The pastoral care of students is overseen by their whānau teacher. All students belong to a whānau group which meets two to three times a week.
Students in Years 9 - 13 are placed into whānau groups based around the school’s House system. Each whānau group comprises a mixture of approximately ten students from across year levels 9 - 13. The student remains in the same whānau group each year, meaning students will have the same whānau teacher from Year 9 to Year 13. This enables them to develop a strong bond over time, where the whānau teacher has a very in-depth understanding of the student’s needs, interests and abilities.
Year 7 and 8 students' whānau group is their homeroom class with their homeroom teacher, who has a very good knowledge and understanding of each of their students.
The introduction of the whānau groups in 2020 has strengthened the partnership between school, student and whānau in a way that brings about more ownership of learning, improved well being and academic outcomes for students.
In the whānau groups our senior students have the opportunity to take on a leadership role with the younger students.
Each week there are two or three whānau meetings for approximately 25 minutes each. The number each week depends on whether an assembly is being held. In these whānau group meetings focus will be on:
- Ensuring students are set up for the week ahead, activities, assessments and other appointments are entered in diaries
- Looking at the school wide planner for school activities, e.g. sports expo, exams, Riccarton interchange, school production, talent quest, etc.
- Whānau teachers (teachers) individually conferencing with students in their group about how they are going and what support can be given. This could be around pastoral matters, well-being and academic achievement.
- Building House spirit
- Well-being activities
- Uniform and attendance checks
- Every now and then a group may organise an activity to build relationships or combine with other groups in their House for a small competition.
The conferencing, described in the third bullet point, sees students begin to take more ownership of their learning and eventually they take the lead in driving three-way conversations with parents and teachers. They will have a far more informed knowledge of exactly where they are in terms of their learning and what the next steps should be.