The primary focus of Somerville Secondary College is the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of every student. Adolescence is frequently the most challenging period of life and the school works hard to ensure that students have every possible support in the transition from child to young adult.
The pastoral role begins with the Home Room teacher who meets their form group every morning and is therefore best placed to identify any personal issues that students may be confronting. Teaching staff are supported by a welfare team that includes both assistant principals, two leading teachers responsible for the junior and senior student bodies, a full time student welfare officer, our school chaplain and our adolescent health nurse. This group meets weekly to monitor the progress of students who are involved in the welfare support process.
Additionally the school has access to a specialist psychologist funded by the Education Department as well as psychologists from external agencies such as On Psych. We currently work as part of the Health Promoting Schools Network and have close ties with Peninsula Youth Connections who provide youth support personnel both on site and via home visits. Last year the school gained the services of Mike Sheenan, an experienced youth worker who has moved into our area and volunteers two days every week to support our young people. If necessary students can be referred to Head Space in Frankston for specialist health support and the school is generating a network of community links to meet the specific needs of its student body.
The college sources short term courses such as TAFE tasters and Tools For The Trade provided by the Salvation Army which give students an opportunity to experience real work situations. The Hands On Learning program at the college is another avenue for students to be involved in non-classroom learning and is becoming more and more popular with both boys and girls. The Mornington Peninsula Youth Services group, run by the Mornington Shire, facilitates pastoral programs at years 7, 8 and 9 as well as providing a youth worker on a weekly basis and topical support for our year 11 and 12 students.
The school has a terrific relationship with Monash University who arrange visits to their various campus sites as well as guest speakers and tutors for VCE students. We also enjoy the support of the community engagement officers based at the Hastings Police complex who frequently speak to our students, especially in relation to social media issues.
Essentially Somerville Secondary College aims to tailor individual educational pathways for every student which support the wellbeing needs of each child. Welfare and wellbeing are our first concern; when these needs are met , education can proceed in the context of confidence, clear goals, sound values, the aspiration to make a worthwhile contribution to society and above all else, a sense of peace and happiness.
STUDENT WELFARE OFFICER
Maryam Gharehbaghi works with students (self refer, referral through teacher/s or parents) one-on-one or group sessions in addressing issues around, e.g. bullying, friendship group dynamics, any concerns at school or at home. All the sessions are confidential and use a student focused approach. Maryam also assists in referrals to services such as Mornington Peninsula Youth Services, Head Space, State Schools Relief, Southern Teaching Unit, The MAT Program (in school program).
In addition, Maryam runs the Breakfast Club which is on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Bec Olver works two days a week. Bec’s role is to be involved in the care of students, families and teachers in the areas of welfare and religious needs.
Some key areas Bec works with is:
• Individual and group work
• Volunteer involvement
• Anger management
• Loss and Grief
• Family reconciliation
• Positive encouragement
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