Adolescent girls today face complex challenges with the rapid development of technology, use of social media, evolving economic climate, urbanisation, educational demands and unique biological and psychological maturation processes. As educators, we are concerned about the growing rates of anxiety and depression evident in students, whereby mental illness is the greatest disease burden for young people (World Health Organisation, 2017).
In order to support and empower our young women to thrive and flourish in this evolving society, we need to measure and monitor their wellbeing so that we have a deeper understanding of their strengths, challenges and needs. By engaging a research team from the Centre for Positive Psychology at The University of Melbourne to measure the wellbeing of our students, it will continue to inform a whole school approach to wellbeing. Growing evidence suggests that wellbeing supports academic growth and accomplishment. In fact, wellbeing and academic performance go hand-in-hand.
According to our Strategic Plan (2018 - 2020), the Empowered Girls pillar recognises that Glennie graduates should be capable and confident young women of strength and integrity – optimistic, self-aware and adaptable, with a strong sense of compassion and social justice. Our Pastoral Care Program, underpinned by our Vision, Mission and Core Values, aims to achieve this by developing in Glennie girls the social, emotional and relationship skills that build resilience, respect, the strength of character, optimism, confidence and compassion. This care recognises that each girl is unique and has much to offer the community and much to learn as she matures into a young woman.
Our Program also aims to establish a connection between each student and the School which promotes a sense of belonging. We want to build a culture that celebrates difference and diversity and promotes the development of empathy and compassion within each individual. We do this through everyday practice, in and out of the classroom, explicit programs, service opportunities, counselling service, Chaplain care, boarding care and care from the Health Centre. Our Pastoral Care team, in the Middle and Senior Years, consisting of the Dean of Students, Head of Boarding, Heads of House, Chaplain, School Psychologist and Health Centre staff, continues to develop age-appropriate programs to address the current needs of our students across the various year levels, so that we have a preventative approach rather than a reactionary approach to wellbeing.
In developing our Pastoral Care Program in order to enhance wellbeing, we have drawn upon Christian spiritual traditions and contemporary psychological research, including Martin Seligman’s PERMA model where the five core elements of psychological wellbeing include:
The Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation for the UK Government also provides a framework to improve psychological and emotional health, including the following steps: Give, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Connect.
Our program aligns with ACARA and the Personal and Social Capabilities and QCAA’s 21st Century Skills.
I am excited to share some of our new initiatives this year, which include:
We have launched Speak Up@Glennie which can be accessed on the Student Portal and allows the girls across the Junior, Middle and Senior Years to make anonymous notifications about both positive and negative behaviours. We want to empower the girls to stand up for their peers. Notifications are sent to Brenda Suhr in the Junior Years and me in the Middle and Senior Years.
We are delighted to welcome Mrs Colleen Otto, our School Psychologist to our Pastoral Care team. Mrs Otto is an experienced psychologist and works full-time (term time) from 8.15am to 4.45pm. Students can self-refer or they can be referred by a teacher or Head of House. While Mrs Otto has met staff and some students, we look forward to introducing her to the girls at Chapel next week.
I would like to remind parents that there is no supervision for MSY students before 8 am or after 5 pm. If students do arrive before 8 am, they must go to the Flexible Learning Space at the back of the Dining Room, and if they are at school after 5 pm they must go to Simmons House. We cannot be responsible for the safety of the girls otherwise.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students