Spiritual and Pastoral

The Somerville House spirit will be felt the moment your child walks through the front gates. Whether a Pre-Prep, Junior, Middle or Senior School student, your child will be supported in a safe, caring environment, based on Christian values, as they take their first steps in learning to be a strong, independent person. 

The School’s Pastoral Care Program encourages the qualities of individual initiative and personal responsibility for the development of personal and academic resilience. Students are further assisted through the School’s higher-than-average teacher-student ratio and its commitment to the continual improvement of teaching methods and practices through its Staff Professional Development Program. 

School years mark a vital phase when children develop emotionally, spiritually and physically. At Somerville House, support structures are put in place to assist them during this formative phase of their lives.

Extensive care is available through our Positive Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Program, our Christian Education Program and Chapel Services. The Dean of Students, together with the Heads of Year and Homeroom Tutor Teachers, mentor and monitor student wellbeing. Registered nurses are available through our Health Centre.


The spiritual life of the School is central to all that is done at Somerville House. The Teachings and example of Jesus Christ are a template for the values by which we operate in all areas of School life, from the classroom to the boardroom, from the sporting field to the Music program, in our relationships and in our ethics.

Worship is central to the life of the School and opportunities are provided for formal worship through School assemblies, Year Level Chapel services, annual Sub-School Family Worship Services and weekly services for our Boarders. The worship program is supported by Christian Education classes from Pre-Prep through to Year 12.

It is the goal of the spiritual activities within the School to develop in students an understanding and appreciation of Christian beliefs and practices based on the bible and Christians traditions. The culture of Somerville House encompasses a community to act as a community of care, modelling on the servant leadership of Jesus Christ, encouraging moral responsibility and personal involvement in service to the wider community. 

By being part of this community, students see the practical outworking of faith in Jesus Christ. Christian Education is a core subject for all students with one to two lessons provided each week depending on Year level. 

Students explore five main areas of study:

  • Revelation - A significant study of the Christian Scriptures, including their composition and teaching.  
  • Reasons - Investigates apologetic dimensions of faith including reasons for belief and ethical responses to modern dilemmas.
  • Relationships - Focuses on personal development, and basic relationship skills.  
  • Religions - Examines major world religions and relevant minority religious groups.  
  • Response - Encourages students to formulate personal convictions and express them through action. 

Somerville House operates under the governance of the Presbyterian and Uniting Churches. The School provides opportunities for members of our community to engage meaningfully with the Christian gospel and nurture a sense of ‘relationship with God’ as individuals. Chaplains, teachers, students and parents conduct ministry in the School, with the Chaplains assuming overall responsibility.

Chapel Services

Students participate in worship and teaching during Chapel services and Assembly devotions. Day students in the Middle and Senior Schools meet for worship in Year levels or House groups approximately twice each term, while Boarders worship each week in the School chapel. Assembly includes Christian reflection. Chapel services and Assembly devotions include songs, Scripture, prayer, and teaching.

Christian Fellowship Groups

Students may further their understanding and commitment to the Christian faith through fellowship groups SUPAClub in the Junior School and Somercircle in the Middle and Senior School. These groups meet for faith exploration, discussion and other activities during lunch times. Social functions, camps, community service activities and leadership training also occur outside School hours.

Christian Education

The worship program is supported by Christian Education classes from Pre-Prep through to Year 12. The program covers biblical themes and contemporary issues, focussing primarily on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and their application to life in a complex and demanding world. Students also learn about other world religions and belief systems in a context of understanding and respect.

Pastoral Care

Shaping the future of young people – the way they think and solve problems, and the way they perceive themselves, others and the world around them – is an increasingly complex challenge. In a world that demands innovative, ethical solutions to a wide range of humanitarian, environmental and commercial challenges, Somerville House strives to ensure students leave with, not only a first-class education, but a well-rounded and supported schooling experience.

Since its establishment, Somerville House has exercised its unwavering commitment to provide an education that nurtures students into well-rounded, confident and knowledgeable citizens of integrity. 

In addition to our efforts to develop academic excellence, this commitment is reinforced through the provision of extensive staff and peer support networks, student-led activities, progressive leadership opportunities and dedicated Pastoral Care within the School curriculum.

Junior School Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care is an essential element of the Junior School curriculum and is primarily delivered by the classroom teacher. Initially, students learn the social skills required to work and play happily with other children in both formal (classroom) and non-formal (playground) settings. 

Students will explore topics which are relevant to their year level, such as self-responsibility, interpersonal understanding, the changes associated with puberty, and the skills to promote successful learning are explored. 

Middle and Senior Schools Pastoral Care

In the Middle and Senior School, Pastoral Care is arranged in a horizontal structure, with Heads of Year assisting at each year level. Homeroom Teachers and Tutors, who have extensive contact with students on a daily basis, take significant responsibility for the care of students in their class groups, assisting new students to settle in and providing a knowledgeable point of contact for any initial parental or student concerns.  

Formal weekly Pastoral Care sessions, conducted by Homeroom Teachers or Tutors cover a variety of important topics through discussion and activities. These include: manners and demeanour, assertiveness, resolving conflict, strengthening support networks, dealing with stress, how to stay safe, making decisions, developing friendships and the ethical use of technology.

Pastoral care at Somerville House is more than an action, and more than a subject to be studied, it is implicit in our daily interactions with each other, in our many family events such as welcome evenings for parents, mother/ daughter breakfasts, family chapel services and boarding family gatherings, it is our cultural norm.

Counselling and Support

Student wellbeing is a priority at Somerville House. The professional staff at our Counselling and Support Services Office provide advice, support and guidance to students, to help them develop the confidence, resilience and emotional strength they need to do their best and be their best. 

We work in partnership with both students and their parents, to enhance student learning potential and social-emotional health.

We can help with:

  • Counselling services for students and parents, e.g. conflict resolution strategies
  • Career and tertiary study advice for students
  • Stress management, anxiety and other social-emotional issues
  • Settling in to a new school environment for new students and Boarders
  • Identifying learning disabilities and where necessary, referring students to appropriate professionals
  • Mental health and referring to professionals where appropriate
  • Time management, study techniques and decision making skills
  • Managing bullying behaviours and resolving student relationship conflicts