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

Enrolment Process—Student Selection

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

The Enrolment Counsellor gathers data from the previous school and family. A psychological assessment may also be required before making a decision about the child’s appropriateness for 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 the students gain maximum opportunities in addressing their “issues” whilst at Berne and hopefully in later years.

We are aware that in many cases parents or carers have struggled to provide adequate boundaries, expectations, and consistency in dealing with their difficult child. The Parenting in Practice program conducted by the counselling team is an important means of supporting and teaching parents in the role. The greater consistency of approach that is established between school and home, the more likely we are to be effective in moulding the student’s behaviour and facilitating personal growth.

The primary contact with the family is the Year Coordinator. 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 or carers.

Counselling Services

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

Each child has a counsellor assigned to them at the commencement of their enrolment. The counsellor makes contact with the child 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 the school. We aim to establish a complementary approach which integrates the various services that are supporting the child.

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

At no time are counsellors expected to be involved in the direct discipline of a student. However, in the absence of a teacher, the counsellor would need to take the appropriate duty of care.

Behaviour Management

Code of Behaviour

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

Respect for self refers to students’ commitment to their:

  • school work,
  • appearance,
  • being in the right place at the right time.

Respect for others refers to the fact that students should:

  • support rather than denigrate others, or The John Berne School,
  • complete work without disturbing others,
  • follow staff’s instructions,
  • refrain from inappropriately touching others.

Respect for property refers to respect for:

  • property belonging to Berne,
  • property belonging to other members of the school community.

The Behaviour Management Plan

The Behaviour Management Plan has three main components. These are strategies to:

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

Discipline Code and Expectations

School Absences

School absences must be explained by a note or via a telephone call from a parent or carer.


Normally it is presumed that if a student is attending the school that they will arrive to school from their home and after school return to their home.

The school wishes it to be clear that it does not allow students to live other than with parents, families, or legal guardians.

The following processes are in place with regard to attendance:

  • A call from parents is expected to advise the school that their son or daughter is not at school. This information is recorded in our daily “Late to School” diary
  • If no call is received, a call will be made to parents or carers to advise that their child is not at school. This information is recorded in our “Late to School” diary
  • When a student returns to school either a note from the parents or carers or a Doctor’s certificate is expected in explanation of the absence
  • If a written note is not received for a specific absence the Class Attendance Roll will be marked accordingly.

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 there 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, e.g., camps, excursions, special celebrations, work experience, etc.

Late Arrival at School

If there is not a good excuse, time lost is made up after school.

Travel to and from School

Behaviour here should be above reproach and in accordance with normal 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 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 the Pastoral Care teacher.
  • If it is necessary for a student to have a telephone at school, it should be left at the Front Office. The telephone may be retrieved at the end of the day.
  • The mobile telephone will be confiscated from any student who receives or makes a call, during school hours.
  • With the permission of a staff member, urgent calls can be made from the Front Office.

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 that oppose the value system of our school. Hair will be neat, clean and tidy, and not of an extreme style. No rat-tails, no 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 on these are to adhere to the guidelines above. Excessive body piercing, especially facial piercing, is not permitted.

The following are guidelines for acceptable student attire. At all times, students are expected to be neat and clean.

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.


Berne is an illegal-drug free zone.

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 interest. Any student who refuses to change and accept help will place their enrolment in jeopardy.

The following rules apply:

  • The use or possession of any unlawful 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 partaking of 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 get together, outside school hours (especially in each other’s homes).

Students should not stay overnight at each other’s homes unless each parent or carer knows exactly what is occurring and has given consent. Parents or carers should have spoken to each other by telephone or seen each other directly in order to make all the appropriate arrangements.

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

For more information, download the full Pastoral Care & Behaviour Management Policy.