Well-being and Pastoral Care

Manaakitanga Toiora

At St Andrew’s College, we not only want our students to flourish in their learning but also to establish a strong foundation for ongoing success in their lives beyond school. Our teachers understand well-being is central to all we do, and we believe developing character is as important as cultivating intellect. We appreciate that learning is a social, emotional and cognitive process, and it is our focus to inspire and engage the whole child.

"At St Andrew’s College our focus is not only academic, sporting and cultural achievement, but also building the character, backbone, and self-respect that will support our Collegians through life’s ups and downs."

Kerry Larby Head of Well-being

Well-being is at the heart of everything

Since 2017, St Andrew’s College has committed to a whole school strategic goal to embrace evidence-based research related to well-being and positive psychology. Staff professional development focuses on integrating research related to building positive relationships, promoting emotional intelligence and resilience, enhancing self-efficacy and fostering motivation, engagement, and purpose.

A well-being focus is integrated into our curricular, co-curricular and pastoral programmes. Our school culture strongly supports student well-being by valuing the importance of positive relationships and celebrating diversity. We aspire for our Collegians to be resilient and confident, able to relate well to others, critical thinkers and informed decision-makers, and contributors to a purpose greater than themselves.

Teachers with students talking outside of Centennial Chapel

Our well-being models and frameworks

Well-being is defined as feeling good and functioning well (Huppert and So, 2013). At St Andrew’s, students develop their understanding of well-being through the lens of several research-based models and frameworks, including PERMA-V, the VIA Classification of Character and Virtues and our own Health and Well-being programmes.


The StAC community has developed a shared understanding of well-being as a complex and holistic concept using a modified version of Martin Seligman’s (2011) evidence-based model PERMA-V. PERMA-V comprises of six key pillars that contribute to psychological well-being and are particularly relevant to a school context. These include positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, accomplishment, and vitality.

Head of Well-being with students outside.

VIA Character Strengths

At St Andrew’s College we value and celebrate the diverse character strengths that enable our students to flourish. Our staff understand the Values in Action (VIA) Classification of Character Strengths created by Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson. We use this framework to spot strengths in our students and to celebrate and cultivate diversity in our community.

Under the VIA framework, there are 24 character strengths, and each character strength falls under one of these six broad virtue categories: Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance and Transcendence.

Students studying in the classroom.

"Character strengths are ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that come naturally and easily to a person and that enable high functioning and performance."

Linley 2006

Health and Well-being programmes

We understand that creating a culture that values well-being is far broader than any specific programme and includes experiential learning and interaction with positive role models. With this in mind, we have developed comprehensive well-being programmes in both the Preparatory School and the Secondary School to best support our students' health and well-being. These lessons build upon our traditional pastoral system.

  • Preparatory School Programmes

    StAC-Up is a pastoral care and values system developed in 2019 that supports student well-being throughout the Preparatory School. Students are encouraged to be safe- inside, outside, and online; be ready- to learn in all situations and to be respectful- towards themselves and others.

    Junior School: Mindful Movers
    Mindful Movers is a mindfulness programme that uses different techniques to teach students how to be mindful, centred and check-in with their bodies, emotions, and thoughts. During mindfulness lessons, students are encouraged to think with a growth mindset and to be kind to themselves and one another.

    Years 1–7: Bounce Back
    Bounce Back is an award winning, evidence-based programme focused on developing well-being, resilience, and social-emotional skills. A key focus of this whole-school programme is about normalising setbacks, mistakes, and challenges as a part of life. The curriculum has ten units that focus on topics such as emotions, relationships, courage, being safe and values. Bounce Back incorporates evidence-based teaching strategies including Circle Time, a structured framework where students share and listen, building empathy and connection.

    Year 8: Heroic Habits
    Heroic Habits focuses on building students’ emotional literacy around the virtues, qualities and habits that are important for life’s journey. Students learn, discuss, and reflect about habits such as presence, vulnerability, acceptance, and hope.

    Preparatory School Health and Physical Education Curriculum (Years 1–8)
    Our curriculum is designed according to the New Zealand Health and Physical Education Curriculum and covers topics including Caring for Others, Keeping Ourselves Safe, Developing a Growth Mindset, Personal Health and Sexuality, Food and Nutrition, Drug Education, Cyber Safety, Rights and Responsibilities, physical skill development, team skills, fitness, and sports education.

  • Secondary School Programmes

    Years 9–10 Health and Physical Education Curriculum
    Our curriculum is designed according to the New Zealand Health and Physical Education Curriculum and covers topics including models of well-being, factors that contribute to well-being, Character Strengths, puberty, body image, contraception and sexuality, healthy friendships, social media and technology, bullying and kindness, sexual decision making, effective communication, healthy decision-making: drugs, alcohol, vaping and driving, and mental health and resilience.

    Year 10: Te Waka – The Rite Journey
    A year-long Rite of Passage programme, Te Waka is a single-sex programme designed to acknowledge and celebrate each students’ shift into adulthood. Through conversations, experiences, and space for reflection students are encouraged to develop resilience, respect, and responsibility. The programme inspires students to step outside their comfort zone by participating in a series of challenges including an overnight SOLO experience at Castle Hill. All Te Waka teachers have been trained to teach the Rite Journey programme and have participated in Acceptance Commitment Therapy training to understand psychological processes impacting well-being.

    Years 11–13 Health and Physical Education Curriculum
    Our curriculum is designed according to the New Zealand Health and Physical Education Curriculum and covers topics including brain function and well-being, models of well-being: What matters most?, Character Strengths, leadership, self-awareness and decision-making, emotional intelligence, mental health, effective communication strategies, sexual decision-making, healthy intimate relationships, legal rights and responsibilities, goal setting, and financial literacy.

Preparatory students doing PE.

Well-Being Blog

Read All Our Blog Posts
hockey on field huddle

On Coping with Disappointment

St Andrew's College Sports and Activities Coach, Mike Johnston, and rugby players at the 2023 Rugby Prizegiving

How do we build character in our young people?

Students in an open and honest discussion with a teacher

StACTalks: Vaping, Alcohol and the Party Season

Our Well-being, Guidance and Counselling Team

Kerry Larby, Head of Well-being.

Kerry Larby

Head of Well-being

Tom Matthews, Head of Guidance.

Tom Matthews

Head of Guidance

Kate Scott, Psychologist.

Kate Scott


Mike Coleman, Guidance Counsellor.

Mike Coleman

Guidance Counsellor