing in regards to classroom interventions for groups and individual students with disabilities or learning difficulties. The goal of the team is to maximise participation within the mainstream curriculum, promote inclusion, support achievement and monitor progress. They do this by working with staff to identify students needing support and from information provided to the school by families.

The team considers student referrals from staff and makes decisions about the frameworks that need to be put in place to support individuals, groups and cohorts of students. This can include tiered intervention programs, Individual Plans, Behaviour Support Plans and academic or behavioural assessments. Families are a part of the collaborative planning process when additional adjustments and interventions are required. This process may also include requests to parents to seek the support of allied health practitioners, e.g. occupational/speech therapists, medical doctors and outside agencies.

Psychological Student Support

Our Registered Psychologist has extensive experience in child and adolescent mental health, educational and developmental psychology. 

Psychological student support is a whole school resource from Kindergarten to Year 12 assisting teachers to best support students in classrooms. The psychologist will also liaise with families regarding students as a part of the collaborative planning process for the individual needs of students with disabilities. The School Psychologist supports the school and is a member of the Learning Support and Wellbeing Teams. Services provided could include:

  • Brief interventions for a range of issues affecting school engagement.

  • Classroom observations

  • Assisting teachers to support students with learning, behavioural or mental health needs

  • Liaising with parents regarding students

  • Supporting students with mental health issues who are being treated by external clinicians

  • Preventative and early intervention initiatives

  • Contributing to the professional learning of teachers and school staff in areas of Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • Working with Students and the learning support team to support selected academic issues

The role of the school psychologist is not intended to provide individual long-term counselling services to students and their families. Working with individual students may be a component of a Secondary support plan that has been put in place but would be a short term intervention as a pathway to external support for the student’s long term mental health or wellbeing.

School Psychology involvement is a brief intervention only and usually works closely with families and external services for ongoing support. School psychology involvement would be limited to academic, socio-emotional and behavioural issues which impact student wellbeing and school engagement. 

Contacting for support

While sometimes you may wish to call the Psychologist directly, your first point of contact for most concerns would be your child’s Classroom Teacher in the Primary and Year Patron for Students in the Secondary School. Referrals to the school psychologist are presented to the Wellbeing and Learning Support Teams for discussion and approval. School expertise and resources determine the response and forward planning for students needs. This may include tiered support frameworks and conversations with staff from within the Wellbeing/Learning Support Teams, teaching staff, psychologist, external providers and families.

Confidentiality

The School psychologist offers a confidential service respecting the individual’s privacy. However, in certain circumstances, parents and appropriate staff will be contacted: 

  • The student reveals information about harm to himself/herself or to another person.

  • The student or another person may be in physical danger.

  • The student consents to others being informed about certain information.

  • Records are subpoenaed by a Court.

The School Psychologist works as a part of the Wellbeing Team and Learning Support Team, and with permission will share relevant information with the child’s teacher/s and other staff who work with the child. 

Data Collection 

St Columba Anglican school collect general information about students and families when necessary to:

  • educate students

  • support students’ social and emotional wellbeing and health  

  • fulfil legal requirements, including to:

    • take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to students, staff and visitors 

    • make reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities

  • fulfil statutory functions and duties 

  • comply with reporting requirements 

Some student records may be shared with the AIS for auditing and funding purposes. This information is de-identified, and only essential information is shared.

School Psychology files are stored securely in accordance with AHPRA regulations. 

External Referrals

In some instances, it may be more appropriate to refer students and their families to professionals outside the school who are able to offer specialist assistance, e.g. paediatricians, private psychologists, psychiatrists, community mental health services or other allied health professionals. The School psychologist has strong networking relationships with local providers and can assist with referrals to a range of services.