A Holistic Education

A Holistic Education

Xavier College prioritises student wellbeing with an emphasis on service

The image of a school is largely determined by its academic and co-curricular programs, its performance in both, as well as by its facilities and reputation. These days, however, more and more parents are also looking at the quality of pastoral care and the focus on student wellbeing and mental health in choosing a school. The experience of the past 18 months — with COVID and online learning — have only emphasised the importance of this dimension of modern schooling.

Xavier College emphasises pastoral care through its House system, ensuring that students are surrounded by tight-knit communities and points of contact throughout their time at the school. Central to the students’ education is the Jesuit ethos cura personalis, the “care of the individual”. The House system and the support and sense of community it provides characterise the experience of a Xavier education. Beginning in the Early Years and continuing into the Middle Years, students are allocated a House and participate in friendly competitions, fundraising initiatives and community-building activities together. Upon their arrival at the Senior Campus, students are allocated into one of 10 Houses and, as part of that, a Tutor Group. Tutor Groups consist of up to 10 students from Years 9-12 from within the same House and are overseen by an allocated tutor for the entirety of the four-year Senior Years journey. The Tutor Group system not only provides students with peer support from younger and older students, but the tutor also provides a consistent source of pastoral support.

Students are also encouraged to develop greater agency in their own mental health and wellbeing. Since 2015, Xavier has appointed a Prefect for Student Wellbeing. This student is a member of the Student Consult, a group of student leaders within the prefect body who meet weekly and always begin with a discussion on student wellbeing. More widely, there has been something of a reconfiguration of the role of prefects to explicitly include the dimension of pastoral care and to see their leadership as part of the college’s student wellbeing and safety net. During COVID-19 lockdowns, it has borne fruit in the way so many students have been checking in on mates and how priority has been given to wellbeing wherever possible.

Xavier College allows students to engage with others through its Ignatian Service program. Over a number of years, this has been firmly embedded in the school operations and gives expression to their desire to the mission of Jesuit schools to form “men and women for and with others”. Student involvement with tutoring in the Friday Night School program, aged-care homes, working with kids with disabilities and many other extra-curricular activities give weekly expression to this commitment in the ordinary routine of school life. It extends to advocacy for human rights, a commitment to reconciliation with our First Peoples and to support of refugees.
One Year 12 House President recently reflected on his time at the Friday Night School program: “The service opportunities I have been a part of, I believe, have been where I have truly learned the most about myself. I have had the opportunity to tutor a variety of kids, each of different ages, abilities and nationalities with a range of different stories and personalities, allowing me to deeper understand the diversity of our community in Melbourne.”

By giving students a greater say in their own mental health and in addressing contemporary social issues, accompanied with strong communities and safety nets, Xavier College provides a holistic education with an emphasisis on student wellbeing and instilling a call to care for those around them.

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Xavier College



Xavier College was founded in 1878 and is a Jesuit school. The Senior Campus stands on 40 acres, 6 kilometres […]

  • Senior Campus: (03) 9854 5411 ; Burke Hall: (03) 9855 4100
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