Pastoral care: Four Houses, One Shared Spirit

A sense of community and belonging is fundamental to an education in the OLSH tradition.
Our pastoral care structure is integral in ensuring that each student feels a deep sense of belonging, and feels valued, known and loved.

At the heart of cultivating relationships within the year level and across the school is our vertical house structure. Our four Houses celebrate, encourage, support and care for each individual to achieve their personal best. 

Each House is strongly supported by two staff members appointed as Head of House and Assistant Head of House. 

There are eight groups within each House, each supported by a Learning Mentor and students from each year level. In ensuring that every student feels a deep sense of belonging and connectedness, students remain with their House group throughout their time at OLSH College, building friendships and relationships across year levels. 

The House system enables greater mentoring between students, a greater sense of interconnectedness and helps to maintain community and House spirit.

House system

Our House system helps to build strong relationships between our students, a strong link with the history of our school and an opportunity to connect with others across all year levels in co-curricular activities.

During the year, we hold inter-house events, including swimming and athletics carnivals, our Performing Arts Spectacular and fundraising activities such as the Lenten Appeal. All of these activities foster a positive House spirit and sense of identity with the House.

The four houses are named for people who have played a special role in the foundation of the OLSH Sisters, and each house has a motto that reflects the value and legacy of their namesake.

Chevalier: Everywhere and forever

Chevalier House is named for Father Jules Chevalier who founded the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Issoudun in France in 1874. His charism was based on an awareness that the whole of creation is the gift of God's love, and everything that exists is being sustained and cared for by God's tender compassionate care.

The OLSH Sisters established OLSH College Bentleigh faithful to Father Chevalier’s wish that good quality education would be provided to girls. For Father Chevalier, the Heart of Christ was a true image of a God with a loving heart who calls people to have 'heart' for one another.

Hartzer: Give your all

Hartzer House is named for Mother Marie Louise Hartzer who was the first Congregational Leader of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, known here in Australia as the OLSH Sisters. The OLSH Sisters founded our College in 1938.

Marie Louise Hartzer was a woman of trusting faith, courage and compassion. Her leadership was characterized by wisdom, kindness, gratitude, hospitality and love. She was deeply dedicated to the education of young women and this tradition has been carried on here in Bentleigh through the lives of the OLSH Sisters and all who have followed or worked with them and through those who carry on this special and precious work today.

Sweeney: Be the light

Sweeney House is named for Sister Margaret Sweeney who was the first Australian Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Margaret met the Sisters when they arrived in Sydney in 1885 and was inspired by their mission to let people everywhere know how much God loved them.

She made her religious vows and then began working with the Sisters on Thursday Island and then Papua New Guinea. She lived and worked in tough conditions where illness was common, and she died at the young age of 30 of Blackwater Fever. Following in Sr Margaret’s footsteps, more than 400 Sisters have left Australian shores for mission lands in the past 100 years.

Xavier: Embrace the journey

Xavier House is named for Sister Marie Xavier Ryan, one of the five Sisters who came to Australia from France in 1885. She was a competent teacher and set up the first school administered by the OLSH Sisters, in Botany. Marie Xavier took a deep interest in families in need in the local area and also worked on Thursday Island. Her dedication to education continued with her opening schools in Randwick and Kensington and initiating teaching by the OLSH Sisters in Berrima and Bowral.

Learning Mentor Groups

Learning Mentor Groups are the cornerstone of our vertical pastoral care program. Every student belongs to a Learning Mentor Group made up of students from across Years 7 to 12 who meet each morning for homeroom, with their Learning Mentor.

The Learning Mentor is a teacher who leads the homeroom and gets to know each student in that group well as they see them daily and they continue the role of Learning Mentor with the same group each year. The Learning Mentor is the first point of contact for parents who want to discuss any wellbeing matters relating to their daughter. 

We have observed a greater sense of connectedness and peer mentoring across the College since the introduction of this system and our students value the opportunity to become mentors to the younger students as the progress into their senior years.