‘Well-being?’ It’s being well done at SCOTS!

Mr David Proudlove | Head of Senior School

Perhaps the greatest benefit of being in my 23rd year in the teaching profession has been the opportunity and privilege to work at five incredibly different schools; three in the UK and two in Australia; a mixture of co-educational and single-sex schools, government-funded and independent; as large as 2100 students and as small as 410.  And over those 23 years, I have also visited dozens of other schools for a whole host of reasons, from sporting fixtures to professional development courses, always watching and listening to discover how all manner of school activities are undertaken.

Such fortuitous breadth of opportunity also allows me to claim, with some confidence, that here at SCOTS PGC we ‘do’ student well-being about as well as anyone.  The Australian government defines the concept of student well-being as:

a sustainable state of positive mood and attitude, resilience, and satisfaction with self, relationships and experiences at school.  Well-being is also said to affect most aspects of a student’s functioning at a school’.

In just 6 weeks in the 2019 academic year, our investment of time and talent into the well-being of every SCOTS PGC student continues to be an integral part of the holistic education we pride ourselves on.  Just take a look at what happens, not just once in a while, but week after week, as Tutors, Heads of Year, the Chaplain, our College Counsellor, Health Centre nurses and many others devote an average of more than 2.5 hours a week to ensuring our students’ well-being is simply as good as it possibly can be:

Tomorrow Man and Woman presenters from Melbourne explored all manner of issues fundamental to adolescent well-being in special ‘closed-door’ sessions with Year 10-12 students, in single-sex groups; a touring drama production addressed the risks of becoming involved in illegal drugs; Chapel sessions focused on ‘Having a Dream’, and ‘Patience’, in parallel with activities in our Tuesday pastoral care sessions for students from P-12; our pastoral carers, with College Counselor, Nigel Sullivan and Rev. Willie Liebenberg taking the lead, have met with dozens of students who sought support and wise advice, whenever it was necessary.

A major new well-being resource, SchoolTV was introduced to parents in an afternoon information session in the Bandy Theatre, allowing all our parents and staff 24/7 access to the latest theories and practices on an enormous range of topics that are close to the hearts of young people.  Special activities were undertaken for National Safer Internet Day at the start of Term 1 as we endeavour to provide our children with the skills and understanding to make safe choices in cyberspace, and today we supported the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence with items in our Year 5-12 Assembly.

Yes, we are all aware of how challenging delivering the academic requirements of the Australian Curriculum is, but as the definition of well-being above clearly states, if a young person does not have a positive mood and attitude, then there’s no strong, stable foundation on which to build a successful school experience, and that includes academic achievement.

If you’ll pardon the medical metaphors, as an antidote to what, at times, can be rather confronting and emotionally draining experiences, we have recently added, ‘’Laughter is the Best Medicine’ sessions to the Year 8-10 pastoral care programme.  In these, Tutors and our Chaplain have nominated clips of their favourite stand-up comedians in action, and students vote to decide which is the most entertaining in a friendly, but intense rivalry between home-grown, South African and British competitors.  Queenslander, Carl Barron’s koala jokes and impressions seem to be making the biggest impact at this stage, but I have no doubt the Brits and Springboks will regroup and be back funnier than ever in Term 2!

Oh, and did I mention staff and student yoga and meditation with Rev. Willie every Friday afternoon? It’s open to all, whatever your fitness and flexibility level.  What better way to mentally adjust from a frenetic College week into a weekend of what we hope to be refreshing and reinvigorating activities by spending time in the Mountain, Bridge, Warrior or Cat pose?

I assume the Year 4 student who joined last week was mistaken when complimenting Rev. Willie on his ‘Dagwood Dog?!’ I am ashamed to admit that is more my line of weekend pastime, but nobody’s perfect.