A report on Pastoral care in Western Australian Schools

This report presents the findings of a study into parents’ expectations and schools’ understanding and delivery of pastoral care, into how students experience pastoral care provision in schools, and into how district directors assess school effectiveness in this area.

This report is the culmination of over ninety focus groups and interviews across twenty Western Australian public schools, involving a cross-section of the school community, including district directors, principals/administrators, teachers, students and parents.

What was found?

Parents generally expected schools to provide a caring and supportive environment for their children and believed that this was achieved by school staff, particularly teachers:

  • showing a genuine interest in students by being approachable and sympathetic.

  • being present and available to talk with students, helping them with their problems, and

  • providing support as needed.

  • knowing their children as individuals and responding to their unique needs.

Students also expected schools to provide a caring and supportive environment and in this,emphasised the role of school staff, in particular teachers. Aspects they singled out included:

  • School staff being approachable, relating to students, listening to them and understanding their needs.

  • Treating students fairly and consistently in their day-to-day dealings, irrespective of their background, academic ability, or any prior reputation.

  • Effectively resolving issues which negatively impacted upon their quality of school experience, such as school “bullying” or playground “teasing”.