Student Wellbeing Services

Brookside College’s Student Wellbeing Services primary responsibility is to promote the academic, personal, and social development of all our students. Brookside College works with the school community as well as other services and agencies to support our students in being responsible and productive citizens. We pride ourselves on having a positive and supportive learning environment which focusses on the development of the whole child. We are able to offer support to students and their families through involvement in a range of individual, group and family support work.

Student Wellbeing Services has a dual focus, addressing both educational support as well as therapeutic needs. Student Wellbeing Services are provided by professional staff with qualifications and expertise specific to the area of wellbeing and service may include a range of group-based and individual support, student capacity building and the provision of specialised services.

Student Wellbeing Services are provided to students and families by the Student Wellbeing Team. This team consists of Michael Heyne (Assistant Principal for Student Wellbeing), Renee Dowling – qualified Social Worker (Leader of Student Wellbeing), Leading teachers Mel Searle (Leader of Student Engagement) and Seral Fehmi (Leader of Community Engagement), and part time school counsellors Claire Volpe and Connie Messina.

Assistant Principal of Student Wellbeing P-9 Michael Heyne supports the Principal and other Assistant Principals in the overall leadership and management of our college. Michael is responsible for the overall development of school policies and practices relating to student wellbeing and the management of behavioural development.

This involves regular liaison with the Leader of Student Wellbeing to ensure comprehensive care and monitoring of student progress and wellbeing. The role also requires the development of effective and cooperative relationships with internal and external wellbeing services.

Leader of Student Engagement P-9 Mel Searle (Leading Teacher) is leading the implementation of our whole college approach to Respectful Relationships. Mel is instrumental in helping to lead our college towards building a culture of respect and equality. In her role as Leader of Student Engagement P-9, Mel works closely with a number of teams across the college in the implementation and ongoing development of our Respectful Relationships, Berry Street Education Model and School Wide Positive Behaviours Support (SWPBS) program.

Leader of Community Engagement P-9 Seral Fehmi is responsible for supporting the communication and community engagement activities across our college. This role is of vital importance to our College as we move towards developing strong linkages with our community. Seral’s role is exciting and diverse with a focus on careful planning, quality communications and the ultimately the delivery of innovative community programs and events to meet the needs of our Brookside College students and their families.

Leader of Student Wellbeing P-9 (LSW) Renee Dowling is a qualified Social Worker with extensive experience in the Child Protection, Justice, Human Services and education sectors. The LSW leads the wellbeing team and works closely with parents, supports students individually and in groups, works with students who may present with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties and liaises with outside agencies and community services who are supporting the students and families who attend Brookside College.

There are numerous services in our community that are available to assist families, many free or low cost. The LSW is a great starting point. Through parent consultations; allied health professionals can be accessed such as doctors, paediatricians, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, behavioural optometrists, counsellors, and specialised educational services. Additional supports also include mental health services, family support services, parenting assistance, financial assistance, legal information and advocacy, and disability services. Access to Brookside College’s Student Wellbeing Service is a free service and the information provided is kept private and confidential. In addition, through our Student Wellbeing Services, students and families at Brookside College can access additional support for our Out of Home Care (OOHC), Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families, or families from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Background.

Our SCHOOL COUNSELLORS are staff with specialised qualifications in counselling and therapeutic practice. Our school counsellors work closely with our student wellbeing and leadership teams & provide individual and group support, parent support and consultation, and linkage to community services. Individual work includes counselling, anger management, social skills, conflict resolution, physical and mental health support, school attendance and linkage to community services. Group programs may include social skills groups, conflict resolution, anger management, grief and loss, and P-9 specific programs.


Allied Health Professionals Consultation:

In 2018 Brookside College will consult with allied health professionals such as Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy. We identify students who may present with communication difficulties including articulation, language and social difficulties and provide individualised wrap-around supports. Occupational Therapy consultation may include the development of programs that will assist students in developing skills and supporting participation in everyday activities that are appropriate for a student’s age and their abilities. This may include fine motor skills programs that are important for success with daily tasks such as holding a pencil, handwriting and readiness to write, drawing, hand-eye coordination, cutting with scissors and doing up buttons and zippers, gross motor skills that are necessary for a stable posture for sitting, skipping and ball skills, sensory needs, attention and concentration and organisational skills. Consultation with allied health professionals enables us to work collaboratively with to support student’s educational goals and meet student’s specific needs.


Program for Students with Disabilities Coordinator:

The Student Wellbeing Services team is also supported by a Crystal Ambelas (Program for Students with Disabilities Coordinator) who coordinates the PSD program and works closely with DET’s Student Support Services allied health staff and staff who support these students daily in the classroom. Crystal has worked at Brookside College for over a decade and adores her role here at our college. This important role focusses on the development and delivery of specialised learning programs for our students who have a range of learning needs. Crystal is responsible for assessing our students’ skills to determine their needs and assist teachers to develop teaching plans, adapt lessons to meet the needs of students, support staff in the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student, support the implement and evaluation of IEPs (including monitoring students’ performance, and track their progress).

If you require any further information regarding any of the student wellbeing services offered at Brookside College, please do not hesitate to contact member of the wellbeing team.


