Pastoral Care and Behaviour Management


Champagnat believed that the Lord had entrusted Jean-Baptiste to him and to the Brothers, and he was to be treated as if he was their own child.”

This belief underpins the structure of pastoral care at Berne.

Pastoral care is at the core of our work at Berne. It rests firmly on our ability to know and understand those in our care. The relationships with staff, whether they be classroom teachers, counsellors, secretarial, or ancillary staff, are the cornerstone of our students’ success and development. It is critical that each student feels known and appreciated by the staff. Our attention to the whole person is essential and facilitates a rapport which, in time, leads to personal growth.

Education is about the development and formation of the whole person: someone capable of contributing to the society to which they belong, of understanding who they are before God and their fellow human beings and of reaching the potential desired of them by their Creator.

Our school grows out of a tradition that respects the essential uniqueness of each person, yet sees the bonds that bind us to one another. We recognise that the students we are responsible for have been negatively affected by many forces, most beyond their control. However, we believe great things for them and hold realistic expectations of their capacity to overcome and to succeed.

In this light, pastoral care is a major driving force behind our program here at Berne and permeates all our initiatives.

Everyone at Berne contributes to the Catholic and Marist spirit by promoting Catholic and Marist values, and fostering positive relationships within the school community.

A clear discipline code enables the students to develop a sound understanding of expectations and boundaries. It provides them with the external support structure to internalise good behaviour patterns and self discipline. Clear communication of expectations and consistent application of these are the keys to success and make for a safe school environment.

Practical Implementation of Pastoral Care

Staff Selection

When selecting staff we are mindful of finding people with a passion for working with young people in need and who are ready to adopt the “Champagnat” philosophy. 

Student Selection

The essential factor in offering a position at the school is whether the environment and service we offer can contribute to the student’s development and assist them to address the behavioural challenges they face. There must be a hope that we can make a difference in this student’s life. If not, we are at risk of contributing to another failure that will further erode the student’s esteem.

Our enrolment enquiry process first gathers data from the previous school and family. A psychological assessment may also be required before making a decision about the student’s appropriateness fr Berne. This data is presented to the Principal for consideration.

Working Together with the Home and Family

We believe that to be effective with our students we need the support of the home environment. This three-way communication process ensures that students gain maximum opportunities in addressing their “issues” whilst at Berne and in later years.

We are aware that in many cases parents and carers have struggled with the behaviours and needs of their child. The greater consistency of approach that is established between school and home the more likely we are to be effective in changing the student’s behaviour and facilitating personal growth.

The primary contact with the home is the Pastoral Care Teacher. However, the Counsellors play an important role with families and may keep regular contact if this is helpful. In addition, we can offer family or individual counselling to parents and carers.

Counselling Services

Apart from family counselling and support of parents, the primary role of the Counsellors at Berne is to provide support to the young people in our care.

Each student has a counsellor assigned to them at the commencement of their enrolment. The Counsellor makes contact with the student on a regular basis. The regularity is dependent on the student’s circumstances and the approach of the Counsellor is influenced by other professional services the student accesses outside of the school. We aim to establish a complementary approach which integrates the various services that are supporting the student.

The Counsellors are involved in every facet of the program at Berne. This includes participation in and organisation of outings, camps, excursions, religious days and work experience.

At no time are Counsellors expected to be involved in the direct discipline of a student. However, Counsellors are still responsible for appropriate responses to fulfil their duty of care.

Case Conferences and Management

At the commencement of the student’s enrolment a case conference is conducted with the Principal, Counsellor and Stage Coordinator. The parents, carers, and representatives from the previous school also contribute to this through the enrolment process.

The aim of the conference is to develop an individual personal plan for the student. A summary of this plan is presented to the entire staff to enable a consistent approach in dealing with the student’s individual needs and behaviours. Regular reviews of these plans are conducted throughout the year, including consultation with parents and carers and in collaboration with students.

