Our missions is to ensure “educational excellence and opportunities in a safe, nurturing environment”
One area that continues to challenge students is the safe and respectful use of digital technologies. Social media has changed the way we think about using information, relating to each other and our ideas of community. Through welfare discussions at camps, year meetings, presentations by outside agencies and one-on-one conversations our Welfare Team help to build our students’ resilience and empower them to make positive choices. These valuable experiences assist our school community in working towards our students becoming digital citizens. We teach them the tools to use to keep themselves safe online.
Supporting students to learn in a safe, nurturing environment so that they can achieve the best possible outcomes for all their schooling needs is a target of the Welfare Team. The Welfare Team are a committed group who understand that there is a clear link between the learning needs of students and their wellbeing. They fully understand the interrelationship between school and home and how they may impact on each other.
The team consists of the Head Teacher Welfare, Year Advisors, Assistant Year Advisers, School Counsellors, Careers Advisor, Youth Mentor, Learning Support staff and two Deputy Principals. The team works closely in partnership with parents, caregivers and outside school services in order to foster student resilience. In daily interactions with students and through individual and whole-school programs, students are taught to be compassionate, self-aware, and to be accountable for their choices. The school works in close association with outside agencies such as Engadine District Youth Services, The National Youth Mental Health Foundation, ‘Head Space’, psychologists, and other medical professionals. Our primary concern is that all students’ needs are addressed and that school is a fun, happy and healthy environment for our entire student body.
Starting high school can be difficult and daunting. Our Welfare Team pairs a group of Year 7 students with two Year 11 students who act as their peer support mentors and role models. These role models have been trained to offer support, friendship and general guidance when students are first navigating high school. Once students have settled in, they attend a Year 7 camp where they are able to build friendships and learn resilience. Year 7 are guided through their first year by involved and dedicated Year Advisors who are there to support students with all of their needs.
Students in Year 10 are treated and respected as seniors, and therefore, begin to adopt leadership roles within the school. The Welfare Team and Year Advisors guide them through this transition and help them cope with the challenges that these teenage years may bring. Students are given a number of opportunities to participate in work experience and TAFE Vet courses. Students are also invited to participate in a Peer Support Camp targeted solely at their leadership skills and wellbeing.
Students going through Year 8 will be supported and aided by the Welfare Team and their Year Advisors. They encourage students to accept more responsibility and leadership at school so that they can continue to develop their confidence and teamwork. Year 8 students are advised about cyber bullying and the challenges presented by the world of social media.
With the difficulties of senior study mounting and preparation for the HSC beginning, Year 11 students are carefully monitored and assisted by the Welfare Team and Year Advisors. Students are given information on mental health issues that teenagers can face and are encouraged to participate in meditation courses and study skills days. The Welfare Team offers Year 11 students the chance to be Peer Support Mentors for Year 7 students. During this time they display leadership, responsibility and foster positive interactions within the school community. Year 11 students also attend the ‘Cross Roads Camp’, which is specifically targeted at student welfare and managing peer pressure. During the camp they learn the skills required to have a healthy school-life balance and help them prepare for the challenges of the HSC.
Dedicated support by Year Advisors and the Welfare Head Teacher support Year 9 students through this sometimes difficult adolescent year. Students undertake group activities such as the Year 9 cross-curriculum ‘A World Worth Living In’ project which builds teams as they come together to address a challenge relating to sustainability. They also attend the much loved Year 9 camp where they enjoy numerous sporting challenges and build positive relationships friends and staff. Whilst on camp, students participate in specific welfare activities targeted at helping them understand risk taking, social media, inclusiveness and resilience.
The HSC can create stress and anxiety for many students. The dedicated Welfare Team acknowledges this and seeks to guide the students and help them foster their skills in resilience and focus. Students are taught that stress is very normal but it requires careful management. The Year 12 Year Advisors know their students well and can guide them every step of the way through the HSC course. By Year 12, students are firmly the leaders of the school and work with staff to create an inclusive and enjoyable school environment. Year 12 students are offered extensive help with study, preparation for exams, time management and how to manage the pressures they may experience during the HSC.