What is pastoral care?

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What is pastoral care?

According to a fact sheet produced by the Higher Education Academy (2013): Equality and diversity for academics pastoral care.

Pastoral care comprises the range of support services that are provided for students’ emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing......Relevant and timely support in dealing with the problems of everyday life is more likely to have the energy and motivation to do well in their studies.

Specialist services are provided in most tertiary institutions; however, teachers are in the best position to observe the well-being of their students and be aware when additional support might be needed. Therefore, knowing your students is critical to your understanding of their need for timely support if the need arises (HEA Academy, 2013). In the fact sheet, a concept called "diversity best practice" is outlined. One key point is that it is important to consider each student's circumstances, individually. There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to student support. The checklist is useful, providing advice such as using 'active listening' and developing rapport with students while maintaining emotional boundaries. Check it out, and see if you can discover something that could assist you in supporting students.

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Explore the following resources, and prepare a response to the questions below:
  1. Practical advice from an experienced Murdoch University academic staff member, on how to provide pastoral care in higher education is discussed in the video: Teaching in Universities: Pastoral Care (2.51 min).
  2. Supporting Student Wellbeing in Higher Education: Why & How - an article by Nadine Muller (2014).


  • What do you see as the benefits and challenges of providing pastoral care?
  • Explain the type of pastoral care you already provide to individual students, giving an example.
  • What three pieces of advice have you learned that are most relevant to your teaching context?
  • Explain why they could be helpful.
  • Post to your portfolio, and share on the Moodle discussion forum.