Daily Management and Staff Briefings

A management meeting is held at the conclusion of each school day. The aim of this meeting is to review the progress and activities of the students. This meeting allows for information sharing between teaching staff and counsellors and establishment of strategies in dealing with a student’s behaviour and development.

The whole staff gather for a 15 minute briefing at the commencement of each day. A summary of the management meeting is provided for the whole staff. This allows for a consistent application of strategies and also gives other staff members the opportunity to provide further information about a student’s progress.

Teachers and Counsellors – A Cooperative Partnership

The management meetings and staff briefings are opportunities to facilitate this partnership.

Counsellors regularly liaise closely with the Principal, Stage Coordinators and Pastoral Care Teachers in order to meet the social, emotional and personal needs of the students. Likewise, all staff regularly communicate with Counsellors about students and families.

This communication is essential for the establishment and maintenance of individual personal plans for each student.

Stage Coordinators and Counsellors communicate regularly about student progress. This relationship is the cornerstone of the Pastoral Care system at Berne.

Pastoral Care Team

The Pastoral Care Teacher provides special care and attention to a small group of students in a particular year group. The aim is for this teacher to have a close relationship with the student and monitor their progress within the school and more broadly. The focus is on the development and progress of the whole person.

The Pastoral Care Teacher strives to develop a connection with the family through parent-teacher-student interviews, telephone calls and formal reporting.

The Pastoral Care Teacher meets with their students at roll call each morning and afternoon. At the beginning of the week they establish their students’ goals on their Student Engagement Record Card, and monitor their progress via this card each day.

The Pastoral Care Teacher and Stage Coordinator work closely to oversee the development of the student.

Behaviour Management

The Behaviour Management system supports the Pastoral Care policy by providing clear guidelines, defined expectations, consequences and support structures to acknowledge appropriate behaviours and address inappropriate behaviours.

Code of Behaviour

The school expects students to respect themselves, others, and property.

At The John Berne School we value and expect students to:


  • use equipment properly
  • keep hands and feet to yourself
  • follow directions


  • use kind words and actions
  • be mindful of others
  • Care for school’s and each other’s property

Positive Learning:

  • give things a go
  • encourage each other to learn
  • ask for and accept help

The Behaviour Management System

The Behaviour Management System has a number of components. These are strategies to:

  • promote appropriate behaviour,
  • reward student achievement,
  • deal with unacceptable behaviour.

Strategies to Reward Student Achievment

Rewards are a fundamental aspect of the Behaviour Management Program at Berne. Students are reinforced for their efforts in behaviour and schoolwork. Two main systems exist for students to be rewarded. One system draws on the Student Engagement Record and the other pertains to the end of Term Awards.

Student Engagement Record (SER) Reward System

Students are given a SER card at the start of each week which they carry with them throughout the day. Students are given bonus points for positive behaviours and can have points deducted for negative behaviours. At the end of each school term  bonus points are tallied and students are presented with a gift card of commensurate value to their points scored or a canteen voucher at a special school assembly to reward and acknowledge their achievements. 

At the beginning of each week students also write down a learning or behaviour goal for that week on their SER card. Positive results are rewarded with a free drink or lunch at the school canteen.

End of Term Awards

In addition to rewards awarded for SER bonus point tallies the following presentations are also made at the end of term assembly: 

  • Subject Awards for achievement in key learning areas.
  • Recognition awards for achievement in extracurricular activities such as: work experience, activities, and camps.
  • Attendance and punctuality.

Restorative Practices

The School has a strong belief in the importance of restorative practices to resolve conflict between individuals. It aims to restore the relationship between the conflicting parties by encouraging and supporting their reflection on their behaviour, looking at new and different ways of responding in the future, and of meeting together face-to-face to discuss the matter. This approach is adopted for both single incidents and for addressing bullying in the school community.

