At St Paul’s, education is seen as a partnership between the home and the school. As all successful partnerships are based on effective communication between partners, it is essential that home and school keep in close contact. Secondary schools can be complex places: there are large numbers of people; teaching and learning become more specialised; and students change rooms up to six times a day to purpose built facilities that cater for different academic requirements.
The division of the student body into units called 'houses' is to provide a smaller group where each student can find friendship, support and assistance with their assimilation into the school community. Every student is a member of a day or boarding house. House staff and senior students work as teams to give each student a sense of belonging, contribution and purpose.
For many parents and families, a student’s housemaster is the first point of contact at St Paul’s for successes, concerns or challenges. Housemasters and other house staff are pivotal to the orientation and induction of new students (at all levels) to the unique character of St Paul’s. Housemasters are supported by an associate housemaster, deputy housemasters, matron, residential assistants, Headmaster, associate headmaster, deputy headmasters, chaplain, counsellor and nurse.
Each student is also a member of a tutor group, which is made up of student members of the same year level and house. This tutor group meets regularly each week for 40 minutes in a set location. Every member of the teaching and academic management staff facilitates a group.
The purpose of tutor groups is to provide students with another forum to share ideas, discuss issues, set goals and directions and receive support and affirmation. Through these groups, every student is placed in contact with an additional adult within the school family who may become a confidant, guide, mentor or a contact point in times of crisis or uncertainty.
Opportunities to build leadership
As students progress through the school they are expected to carry more responsibility for their own activities and for those of the school community. The house system is a very important training ground for developing responsibility, initiative and leadership. Senior students are expected to help younger students and to take on positions of responsibility in their house.
House competitions provides opportunities for developing leadership and community spirit. Competition takes place in a range of sporting and cultural events.
Boarding houses are also required to assist in community projects such as collections for the IHC, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Braille Week. All houses offer minor administrative roles as well as major leadership roles such as head of house, deputy head of house and sports captain.