Holy Cross College, Ellenbrook
'I came that they may have life, and have it to the full' John 10:10

Holy Cross College Ellenbrook


Inter-relationships Pillar

Underpinned by the life of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the founder of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Inter-relationships Pillar aims to nurture a caring, compassionate and connected community. In particular, the Inter-relationships Pillar, focuses on structures and processes that influence students’ health and wellbeing by fostering positive and sustainable characteristics that enable students to achieve their best with a sense of belonging and connectedness within the College.

Health and well-being are inextricably linked to students’ motivation, engagement and academic achievement. Therefore, it is essentially that students’ health and well-being needs are strategically and overtly supported and nurtured.

The delivery of Inter-relationship services is framed around four components:

  1. Creating a positive school community, linked to our Catholic faith and Identity.
  2. Building student skills for resilience.
  3. Parent – family – school partnerships.
  4. Support for students experiencing, or at risk of developing, mental health issues.

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care at Holy Cross College is defined as the intentional actions and processes that foster in students a strong sense of well-being, belonging and security, where they are affirmed in their dignity and worth. Pastoral care is not merely a complementary

practice but is integrated into the fabric of all dimensions of the College; Learning, Inter-relationships, Faith and Enrichment.

The four LIFE Pillars of Holy Cross College that underpin the pastoral care programme include the following principles:

  • Challenging each student to achieve their personal best in an environment that values the respect and dignity of each person.
  • Nurturing a caring, compassionate and connected community.
  • Celebrating a hope-filled Christian faith, which grows from reflection and leads to justice and service.
  • Encouraging each person to receive the gifts of God with gratitude, cultivate them responsibly and share them lovingly with others.

Structurally, pastoral care is fostered through the House system, where each student belongs to a particular House for the duration of their time at Holy Cross College. Family members are assigned to the same House. Here, students find a sense of belonging and support within a smaller community, and are inspired by the faith and life of their House patron. Students have the opportunity to represent their House in sports carnivals and other extra-curricular pursuits, where they can contribute to the spirit and identity of their House.

In the Junior School, students are supported within their year-level class. Their classroom teacher is best placed to care for the student, monitoring their progress socially, emotionally and academically. They are active in ensuring a holistic approach to the growth and development of each child and are the first point of contact for parents. Students also develop a sense of connection and belonging to their House through weekly Gospel reflections, as well as through House team-building activities, which occur twice a term. Students in Year Three to Year Six are provided with opportunities for leadership within their year level, as well as within their House.

In the Middle and Senior Schools, each student will belong to a vertical House Tutor Group. Implementing a small-team approach contributes to students’ sense of belonging and connectedness within our school. House Tutor Groups meet in the morning every day for prayer and administrative tasks. House Tutors are responsible for the overall welfare of students on a day-to-day basis. They will be the first point of contact with parents for pastoral care and general behavioural issues. A House Tutor’s role is central in both caring for students and, crucially, monitoring their progress both academically and socially, encouraging involvement, commitment, and high standards of work and behaviour. The House Tutor will be active in looking after the interests of the ‘whole child’. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills within their House and House Tutor Group.

Pastoral care is most effective when there is a strong partnership between home and school. Clear two-way communication, reminders and reinforcement at home and at school of strategies to support engagement and progress, and the early intervention in identifying and addressing problems are vital to the effective exercise of pastoral care.

Pastoral care at Holy Cross College is also reinforced through a number of relevant policies, which can be found under Policies.

Specialised pastoral care is offered through the Saint James Centre, in the form of social/emotional counselling and mental and physical health, with the services of the College Social Worker, Psychologist and Nurse.

Student Wellbeing

Holy Cross College Ellenbrook

The Saint James Centre offers students support in the areas of physical, social and emotional well-being, and in mental health.

Saint James was an Apostle of Jesus and, among other things, is the patron of pilgrims. Saint James was one of the favoured three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration of Jesus, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. At one time, other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and his brother, John. Seeing this, Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: the purpose of authority is to serve. There is no better way to serve than to empower people through education and in support of their health and wellbeing.

Thus, it is fitting that the College well-being centre is called the Saint James Centre. The naming of the centre is strengthened by the fact that it is located within the building called Santiago de Maria, named in honour of our College patron, Saint Oscar Romero and the cathedral in the city in which he was bishop, the Cathedral of Saint James the Apostle. Coincidently, the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain is also called the Cathedral of Saint James the Apostle, which is the final destination of the Camino pilgrimage walks and the final resting place of Saint James.

Holy Cross College aims to positively influence wellbeing by fostering positive and sustainable characteristics that enable students to achieve their best. Evidence supports the strong, mutual relationship between well-being and learning.

Identifying and reducing barriers to learning, including those linked to student well-being, can help to maximise the educational and social outcomes for students. The College works with parents in promoting the building of resilience in students.

Currently, the Saint James Centre offers the services of a social worker, psychologist and nurse. The facility boasts state-of-the-art first aid suites, offices and meeting rooms.