Brookside College whole school and Student Wellbeing Service Programs:

  • Individual Counselling
  • Group Work
  • Restorative Practices
  • Transition Programs
  • Student Leadership opportunities
  • Student Representative Council
  • Bike Education
  • Lunch time activities
  • Hands on Learning
  • After School Study Clubs
  • Before School Sports Programs


Where possible, the home group teacher should be the first point of contact at the school.

If parents have a concern about a wider issue they can contact one of the PLT leaders of your child’s year level:

  • Prep –  Catherine Daxecker / Jelena Brkljacic (PLT Leader)
  • Year 1- Manisha Saini (PLT Leader)
  • Year 2- Ky Breadmore (PLT Leader)
  • Year 3- Monika Hackworthy (PLT Leader)
  • Year 4- Sarah Brennan (PLT Leader)
  • Year 5- Renee Debono (PLT Leader)
  • Year 6- Gretel Van Wyngaarden (PLT Leader)
  • Year 7- Chris Hermansson (PLT Leader)
  • Year 8- Liam McDermott (PLT Leader)
  • Year 9- Grant Puxley / Rebecca Lucas (PLT Leader)


For more confidential issues please contact a member of leadership:

Brooke Gillis (Prep- Year 2)

Adam Bright (Years 3-6)

Michael Heyne (Years 7-9)

Mel Searle (Leader of Student Engagement P-9)

Renee Dowling (Leader of Student Wellbeing P-9)

Simon Sherlock (College Principal)

Support for families

Brookside College appreciates that families may sometimes experience financial difficulty in meeting payment requests and have arrangements in place to assist families experiencing financial hardship. A number of support options are available to parents who have difficulty making payments including instalment arrangements, buy/swap/sell sessions for uniform/text books, State Schools Relief and the Camps, sports and Excursions fund (CSEF).

Camps, Sports & Excursion Fund (CSEF)

The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund is provided by the Victorian Government to assist eligible families to cover the costs of school trips, camps and sporting activities for their children.

School camps provide children with inspiring experiences in the great outdoors, excursions encourage a deeper understanding of how the world works and sports teach teamwork, discipline and leadership. The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund ensures that every student will have the opportunity to join their classmates for these important, educational and fun activities.

If you hold a valid means-tested concession card or you are a temporary foster parent, you may be eligible. The allowance of $125 per primary school student or $225 per secondary school student is paid to the college for each year of eligibility, to use towards expenses relating to camps, excursions or sporting activities for the benefit of your child.

To apply, complete the application form below and hand it in to the general office along with your eligible concession card. Applications must be submitted by the 30th of June.

Sale/Purchase of secondhand textbooks and uniform


Clk2sell is an online market place developed to assist parents to buy and sell pre-loved school uniforms and text books. It is a free service created by State Schools’ Relief and is very simple and easy to use. Simply download the app, snap a photo of your items, then with one click they are uploaded to a streamlined marketplace. This is an entirely free service – there are no listing fees.

For more information about the app please visit the Clk2sell website

Sustainable School Shop

The Sustainable School Shop website is available to families to buy and sell second hand uniforms and textbooks, as well as other school items such as scientific calculators, sporting goods and musical instruments. The system is simple and easy to use. If you don’t have a computer, internet access or an email address, please call the Sustainable School Shop for assistance. Registration is easy and searching is free. Items can be listed for sale from as little as $1.50 per ad.

Visit the Sustainable School Shop website

All enquiries should be directed to the Sustainable School Shop on 1300 683 337 or help is also available through Contact us on their website.

Please note: For parents wishing to purchase textbooks and novels second-hand, please ensure that you match the book ISBN number you are purchasing to the ones listed below. This will ensure you are purchasing the correct edition.

Year 7 novels:
Wonder (ISBN: 9780552565974)

Year 8 novels:
Life in outer space (ISBN: 9781742973951)

Year 9 novels:
Twelve angry me (ISBN: 9780143104407)
Pieces of Sky (ISBN: 9781760112486)

Please note that the maths books are new editions in 2018 and therefore will not be able to be purchased second-hand.

State schools relief

State Schools Relief is a charitable organisation which assists eligible families with the costs of uniform and school shoes.

Applications for assistance from State Schools Relief are made by the College on behalf of the family. Please contact the College’s welfare team on 7379 1555.

Instalment arrangements

The College offers payment plans for families experiencing financial difficulties. Please contact our Business Manager on 7379 1555 if you wish to discuss a payment plan.

Other financial assistance

Parents can seek financial assistance and support from other agencies. A list of agencies that may be able to offer assistance follows. Parents should contact the agencies directly.

(Community based no interest loan scheme)

Phone: 136457
Small interest free loans supported by Good Shepherd Microfinance..

Student Scholarships

Enquiries: 9637 3137
Applications open late November 2017 and close end of January 2018.

Smith family – Learning for life

Phone: 1800 024 069 / 1300 326 459

Good Shepherd Youth & Family Services

8312 8800

St Vincent De Paul

1300 305 330

Brotherhood of St Laurence

Savers Plus – a matched savings plan for education costs.
Phone 1300 610 355
SMS your name and postcode to 1300 610 355
Email saverplus@bsl.org.au