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Woodleigh is #inthistogether

At Woodleigh School, we recognise that wellbeing, engagement and learning are interdependent. We aim to promote and support student wellbeing by providing an inclusive and equitable environment that will enable the building of student resilience and the personal capacity to meet challenges confidently, now and in the future. In order for our students to flourish academically, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually, there exists at our School a wide network of structured support, as well as a breadth of programs and experiences designed to develop all elements of our students’ health and wellbeing.

At Woodleigh School, we have adopted an evidence-based approach to enhance the relationship between wellbeing and learning. To achieve this we draw upon the science of Positive Psychology to provide the foundation for our strength-based approach. Research in Positive Psychology tells us that positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaningfulness and achievement (PERMA) are essential elements if we are to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. At Woodleigh these five essential elements drive our wellbeing programs, and we employ evidence-based means by which to monitor our students’ progress against these elements. This is done with the intention of enabling our students to reach their full potential and flourish now and in the future.

To optimise student wellbeing we:

  1. Have in place a tiered system of pastoral care personnel (Tutors, Homestead Coordinators and Directors of Pastoral Care) who have specific responsibility for knowing, connecting with and supporting the students in their care.
  2. Hold weekly meetings of the School’s Wellbeing, Engagement & Learning (WEL) Group. The WEL Group is the central wellbeing group at Woodleigh Senior Campus and it brings together key members of the Pastoral, Inclusion and Counselling teams. The WEL Group’s core function is to ensure that all students’ wellbeing needs are being met, both individually and collectively.
  3. Develop wellbeing programs that respond to the developmental needs of all of our students.
  4. Work with all staff to promote the understanding and skill base to be responsive to student need.
  5. Work collaboratively with parents and carers, both individually and collectively.
  6. Provide a clear referral pathway for students, staff and families to access appropriate wellbeing support.
  7. Promote a culture that encourages and normalises help-seeking behaviour.’

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Welcome back to Term 2, everyone. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well.

I chose to begin this piece with an extract from Woodleigh’s ‘Student Wellbeing Policy’ (above).  Although it’s a static document, it represents a lot of moving parts that, combined, have the end goal of ensuring the social and emotional growth of each of our students. 

And, although we are in a space we could not have expected weeks ago, I would like to confirm our commitment to our goals. In times such as these, nothing is more important than for our students to stay connected to their school community, and engaged with their learning. All of us at Woodleigh are working hard to ensure that this occurs. 

As stated above, we have a structured system of personnel and processes designed to support the pastoral care and wellbeing of our students, and I would encourage you to continue your interactions with staff in the way that you would if we were on-site.  Our Inclusion and Counselling Teams are adapting magnificently to the increased requests for support, and our Homestead Teams remain the glue that holds our community together. Stay tuned for a modified Homestead program; our Homestead Teams, led by Craig Azzopardi, Gab O’Loghlen and Haydn Flanagan (Directors of Pastoral Care) have been working industriously on adapting our program so that, even in an online environment, it will hold true to our aim of enabling a sense of community and belonging to be nurtured and maintained. Over the coming weeks, the program will cover such areas as ‘Guidance for Home Study’, ‘Self-Care’, ‘Positive Help-Seeking’ and ‘Mindset’. As you’ve come to expect, the Homestead Program and activities will also be imbued with that wonderful sense of fun for which our Homestead teams are renowned.

Over coming weeks, I would like to explore with you the pillars of our approach to wellbeing at Woodleigh.  In particular, our strategies, programs and processes are founded upon current research within the ‘Be You’ framework for mental health, which promotes the science of Positive Psychology. Positive Education is an approach to education that blends academic learning with character and wellbeing in order to prepare students with life skills such as grit, optimism, resilience, growth mindset, engagement and mindfulness. While life is markedly different in the time of COVID, we should focus even more closely upon the power of hope, positivity, kindness and mindfulness in our lives.

I would like to thank you all very much for your patience as we negotiate these changed circumstances. Thank you also for the wonderful feedback we have received in these early weeks of our Continuous Learning Plan.  We ARE all in this together; our community is strong and, with empathy and kindness, it will continue to be. 

Best wishes

TRACEY GLEN  
Deputy Head of Senior Campus – Head of Wellbeing