Our programmes

Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care at Scotch encompasses everything that we do to support our students to live life well.

We build our student's capacity for empathy, resilience, mindfulness and gratitude. Scotch stands by our motto of 'knowing the boy', where your son will be known and supported by multiple staff across our school

What is Pastoral Care?

Pastoral Care is the capacity to function fully or effectively in all conditions and circumstances. It is about coping, contributing and thriving in order to live life well.

Pastoral Care does not mean being happy all the time. It means being equipped to make the best of every situation; being capable of overcoming adversity and persevering in pursuit of a goal; and being willing to do what we can for others.

Our role is to ensure that our students have the capacity (social, emotional, physical and spiritual resources) to ride life's waves and to thrive when the conditions are favourable; not just making do, or getting by, but soaring further than they expected they could or ever would. It is feeling good, and doing good.

A key element of this is developing a sense of belonging within each boy and a feeling of being connected to the community around him. In the Junior School, this is primarily done in the classroom. In the Middle School, it is done at a year level. And in the Senior School, it is done through the vertical House system.

Our points of difference

Our approach to masculinity

Scotch has a strong focus on imbuing kindness and respect in all our students. Hear from our Headmaster Dr Alec O'Connell on our respect-focused approach to masculinity.

Respect and consent at Scotch

Hear from our Captain of School

Counselling and psychological services

At Scotch, we understand that everyone needs support and that this can be a unique journey for all. We're pleased to offer multiple levels of support and wellbeing services.

  • Scotch's trained psychologists work with students facing severe stress, anxiety or depression. We have three highly experienced psychologists whose services are available to all students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
  • Our full-time Chaplain, Reverend Gar van Heerden, is also a trained psychologist and provides furthering counselling, particularly in regards to spiritual matters.
  • Our Deans of Pastoral Care in each sub-school, and House Heads in Senior School, monitor and counsel students in a holistic way. House Heads work with students in a wide variety of areas, from academic guidance through to social and emotional support.
  • At an academic level, we have the classroom teacher, Curriculum Leaders and a Dean of Teaching and Learning in each sub-school to support students who are facing challenges in a particular subject or in their academic studies.

Read about men's mental health

Student leadership programmes

Scotch provides leadership training to students, and multiple opportunities for them to lead. We recognise that leadership skills are closely tied to those associated with teamwork and self-awareness, and seek to imbue this qualities in our students.

Year 11 Leadership programme

In the Senior School, we run a specific Leadership programme for Year 11 students to ready them for the responsibilities of being a Year 12 leader. We expect that all students will take on some form and level of responsibility within the school or their House in their final year, and the Year 11 course offers opportunities to prepare for this with many practical activities.

Year 8 Leadership opportunities

In the Middle School, Year 8 students have the opportunity to act as House Seniors on a rotational basis. These students also develop their collaborative skills and their capacity to support others – both essential elements of leadership – through the Community Project.

Year 5 Leadership opportunities

In the Junior School, there are multiple opportunities for Year 5 students to be involved in Leadership across a wide array of areas, from Community and Service, Languages, Music, Sport, and the Arts to the Houses.

Explicit and implicit instruction

At Scotch, we explicitly teach Wellbeing and lessons are delivered in designated Wellbeing periods. Connected to these, a core part of the Health curriculum deals with issues related to Wellbeing. Presently, our Wellbeing courses are structured around the following:

However, Wellbeing at Scotch is far more than a series of skills to be taught in a particular class. Wellbeing is implicit in all areas of life at Scotch:

  • It can be seen in the Pastoral Care programme, which is so deeply ingrained in all parts of the school.
  • It is felt in the academic, sporting and cultural programmes across the school.
  • It is an essential element of the Community and Service programme.
  • It is, perhaps most importantly, experienced in the day-to-day interactions between staff, students, parents and Old Scotch Collegians. The strong sense of community at Scotch is not like any other, and it is something of which we are proud.

Knowing the boy

The Pastoral Care system at Scotch is a critical part of the way boys develop a sense of belonging and connection. The essence of Pastoral Care at Scotch is 'knowing the boy'. At Scotch, multiple staff will know your son, and he will be known by his peers and by students both older and younger, providing a web of relationships which supports his development.

