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Pastoral Care

St Mary Star of the Sea College is founded on the philosophy of the Rule of St Benedict. Our community is a place of security where ‘the strong have something to strive for and the weak have nothing to run from'.

Pastoral Care encompasses all that the College does to meet the spiritual, personal, social and learning needs of our students. It seeks to create a safe and caring environment in which our students are nurtured as they learn. It provides opportunities for students to enjoy success and recognition, to encourage self-discipline and to derive enjoyment from a wide range of experiences. The College acknowledges that the wellbeing of students, staff, parents and other community members is interrelated.

All members of the College have a role in Pastoral Care.

Safeguarding Children and Young People Statement of Commitment

As a Good Samaritan College under the auspices of Good Samaritan Education (GSE) we are entrusted to share in the mission of the Church through the ministry of Catholic Education. Our charism requires us to sustain and nurture communities of learning that uphold the teachings and mission of Jesus Christ and that draw on the essential values of the Rule of Benedict: love of neighbour, stewardship, community, discipline, hospitality, justice and peace.

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As a GSE College, we hold the care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our apostolic work. Every person who shares in the work of the College is responsible for promoting the inherent dignity of children and young people, and for upholding their fundamental right to be respected and nurtured in a safe school environment.

St Mary’s College commits to providing a safe and nurturing culture and learning environment for all children and young people. At all times, the ongoing safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our care will be the primary focus of care and decision-making, with particular attention paid to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, children and young people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and children and young people with a disability.

St Mary Star of the Sea College also commits to:

  • taking into consideration the views of children and young people about decisions that affect their lives.
  • empowering children and young people by taking their views seriously, and addressing any concerns they may have.
  • acknowledging the cultural diversity of families and being sensitive to how this may impact on the wellbeing and safety of children and young people.
  • taking proactive steps to prevent child abuse, and identifying risks early so that such risks may be removed or reduced.
  • staying abreast of and meeting legislative requirements to protect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • continuously reviewing and improving systems and practices to protect children and young people from abuse.
  • taking prompt action when allegations of abuse are raised and ensuring that they are appropriately referred and investigated.
  • providing children and young people with the knowledge and skills to understand and maintain their own personal safety.
  • applying robust human resources and recruitment practices for all staff, contractors and volunteers.

Creating and nurturing child-safe school environments is a dynamic process that involves active participation and responsibility by St Mary’s College. It is marked by collaboration, vigilance and proactive approaches across policies, procedures, curriculum and operational practices.

To this end, St Mary’s College commits to:

  • providing regular training and education to all employees on child abuse risks.
  • implementing specific policies, procedures, training and a national Code of Conduct to support the achievement of child safety.
  • ensuring that every person in our College understands the important and specific role they play, individually and collectively, to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all children and young people in their care.

House System

At the beginning of her life at St Mary’s, each student is assigned to one of eight Houses: Bashir, Foley, Gibbons, Hayes, Kelly, Lyons, Sullivan, Ungunmerr-Baumann.

Our eight Houses are communities within the larger community of St Mary Star of the Sea. These Houses are points of welcome, of gathering, of prayer and of celebration. They give all of us ways to connect and to share our gifts in House activities.

Our House Patrons are eight women of faith, women of courage, women who chose to love their neighbours, women who in a range of spheres have dared to make a difference. Each House patron was selected very carefully to represent women who demonstrated the qualities of being a Good Samaritan in their lives. The values they possess are those which the students strive for and reflect our motto, 'I am born for higher things.'

The Kulilla Centre – a place of hospitality and care.

St Mary Star of the Sea College is privileged to be able to provide our students with counselling and support by qualified professionals five days a week in a private purpose built centre.

The Kulilla Centre accommodates the College’s School Counsellors, Psychologists and Family Liaison Coordinator. The Kulilla Centre was opened in late 2008 after construction of the Polding Learning Centre building was completed. We are situated on the lower eastern floor with access from the College Market Street car park.

The word Kulilla comes from a local aboriginal phrase meaning meeting place. Near the site where the Polding Learning Centre has been built, local Aboriginals would come together as they journeyed along the coast.

Appropriately The Kulilla Centre has artworks of Koi fish by local artist Melinda May. Japanese mythology states that the Koi fish swam up stream to obtain enlightenment. It struggled to swim back up stream and against the current. However, once it finally did, the fish became a beautiful flying dragon that was free. The Koi fish has become a symbol of strength, power and perseverance in adversity because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles.

Like the Koi fish represented in the paintings in our reception area, we aim to assist our students with encouragement and guidance, helping to find their inner strength to overcome the struggles and obstacles in their lives. We provide a friendly and welcoming environment where students and families of St Mary Star of the Sea College feel safe, secure and accepted.

The Kulilla Centre team work collaboratively with the College Executive, House Coordinators and Diverse Learning Support team. When necessary, The Kulilla Centre team may liaise with parents/carers and teachers in support of students. Student and family privacy is treated with the utmost respect. Our duty of care and limits of confidentiality are explained to students at their first appointment.

Parents are encouraged to contact their daughters House Coordinator as a first point of communication for any concerns or support. House Coordinators, with the consent of the student, may refer to The Kulilla Centre for assistance and ongoing support.

The College Counsellors, Psychologists and Family Liaison Coordinator provide professional support to students, while considering the wellbeing of every student on an individual basis. This includes encouragement, guidance and assistance in overcoming or living with difficulties they might have. The Counsellors have experience in dealing with a range of psychological, emotional, social, health, domestic and academic issues. In consultation with parents, students are referred to outside agencies when needed.

The Kulilla Centre, in partnership with The University of Wollongong, hosts 5th year Intern Psychologists for supervised practice. These students are supervised at St Mary’s College by Simonne Elise, College Psychologist and have the opportunity to work with individual students for counselling and assessments. We are proud of our ongoing association with the University of Wollongong Psychology Department.

Kulilla Parent Information & Resource Library

The Parents & Friends Association has kindly donated funds to Kulilla to build a Parent Information & Resource Library. Parent and Caregivers are welcome to borrow books for a period of 2 weeks. Your daughter may pick up & return books on your behalf.

Books in our library cover a range of topics with regards to supporting adolescent’s mental health and transition through their teenage years into adulthood.

To request a book list please email

Why go to The Kulilla Centre?

The team at The Kulilla Centre supports students to deal with a variety of personal or academic issues which affect their wellbeing both at home and at school. Students may view this service as an opportunity to be listened to, to resolve issues, develop coping skills and to explore options and resources available to help you.