College News

Pastoral Care Team

Phill Holding – Assistant Principal Administration

Supporting students in a nurturing, community environment is at the heart of St Mary’s College Ipswich philosophy.  The College’s strong, established Pastoral Care system is central to this. Acting as a direct line of communication for families, the team build strong relationships with students, assisting them in all aspects of College life.

In recent weeks, this team has helped students and families feel reassured in uncertain times. Offering guidance and support, they are assisting everyone within the College community to feel cared for.

The team is led by Assistant Principal Administration Phillip Holding. Mr Holding is new to St Mary’s College Ipswich this year, and says the Pastoral Care team should be the first port of call for any concerns or feedback from families. “The Pastoral Care team know your daughter and can help find solutions that are best for everyone,” he said. “We can either deal with issues within the PC team, or triage the problem to the appropriate person.”

There are four PC leaders, one for each House group at the College – Ms Margareta Lemon leads Gorry House, Ms Phil Folan leads Horan House, Ms Kate Palmer leads Murphy House and Ms Kristin Harding leads Whitty House. Each student is assigned a PC class, and these classes meet each morning with their teacher to check in and make sure everyone is feeling okay to start the day. Classes contain a mix of students from Years 7 to 12, ensuring younger students are supported by their older peers.

Phil Folan is now in her 13th year as a Pastoral Leader at St Mary’s College, making her the longest serving member of the team. “The vertical PC system is really helpful. We get to see the students grow and develop from Year 7 to Year 12,” she said. “Mr Holding has brought a new energy this year, and we are all learning at the moment. We have been holding PC via Microsoft Teams recently, so the girls can still stay in touch and feel supported from home.”

Journeying with the students and helping them to become the best version of themselves is the team’s guiding principle. “Meeting with students outside the classroom means you get to see who they really are,” Ms Palmer said. “It is really rewarding to support not just students, but also their families, and celebrate their achievements and successes.”

Further support if offered to students by Guidance Counsellors Em Coote and Fiona Podolak. The Guidance Counsellors provide a relaxed and confidential space where students or parents can come to discuss any area of concern or difficulty. They assist with personal and family problems, as well as questions about subject choices, learning, post school study or future pathways and careers.

The Pastoral Care team is looking forward to engaging students in new ways throughout this year, and exploring new initiatives. They encourage all members of the St Mary’s College community to reach out with any concerns.