Self Monitoring

The school encourages students to take responsibility for their choices and actions. There are valid reasons why self-monitoring is a common form of behaviour management. Self-monitoring compels the student to cognitively process the classroom experience.. With self evaluation, inappropriate and appropriate behaviour is brought to consciousness. A conscious examination of behaviour need not occur when students are evaluated by others. Students either reinforce or penalise themselves for their actions.


Notification to Stage Coordinator and Principal

The Stage Coordinator and Principal should be notified immediately if a matter of urgency arises. Examples of behaviours that would warrant reporting:

  • Deliberately missing school
  • Leaving school without permission
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Offensive language directed at a staff member
  • Insinuated or direct threats of violence towards students or staff
  • Obscene writing or drawing
  • Ridiculing school rules, directives or activities
  • Arriving at school under the influence of drugs or alcohol or possession thereof
  • Continued harassment of students or staff
  • Breaching cigarette smoking or vaping policy
  • Possession of a dangerous object (weapon)



Staff members may place a student on detention for non-compliance that requires more than a warning. The policy is based on the concept that students must take responsibility for their actions, and that their negative (and positive) actions result in consequences.


  • Detentions may be issued by the Stage Coordinator or Pastoral Care teacher
  • Detentions take place after school on any day of the week from 2:15 – 3:30pm
  • On some occasions, in-school detentions during school hours are deemed appropriate
  • During the detention the student will complete work missed in lessons
  • Students must verbalise reasons for detention and expectations for future classes



  • The Stage Coordinator or Principal may place a student on suspension when it is within the student’s best interests or the best interests of the school community to remove the student from the school grounds. Behaviours that may result in suspension are those that cause severe disruption, intimidation, harassment and discrimination.
  • The Stage Coordinator or Principal may suspend a student for longer than a day, if it is in the student’s interest or the interest of the school community. Grounds for removing students would be consistent, severe misbehaviour by the student. In addition, the student may be suspended (or excluded) if the safety of the student body or staff  is deemed at risk, in light of violent behaviour or threats of violence, or the presence of illegal weapons or drugs.
  • Parents will be notified of the suspension.
  • For very serious misdemeanours, a suspension of indefinite length may be imposed.
  • The school encourages parents or carers to make an active effort to modify the behaviour of the suspended student.
  • The suspension allows the student time to reflect on their behaviour in order to accept responsibility and to modify it in a way that meets school expectations. The suspension also allows the school staff time to plan appropriately for the student’s re-entry.
  • A suspension is a statement that a student’s enrolment is at risk.


  • The resolution of the suspension is at the discretion of the Principal. Parents or carers, Stage Coordinators and a Counsellor may discuss the resolution of the suspension and conditions for the student’s return to school. In some cases, Restorative Justice Practices will be put in place upon their return to school.


In extreme circumstances the Principal may exclude a student from the school. This would usually occur when a student’s behaviour is seriously detrimental to the school community placing other students or staff in danger or significantly hampering their own progress and that of other students.

A student would only be excluded after a number of other options have been implemented to address the behaviour of the student. It could also occur when a student’s engagement with the program is diminished to the point that they are no longer addressing the core issues for which they were enrolled.

Where exclusion is an option, the Principal will follow a process whereby the parents or carers are notified of the intention to exclude allowing them to provide other material and mitigating circumstances. Counselling support will also be offered to the student and parents or carers to assist them with the next phase of life.

The Principal will keep in regular contact with the Regional Director of Marist Schools Australia Limited when an issue of exclusion is active within the school. The Principal will make the final decision regarding the exclusion. However, the Regional Director will be informed of any such decision.

Discipline Code and Expectations

School Absences

According to their obligation under the Education Act (1990) parents and carers must notify the school office with a reason for their child’s absence from school on the day of the absence. Unexplained absences are recorded on a student’s attendance record unless the school receives a legitimate reason for the absence. Days absent with and without explanation are recorded on all student reports.

