At Mercy College we have high expectations. School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) helps to create a positive learning environment by developing proactive whole-school systems to define, teach and support appropriate student behaviours. SWPBS helps to enhance positive behaviours and increases academic performance.
We have explicit behavioural expectations and a common, consistent language is used by all members of the community.
We have three expectations of all members of our community:
BE RESPECTFUL, BE RESPONSIBLE, BE SAFE
The following strategies are implemented schoolwide:
- Effective academic support
- Explicit teaching of social skills
- Explicit teaching of school-wide expectations
- Active supervision / monitoring of students
- Firm, fair, corrective discipline using restorative practices
- Effective classroom management
- Positive reinforcement for all students displaying our expected behaviours
SWPBS is closely aligned to Catherine McAuley’s approach to guiding those she interacted with. Catherine wrote:
“Be ever ready to praise, to encourage, to stimulate, but slow to censure, and still more slow to condemn.” (Familiar Instructions, p. 141)
In implementing SWPBS we focus on the positive aspects of students’ behaviour, looking to recognise students who are displaying our expected positive behaviours, while still addressing other behaviours that might not be in line with our expectations using Restorative Practices.
At Mercy College there are two part-time psychologists who support students’ wellbeing. While the school psychologists do not know all of the students at school personally, they aim to provide support for all students in the Mercy college community through a multi-tiered approach.
- Psychologists provide individualised support to students through 1:1 counselling and by providing consultation specific to individual students to parents/guardians, teachers and other professionals.
- Psychologists provide support to specific groups of students. This may be through targeted group programs, or through the class and year level workshops which focus on issues which are developmentally relevant.
- Psychologists provide support across all year levels and to all students through implementing whole school approaches to wellbeing and by providing professional learning opportunities to teachers.
Psychologists use a multilayered, systemic approach to support students, through working directly with students and with the other important people in their lives, like their teachers, parents/guardians and other professionals who work outside of the school. There are many people who can play a critical role in supporting students, including these support people, and working with the young person's environment fosters lasting positive changes.
The various services the school psychologists offer are listed below.
Secondary School can present a variety of challenges and there are times when students benefit from individualised mental health support in the form of 1:1 counselling. Students can be referred for a variety of presenting issues including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, friendship issues, family issues, and academic stress. Sometimes this support also involves referral to external health care providers.
Some students present with specific learning challenges. Cognitive and educational assessments can be undertaken to ensure students’ areas of strength and challenge in learning are understood and appropriate supports are put in place.
Small group programs are offered to selected students. The focus of groups varies and includes social skills, managing academic stress and building coping skills.
Class/Year Level Workshops
Relevant presentations and workshops, on topics such as study habits, diversity, and mindfulness, are delivered throughout the year.
Whole School Approaches to Promote Wellbeing
School psychologists contribute to the development and implementation of policies, procedures and whole school programs which aim to increase wellbeing and resilience within the Mercy College community.
Consultation with Staff
School psychologists engage in consultation with educators on how students can be best supported in the school setting. This includes consultation for mental health issues, accommodations and support for students with learning difficulties, classroom behaviour, and promoting wellbeing in the classroom.
Professional Learning for Staff
School psychologists develop and deliver professional learning to staff on a variety of topics relevant to supporting the wellbeing of students, such as trauma-sensitive practice and supporting the learning of neurodiverse students.