One staff member in particular will take responsibility for the growth and development of your son:

  • In Junior School, Pastoral Care is exhibited in the way classroom teachers carefully monitor their boys.
  • In Middle School, homeroom teachers keep an eye on the boys in their homeroom class.
  • In Senior School, the House Heads dedicate themselves to ensuring your son is encouraged and supported in all his endeavours.

"Schools are, or should be, people places. Their primary purpose is to help young people to develop their potential to the full – that is, to nurture them as they grow and change."

— W R Dickinson, Headmaster, 1971–98

Junior School



All students from Pre-K to Year 5 take part in a term-long and age-appropriate yoga programme.

Pastoral Care periods

Teachers use this time at the start of the day, after recess and lunch time, and just before the day ends to deal with issues and teach students skills in recognising emotions in themselves and others, and regulating their own emotions, using material from organisations such as Mindful Meditation Australia and Smiling Mind.

Additional programmes

  • YSafe Cyber-Safety presentation (Year 5)
  • Mindfulness Club (run weekly for Years 2 to 4)


  • Amanda Ritchie (Deputy Head of Junior School)
  • Jon Marginis (Lead Psychologist, Child Protection Trainer)
  • Reverend Gary van Heerden (Chaplain)
  • James Hindle (Director of Pastoral Care)

Middle School


Yogi in Residence

Once a semester, we invite Helen Heppingstone to run a weeklong series of mindful meditation sessions with our students.

Pastoral Care Group

Every morning in homeroom, teachers work with students to develop their skills in relation to mindfulness, gratitude and kindness, using material from Mindful Meditation Australia and Smiling Mind.

Additional programmes

  • YSafe Cyber-Safety presentations


  • Harmony Week (Summer Term – Week 8)
  • Men's Health Week (Autumn Term – Week 9)
  • R U OK Week (Winter Term – Week 7)


  • Amanda Marocchi (Deputy Head of Middle School)
  • Justin Shaw (Student Leadership and Turas Programme Co-ordinator)
  • Kim Lorimer (Middle School Psychologist)
  • Reverend Gary van Heerden (Chaplain)
  • James Hindle (Director of Pastoral Care)

Senior School


The House system

This is a key aspect of helping boys to feel a sense of belonging, of being connected to boys across year groups, and of being valued for the contribution they can make across a range of activities.

Year 9 and 10 Wellbeing programmes

Delivered by the House Heads to their House year groups, these programmes are built around the Three Pillars of Wellbeing at Scotch: Respect, Relationships and Resilience. They also draw from the resources of SenseAbility, Headspace and Smiling Mind.

Brain Reset

Scotch's very own version of mindful meditation, which runs each Wednesday after school.

Wellbeing Journal

This supportive journal was developed by Scotch for Scotch boys.

Additional programmes

  • Paul Litherland Cyber-Safety presentations (Years 9 and 10)


  • GRIT Week (Spring Term – Week 7)
  • R U OK Week (Winter Term – Week 6)
  • Men's Health Week (Autumn Term – Week 8)
  • Year 2 and 12 Gatherings
  • Year 5 to 12 Leaders' meetings
  • Year 9 Rottnest Camp (includes a Wellbeing component)


  • Kate Webster-Blythe (Acting Dean of Pastoral Care)
  • Jon Marginis (Lead Psychologist, Child Protection Trainer)
  • Chloe Hassell (Senior School Psychologist)
  • Shauna Lipscombe (Senior School Psychologist)
  • Reverend Gary van Heerden (Chaplain)
  • James Hindle (Director of Pastoral Care)
  • House Heads

Our Pastoral Care team

Director of Pastoral Care

James Hindle
+61 8 9383 6800


Reverend Gary van Heerden

Lead Psychologist

Jon Marginis


Kim Lorimer (Middle School)

Chloe Hassell (Senior School)

Pastoral Care

Amanda Ritchie
Deputy Head of Junior School

Amanda Marocchi
Deputy Head of Middle School

Gareth Williams
Deputy Head of Senior School