Our vertical House structure plays a vital role in College life. There are seven Houses, each named after an inspirational Sister of Charity with a strong link to the heritage of the College and our motto: Fidelis et Fortis (‘faithful and strong’).
The College has chosen the first five Sisters of Charity who bravely set sail for Australia from Ireland in 1838: Sister Mary John Cahill, Sister Mary de Sales O’Brien, Sister Mary Xavier Williams, Sister Mary Lawrence Cater, Sister Mary Baptist de Lacy. The first St Columba’s College Principal, Mother Mary Ursula Bruton and the first Australian born Sister of Charity, Sister Mary Xavier Cunningham make up the seven. Each House is known by the surname of these courageous and audacious women – Bruton, Cahill, Cater, Cunningham, de Lacy, O’Brien and Williams.
Each House is split into three junior (Years 7 – 9) and three senior (Years 10 – 12) House Groups. Our House structure creates the optimum environment for you, your child and staff to foster strong relationships with one another. The continuity of remaining in a House Group will provide you with one key point of contact for the wellbeing of your child over a sustained, three-year period.
Key features of the St Columba’s house system are:
House Group Sessions
House Group is for 15 minutes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It gives your child a chance to engage in prayer, hear important announcements and build close relationships with other students in her House and with her House Group Teacher. Your child’s House Group Teacher is your first point of call at the College and will be able to direct you to key personnel if you are unsure who to contact.
At St Columba’s College, we believe that positive education is a transformative process, that focuses on utilising and enhancing the strengths of individuals, and is measured by their levels of hope, happiness and capacity to flourish. It is universally understood that positive education programs strengthen wellbeing outcomes for students.
Our pastoral care program uses a strengths-based approach. We implement effective practices to ensure students become more self, socially, and emotionally aware, and develop higher levels of self-efficacy and self-regulation.
House Lessons occur every fortnight and are based on the following themes and topics:
The College will help your child to learn and develop skills that support her to be an effective learner through lessons that assist your child with time management and study skills, exam preparation, planning and organisation.
Our House Lessons incorporate sessions which promote mental and physical health strategies, resilience and gratitude programs, and will instil your child with positive and practical life skills.
Making a Difference
Understanding advocacy and ways in which your child can make a difference in the world are essential in supporting the spirit of the Sisters of Charity and St Columba’s College. Your child will learn about feminism and leadership, her House patron and their inspirational life story, and how your child can contribute to the story of St Columba’s College.
Creating and maintaining healthy relationships with others is a key skill that your child will develop. These lessons provide learning opportunities around conflict resolution, social and emotional intelligence, and positive relationships.
Your child will benefit from greater diversity within a pastoral care group as each year the older students are replaced by a younger group. The House System offers many opportunities for your child to gain experiences of leadership, and the need for mentoring of younger students is implicit in the structure. This allows for multiple sources of support and encouragement as your child forms new relationships.
Your child will identify herself as a member of her House on a daily basis through House Group. The House is in effect, her ‘home’ within the school, both in a physical and communal sense.
Throughout the year your child will experience many co-curricular and whole school activities through her membership of a House. This includes a range of sporting, cultural and other events where each House competes for points. Your child will attend House Assemblies to plan and organise these activities. At the end of the year, ‘The House of the Year’ is awarded to the House with the most points.