The College Social Worker focuses on the relations and interactions between students and their school environment, and is available for individual counselling to support students. Grant funding is received annually from the National School Chaplaincy and Welfare Programme.

The College Psychologist is available for students to assist with developmental issues from learning difficulties, stress, mental health and more.

The College Nurse is available during school hours to assist in the medical treatment of students and staff who become unwell or need assistance with their daily medical needs.

Parents should familiarise themselves with the following documents and, where appropriate, complete and return the action and management plans to the College Nurse.


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Child Safe Framework

Schools are called to be Christ-centred and child-focused places of learning. Children and young people reach their God-given potential through developing and flourishing in a safe environment. No child or young person can learn and flourish if he or she feels unsafe.

Child safety continues to be a key priority for all Catholic schools. The Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Child Safe Framework, launched in 2018, encourages and supports every member of Catholic school communities to make good decisions that always keep the best interests of the child or young person first.

This Framework comprises nine elements.

  1. Support and Healing
  2. Culture
  3. Voice of the Child
  4. Governance and Leadership
  5. Policies and Procedures
  6. Human Resources
  7. Risk Management
  8. Investigation and Reporting
  9. Quality Assurance

The framework is based on the latest research in child safety for institutions, is evidence based, best practice and consistent with Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations. It highlights that we need to be driving a mindset in our schools of modelling healthy and respectful relationships. We want to prevent problem behaviours and abuse from occurring in the first place. The framework is founded on two primary concepts:

  • Situational Prevention – involves enacting strategies to make it easier for good practice to flourish. We promote professional behaviours, and increase the effort to avoid the risks of engaging in problem behaviours. We set clear expectations, as detailed in the College Code of Conduct, for staff, students, parents and visitors to the College. We intentionally design various elements of our schools, staffing, governance, leadership, physical and online environments, behaviours and culture to prevent abuse.
  • Extended Guardianship – leaders, staff and school community are well informed and share a collective responsibility to take an active role in the safety and well-being of children. It is creating a culture that normalises discussion and feedback no matter who is involved, particularly of ambiguous situations.

As part of this framework, Holy Cross College has implemented the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum from Pre-kindergarten to Year Twelve. The programme is integrated into the curriculum and is presented in a developmentally, age-appropriate manner and delivered within the teachings of our Catholic identity.

Like the Child Safe Framework, the  Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum is an evidence based, best practice programme developed collaboratively with child protection experts, teachers, educational leaders and other professionals. The programme aims to empower students with the understanding that they have the right to be safe and teaches lifelong skills that will help them to be safe by talking to people they trust.

Further information regarding the Child Safe Framework can be found at: https://childsafe.cewa.edu.au/

Student Leadership

Developing the leaders of tomorrow is an important part of the schooling process. There are many ways students can offer leadership, often simply by showing initiative and actively participating in the LIFE of the College is a good demonstration of leadership. More formal opportunities for student leadership are offered across the year levels through the appointment of Captains and House and LIFE Leaders. Students in Year Twelve have the opportunity to nominate for one of two positions as College Captain.


Student Leaders at Holy Cross College will be students who:

  • give witness to Gospel values.
  • lead and serve the College community through word and action.
  • are trust-worthy, responsible and supportive of the College Vision and Mission.
  • contribute to the life of the College and wider community.
  • honour what has been established and explore and initiate new ways of enhancing the life of the College.
  • encourage, motivate and challenge other members of the College community to work together.
  • are positive and enthusiastic.
  • are worthy ambassadors for the College in the wider community.

Role of LIFE Leaders

LIFE Leaders will play an active role in promoting one of the pillars of the College:

  • represent one of the pillars of the College.
  • promote the Mission and Vision of their pillar.
  • represent the College at whole-school and inter-school events.
  • take a lead role in the organisation of events within their pillar.
  • mentor younger students.
  • engage in College activities as a role model to others.
  • encourage others to be active members of the College community.
  • actively work towards students in their House feeling welcomed and connected to the College community.
  • promote the College vision and particularly the charism and spirit of their House.

Role of House Representatives

House Representatives will play an active role in promoting the values and spirit of their House:

  • promote the College vision and particularly the charism and spirit of their House.
  • actively work towards students in their House feeling welcomed and connected to the House and College community.
  • represent the College at whole-school and inter-school events.
  • engage in College activities as a role model to others.
  • assist in the organisation of House liturgies.
  • play a lead role in the organisation of House activities – e.g. fundraising, inter-House competitions.
  • encourage others to be active members of the House.
  • mentor younger students.

College Advisory Council

The College Advisory Council, in representing the Catholic College community, actively promotes and supports the Catholic ethos of the school.

Council members are supported by Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), and are given access to training and appropriate information courses.

The Council is responsible not only to the local school community, but also to the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia (CECWA) for the financial administration of the school. It is also entrusted with the duty of planning, on behalf of the school community, with the school staff (through the Principal) and with the CECWA to meet the present and future needs of students.