If a student is not at school by 9.30 am the office staff make a telephone call or send a text message or email to the parents or caregivers if no contact has been made by them to explain their child’s absence.

Requests for leave for holidays during school term must be submitted in advance in writing to the school Principal.

Students, together with parents and carers, are reminded of the importance of punctuality as both a requirement upon enrolment and a significant contributor to student learning.

Punctuality and Attendance

It is impossible to gain the full benefit from enrolment in the School unless students are where they are supposed to be, and at school on time. Students at The John Berne School are expected to attend school on the days required, between the times required. Also, they will attend any activity arranged by the school at which their presence is compulsory, for example, camps, excursions, special celebrations, work experience, etc.

Late Arrival at School

If there is not a legitimate reason, time lost is made up after school in order to complete the work that was missed due to lateness.

Travel to and from School

Behaviour during travel to and from School should be above reproach and in accordance with normal School expectations. Consequences from school will be applied if there are any problems.

Language and Behaviour

As we are all people in relationship, it is essential that our language and behaviour reflect this reality. Any language and behaviour that threatens, intimidates, ridicules or assaults another person is not permitted. Respect is the keystone:  respect for self, for others, and for property; any language or behaviour that undermines this respect is not permitted. A student who uses violence against another student or a member of staff will be suspended or excluded from the School, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the circumstances.

Mobile Telephones

  • Students are not permitted to use mobile telephones at school. Upon arrival they are to hand their phones to their Pastoral Care teacher.
  • With the permission of a staff member, urgent calls can be made from the office at an appropriate time.

Other Valuables

  • Students are strongly discouraged from bringing valuable possessions to school. No responsibility will be taken for lost or damaged items that are not essential for school. 
  • Headphones are seen as a block to communication. They are to be out of sight or handed in to the Pastoral Care Teacher at the beginning of the day.

Dress Code

Students are not permitted to appear at school in an untidy, dirty or unkempt manner. Clothes must be sensible and presentable. They will not carry messages or images that oppose the values of the School. Hair will be neat, clean and tidy and not of an extreme style. No rat-tails or extreme colours. Closed footwear must be worn. No thongs allowed. No singlets to be worn to school as the primary piece of clothing. Hats and caps should be worn in the sun and messages and images on these are to adhere to the guidelines above. Excessive body piercings, especially facial piercing, are not permitted.

Consequences of Infringements

If students do not comply with the clothing regulations, they will be required to change into clothing supplied by the school. In more severe cases, they could be sent home.   


The use and possession of illegal drugs at The John Berne School is strictly prohibited.

All students are expected to be “drug free” and if not they will be assisted to become so. They are encouraged to discuss this problem and trust the staff of the School to act on their behalf and in their own long-term interests. Any student who refuses to change and accept help will place their enrolment in jeopardy.

  • The use or possession of any illegal drug(s) at Berne is strictly prohibited.
  • Students who arrive at Berne under the influence of drugs will be suspended.
  • Students who sell any illegal drug at school, or to another Berne student anywhere, risk exclusion from the school.


The consumption and possession of alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Guns, Knives and Other Potentially Dangerous Objects

The use or possession of any unlawful weapon at Berne is strictly prohibited. 

Relationships Between Students

We discourage relationships that lead to trouble, take students away from their families, interrupt a student’s ability to settle down at school, or isolate young people from their peers.

Out-of-School-Hours Behaviour

The school recognises that it has little control over what happens outside of school hours.

Generally, relationships between students outside of school hours are discouraged, unless they are very positive relationships. Certainly, relationships between students in different year groups are strongly discouraged.

Students should be supervised if they meet together outside of school hours. Students should not stay overnight at each other’s homes unless each parent or carer knows exactly what is occurring and have given permission. Parents and carers should have spoken to each other in order to make all appropriate arrangements.

These concerns are discussed at the enrolment interview and reinforced at other appropriate times.

Policy Date: October, 2022  

For Review:  October, 2024