House teams 2023

Prince Alfred College Pastoral Review

3 August 2023

At Prince Alfred College we place a high value on pastoral care and wellbeing. We are committed to developing young men of character and purpose, who make a positive contribution to society. Pastoral care at the College stands alongside our academic teaching and learning, and our co-curricular programs. It is through these three spheres of student life that we find opportunities for learning, personal growth, and development.

Recently, we undertook a review of our pastoral care structures and programs to ensure the way we care for our students and help them to develop positive wellbeing is of the highest standard.

We would like to share with you a change in the Secondary School pastoral organisational model for 2024 based on the research undertaken, and consultation with staff, students, parents, and Old Scholars last semester.

What was the aim of the pastoral review?

The aim of the review was to determine the optimal organisational structure that will support the delivery of the taught pastoral care curriculum. Our structure must recognise the potential in every student, promote a strong sense of belonging and connection through House spirit, facilitate a meaningful student leadership and service program and ensure each student’s academic and wellbeing needs are met.

The pastoral review allowed us to consolidate the best parts of our current practice whilst also serving as an opportunity to strengthen other areas of our pastoral care program through:

  • Assisting our staff to provide support and guidance to a small number of boys through tutor groups
  • Supporting better pastoral teaching and learning
  • Creating greater equity in the number of students our pastoral leaders oversee
  • Providing opportunities for different year groups to work together more than they currently do. For our senior boys to provide salient mentoring and guidance to our younger students.
  • Creating structures that facilitate more service activity and a greater connection to our community.

What was the process?

We followed a rigorous process of review that consisted of:

  • Forming a working party of senior pastoral leaders
  • Consulting with our staff and College Council
  • Meeting with SRC, Prefects and students
  • Meeting with members of our community, including parents and Old Scholars
  • Reviewing published research and case studies to identify best practice outcomes
  • Creating a variety of models and critiquing these to ensure they met the aims of the review.

What is the new pastoral structure?

  • In 2024, we will invigorate our four Houses - Cotton, Taylor, Waterhouse and Watsford.
  • Students in the Secondary School (Years 7-12) will be moving from the current year-level based pastoral system under the leadership of six Year Level Coordinators (YLC) to a House-based pastoral system under the leadership of eight Heads of House (HoH).
  • Each House will consist of a Senior Years HoH (Years 10-12) and a Middle Years HoH (Years 7-9). Supporting these HoH will be a team of House Tutors. The HoH will be responsible for the daily operations and oversight of their House and the students within it.
  • Students will be placed in a tutor group with other students from their year group and House and each tutor group will have a House Tutor who stays with their group for three years, cycling through years 7-9 and a different House Tutor and group of students from the same House for years 10-12.
  • Students will also attend vertical House meetings (Years 7-12). Vertical House meetings will focus on service, leadership, House spirit and will help facilitate the mentoring of younger students by our older students within each of the Houses.
  • Heads of House will report to, and be supported by, a Head of Middle Years and a Head of Senior Years. These two new leadership roles will work directly with the Deputy Headmaster/Head of Secondary School, Mr Greg Atterton, to oversee the wellbeing of students and daily operations of Years 7-9 and Years 10-12 respectively.
  • The House system in the Preparatory School, which is embraced and loved by our boys, will not change.

A diagram of the new pastoral organisational structure can be found here

What are the next steps?

We will be making appointments into the new leadership positions of Head of House, Head of Middle Years and Head of Senior Years. 

When 2024 begins, students can expect a new system of pastoral care; one with a strengthened focus on House and the opportunities for mentorship and belonging that it will bring; a strengthened Princes Man Program, more opportunities to serve our community and build connections outside the gates of PAC, and a further opportunity for students to demonstrate genuine leadership.

I would like to express my appreciation for all the work undertaken by the staff involved in this review. Thank you to our community members who have provided input through the process, your feedback has been invaluable. The preparedness of many of our Old Scholars and parents to give up their time is another example of the strength of our community. 

David Roberts