The Development of the Whole Person is one of the pillars in our Strategic Plan. We define it as nurturing the spiritual, academic, physical, emotional and social character of each girl to prepare her to embrace opportunities with confidence, resilience and a sense of responsibility for others.
We know that wellbeing and academic achievement are linked, so it is important that if we aim to maximise the potential of each individual, that a focus on wellbeing is also a feature in an education. With this in mind, during 2017 Kath Woolcock, Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, undertook an extensive review from Foundation – Year 12 of all of our wellbeing curriculum and programs to ensure that we are offering the highest quality programs supported by evidence. The article that follows provides an insight into Kath’s work and the recommendations that have already been implemented.
There is a growing focus on student wellbeing programs globally. At Camberwell Girls we proudly belong to an international network of 16 schools called the Strategic Alliance of Global Educators (SAGE). Each year teams can enter a competition to work with another school in the SAGE network on a key project. The winning entry this year was from Oulunkyla Secondary School in Helsinki, Finland, and they requested to visit Camberwell Girls to work specifically on a student wellbeing project with us. I am presently finalising the details of their trip with my colleagues in Finland and I am excited about developing the relationship between our two schools and learning from each other.
With best wishes
The Importance of Student Wellbeing at Camberwell Girls Grammar School – Development of the Whole Person
Educating the mind without educating the heart, is no education at all – Aristotle
We have long known that schooling and education is more than simply the acquisition of academic skills. In fact, high quality education achieves just that, whilst also providing a carefully crafted environment where students develop essential life skills. Specifically, this may involve enabling them to become more resilient in the face of adversity, feel more connected with people and their surroundings, and perhaps most importantly, work harder, smarter and aim higher in their aspirations for the future. In this way, high quality education must be based on the understanding that wellbeing, life satisfaction and academic achievement are inextricably linked.
Wellbeing itself, and more specifically positive wellbeing, is a notion that many schools, businesses, policymakers and individuals aspire to achieve and improve and yet, the concept of ‘wellbeing’ can be ambiguous and somewhat intangible, as well as difficult to describe and measure. There is no universally accepted definition, no concrete handbook and no framework that fits all situations and contexts.
In acknowledging this, in 2017 Camberwell Girls conducted an extensive whole school Wellbeing Review that critically examined our current curriculum, programs, procedures and policies to ensure they reflected evidence based best practice. The review comprised of five key components: Research, Consultation, Evaluation, Planning and Implementation, and was driven by the following key questions:
- What is our definition of Wellbeing?
- What does Wellbeing look like in our School context?
- How do our programs, policies, procedures and programs reflect this understanding?
- How does our Wellbeing framework meet the current strategic plan?
With these questions at the forefront, research and consultation was conducted using some of the following methods:
- Cross campus ‘Appreciative inquiry’ focus groups (student, staff, parents)
- Extensive curriculum mapping and needs analysis across both Junior and Senior School
- Review of existing programs
- Evaluation of national and international research based wellbeing frameworks (PROSPER, SEARCH, PERMA, INSPIRE)
- Engagement with current research and evidence in the wellbeing space
Ultimately, this led to a set of both short term and future focussed recommendations to be considered as a means of strengthening, reframing and rethinking the direction of our wellbeing programs in 2018 and beyond.
As a starting point, we identified the following areas as essential in designing a sustainable and effective wellbeing framework at Camberwell Girls:
- Creating a Safe Environment
- Ensuring connectedness
- Engaging students in learning
- Promoting social and emotional learning
- Ensuring a whole school approach
From here, this led to the establishment of a unique Camberwell Girls Wellbeing definition and whole school scope and sequence of our programs. Our Wellbeing Programs are now purposefully designed and form part of an holistic wellbeing framework across Foundation – Year 12, which focuses on achieving wellbeing across all health dimensions. This is achieved through integrating evidenced based wellbeing practices into a dedicated, planned and coordinated series of Pastoral, Curricular, Co-Curricular and student led programs. Our wellbeing programs are student centred and student driven, incorporating a focus on mental fitness training, explicit wellbeing curriculum and life skills.’
Camberwell Girls Wellbeing Framework
“At Camberwell Girls, wellbeing is visible and purposeful. It is underpinned by current research and is characterised by a sense of resilience, purpose, engagement and optimism about the future. It is where students are connected with their community and the environment, demonstrate academic tenacity and are able to cultivate positive feelings, cognitions, behaviours and respectful relationships, which are nurtured by Anglican teachings and traditions.”
|F – 2||BRAVE
Building Resilience and Valuing Everyone
|3||Committed to Challenge|
|4||Building Support Networks|
|6||Broaden and Build|
|10||Purpose and Passion|
In 2018 we have also implemented the following new initiatives that have gained significant and positive momentum:
- The establishment of School Wellbeing Captains at both Junior and Senior School
- The Years 11 and 12 PE+ Program – a purposefully designed movement and physical activity program
- The Years 7 and 8 Tutor Model
- Home Learning timetable in Years 7 and 8
- Year 7 Transition Week Program
- Changes to the previous Positive Education program, to Mental Fitness Training – a practical approach to positive education and positive psychology principles
- Wellbeing affirmations and prompts in the student diary
- A student Leadership Program and Structure Review – in progress
- Establishment of a Wellbeing Strategic Leadership Team
- Junior School Wellbeing Project – in progress
- Investigation into Wellbeing Spaces at both Junior School and Senior School – in progress
- Adoption of the Resilient Youth Survey
- The development of a Study Skills Program – in progress
- Introduction of a Staff Employee Assistance Program
As we move forward and focus on the remainder of 2018 and beyond, we will continue to look for opportunities to engage the wider school community in wellbeing projects, initiatives and events and to achieve and implement many more of the recommendations.
We would like to thank all parents, staff and students who were involved in the review last year and we look forward to your future contributions.
At Camberwell Girls, we are proud of our commitment to the development of the whole person, recognising that wellbeing is central to this notion. Our wellbeing framework aims to develop our students’ pride, purpose and passion, ultimately helping them to leave Camberwell Girls as strong, independent and self-aware young women.
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing
CGGS Chair of Council Update
Dear Members of the CGGS Community
I am writing to inform you that due to health reasons, Mr David Kollmorgen is stepping down as Chair and a member of the CGGS School Council.
David has been a member of the School Council since 2012 and was Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee prior to holding the position of Chair of Council. His contributions to the CGGS community have been extensive and he was an active member and Treasurer of the Parents and Friends Association prior to joining the School Council. For many years David has been a very familiar figure extending hospitality at the Welcome Drinks, assisting with the pre-performance refreshments at House and Drama Performances or supervising the barbecue at Open Days, including the recent Summer Spectacular.
We are very grateful for David’s commitment and leadership in the CGGS community over many years. He has offered wisdom and insight in his service and displayed great dedication to ensuring the success of CGGS, often with a touch of humor. We wish him all the very best for the future.
Ms Christine Cussen has been appointed to the position of Chair of the CGGS School Council. Christine was a member of the School Council for 12 years and most recently also held the position of Chair of Risk and Governance Sub-Committee and as a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. She has a business and commercial background as a CEO in the private sector and is currently a non-executive director on four boards. Christine is also the aunt to two CGGS old grammarians and is delighted to re-establish her connection to the CGGS School Council.
I know that you will join me in welcoming Christine back to the CGGS Council in the role as Chair.