The Student Welfare Executive Team at St John's

The Secondary Campus Student Welfare Executive met last week to share the vast pastoral work done this term and to discuss future plans. The combined efforts of this group are just so impressive and I was keen to share with the School community an account of what constituted our last agenda.

Careers Counsellor, Wendy Edwards talked about the guest presenters from four Universities who had recently visited the School, the opportunities for St John’s students to visit Bond University in these holidays as part of our Collegiate Scholarship and about the visit from Army Reserve CEO Major Nathan Klinge, who spoke to all our students about careers opportunities with his organisation. Wendy has been attending many workshops that update her already impressive expanse of knowledge, meeting many Year 11 and 12 students who are trying to forge their next pathway. Ten Year 12 students attended a Chartered Accountant event at Adelaide Oval, the entire Year 10 cohort visited the Tertiary Careers Expo a couple of weeks ago and Wendy has also been a visitor to the new medical facilities at the new SAHMRI complex.

Our student Counsellor, Carolyn Markey talked about the importance of confidentiality and how best to communicate meaningfully to others when there are confidentiality constraints surrounding the situation. She has also reported on pro-active work that can be done with students that helps to minimise the negative impacts of a catastrophic event like a bushfire or lockdown after attending a workshop recently.

Our International Student Coordinator, Jo Zhang spoke about the Term 2 Orientation Day for six new St John’s students from China and really keen to start next semester. The group talked very positively about the Cultural Day where Middle School students were immersed in a myriad of captivating activities and lessons with a distinct cultural flavour, in art, dance, food and fashion. Jo also invited three Old Scholars (Cindy Chen, Andy Gao and Barry Liu) to talk to our Year 11 and 12 students about life after school, foundation courses and independent living.

Our Head of Learning Support, Hilary Moffa, shared insights into her work with new funding models and some of the pathways options being unlocked for our senior students that align with our SOARING pedagogy. She also talked about the potential new range of services that the school can facilitate through NDIS funding such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

The Head of House team have been extremely busy with some fabulous initiatives on the service and community front. Gooch has organised a Movie Night to raise awareness and funds for AIME, Prince have organised the BeyondBlue Bash with concerts an food sales and Halstead just finished the Halstead Hoedown which had an environmental focus raising funds for Minton Farm. This also involved a collection of old sweaters and foods containing plenty of oats and grains. Moffatt have established the Mad Hatters Tea Party to raise funds for the Cancer Council of SA.

Our Property Manager, Arthur Galantomos presented to interested staff and students some of the new environmental measures that the School is investigating such as solar panels, time-regulated switches and waste disposal and recycling practices. The renewed focus of the environment has been well supported by Colin Mackenzie’s drive with the environment sub-group of AWARE and Cheryl’s recent announcement of our partnership with BCU school in central Kalimantan, Borneo which will provide an magnificent opportunity for interested students to work with the BOS Orangutan mission.

Head of Health and Personal Development, Carlee Mitchell, shared her insights into a new course that she is tackling with ELC colleague Sue Cullen – a Graduate Certificate in Special Education (Autism) and reported on Positive Behaviour Support which is a practical, data-driven approach to understanding and improving problem behaviour and quality of life.

Head of Middle School Ben Clark attended an AISSA-driven young adolescence forum looking at student agency and spoke glowingly about the Year 7 program and how that has been pivotal in ensuring a happy cohort. He talked briefly about the Wellbeing Series for next term and who has been ‘recruited’ as key guest presenters.

I shared further thoughts about pastoral reporting and record-keeping and the exploration of a new digital file system. A new, ‘School life’ tile will be added to every students’ dashboard and this will house all things pastoral for easy access. A Term 3 Citizenship Schedule is being produced ready for publication at the start of the term. Along with our chaplains we are looking at more ways to connect older and younger students with extended services.

The Student Welfare Executive is a 16 person collective of energy, expertise and passion. At the conclusion of our last meeting you could sense that every member of that team really appreciated just how potent and hard working this group is and that we all share a never-ending quest of building on the superb welfare work already done.

Richard Anderson

Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal