It was Paul the Apostle who said ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’ (I Corinthians 13:11).
As our Year 7 students negotiate the transition into Junior Secondary, a significant period in a young person’s life, they will experience more personal change than at any other time of their lives. Because the rate of development and interests of students in Years 7 to 9 can vary enormously, we continue to refine, develop and implement structures, systems, policies and programs which are mindful of their unique developmental needs.
In 2015, the introduction of Queensland’s Year 7s into Secondary presented an ideal watershed opportunity to re-examine and initiate finely-honed ways of working with young adolescents. For example, what is developmentally appropriate? Certainly one size does not fit all. Our curriculum and pastoral care programs must be ever mindful of addressing individual needs, as well as the issues that traditionally impact on these pivotal years of learning - motivation, engagement, and changing relationship dynamics.
Research suggests that it is through the creation of engaging and developmentally-appropriate learning experiences that the students are best placed to continue the development of lifelong learning attributes, not only to facilitate their transition into Senior Secondary but ultimately into contemporary post-school society.
The Junior Secondary phase of the College represents a transition period for students as they come to terms with their move from Primary School. At CHAC, students embrace the opportunity to create a Junior Secondary identity and take on board the significant role they can play in adding to the history of the College.
Ms Shelley McMahon, Director of Junior Secondary
In January 2016, the brand-new, purpose-designed Junior Secondary Precinct welcomed its first students . It provides a facility that harnesses the benefits of natural light and the calm and tranquillity of CHAC’s existing landscape. Learning spaces are open and flexible, to promote the engagement and motivation previously referenced. The addition of the Junior Secondary Precinct - ‘our own space’ - further enhances Junior Secondary students’ feelings of social inclusion.
This inclusive and connected environment supports our students while they develop their personal identity, manage the physical and emotional demands of adolescence, and renegotiate their relationships with peers and teachers.
The House System
The House system is the fundamental pastoral structure within the College. It monitors the welfare, behaviour and appearance of the students.
The House system also provides the structure for the College's inter-house sporting competition and for fostering the further development of school spirit and a sense of inclusiveness.
The vertical Homeroom structure (Years 7 to 12) is an integral part of House organisation as it provides an encouraging, supportive, yet challenging environment in which students, staff and parents work collaboratively together. Primary students are allocated a House group whilst their Homeroom grouping is based on their class group.
In Homerooms, the Homeroom teacher has a particular responsibility to monitor the development of each student. In this pastoral group, activities are undertaken to develop healthy self-concepts, team building and decision-making skills as well as study and homework techniques.
A recent initiative has been the development of a Homeroom Reading Program. This program is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and to assist with the development of our students' literacy skills.
Life and Faith Program
The Life and Faith Program leads students to an understanding of the spiritual aspects of their lives. Students are encouraged to explore the ethical and moral issues affecting themselves, their peers and society and to support the values of community life.
Campus Ministry is supported by the extensive Life and Faith program which is taught with great passion by members of the Campus Ministry team. This program gives every student at CHAC a grounding in the beliefs of the Christian faith, an understanding of other religions and the means by which to develop their own beliefs. The Life and Faith staff are committed to improving and developing their own knowledge and practice, and they personally participate in the life of the wider Church, to the benefit of their ministry at CHAC.
The Campus Ministry team, in partnership with Diakonos and the other Service groups within the College, has developed a framework for the Mission of Service within the College; that is, the articulation of the purpose and intention of the various activities which encourage and facilitate community service and care for others. This framework sets the Mission of Service within the wider mission of God and provides a context in which our students are able to meaningfully reach out to others.
These achievements continue to strengthen the College's spiritual life and equip our students to be compassionate and courageous members of the global community into the future.
Brother Nathan James
College Chaplain and Director of Mission
Preparing for life after school
The Learning Pathways Program seeks to build solid knowledge-based foundations on which students' career aspirations will become reality, thus enabling them to reach their full potential.