Taking on a position with the College Advisory Council is a wonderful way for parents to get involved and help shape their child’s school. In addition to the normal executive roles, the College Advisory Council may also appoint a range of sub-committees, giving parents a chance to leverage their business acumen or other specialisations.​

CEWA is currently undertaking a review of the functions and mandate of school advisory councils.

College Advisory Council 2022

ChairmanRebecca Bowen
TreasurerMatthew Fry
PrincipalJulie Hornby
Parish PriestFather Bonaventure Echeta
Friends of Holy Cross Nominee
MembersLee Pearson
Sister Joanne Dickson
Rodney Gardiner
Observers in AttendanceAlbert Borrello, Vice Principal
Jean Topliss, Business Manager
Christina Davini – Deputy Principal – Inter-relationships

Aboriginal Partnerships

Holy Cross College aims to improve the educational outcomes for Aboriginal students, while acknowledging, respecting and reflecting Aboriginal people’s histories and cultures, for the benefit of all.


  • Aboriginal Education Assistants work alongside students to support them in their learning and regularly liaise with families to provide support as needed.
  • All Aboriginal students have a Personalised Learning Plan outlining their individual goals.


  • Cultural celebrations: NAIDOC Week, Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week are all integral parts of the College calendar.
  • Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country are incorporated into all assemblies and presentations.


  • A NATSI Mass is celebrated as part of the NAIDOC Week celebrations.
  • Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories are explored through the curriculum and embedded into learning experiences across the College.


  • Students have the opportunity to attend and participate in externally run Aboriginal Leadership Programme. In previous years, students have participated in the West Coast Eagles Aboriginal Leadership Programme, the Waalitj Cup as well as the Djinda Ngardak Aboriginal Culinary Experience.
  • Aboriginal Immersion Experiences are embedded in the College through Art Club, guest presenters and excursions.

Friends of Holy Cross

Friends of Holy Cross College Ellenbrook

Parent participation in the life of the College is essential to enhance student learning and well-being. There are numerous opportunities for parents to contribute, from participating on classroom rosters to attending school events and information evenings. The Friends of Holy Cross is the parent body that oversees and organises many activities that build a strong sense of community and raise much-needed funds.

The Friends of Holy Cross operate at the direction the College Principal under the guidelines and parameters of the Friends of Holy Cross Commission.

The Friends of Holy Cross Council is the co-ordinating arm of the parent body and will seek assistance from the wider College community at various times throughout the year.

Why do we have a parents and friends group?

The Bishops of Western Australia recognise that the support of parents and the school community is critical in
the education process and, therefore, urge parents and friends to take every opportunity to be involved.
“Catholic schools would not exist without the outstanding dedication and contribution of parents. We thank
parents for all that they currently contribute to Catholic schools. We urge all concerned to support their schools
as far as possible.”

Research shows that students whose parents are actively involved in their education achieve enhanced
outcomes. Dwyer (Catholic School Studies, May 2001) suggests that:

  • A student’s performance is strongly influenced by his or her parents’ attitude to the school.
  • Achievement levels tend to rise when parents are seen to be interested and involved in their child’s schooling.
  • Parental involvement can increase goodwill and help develop a real sense of community within the school.
  • Parents have many ideas and skills that can be very useful to their school community.

How does it operate and what do they do?

The Friends of Holy Cross is comprised of The Executive Council and all members of the Holy Cross College
community willing and interested in participating and supporting the aims of the Friends of Holy Cross and the
College. Friends of Holy Cross meets once per term and is open to all members of the Holy Cross College Community.

The Friends of Holy Cross Executive is an elected body consisting of the Chair, Deputy Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, and Principal or delegate (ex-officio).

There are four permanent councils that mirror the four College LIFE Pillars:

  • Learning Council supports educational events conducted or supported by the College and organises parent educational seminars and workshops.
  • Inter-relationships Council organises social opportunities to build community spirit and provide opportunities for the College community to gather.
  • Faith Council supports the liturgical events of the College and provides faith formation activities for parents.
  • Enrichment Council organises fundraising activities and supports the enrichment activities of the College.

How can I participate?

Parents can help by:

  • Nominating for a position on the Executive Council;
  • Leading or joining one of the LIFE Councils;
  • Attending Friends of Holy Cross meetings (two per term – one morning and one evening);
  • Volunteering to provide assistance at Friends of Holy Cross events; and
  • Attending Friends of Holy Cross events and supporting Friends of Holy Cross initiatives.

Please register your interest in assisting with the work of the Friends of Holy Cross by completing the form below or by contacting the College office. The Friends of Holy Cross is an excellent way to make friends and build support networks.

The 2023 Committee members:

Position Name
Chair Eva Gomes-Sebastiao
Deputy Chair Kat Elmer-Gray
Treasurer Stephanie Rees
Secretary Alicia Whitelaw
Learning Pillar Lindsay Jacklin
Inter-relationship Pillar Leanne Palmer
Faith Pillar Susan Sorensen
Enrichment Pillar Kat Elmer-Gray
College Board Nominee
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