Counsellor's Corner

Wellbeing is the key to unlocking the full potential of every student. It lays the foundation for curiosity, creativity, and lifelong learning. – Unknown

The AISSA Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce was established in 2022 to assist all member schools to strengthen whole-school policy, practice, and pedagogy and to improve the wellbeing of the school community within their own unique context. St Andrew’s recognises that the most important approach is to prevent, protect, and promote mental health and wellbeing, and that it is everyone’s responsibility, every day.

Last Monday, during the Professional Learning Day, I was pleased to be able to launch this tool to the staff while also providing evidence-based resources to support School staff capacity building to best support student and staff wellbeing through a whole-school lens. We talked about belonging, and we looked at the why behind wellbeing and being “learn-ready”.

The first step of our approach as we take on this tool is to establish a representative wellbeing team, which we are pleased to have already done. The AISSA Wellbeing Toolkit is provided as the mechanism for this sharing to occur, with a focus on universal wellbeing promotion and an early intervention approach.

I also put forward my vision for wellbeing at St Andrew’s and gave the staff the task of making it into an “elevator statement”. It was a great way to get them to synthesise their thinking.

Wellbeing Statement

At St Andrew’s School, we are dedicated to nurturing the holistic wellbeing of our students, staff, and community. We recognise that wellbeing encompasses physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life, and that it is essential for learning, personal growth, and success.

As caring individuals, we strive to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment that promotes positive mental health and resilience, and that inspires curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. We respect ourselves, others, and the world around us, and we value diversity, equity, and sustainability. We respect difference and celebrate achievements while also providing resources and services to address challenges and barriers.

We believe that wellbeing is a shared responsibility, and that everyone has a role to play in promoting it. We encourage collaboration, communication, and partnerships among students, staff, families, and the community, and we seek to continuously improve our practices and policies based on evidence and feedback.

As knowledgeable learners, we seek to understand and appreciate the complex interplay between our physical, emotional, and social health, and how it influences our cognitive development and academic performance. We recognise the importance of self-reflection, self-regulation, and self-care, as well as the need for social connections, empathy, and compassion.

As principled citizens, we are committed to upholding ethical values and principles that foster wellbeing for all, and that empower us to make responsible choices and take informed actions. We collaborate with others, communicate effectively, and advocate for positive change, both locally and globally.

Our goal is to cultivate a culture of wellbeing that is embedded in our learning community, that prepares our students to become lifelong learners, global thinkers, and responsible citizens of the world.

It was a great time of professional learning where we got to focus for an hour and a half on the wellbeing of the students at St Andrew’s.

“Cognitive outcomes are important, but students are significantly under-served if this is the only priority outcome in schools.”(Green and Norrish 2013; OECD 2015)

Donna Longden
Director of Wellbeing