Big push for pastoral care

Parents will be able to rest easier with the Interim Pastoral Care Code now issued for domestic tertiary students.

The Code requires tertiary providers to actively support the social and mental wellbeing of students and to have policies and processes in place to achieve this. Here’s a quick summation of some key provisions.

General obligations

The obligations of tertiary providers include:

  • information and advice to students about matters relating to their health and wellbeing
  • providing opportunities for students to have experiences that improve their physical or mental health and wellbeing
  • staff training on how to recognise and effectively respond to students who may have problems with health or wellbeing
  • identifying and assisting students at risk of harm to self and/or others
  • assisting disabled students to access appropriate support where required
  • helping students prepare for, and adjust to tertiary study
  • assisting students and staff to recognise and respond to discrimination, racism, bullying, and harassment (including sexual harassment).

Student accommodation

Student accommodation providers are required to keep watch over and check on the wellbeing of students, monitor risks and have responsive pastoral care practices.

To provide a positive living environment, they must:

  • have house rules that promote student safety and wellbeing
  • support health promotion activities
  • promote responsible social behaviour and academic success
  • meet the cultural needs and aspirations of all groups
  • develop appropriate initiatives guided by students to build a sense of community.

Right to participate

The right of students to participate in planning and decisions is recognised. Tertiary and accommodation providers must partner with students around support for their learning and pastoral care.

Providers must give students information and advice to help them:

  • make positive choices impacting on wellbeing (eg about drug and alcohol use, safe sex)
  • use internal complaints processes; and
  • make a complaint to the code administrator if a student is dissatisfied with the outcome or experience of using internal complaints processes.


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