- Ms Penny Cummins, Learning Pathways Counsellor
Students at CHAC are supported in their career decision making process by a well-defined careers structure that is built in a sequential manner as they progress through the school.
The College also provides students and parents with access to a regularly maintained and supported CHAC Careers website, which informs the education and training goal setting process, provides information on school based apprenticeship/traineeship vacancies, enhancement programs, tertiary studies, scholarships and much more.
The Learning Pathways Counsellor also works with Senior students throughout Year 12 to ensure that they meet all QTAC dates for application for University and TAFE study programs.
Leadership and Responsibility
The concept of servant leadership is central to the leadership program at the College. A formal program of leadership training begins in Year 4 with workshops that allow students to explore the different types of leadership and their individual strengths and abilities.
In Years 6 and 10, students reflect on the elements of good leadership, and develop initiatives for their final year at school.
All students in Year 12 are considered leaders and are encouraged to display their own unique and personal style of servant leadership.
The Student Council involves students from all Secondary years and one of its principal aims is to provide opportunities for students to acquire skills in leadership and decision-making. The Student Council assumes an important role in conveying ideas for the development of the College and its environment.
For more, please visit our Student Leadership page.
CHAC Community Sessions provide a formal program of personal development for each year group.
These thirty-five minute lessons provide a unique opportunity to be very proactive in addressing specific needs of our students. Flexibility in the organisation and the content of this program is vital to its success.
Issues such as brain smart learning, critical thinking, leadership, etiquette, human sexuality, healthy relationships, substance abuse, nutrition, stress and time management, financial and driver education are taught in appropriate age, maturity and gender groupings.
The CHAC Community Session programs and structures are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are meeting the needs of students, staff and community, and that they are responsive to contemporary research findings, understandings and innovations.
Part of the Sessions includes student-organised specific year-level activities to strengthen the bonds of friendship and collaboration amongst peers, as follows:
- Years 7 and 8 - students develop their connections with the CHAC community by exploring the topics of friendship, assertiveness, the role of the responsible bystander when dealing with bullying and the implications of cyber-bullying. Self-awareness and self-confidence are promoted through discussion of changes during puberty and the practical application of the principles of the Rock and Water course.
- Year 9 - students focus on understanding the physiology of the brain, nutrition and sleep, memory systems, emotional rooms and thinking skills, supporting the notion of quality learning. The course further develops computer literacy through workshops in spreadsheets, internet research and databases, word processing and file management.
- Year 10 - the program includes a range of guest presenters from various tertiary institutions, as well as activities associated with developing leadership skills, career planning, camp preparation, service activities, alcohol education, financial management, and public speaking.
- Year 11 - students cover topics including driver education, leadership, service activities, the Big Sister Program, camp preparation and looking after friends in risky situations.
- Year 12 – the program includes goal setting, nutrition, relaxation, stress management, drug education, Senior Formal preparations, enrolling to vote, CHAC Leaders Panel and various sessions relating to topics such as the Youth Advocacy Centre, Legal Aid and the Residential Tenancy Authority.
Child Psychologist Mrs Meggy Delaunay (PGDip(PsychPrac) PGDip(DevPsych) M(GenPsych) D(Psych) MAPS), works alongside the Learning Pathways Counsellor to provide for the combined emotional and vocational needs of students, and counselling is available to students and their families.
Via Head of House (HOH)
Students or parents of students may request appointments through a student's HOH. Similarly, students in need are often noticed by their HOH. Homeroom teachers or other teachers noticing students in need may also flag the student to their HOH.
As above, if Homeroom teachers or teachers notice that a student is in need, they may approach the Counsellor directly. It is preferable if the HOH is involved in the referral, but sometimes this is not appropriate (for example, if the student prefers the HOH not to know).
Students or parents of students may contact the Counsellor directly to request an appointment. This can be done using a slip available at Student Reception or emailing the Counsellor. Parents may also call the Counsellor to request an appointment, via Main Reception, on 07 3896 0444.
Counselling sessions will be kept confidential except when a student is at risk. An example of such a case is if the student is at risk of harming self or others.